Monday, October 2nd, 2006

A plug for Squirl

Portland, Maine is small and not very tech-focused. There are few web companies, but no “Web 2.0” ones I was aware of of. So it came as something of a surprise to discover a VERY Web 2.0 company that even does cataloging, just like LibraryThing. What are the odds? helps you keep track of your “collections.” Got a trove of female action figures, PEZ dispensers, panda bear stamps, 45s, Star Wars-enalia, hobo nickels**, ticket stubs, or dead bugs? Put them up on Squirl and show the world. There’s even some social networking built in, and the developers are adding features daily. Now, if you want, you can put your books on Squirl. But this isn’t its strongest suit, and it’s certainly not the focus.

Last week co-founder John McGrath and I met for coffee and hit it off. He’s one talented guy. I really hope Squirl takes off. Alternately, I hope it tanks, he loses his job and he comes to work for LibraryThing. The two ideas are bickering on my shoulders. Anyway, John and I agreed to meet regularly and talk about and critique each others’ sites. I’m expecting a lot of good to come from that.

So, check it out and let us know what you think of it. I admire its aesthetic. LibraryThing could learn from, even if I wouldn’t want to go all-the-way Basecamp like they have. And we should add the ability to take pictures of your books separate from the cover shot. Book collectors would like that, I think.***

Squirl has been added to the “also on” list in your profile, if you want to link accounts, and John has gone ahead and enabled a similar feature over there. Maybe in the future we’re have enough overlap that we can say “People who collect Perrier bottles enjoy reading Proust.” Well, they do.

*It’s even built in Rails!
**Issued during Hobo Joe Junk Pan’s tenure as Secretary of the Treasury. (I don’t get this!)
***Actually, Squirl only allows one picture per item now. I’m betting they allow more soon. It was the main complaint in an otherwise very positive review. That guy also reviews LibraryThing (but did he see all the fields?). Anyway, doing “collectible” books better is a priority for us, and one that our partner,, can help us with a lot.

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