Is Retrevo a Product Review Site?

I have been asked this question many times in the last few days. Is Retrevo a product review site? The answer goes a lot deeper than the question. When we started Retrevo last year, we did it because we were frustrated with the complexity of the hi-tech products we bought and used every day. We always were in need of the right answers but there were none (well there were but were extremely hard to get to). In spite of every one of us spending thousands of dollars every year on new products, there was no one to help us *after* we bought a product. And pre-purchase help was incomplete at best. S  read more »


Retrevo Launches its Public Beta at Demo!

We finally let the cat out of the bag today. 9 AM at Demo in San Diego. A perfect setting at Sheraton Marina, near the sea, with lot of exciting new companies launching interesting products. Retrevo team, Manish, Charles and Matthew pulled the launch together in the last minute. At 9:06 AM, Retrevo.com went live. Here is the launch video at Demo. The team is very excited and energized (though a little exhausted too). We got some quick coverage at N  read more »


A Milestone Achieved by the Team!

Yesterday, we started the beta of our product on http://www.retrevo.com. After much debate, we decided to keep it by invitation-only for now. We will be looking for a good time and venue to launch the company, and then start an open beta. Not a shock to anyone engaged with a startup, lot of hard work and sweat went into taking the product from a concept stage to beta. Team worked relentlessly to make the product category complete (from types of products supported and content coverage perspective) and fix all those nasty bugs. Team is excited and is not read  read more »


An Unusual Twist on Advertising!

SpiceWorks introduced a free IT monitoring application for small to mid-size businesses. Did I say "free"? This is not your off-the-shelf open-source monitoring application but rather a fully commercial version (may be they use open source SW to build it but I digress). How do they make money? Well, you guessed it right. Advertising. You have to tolerate Google ads on the management console. Once you get to managing more than 250 devices, you buy a paid license. Interesting approach. If they can find a good distribution channel for this product  read more »


Inching Closer to the Launch!

Today we reviewed our progress and readiness for the public alpha. Good news and not so good news. Good news is that the team fixed majority of the 23 major bugs we had last week. We have only a handful left and the team knows the fixes. These bugs will be behind us in next couple of days. But we are only half way through the operational readiness. We baselined our systems, we know the performance limitations andpossible bottlenecks and are now discussing various alternatives to deal with them. And then we want to move our systems to a colo to ensure high availability once we open up the site  read more »


New Brave World of Advertising!

There was an article in Washington Post that talked about "Product Placement". How the traditional, subtle product placement in TV shows and movies is making a leap into the scripts. Forget about fast forwarding using your Tivo's skip button, it is all part of story-telling. There has not been a huge cry from actors yet, but it will at some point. You can read about different aspects and implications including FCC's regulation regarding disclosures here. The other extreme of this new br  read more »


Custom Installation!

In last few years, it has been amazing for me to see all the exciting development in the consumer electronics industry, the conversion from analog to digital and FCC's mandate to phase out analog broadcast alltogether, from VHS to DVD to HD-DVD and Blu-ray, from tape to CDs to iPods, you name it. Every piece of electronics you owned has gone through major changes. One subtle change taking place in the home theater system environments is the move from CD mega changers to hard-disk based servers. Here is  read more »


53 Bugs and Counting!

We are down to 53 bugs. Major ones are in the areas of incomplete data for some of the categories and ranking. Team is confident that we will be able to fix the critical ones before the public trial. We are also installing and configuring the servers for colocation deployment. Plenty of regression, performance beaselining, monitoring and contingency planning needs to be done. Anyone who has built a service network can sympathesize with all the work that needs to be done for us to be truly ready. I am sure we will have hickups, some users won't find deep content for some of their queries, some  read more »


Countdown Starts!

We are only weeks away from starting the beta on our public site. We have had lot of debate internally whether we should continue with the alpha on our protected site or allow broader user community to participate. Finally, our fear gave in. Yes, there is a risk of getting attention "too soon" but then there is no substitute to learning from a broader, untainted audience about their pain points, their needs, their wants around gadgets. Clock is ticking and everyone is furiously working to make sure that we have fixed all the major bugs, are category complete for the launch and are op  read more »