Is Diddit too broad, or should it focus?

Bambi Francisco Roizen · April 8, 2009 · Short URL:

Chris Shipley helps us analyze Diddit - the review site for all activities

Chris Shipley, co-founder of startup research and consulting firm, Guidewire Group, has spent more than a decade advising and mentoring startups. She's responsible for bringing about 1,500 startups to DEMO (a leading conference for emerging tech startups) stage. On Vator Box, our version of Siskel & Ebert meets American Idol for startups, we try to find people or experts in certain fields who can help analyze one startup per show. In this segment, we brought Shipley in to be our guest host. 

Shipley joined Ezra Roizen (Vator Box regular and digital media investment banker) and me. Here are our observations. The company in the spotlight was Diddit, an online activity guide, or what Roizen describes as a Yelp meets OpenTable meets Friendster.

- About the pitch. Paul Gauthier does a fine job giving a summary of a pretty abstract concept. But he could have made it more "real." Because Diddit is such an abstract concept, saying "How this site will be used" can really help illustrate the value proposition. A great elevator pitch leaves you wanting more. This one leaves you wondering why? Some of the best pitches identify a problem. "I don't get enough here to want to dig down into deeper into the business," said Shipley. Additionally, this pitch could have included a problem statement and the solution.

- Just as "How to" sites have taken off and become popular because their results are found in search engines, Diddit has the same opportunity. Diddit is trying to solve an interesting problem. It wants to help people find stuff to do, by giving them reviews for various and sundry experiences, such as vacation experiences in Florida, to languages sung, to snowboarding at a certain ski resort. There is an opportunity to create the review repository about experiences, and have them found on Google. If you search on Google to find experiences for activities, there's very little that shows up in search results. So, there's an opportunity to create that content.

- Diddit allows for any experience to be chronicled. As Gauthier said in the past, he thinks Diddit is the  Amazon of experiences. To this end, Diddit's focus is broad. But even Amazon started with a narrow focus on selling books. It was an online book seller with big ambitions. Perhaps Diddit should focus on owning a vertical - whether it be the place to find experiences and reviews of all outdoor adventures, or the place to find the experiences from people doing active sports in a particular region. Focus will help Diddit not only capture a user base but serve them. For instance, Famplosion - another site on Vator - does a nice job focusing on one problem - recommending activities for families to do in a particular area. Yelp, which has grown significantly, initially focused on a specific cities.

- Even though it seems everyone is pretty transparent these days and sharing about their love life to what they had for breakfast, it's unclear how many people will want to write reviews about their experiences, or how often they will share on this destination site. Many people like to share these experiences with their friends, who are typically on Facebook these days. That doesn't mean the site can't be significant. It just means that the dynamics around content creation may likely be more similar to Wikipedia - about 1% of the audience will likely contribute and share their adventures - than a social network site, where many people contribute.

- Diddit should allow people to type into a search box: "I'm bored... what should I do?" This would be one way to lead people to discover activities.   

- Diddit needs to create more incentives for people to participate and contribute. That said, the company does a good job with its "Wanna" and "Diddit" buttons. They're a quick and easy way for users to participate and engage.

(Note: We're not experts. We just want to start a dialogue and discuss the opportunities of the companies we highlight. If we were off in our analysis, assumptions and predictions, please feel free to shed the light. This is particularly directed to those at Diddit!)

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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Diddit (Ludic Labs)


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Diddit -- you are what you do -- is a site for people to discover, connect and get credit fortheir life experiences.  Diddit, aproperty of Ludic Labs, combines a comprehensive experience guide with apowerful social platform empowering people with compelling content andadvertisers with highly targeted audiences.  Headquartered in San Mateo, California,Ludic Labs was started by the founding team of search engine company Inktomiand is funded by Accel Partners (,KPG Ventures (, its founders and private individuals. For more, visit



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Famplosion is a service for parents.  We are aggregating and organizing local stuff to do and places to go with the kids so parents have a single source for finding the fun and important things to do locally.  We are currently in alpha with content for the Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Nashville, Chicago, New York City and Atlanta markets.  We expect to launch the beta version of our consumer facing site in mid November.  We are also currently building the tools require to start executing on our business development and revenue plans.  We are a team of two supported by consultants for various functions in the product development phase.  We have been financing our development with an Angel round and expect to be searching for Round A financing in the New Year as the product/platform will be ready to start scaling.