I am perplexed about Plaxo. With so many hot-shots of the Silicon Valley VC elite on the board, including Michael Moritz from Sequoia, Tim Koogle of Yahoo! and Ram Shriram of Sherpalo, this company still seems to be looking for its identity and, even worse, its strategy.
Since the Mac beta version was released just recently, I took a moment to try it out. But without going into detail about that disappointing experience, let me tell you how I achieved Plaxo nirvana without it. For over two years, I ‘abuse’ LinkedIn in a way that tops the Plaxo service: now and then, I re-upload all my 2600-and-growing contacts to LinkedIn and then export the whole list back out as a group v-card. The Mac address book will then import those and politely ask me to update the existing contacts. Voila, all contacts are up to date from a single source.
LinkedIn is much more than contacts. However, it draws in users that want to connect with others based on past experiences and then exchange their contact information. So, Linkedin is essentially the application on top of a contact database. With 10 Million users, Plaxo better figure out what the application on top of it looks like real fast. LinkedIn is moving upstream to a higher value proposition but has an opportunity to move downstream and squash Plaxo whenever it feels like.
So who is not paying attention here?