A note from Founder and CEO Byron Dumbrill
Thanks very much for visiting. We've worked very hard to create something unique with Tripline, and we hope you enjoy what we've built so far. We're still in Beta and we release new features every couple of weeks, so if there's something you'd like to see, click on the [feedback] link to the left, or contact us directly. We're only three people, but we'll usually get back to you pretty quickly.
Share With The People You Care About
At its most basic level, Tripline is a way for you communicate by putting places on a map. That's a very human activity that has been happening for thousands of years. We've added a social layer to that communication so, whether you're a regular person or a rockstar, you can share where you're going, where you are and where you've been with the people you care about. That could be your family, your friends, or all of your fans on the web...it's up to you. And just like in the movies, the Tripline player gives you an animated line moving across the map with a soundtrack. That's appropriate, because our journeys are our own epic tales of discovery and adventure. Press play and see for yourself.
Your Plans Become Your Stories
One of the earliest concept slides I put together had a simple statement: "Planning is a creative process". And like any creative process, planning travel begins with an idea, moves on to a sketch and details are refined over time. You're never really done, and it's never perfect. So I wanted to build Tripline as a way for you to create your initial sketch, and make the product flexible enough to let you turn a fun sketch into a refined plan. And, the cool thing is that if you use Tripline that way, you already have the framework of a story to tell. Just add photos, add your stories and share with your friends.
A Window On The World
Aside from the most obvious use (travel planning and sharing), we've built Tripline to help you tell any story that involves moving across the map. If you like history, you could use Tripline to create The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere or Lewis & Clark's Journey. If you're into current events, you could create The Inauguration of Barack Obama or Capt. Chelsey Sullenberger's famous Flight of US Air 1549. When we first started, I was amazed that map-based visuals of events like these were so difficult to find online. I think now that Tripline exists, that sort of map-based content will have a home. And the possibilities are endless: author and band tours, charity walks and rides, culinary adventures, fictional trips from books and movies, sporting events, scientific expeditions, etc. Here's an axample:
Maps As Media Objects
The story behind the origins of the Tripline concept goes back to May of 2005 - five years ago! My girlfriend (now fiance') Vivien and I were planning our first vacation together: an epic 15 day trip to Costa Rica. While we were planning - laptops side-by-side on a table scattered with maps and guidebooks - I became overwhelmed with the complexity of the trip and realized that I needed a visual overview. I started downloading map images and drawing lines. I can still remember her sideways glances...she thought for sure I was procrastinating or just goofing around. But, like any good team, we started working together: she would focus on research and I would add items to the map. Periodically we'd review the visual plan and make adjustments to simplify. Both of us hate covering the same ground twice, so the map was very helpful in identifying inefficiencies. After many hours of work, the result was the very first Tripline:
The Very First Tripline
I tried to make the map-based plan both fun and useful - two of our core product principles at Tripline. You'll notice a silly title, images of activities like SCUBA diving, overuse of the word "whilst" as well as a lot of practical logistics information. You'll also notice that the whole plan fits on a single page. That meant that we only needed to have one piece of paper readily accessible throughout our journey. It ended up being incredibly helpful.
What I didn't realize at the moment was how useful the map would be after the trip. When I uploaded our photos to Flickr, I added the map as the first image in the set. Friends immediately started commenting on how cool it was (and making fun of me for being so detailed). They said they really understood where we went and what we did; things that photos don't convey. That was the first brief moment of realization for me. But, what really surprised me was perhaps a year later when a good friend of mine asked me where we stayed in Costa Rica - he had just started planning a trip there with his wife. Instead of digging through old emails/papers/itineraries, all I had to do was send him a link to the image. It took less than a minute. In fact, I've sent the same image to many of my friends and they've all used it as a reference for their own plans.
What I realized was that a map was a new type of media object, similar to a photo or a video. Having spent years running product at Jumpcut and Yahoo! Video, I also understood how to build services that centered around the creation, sharing and presentation of media objects online. So, I set out to build Tripline: an online application to create and share maps. As you look around the Tripline site, you'll notice that the presentation is very similar to what you might find on a photo or video sharing site - that's by design. I feel that people naturally understand this style of content presentation thanks to services like Flickr and Youtube that helped to define the standards. Given the information-overload style of many online travel services, I'm hoping that Tripline's media-object-based design will be a breath of fresh air. The goal is to bring content to the forefront, make it entertaining, make it easy to share and provide a solid anchor for each map that you create. I hope you like it.
