Presdo: Twitter for Your Calendar?

Online calendaring is one of those “it’s so simple, why can’t developers get it right?” problems – no one solution ever seems to get at the problem without adding complexity to your life.

So you pile onto Outlook, iCal, Google Calendar, your Evite or similar service, your social networking apps; hoping that the end result will somehow deliver on the promise of easy human synchronization via the net.

Presdo delivers just that, without unnecessary effort on your part.

There’s more than a few similarities between Presdo and Twitter – they both are written in Ruby on Rails, they both start with a simple text box, they both are tools that don’t imitate a desktop application. And they both go from the “why would I use this?” to the “must have Web Worker tool” category quickly.

I’ve been using Presdo since it made a big splash last week; it’s clean, easy, doesn’t require assimilating everyone you want to get together with into your latest online system. It’s pure, refined, focused, with a fairly deep understanding of how real people, not just “users,” think, act and want from their online apps.

With Presdo, you start by entering your intention: “Get together with Joe for lunch next week.” Then Presdo starts helping with the details of making that a reality: suggesting places to meet, suggesting times, tracking Joe response. The more Presdo knows about you, and Joe, and the other people in your actual human network, the more work it does for you: suggesting places to meet for lunch between you and Joe, offering Joe times that work for him without giving away personal details of either of your schedules.

Presdo isn’t meant to be the Borg-like Comprehensive Calendar System that You Must Use For Everything. Instead, it’s light scheduling without the noise, unnecessary rigmarole and hoops to jump through.

“One of the problems that Presdo addresses is that people live in a world of mixed calendaring systems,” Eric Ly, the man behind Presdo emailed me. “Also, people keep their calendars to varying levels of completeness, from everything to partially to none at all. It would be great if everyone were on the same Exchange server and one could perfectly determine when people were free or busy and forcibly schedule a meeting for everyone.

This just isn’t realistic today, especially given when people are increasingly blending their professional vs personal lives.”

There’s a great screen by screen review of Presdo over on TechCrunch if you want preview it. Ly, a co-founder of LinkedIn, has created an app nearly any web worker would intuitively get in 10 seconds flat.

Right now Presdo is free and free of ads. What about the future? “We’re considering several possible revenue models, but the most immediate one will be subscription products based on advanced features for ‘heavily scheduled’ users. This covers not just the business user but also soccer moms who like to organize activities for groups of people,” Ly said.

Features are like potato chips as far as developers are concerned. If a few are good, many more are better. After 25 years of writing apps, I speak from experience here. Will Presdo resist adding features at the cost of simplicity?

“We have many ideas for enhancing Presdo while maintaining its simplicity,” Ly replied. “but we will most immediately focus on better supporting people who organize regular/recurring group activities, such as dinner clubs, poker clubs, hiking clubs, even board meetings, etc., and make organizing these types of events easier for people.”

Sounds good to me.