Kyle and Nate launched BricaBox this week. I think they’ve done an impressive job – you talk of the Web leveling the playing field but it’s still quite amazing to witness firsthand what two talented people can build in only 8 months: a sophisticated product that feels as solid and looks as good as anything else out there, and a brand name that in the right circles is already pretty well known.
BricaBox as a concept is very interesting. Essentially I see it as another step in the evolution of web publishing: initially you’d put some stuff online by authoring HTML pages, later on it was made simpler by CMS software (like PHPNuke etc) which let more people join in. Blogs, especially services like Blogger & co that let users start a blog without any technical knowledge, took this further ahead, increasing the number of participators by orders of magnitude and bringing online publishing to a point where basically anyone with a net connection can take part in it.
BricaBox expands on this by providing a simple blog-like interface for publishing information that isn’t text-centric – location based, like a list of cupcake sellers, item based like the NY Tech organizations directory, and so on – there are a lot of building blocks to play with, and I expect the most interesting formats haven’t been discovered yet, and will come from the users. I think a key point about blogs is that many people do not use them in the original diary-like “web log” pattern, but as a simple way to get text online. Blogs trade fine-grained control for ease of use, and clearly most people find it a good deal – enough so that many tech people who are capable of setting up their own CMS prefer to use hosted blogs instead. BricaBox taps into that, taking a similar usability-first approach.
Another interesting difference from blogs is the built in participation functionality – BricaBoxes are built so that readers can easily become contributors and add their own content to them. For example, if you happen to read my own humble (isn’t “humble” a really nice substitute for “lame”?) BricaBox of “places to watch soccer in NYC” you can not only add comments and ratings, but also new locations I didn’t know about. This feature, I think, taps into a very powerful aspect of the Web, the instant ability to move between read and write modes.
There’s a lot of potential to BricaBox. It’s going to be interesting to watch this grow – and I think it will, and quite fast.