Sunday, March 04, 2007

Modern family calendaring

A couple of years ago, while I was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Redpoint Ventures, I was also doing some corporate strategy consulting for a startup in Seattle called Kasayka. Kasayka was founded by a couple of really great guys, Robbie Cape and Jan Miksovsky, both former Microsoft employees. Robbie was the GM for Microsoft Money, and Jan was a user interface guru whose last project was as the user interface architect for Windows Vista. Their goal with Kasayka was to build usable software that improved families lives.

Kasayka has come a long way since those early days, launching recently to consumers as Cozi. I was fortunate enough to be a beta tester and was able to see the product and service evolve. It's now a really great set of features that deliver on their initial vision. Family calendaring allows you to create a free calendar for each of the members of your family in one easy location. It can then be accessed over the web or from a mobile phone. It's a very flexible calendar, with a nice plain-text feature that lets you type a calendar entry in English and it's interpreted as a calendar event. First Wednesday of the month? No problem. Every other Tuesday & Thursday? Yup. For my two kids, Cozi was able to handle every weird form of event schedule I threw at it.

Besides calendaring, Cozi also offers family messaging. From their secure portal, Cozi Central, you can send messages to any family member, or to the whole family at once. For today's modern family, group messaging is a really useful feature. Cozi also let's you define multiple shopping lists. I can have one for Safeway, and one for Costco, etc. Anyone in the family can put things on the shopping list, and I can have it read to me over the phone (or texted) while I'm at the store. This is a great feature when you get to the store and realize you forgot your list.

If you install Cozi on your computer, they also provide a really elegant screensaver they call a collage. You point it at your digital photos, and the collage selects groups of photos which look good together and displays them on the screen, changing them at a time interval you specify. There's clearly some intelligence under the hood here, because it's uncanny how the images are selected and grouped. They also include a clock and a view of upcoming calendar events on the collage. It's pretty neat.

If any of this sounds good, please download Cozi (it's free!) and give it a try. If you try before April 30th, Cozi will donate $1 to Locks of Love for each family that joins. Give it a try, I think you'll like it.

1 comment:

Eve Sheridan said...

I will definately be trying out this software...thanks!