Introducing Handmeon

Okay, enough with the hints. In January I started a new company with two co-founders, and today we released the second major revision to our first product, Handmeon. To quote some draft marketing material:

Handmeon turns giving into a shared creative experience. Inspired by ancient circles of exchange, Handmeon lets people create renewable resources of expression through gifts endowed with history and trajectory, humor and thought. Rejecting material consumption and accumulation, Handmeon seeks a return to giving as a vehicle for human connection.

The basic idea is to take an objet, perhaps something small, perhaps something beautiful, perhaps something with an interesting background, and create an online presence for it. You upload a photo, write an inscription, and make blog posts regarding the object. Eventually you give it away, and the new keeper can write posts and enjoy the objet’s sojourn with them. As the object moves between people, you can see the travels with integrated Google maps. After 4 hops, or 20, or 40, the object develops a rich history, accumulating stories online.
In other words, we’re playing with the integration and separation of the real-world and the Internet. These objects are passed from one friend to another – when you hold an object you received it from a friend, and you’ll give it to a friend, perhaps in person, perhaps by mail. And they’ll give it to a friend, perhaps one you haven’t yet met. The object becomes a connecting thread between a line of people, all connected one friend to another. I’m hopeful that it will expose the connections and therefore the interdependencies between people who haven’t ever met.
You can take a tour, or explore the site to get a sense of what the early adopters are doing. For instance, Kathryn wants to learn more about meditation. Trippy the Frog wants to travel. The Roller just completed a sojourn with Jer. John wrote a post about a brush with celebrity. Jeff went meta, right out of the gate. And so on. You can create public, private, and secret objects.
To make money, we’ll sell the permanent tags that turn objects into Handmeons and give them a URL. So the creator buys a tag, and everyone else can claim, post, and release the object for free. Speaking of free, right now the tags are free – so go register and order some! Make some Handmeons! See what it feels like to imbue something with meaning online, and then give it away. Experience the gratitude that this act of generosity engenders. You can create the online Handmeon before your tags arrive, so you can get started right away.
Eventually we’ll charge money for the tags. Pricing is not set, but we want it to be affordable, maybe three tags for $12.95 or something. We have to model the object’s long-term pageview cost and whatnot, and we haven’t finished that yet. Three tags for $19.95 is probably the highest price we can imagine right now.
Of course, there’s a blog, newly minted. We’re going to try for one solid software release each week for a few weeks. Comments are on over there, and we are actively looking for feedback and enthusiastic participants. Come over and play in this new interaction space!
Oh, and, as a self-funded startup, we’re looking for links! Tell your friends. ;) Thanks.