Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Philip "Pud" Kaplan Talks About Blippy–the Twitter of $$


To start, let’s just dispense with huffing and puffing angst over whether or not people should broadcast their credit card transactions online.

Because that’s what you can do on a new site, with the unlikely name of Blippy, headed by longtime Silicon Valley entrepreneur Philip “Pud” Kaplan.

Blippy has already gotten a lot of oh-dear attention for its premise, which is yet another step in the continuing socialization of everything a person does–the inevitable trend toward radical transparency online.

Now in invitation-only private beta, the new service sends out messages about the type and amount of the transaction, every time you use your credit card–at least the one you designate your “Blippy” card–for others to see and comment on.

In other words, a kind of Twitter for spending.

The twist of Blippy–whose motto is: “What are your friends buying?”–is that it is more passive than the more active tweeting or texting.

(Presumably someday, your body will tweet from the gym, or while you are sleeping.)


While most of the transactions don’t contain a lot of information–for example, “cat spent $3.55 at In-N-Out Burger”–Blippy is obviously going for deeper information and already has it for sites like Apple (AAPL) iTunes and Amazon (AMZN).

Retailers and restaurants and any vendor might also benefit from the flow of information, finally knowing who their best customers really are and perhaps rewarding them.

And, of course, the key part is that your friends see what you are buying and you can all jabber online about what you bought, how much you paid and what you thought.

How it is all going to make money is being pondered, of course, but you might imagine a dedicated Blippy credit card or some kind of analysis of the data or sale offers to users.

And integration with Facebook and Twitter seems inevitable, eventually widening the circle of nosy friends, as does the emergence of reviews, mobile apps, search and more.

Kaplan came to All Things Digital Worldwide HQ–also known as the cottage behind my house–to chat about all this and more.

He is, of course, best known for a site he created during the Web 1.0 bubble, called FuckedCompany, which chronicled the ongoing start-up implosion as it happened.

Kaplan later started online advertising service AdBrite and was an Entreprenuer-in-Residence at Charles River Ventures for a short time after he left AdBrite.

It was there that he met Blippy co-founders Ashvin Kumar and Chris Estreich. Funding for the trio is forthcoming, said Kaplan.

Here’s Kaplan holding forth in a longish video interview, where we curse and discuss my porn-and-Cheetos spending habits (don’t judge!):

And, in the spirit of full transparency, here is Kaplan in two videos on YouTube–in one he is sweetly singing “Easy” with his wife and in the other, he is drumming like a heavy metal lunatic:

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik