modo_logo.gif  device_sm_hand.jpg

the modo muesum

Modo was the first and only product launched by Scout Electromedia, a company funded by Idealab! and Flatiron Partners among others. Back in 2000, they sold this egg-shaped pager that would update itself every night (via the paging network) with all sorts of city-specific content (think: Time Out NY reviews). They had music, movie, bar and restaurant listings and reviews, news, horoscopes, special offers, coupons. It was (and still is) one of my favorite ideas of all time - a very slick device with very slick marketing behind it. (5mb PDF full of marketing materials!)

Anyway, they officially launched in NYC on August 28, 2000 and in LA two months later on October 25. The crazy thing is that they went out of business the day before they launched in LA (Tuesday October 24). I think the devices were selling in LA that day even thought the service was no longer in business and I heard they went ahead with the launch party anyway (since they had already paid for it).

Two months, $40 million in funding ($20m of which is rumored to have been spent on advertising). Crazytalk. [source]

Thus, the Modo tribute page. Like I said, it's one of my favorite ideas of all time and I've been slowly collecting all the modo stuff I can get my hands on. If you have something to contribute, send me an email at [dens AT teendrama DOT COM]. Thanks.

ps: See the Wikipedia entry too! (no, I didn't create it)



The actual device, $107.00 with tax. I bought it at Virgin the first day they were available (actually, bought three of them - two for friends... Howard and Dave.j?)

There were three different colored Modos (white = "Moon", black = "Jupiter", blue = "Neptune"). The only ones I ever saw in NYC were the blue ones. In 2004 I found someone selling some white ones on eBay (bought two of them!) though I've never seen the black one.

Since I put this page up back in 2001, I've had a bunch of people who used to work at Scout email me and send along stickers, ads, etc. A friend of Modo fwd'ed along this promo video.

detail_screen.jpg  characters.jpg  coordinates.jpg  dailies.jpg 
favorites.jpg  gambles.jpg  gears.jpg  gears2.jpg 

Some screenshots. (and a mockup of how the UI used to work)

And in case you were curious about the packaging...

(this is the white one that I bought off of eBay - Still unopened! Worth a fortune!)

Or even the included directions. [bigger]

NYC. Seen at the corner of Lafayette and Great Jones, still up as of June 2001. (As of Oct. 2001, it's been painted over and a four story building was built right in front of it.

NYC. Seen at the corner of Thompson and W.3rd Street (if you're looking South). I took this pic on 10/15/2001, almost a year after Modo went under.

NYC. Seen at the corner of West Broadway and Broome Street, January 2001. (As of Oct. 2001, it's been painted over).

Two bus shelter ads from NYC (4" by 2" each) - they used to hang on my walls now, and yes, both were stolen. There are two others that I don't have... one had a bunch of leaves in it and I don't remember the other one. Thanks to Jimmy Disco for the one on the left.

Stickers I picked up at the Modo/DailyCandy launch party (2001!). These were all over the subway for weeks.

Sheet 'o Modo stickers. I was so stoked to get those *two* stickers above back in the day and then of of the Modo superfans fwd'ed me a whole *stack* of these.

Hologram stickers!!! (also sent in - thanks!) Best things ever - sometimes say Modo, sometimes say something that rhymes w/ Modo ("so-so", "spammo", "taco", "nympho"... same stuff as the stickers above). I have the red "so-so" on my MacBook.

Random postcard (also acquired at the Modo/DailyCandy launch party). I also picked up one of the Modo hologram stickers at the same party... Since 2001 I've been transferring it from my Palm -> Sony laptop -> Powerbook.

Postcard (sent in by a former Modo employee).

Back of postcard #1.

Back of postcard #2.

A webcam shot of the Modo offices in SF (circa August 2000). Thanks to Jason.L, who also contributed...

... a pic of the original Scout logo.

Another poster (which I bought off eBay). There used to be one of the posters hanging just outside the Vindigo office on W. 30th Street, NYC.

Bus shelter ad in SF.

Stickers in SF.

Billboard in LA.

Billboard in LA.

Mockups of an ad that never made it to SF.

And another mockup.

Chris C. fwd'ed over pics of some swag from a Modo office party - braclets, glasses, etc. See more

CEO's bizcard (the holy grail of Modo loot?)

other links
  • My modo auction on eBay. It never made my resereve price.
  • A survey modo sent out to people who bought the device and registred.
  • Instructions to play Tetris on your modo.

  • 06.26.00 GearHeadsUp: MODO, IGN Network
  • 07.01.00 Into the Night, Wired
  • 09.11.00 The Modo portable lifestyle device,
  • 09.15.00 Modo: Pocket-sized City Guide, TechTV
  • 09.28.01 Review: Where to go? Ask modo or Vindigo, CNN
  • 09.28.01 Get your Modo, man, Edmonton Journal
  • 10.10.01 In Search of the Ultimate On-the-Go Guide, Silicon Alley Repoter
  • 10.13.01 Modos for Moderns, Business Week Online
  • 10.25.00 Maker of Modo a 'No Go', The Industry Standard
  • 10.25.00 Wireless Play Shuts Down,
  • 10.25.00 No More, Forbes
  • 10.26.00 Modo RIP: 2000 - 2000, Silicon Alley Daily
  • 10.27.00 The Bell Tolls for Modo, CNet
  • 10.31.00 VCs leave Scout to die, Red Herring
  • 11.01.00 Modo's Mojo Falling, Business Week Online
  • 11.01.00 The Modo Debacle: A Wireless Fable,

    case studies
  • Design Case Study, Ideo
  • Marketing Case Study, TMM

    random info
    Parent Company: Scout Electromedia
    Investors: Idealab, Chase Capital Partners, Flatiron Partners, Techfund Capital

    special thanks
    + Chris C.
    + Jason L.
    + Jon S.
    + Matt.F
    + Hannah.M

  • updated: 10/04/01, 08/27/07
    (c) 2001, dennis crowley