So she created Jooners, an online scheduling service meant to smooth out the planning wrinkles of everyday life.
The free service, now in beta, went live in late June at Jooners.com.
Its name means "dear ones" and is a play on the Persian diminutive "joon," or dear.
The site's main feature is a block of scheduling applications to arrange carpooling, snacks, volunteering and other activities. When parents schedule events, the site e-mails others asking them to sign up, then later sends out reminders.
Regular users can create personal calendars and receive a Sunday-night list of what the week has in store, Alasti said.
The e-mails allow users to "rest auto-assured," according to Marci Reichelstein, the marketing director.
Reichelstein, also a mother, first met Alasti when the two worked at Apple years ago, she said. She was wooed away from another job to come promote Jooners when she realized it was a service she herself had been dreaming of, she said.
Early feedback from users indicates the scheduling service is indeed a sort of scheduling saving grace.
For the first time ever, the book fair at Escondido Elementary School was fully staffed this spring, according to Michaela Presti, the PTA co-president.
"I didn't have to make 30, 40, 50, 60 schedules, e-mails [and] phone calls," she said. Parents simply logged on and penciled themselves in, she said.
"It makes it really simple to see who's bringing the cupcakes, who's bringing the construction paper. It makes it very efficient and saves a lot of time," agreed parent Pamela Hornik, a classroom volunteer at Escondido.
The idea of organizing online isn't new. Parents have long used e-mail chains and group services offered by companies such as Yahoo! to stay in touch, according to Hornik.
Jooners' uniqueness stems from putting all the details in one place, helping users avoid what Director of Product Management Debby Shepard calls "e-mail hell" — an endless cycle of reply-all responses. And it's markedly easy to maneuver, initial users said.
Jooners is also part of a Palo Alto tradition — building parent communities online.
The Silicon Valley Moms Blog was started by local parents Hornik and Jill Asher in 2006. There were already plenty of so-called mommy-blogs, but none that were directly relevant to Silicon Valley mothers, Hornik explained shortly after the site was created.
The chatty, brightly colored blog has since taken off, growing at a speed Asher said reflects mothers' desires to take a bit of loneliness out of parenting by finding a community of like-minded souls.
The local blog nets 2,000 to 5,000 visitors daily, and has spawned nine sister sites nationwide, Asher said.
Bloggers say advertisers are well aware of the cachet of moms online.
Asher and fellow directors Tekla Nee and Beth Blecherman — Palo Alto and Menlo Park moms, respectively — get frequent calls from companies looking to push products on the mom-blogs, she said.
So does Stefania Butler, another Palo Alto blogger and mom.
"I get 50 P.R. pitches in my inbox every single day from companies trying to reach out to parents," according to Butler, a producer at The Savvy Source for Parents, a San Francisco-based network of blogs dedicated to helping parents pick the right preschool. In her free time, Butler writes CityMama, a blog she created — like Asher, Hornik and Alasti — when she couldn't find what she sought online, in this case a blog about urban motherhood. (Butler started CityMama when living in San Francisco.)
Firms have targeted moms as a demographic since the days of Wonder Bread and Tupperware, Butler said, but the amount of online attention is notable.
"While marketing to moms is nothing new, there's such a glut of companies trying to get at parents [online], especially moms," she said.
Alasti is counting on that phenomenon for Jooners' profits — the revenue will come from ads, she said. And if Jooners is successful, other online parenting ventures may follow it, she added.
Meanwhile, some users may be frustrated — in Weekly tests, the site foundered on an older version of Internet Explorer. Using a different browser solved the problem.
Looking ahead, there are no discernable limits to the online presence moms will build. Asher and co. are planning additional blogs for the Deep South and Los Angeles.
Alasti's team is busy creating new features meant to draw more users to the site. "Team Roster" and "Classroom Party" are among a handful of applications scheduled for debut later this summer, Shepard said.
Referring to parenting, Alasti said something that aptly describes the trend of mothers creating services and communities they want to see online.
"Every mom reinvents the wheel for herself," she said. Or, in this case, the Web.
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