Yammer was announced the winner of TechCrunch50 yesterday. For those not familiar with the product, you only need to know two words: corporate Twitter.
Now in terms of market opportunities, Yammer might go well, at least in targeting those companies that can't be bothered installing a local install of Laconi.ca. Corporates like safe things, there's a business plan attached, and presuming it will scale, most large corporations will buy anything. And it's not as though they'll fall over trying, because unlike most other startups presenting, they're not really a startup in their own right, instead being a side project of Geni.
Valleywag has an interesting take on how Yammer won, but given I wasn't at the event or involved, I don't know the truth there, even if I do remember Arrington froffing at the mouth in excitement at the slightest mention of Geni in the past. My only observation is that if TechCrunch50 was focused on innovation and interesting ideas, it failed in picking Yammer, because taking microblogging and giving it a corporate veneer doesn't yell original or innovative to me.
So now we know what it takes to win TechCrunch50: an old idea in a fresh coat of paint. If you've ever wanted to received a ridiculously large play check from Arrington for $50,000 in front of a crowd of people with serious hangovers (well, Calacanis anyway), here's some ideas you can use to win next year. Tell em I sent you :-)
Friender (Corporate FriendFeed)
FriendFeed for people who share a corporate email address. The service allows you to share links from the corporate intranet, and has a built in censorship tool for naughty words, such as innovation and original.
Blogoporate (Blogger for corporates)
What better way to practice astroturfing and spam than on your own corporate blog network. Blogoporate comes with support for Blogoporate Friend Connect, so you'll never feel alone in your startup office of 5.
Fitbitmer (corporate Fitbit)
Big brother becomes a reality as this new whizbang dongle tracks your working day. Slacking off on the job, taking 2 minutes extra for lunch? Now corporate overlords can save millions through docking pay and on the spot firings
Seesmicer (corporate Seesmic)
What office isn't complete without a daily message from the CEO, followed by 150 videos of corporate grovelling. The perfect communications tool for the 21st century.
Anything Peter Thiel tells you to make
This is what I'd put my money on.
If you have any ideas for next year you'd like to share with the community, leave a comment.