Startup Rundown

Written by

In which Ashish Kundra, a veteran of one internet enterprise himself, leads us through a forest of free services on the web that may just save you some money on your way
to tech geek nirvana (if they don’t end up on the startup junkheap first).

Google on-demand

Google on your phone…no crackberry required. Text “Google” (466453) with any search query and Google will text back results. For example, a text  with “Mexican restaurant 10025” will give you the closest Mexican restaurants. Be careful though, there isn’t a friendly suggestion when you misspell something (“Did you mean blog?”). So spell correctly or make sure you have a lot of texts in your plan.  

Cross-gadget communication (www.Teleflip.com)

Send a text to any phone by emailing the [phone number]@teleflip.com. For example, if I text 1231231234@teleflip.com, the email will be broken up and sent as a text to that person’s phone. For student groups, you could make a list serv of phone numbers (entered as email addresses) to send out messages ASAP. The service is easy to use, but it can’t completely replace an email/data plan. The email texts are confusing, too– sometimes filled with a lot of white space.  

For the chronic oversleeper (Snoozester.com)

Snoozester lets you set up an alarm clock calendar. At your preset wake up times, Snoozester will call your phone and ask you to confirm that you are awake by pressing a digit. It’s free for the first 10 wake up calls, then 4 bucks a month after that. Works nicely, but when they start charging you might as well stick with your alarm.

Phoneless food

Campusfood.com and Seamlessweb.com are the kings of online food ordering. Ordering online is convenient because 1. you can pay with a credit card, and 2. you don’t need to call.  Both services have their strengths and weaknesses. Seamless has a better restaurant selection city-wide (most large banks/ large accounting firms  have corporate accounts for their employees), but CampusFood has a really cool “TXT your order” feature. The downside is that these sites don’t have smaller places like Pisticci and Max Soha. For all menus around the neighborhood, there’s aways CUEats.com

Taking it to Morton Williams

Freshdirect.com is the shit. And judging from their trucks on every block, they are taking over the grocery business in NYC. Their prices are competitive and you can schedule delivery of your groceries within any two hour time window. If you’re still apprehensive, you should know that it’s owned by the guys from Fairway.

Be an instant local

If you don’t know about this one, you’ve probably wasted too much time on the MTA site. Hopstop.com will give you subway/bus directions to take you door to door in the city. You also get a time estimate for the trip (based upon the time of day you are traveling). Check out the “Send directions to my phone” feature when you don’t want to write directions down. 

The sound of music

Anywhere.fm is basically a web hosted iTunes. Upload your music and access it from anywhere. Also, you can listen to other people’s playlists (although file sharing laws still apply: no choosing specific songs). This website is a end product of a program called Y- Combinator, which is like a start up incubator (ycombinator.com). 

We don’t know how this works

A testament to the miracle of how the internet makes money out of thin air: if you’re shopping online, chances are you can at least save some by checking out FatWallet. Suppose to want to sign up for Netflix. You can use their link to sign up and they’ll give you 18 bucks cash back.

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  1. GOOGL  

    For the record, the number to text is 46645, because short codes are only 5 digits long. You can add the 'e' if you really want to, but it gets ignored. If you use the service often, you just saved yourself perhaps 30 seconds of life. Rejoice!

  2. awesome  

    thanks bwog. that was wonderfully helpful

  3. sss  

    How do you order food online if you're in a building without a street entrance??? Like, what do you use for your address if you live in EC? Sorry if this is a stupid question.

    • Ashish

      You can specify the building name in an extra information text box. The places around campus definitely know them by name.

    • Silly child  

      your street address is 70 Morningside Drive. However, unless the delivery guy knows Columbia's dorms & the specific location of EC, you're fucked.
      I guess we in less appealing dorms do have some things to be thankful for. bahaha

  4. All you need is  


    or www.woot.com

    Good specials everyday!

  5. Ashish Kundra

    is a sexy devil.

  6. sadness!  

    pisticci doesn't deliver to dorms. the jerks!

  7. Walter

    I don't know what the big deal about Teleflip, this "free" service. Nothing's free, and what's "free", you get what you pay for usually. I use Meemo, which is 5$ a month, but doesn't segment my messages, allows me to send attachments, has no ads, doesn't spam my friends...the list goes on. Where's Meemo on this blog?

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