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COOL HUNTING

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Encouraging more meaningful interaction than status updates, social networking site thisMoment allows you to create a timeline of your life—adding photos, videos and feelings in an easily navigable format. We recently had a chance to catch up with thisMoment partner Ankarino Lara, who told us more about the site.

Cool Hunting: What inspired you to look at life in terms of moments?

Ankarino Lara: In thinking about our lives, we saw our past, present, and future as this flow from which certain ideas, events, people and emotions rise above the blur. These things that make us laugh, smile, cry, shudder are the fundamental units of human experience, or a Moment. A Moment has context: there's a time and a place, often people, and always emotion and some visualization that makes up a Moment. So thisMoment was really born out of a need to share these Moments of life – stuff that can’t be conveyed in a single image post or a 140 character tweet. It demanded a rich, vibrant aesthetic, and seeks to draw more out of people through the Moment Making process.

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There are already a ton of social networking websites out there. What does thisMoment offer to differentiate it from the herd?

We believe that thisMoment is a compliment to all the existing website and services that exist out there, as opposed to a competitor. People are already uploading images and videos to sites like Flickr and YouTube, and they’re already updating their status on Facebook, or tweeting about the latest thing that happened to them - but they really have nothing to show for all of it. thisMoment allows you to link up all of your media and communication services and then easily pull content and contacts into creating Moments. You can sync Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa, YouTube, Twitter, and FriendFeed today, and we're adding more in the coming months. The idea is simple: let people pull all the stuff that they've already uploaded to the web to create a beautifully packaged and presented Moment, and then let them broadcast that out to their existing social graph.

So, for example, you can check out one of my latest moments that I created using our Facebook App. It's a moment with me taking my son, Kalyxtomar, swimming for the first time.

And it is able to have it's own manifestation on thisMoment.

And of course there's a version for the iPhone app as well. So I've pulled images in from Flickr, uploaded a few videos, and then posted the URL to Twitter which in turn updated my Facebook status, which broadcasted the Moment to all my friends. That's the circle that we complete for people.

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See the rest of the interview and more images after the jump.

Check out thisMoment to start your own lifeline.

How long has this development process been underway? What are some of the biggest challenges you had to face?

Three of us founded the company (Scott Bedard - CTO, Vince Broady - CEO, and me) in April of last year and we launched out of beta on June 23rd of this year. A couple challenges come to mind... 1) the aesthetic challenge. We know that the Moments in someone's life are the most important thing to them. When you look at most social networking sites, the design is super stripped down and bare bones. We wanted to walk that fine line of offering a powerful toolset without looking too geeky and high-touch. We wanted the aesthetics to bring out the importance and emotion of the Moment, but not overwhelm it with too many distracting graphics. So, we hope that we landed somewhere near our goal, and of course, we're refining aspects of the design every wee. 2) during our development, there was a tsunami of growth from both Facebook and Twitter, and we quickly had to accelerate our building out of a Facebook app and Twitter integration. As well, it became clear quickly that we needed an iPhone App too, if we wanted Moments flowing in from wherever people were. So, suddenly you're developing three separate websites! One in each of those environments that had to make sense for the users mode, but at the same time connect all the core functionality and preserve the realtime collaboration element.

You've had some pretty extensive experience in this field. How have you built upon these experiences and incorporated them into the site's design?

Our team's experience building out entertainment verticals at CNET and Yahoo! has allowed us to hone our skills in building object-oriented databases and websites. Whether it was GameSpot.com, TV.com, or starwars.yahoo.com, we have expertise in taking a massive amount of data and architecting both an engaging and aesthetically beautiful site around it. So, for thisMoment, that same team applied our entertainment vertical expertise to that of people, and the moments they share with one another. We’re approaching this new data set of Moments with the same level of fun that we did with the entertainment sites. Our experience has also landed us partnerships with NYTimes.com, People.com, and Symbian.org, to name a few and we're in the process of building out those integrations as we speak.

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What are some of your dearest Moments you have recorded?

Ah, for me personally, thisMoment is as much about remembering fond personal moments as it is about me keeping track of my favorite videogames! Of course the birth of our first child generated a series of emotionally charged moments, but I also have a few moments in my future that I hope I can make happen some day: I'd like to travel to New Zealand and find my way into an Audi R8, for example!

How does the collaborative aspect of thisMoment manifest itself?

So, say you and your friends are going out on Friday, and everyone has a phone with a camera. Some have iPhones and the thisMoment app, others don't. You can create moments on the go by using the iPhone app or by email, so anyone with email and a camera on their device can be a part of the fun. You create a single moment, then add your friends to the Moment. Now all of you are "in the moment" together, and any images or video you upload with the iPhone app or via email will be added to the collaborative moment. And it doesn't end there, because now you have captured that moment and it lives on through thisMoment.com or Facebook for you to share with your extended friends. So, you can make, view, and share moments interchangeably and on the go with your friends via the website, Facebook, by email, and by the iPhone app.

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