Imagine a wireless handheld restaurant guide that could show you all the good burger places open after 1am -- or all the Japanese restaurants within a mile of your current location. A guide that remembers your favorite restaurants, records your reservations in your datebook, lets you add new restaurants and your own observations, and offers recommendations based on your preferences and the comments of other patrons.
This was the essence of Concierge, the PalmOS product we created for a media / publishing venture in 1998. We analyzed existing offerings, both electronic and paper-based, and interviewed users and potential users of restaurant and travel guides. We also analyzed restaurant guides in light of online services such as Sidewalk and Citysearch, as well as the efforts of Amazon, CDNow, Reel.com and other rich online experiences.
The result was a nimble, customer-centered product that mitigated the weaknesses of electronic books and focused on the strengths of the medium -- personalization, fresh content, and user-defined paths through information.