By the way, here's the same trip, now on Tripline:
A Long Road
Building a new site is always a longer process than you think it will be at the beginning. Even with memories fresh in my head from Jumpcut in '06, nostalgia somehow eliminates the pain of 18 hour days, 7 day weeks and complete uncertainty. So you jump in, start defining concepts and before you know it, you're too far along (and you've told too many people) to turn back. You do what my Dad always says is the most important thing: you keep moving forward. There's also a difficult process of postponing many of the amazingly cool ideas you have in the conceptual stage in order to get something built and out in the world. As I look at the Tripline site today, there are hundreds of features in my head that aren't yet part of the product. I'm hoping we've chosen the critical ones, and I'm also determined to keep moving forward. To give you a perspective on how we make decisions, here are our product principles, right from the pitch deck:
- Simple and useful
- Mobile and real time
- Open and integrated
- Visual and fun
We haven't yet hit the 100% mark on any of these in my view, but I feel that we have a stable base of functionality, a solid architecture and a great roadmap to guide us. We're also hoping that feedback from our user community will contribute significantly to future development, so don't keep quiet. You can send us feedback via Tripline Help
We're 100% self-funded, so everything here is on a shoe-string. We actually work out of a converted garage and there are only 3 of us. We're open to investment interests, but these days we're mainly focused on building a great product for you, growing the community and running our business. I'm not going to go too deeply into the business model, other than to say it will be a natural fit with what we've built already and complementary (i.e., not intrusive) to the experience. My belief is that products are most successful when they fulfill needs, and the revenue-generating component of our business will be treated accordingly.
We use a number of excellent third-party services. I want to mention some of the key ones here as way of saying thanks.
Google Geo APIs
Google has amazing set of geo resources that are at the core of the Tripline experience. We're using the Geocoder API, JS Maps API, Static Maps API and Flash Maps API. We've been consistently impressed with the capabilities and ease of use and we're looking forward to a lot of new features. Thanks Google. code.google.com/apis/maps/
Amazon Web Services
Tripline runs on Amazon EC2 in the cloud. We're also using Cloudfront. Having never built a cloud-hosted app before Tripline, I had no idea what to expect. It's been incredible. We were up and running with a DEV instance in hours (ok, maybe a day) and set up a PROD environment with only a few days effort. They were long days, and my guys are really good, but the Amazon EC2 service is fantastic. So far, we've had 100% uptime on both services, management is incredibly easy and costs have been minimal. We couldn't have done what we did without AWS. aws.amazon.com
Open Source Software
We're running a LAMP stack. It's a proven architecture and we feel that it's the right choice for what we were building and the scale we're hoping to achieve. I'm always impressed by the skill and dedication of the open source community as well as all the amazing software that's available. Aside from Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP, we're also using Squid, memcached, Imagemagick, Bugzilla and a slew of other open source products that we couldn't operate without. Thanks to all of you open source developers out there.
When I was at Yahoo!, I heard a lot about the Yahoo! Developer Network and most often the YUI Libraries. I never really fully-grasped the benefit, but all of the front-end developers swore by it. YUI was an obvious choice, and as soon as I started coding myself, I immediately realized how much the open-source YUI libraries helped. Everything from CSS grids to photoviewers and upload controls. Thanks YDN, you guys rock. developer.yahoo.com/yui/
Our Foursquare integration enables our users to create Tripline maps from their Foursquare checkins in seconds and visualize their lives like never before. The Foursquare platform is great to work with and their platform team is fantastic. developer.foursquare.com
Our Twitter integrations goes two ways. Twitter users can connect to Tripline and import their geo-enabled tweets to map their Twitter travels. They can also choose to publish Tripline checkins to Twitter automatically to bring followers into their Tripline maps. dev.twitter.com
Tripit users can connect their accounts to Tripline and import their itineraries to visualize their plans and share their travel stories. We're big fans of Tripit and we're glad to be included on their list of recommended tools
Instagram users can connect their accounts and import both their photos into Tripline. The Instagram API is nice, simple and easy to work with. instagram.com/developer/
Kudos to the original Flickr team for building such a great photo service and thanks to the current Flickr team for keeping things moving forward. Adding Flickr photos to your trips on Tripline is a snap, and their developer APIs are super-easy to work with. code.flickr.com
The Beatsuite has an amazing collection of production music. All of our soundtrack music is from their library. We've been really happy with the selection and they're also very easy to work with. www.beatsuite.com
If you've read this far, you're a loyal fan, so thanks for your interest. I'm excited to see how the world unfolds for us, and we'd be happy to have you as part of the community. If you haven't already, sign up and start creating maps. I think you'll like it.
Byron DumbrillFounder & CEO, Design, EngineeringPrior to starting Tripline in 2010, Byron was Director of Product for Yahoo! Video, having come to Yahoo! with the Jumpcut acquisition in 2006 where he was head of product. Before Jumpcut, Byron was a Senior Manager in Accenture's Media & Entertainment practice for 8 years and part of the Mobile Technology group at AMS before that. Byron is originally from Boston, graduated from the University of Denver and has spent the past 13 years in California, both San Francisco and Los Angeles where he now lives.
Justin McDanielCo-Founder, Engineering
Rick LaRoccaCo-Founder, Content & Business DevelopmentPrior to Tripline, Rick was a senior content archivist at Warner Bros and is also a professional photographer and documentary filmmaker. Rick is originally from New York, graduated from Colorado College and holds a MFA from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA.
+ a couple of really talented guys who have helped throughout the process.
Tripline is based in Los Angeles, CA
We're still in Beta, so there may be bugs here and there
We don't have an office, we work out of a converted garage
We're not yet funded, though we're certainly not averse to the idea
If you'd like more information, please feel free to contact us