Brian Glanz » Noonhat — Toss Your Social Salad

This Brian Glanz is a social entrepreneur in Seattle, as on Twitter, Flickr, LibraryThing, Seattle Net Tuesday, Slashdot, Defend Science, MSNBC,, et al.

Noonhat — Toss Your Social Salad graphic by Brian GlanzFor all of human history, great conversations, meetings, and celebrations have happened over food. Your daily lunch is probably not often historic, but while wedged into our working lives, lunch done right is a small slice of greater humanity. It can be refreshing and even inspiring to step out of your routine.

Try Noonhat “to take lunch to the next level,” as creator Brian Dorsey has said. The site matches you randomly with people for lunch, on a day and within an area you and they have pre-selected. This is not a dating service; you are encouraged to go to lunch with more than one other person. With its randomness, Noonhat is purely about tossing the social salad. It is what Dorsey calls “an anti-niche technology.”

To Seattle Net Tuesday and all those interested in non-profit technology, Noonhat represents what one person is capable of:

(1) in his or her spare time,

(2) using free, open source tools, and

(3) with a bit of help from the Seattle community.

Dorsey spends $15 per month on hosting, and Noonhat has no other cost except his time. Noonhat is free to its users. Brian Dorsey works full time as a software developer, but not on Noonhat! He spent what he calls “50 software guy hours” to build Noonhat from its beginning to being featured in mainstream media and industry leading conferences, including Seattle’s KING 5 TV News and Gnomedex 2007.

Clearly there are great possibilities for building with free, existing software, and the opportunities for starting something new in Seattle are promising, too. Dorsey’s other essential message for starting a new venture was: be willing to do things before you’re entirely ready. His Noonhat home page went public before there was automation for matching people to lunches. Even though he had to manually perform matches in the early going, by opening the site early on, he proved the concept. Ultimately the Noonhat process was improved through a trial by fire that forced Dorsey to be practical.

Especially let a practical, timely opportunity lead you into taking the next step when the time is right, even if that is before you feel ready. Brian Dorsey and Noonhat were voted from a small Ignite Seattle event into presenting a few days later at Gnomedex, an internationally attended social technology conference. Within that one week, visits to the Noonhat site went from dozens per day to more than 1,000 per day. Dorsey took advantage of the Gnomedex spotlight to launch Noonhat nationally — not that he was ready for that, either!

Dorsey also mentioned that in the span of its first few days of mainstream exposure, large companies had approached him regarding use of Noonhat internally by their employees. Take one opportunity, and look for others to open. Not only KING 5 TV News and other network news, but the Seattle Times, the Seattle P-I, and other print media gave Noonhat increasing attention. If Noonhat had waited to launch until everything was perfect, or if it had missed its opportunity to shine, who can say the spotlight would have come again?

Noonhat is a liberating way to meet new people. To paraphrase Dorsey’s words: in a time of increasing professional specialization, narrowing and shrinking social networks, and pick-your-perspective media sources, this is social networking turned inside out and with no strings attached. If you’d hesitate to meet someone new alone, just bring a friend or two along to guarantee a good time, but with a twist.

Live Long and Prosper

Of Noonhat, I say: may it live long, and prosper.

In other words, give it a try at Pick your location, date, and cheers!

This page was published on Monday, November 5th, 2007 and is filed under F00D, Featured, Seattle, Technology. Follow comments on this page through its RSS feed. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

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Upcoming @ Pacific Science Center?

Joey Mornin, @joemornin on Twitter and a research assistant at the Berkman Center, had tweeted “I have seen the future, and it is a Carl Sagan/Stephen Hawking remix …” (11:24 AM Oct 2nd from TweetDeck). That I had to see, and when I saw it I had to tweet: “This Carl Sagan Stephen Hawking remix … should play on a wall @PacSci :) via @joeymornin” (11:35 AM Oct 2nd from Google Wave (Tweety)).

Pacific Science Center, @PacSci on Twitter, understands social media. As every person, business, or organization using social media ought to be, in a word they are: social. When I mention @PacSci, they watch for it and in this case their response was: “RT @brianglanz: This Carl Sagan Stephen Hawking remix … should play on a wall @PacSci :) via @joeymornin <GLORIOUS!>” (11:43 AM Oct 2nd from Seesmic). They responded quickly, giving credit to Joey Mornin and me, and added their own comment, <GLORIOUS!> — all in 140 characters. <yoda>Impressive!</yoda>

Will the “A Glorious Dawn” remix actually appear at the Pacific Science Center? Whether on a wall, at a kiosk, or on screen before IMAX films I do think this sort of “citizen media” should be displayed alongside “citizen science” in our educational and cultural institutions. This video accentuates and amplifies important parts of the messages Sagan, Hawking, and science at large have to share. In an incomplete circle, science has made possible the technology, has made possible the culture, has made possible great grassroots work like this media; science needs to close the circle and better connect with the community.

Quintin Doroquez, @quintind on Twitter chimed in, too by tweeting “@brianglanz That was brilliant!” (11:57 AM Oct 2nd from Tweetie) and I could not agree more. Thanks and congratulations to the creator of “A Glorious Dawn,” John Boswell, melodysheep on YouTube, whose video has a perfect 5 out of 5 stars after thousands of ratings and more than 600,000 views in its first two weeks.

还原真相:To Restore The Truth


Twenty years ago on June 4, 1989, thousands of pro-democracy protesters — most of them students — were killed by the Chinese government where they gathered peacefully, in Tiananmen Square.

Seattle’s Ken Judd en Montage

Update: you are seeing this message if MySpace took the video down, again; I have it coded to show if the video cannot. The audio is out of copyright due to its age, but regularly trips MySpace automatic filters. I have had it unbanned twice by people, only to be re-banned. Alas! It is a montage from my photos of the works of Seattle’s Ken Judd.

I may remaster the video — publish a higher resolution, remove the birthday reference, add a new opening and closing, etc. Generally, this is a test of displaying video on while it is hosted here by MySpace.

Remember 2009? Google Wave was 'it', good for everything from Pulitzer Prize winning journalism to Open Science Notebooks. 2009 was also the last time I updated this web site, to which you are more than welcome with that in mind.

Also 'it' in 2009, but where you can still find me: Twitter of course. I'm @brianglanz and for more about my work, see @openscience.

You can also circle me in Google+, and since that's a more thorough effort all around by the Big G, we have taken to it -- there you could also +1 and circle our Open Science Federation Page or join our new Open Science Community.