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Austin Chang , Frid.ge : social groups for personal and private sharing of media, events, and conversation

28th Mar 2011
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Austin Chang is the co-founder of Fridge, simple personal networks that anyone can create to share photos, messages, and events with specific friends and groups.Previously Austin was Vice President, Strategy and Development at MTV Networks responsible for the development of creative, product and platform ideas both internally and externally for MTV Digital. Austin joined MTV Networks when his first company, the social MMO game and IP Popularity High, was acquired by Viacom in 2005.

Austin is also an Adjunct Professor at Parsons School of Design in the MFA Communication, Design and Technology department. He holds an undergraduate degree from Williams College and a graduate degree from Parsons School of Design.

What is Fridge?

Fridge is super simple, lightweight social groups for personal and private sharing of media, events, and conversation. Anyone can easily create a group, invite friends, socialize and share photos, videos, music, and more for any reason. Fridge is private disposable groups for those moments and photos you want to share discretely with a small group and "forget" about.

Fridge is exclusive social networks for your friends, family, or coworkers to privately share status updates, photos, videos, music, or anything between you and them. Fridge is personal groups to plan, share, and converse about those private/intimate/exclusive events that you only want the "right" people to know about.

How is this different from groups on other social networks?

Fridge is freedom from the typical social network. Fridge is free from status updates from people you barely know, friend requests from random strangers, and people asking you to answer personality quizzes.Fridge is freedom to update your status from the beach, upload those pictures from the party last weekend, plan your upcoming vacation with family, or share your eclectic music taste with your friends in separate discrete groups without pulling in your entire social graph.

Fridge is a social space that is free from the annoying uncle, ex-coworker, or random guy you met at a conference. But hey, they don't want you in their Fridge group either...

Features of Fridge

Fridge groups are simple personal networks that anyone can instantly create, invite specific friends, and share photos, messages, and events

- Invite friends from FB, Twitter, Gmail

- Selectively share posts out to FB, Twitter

- "News feed" style group feeds for stream of conversation and media

- Different Fridge groups are independent and separate from each other

- Only people who are members of a group can see messages, photos, and other members in a group

- Groups can live side by side and remain completely separate

Business model / Pricing

Not yet, but seeing how our users are interacting with the product we are focusing more and more on events and photos and beginning to develop out monetization models based on these patterns

How did this come about?

A group of friends were planning a vacation and wanted a place to organize and coordinate travel, hotels, itineraries and cars. They also wanted a place where they could share inside jokes and stories with people who didn't make the trip, as well as a centralized place to share photos after. (And we didn't necessarily want every one of their Facebook connections to see everything going on.)

How do you see Fridge being used by different groups?

Fridge has been used a lot by:

- Students for their friends, clubs, fraternities/sororities, classes/study groups.

- Teachers are using it at the university and secondary school level for their classes and administration

- Families to have their own personal network

- Organizations as a better way to communicate over standard distribution lists. Ycombinator, Techstars, Dogpatch Labs by Polaris Ventures have used it

All are using it mostly around helping them plan, organize, and share events whether onetime events or on-going gatherings both social and professional.

Is this is like a web page for groups - a wiki?

It is more like an update to the traditional group platforms focused more around shared conversation than a wiki.

Visit Fridge: www.frid.ge

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