How to Stay Ahead of Startup Trends

technologyIf you feel like you’re always behind the times in startup trends, you’re not alone. Journalists build their entire careers on being analysts of the industry, trying to become the one who predicted the next Apple or Google. Following those journalists will connect you with greater trends and analysis. Many of them build and maintain lists of prominent industry figures you should follow.

If you’re still feeling stuck, it may be time for a more aggressive strategy on keeping up with the news.

Study the Investors

On the blog of Toby Ruckert, you’re likely to find articles about things like how to secure government funding for your startup. This might sound like an obvious tip at first glance. Who doesn’t want government money if it will help launch and won’t come at a high interest rate? But Toby takes the tip further by discussing how you can shift the work of having to apply for government funding to investors.

Reading investor blogs get you inside the head of people that have been in the game for years. They know what it takes for companies to grow and become successful brands in a crowded market. You might not be able to meet with them personally, but their blogs are full of free knowledge. Seek out lists of investors where you can.

Study Which Startups Succeed

The kind of startups that succeed tell you a lot about the climate that you are competing against. Take Honey as an example. The idea of finding deals for users might sound like a turn off for online retailers, but as the numbers increase the hype behind the small startup is growing too. Co-founder Ryan Hudson says that the company is succeeding based on word of mouth marketing. He claims the majority of traffic is from users typing the URL of Honey directly into their browsers.

Honey might be spreading so virally because of its leak on Reddit, but it could be related to the quality of service that users want. The startup adds value to users, so people are willing to pass it on to friends and family. Not every startup will catch like Honey, but you can take time to evaluate your business model and find its sticky value.

Even simpler than that, read the blogs of successful startups. They will often discuss their process, brag about accomplishments and talk about new partnerships they have acquired.

Study the Tools Startups Use

If you didn’t know, some of the most successful startups around are currently built on Python. Quora, Instagram and Pinterest all use the programming language to render their pages in-browser. Python is one of many popular frameworks currently favored by Web developers worldwide. Ruby on Rails is another simplistic programming language, both are free to learn from manuals on the Web or from Code University.

Knowing which languages are popular helps you hire developers to build the vision you want.

Visit Universities

Robert Scoble claims that he saw a self-driving car debut at Stanford University in 2007. Today, there are several tech companies and car companies seeking to build one and get it on the market. Universities like Stanford and MIT are the best and brightest that American schools have to offer. If you want to know what the next generation will be using, take a peek in on some of the technology these students are playing with.

You can also head over to Boston, where robotics is fairly huge and where some of the brightest minds in the fields are building amazing machines that can carry heavy loads and navigate complicated terrain on their own.

Network Face to Face

Getting out and meeting people is a great method of figuring out what companies might be into. Not every business executive has time to meet with you, but hanging out at local networking events and talking with experts in the field to write a blog post are both great ways to gain knowledge from experienced people.

Follow Trends Online

Google Trends and Twitter are two good places to start if you want to see what’s brewing in the tech scene, but you can find interesting trends all over the Web if you know where to search. Sites like Reddit divide their groups up by interest, making it easy to find a niche and search for the trends that niche thrives on. News sites like NPR and CNN have technology sections that feature stories about new ideas being toyed with, and new procedures that have become standard. NPR has done extensive reporting on the viability of fracking in the wake of a natural gas boom in the United States. Knowing these types of trends, and some of the debates behind them, influences where investor money goes.

Travel

If possible, travel to other countries and discover their startup scenes for more inspiration. You’ll learn things like Africa’s shift toward a society less reliant on physical currency, or how Brazil and South America are experiencing a small tech boom. Take a cue from Hollywood, an industry that routinely borrows from all over the world, there is always profit to be had from good ideas.

Kevin is an account director at Online Rep Management and has been working within internet marketing and public relations for over 8 years. Kevin got his start working online in SEO, link building, and some affiliate marketing. Kevin is most passionate about helping good brands become online entities. Check out ORM or follow Kevin on twitter!

DC Startup Keeps Kids Safe Online

uKnowKids

In 2009 brothers Steve and Tim Woda lived the nightmare. Tim’s son was targeted by an online predator, leaving the family feeling vulnerable and fearful. Before the incident, they knew that cyberbullying, sexting, and online predators were a problem, but when it happened in their own family, the dangers of the digital world became very real.

Thankfully the child was unhurt, but the incident caused the two entrepreneurs to step back and think about the problem. We can’t keep our kids from the Internet, so how do we protect them while they grow and mature?

The result of this deep reflection was uKnow. The company creates tools that connect and protect families. Currently, their main product is uKnowKids, a parental dashboard that monitors kids’ various social media feeds.

The tools from the uKnow team utilize social, mobile, and location monitoring to help parents keep track of their kids through a single dashboard. They also offer a notification system to alert the parents if kids engage in illegal or dangerous online behavior. An added layer of analytics keeps parents updated on how their kids use social media and the web.

So, what’s the big deal? There are plenty of parental monitoring devices out there, and it’s easy enough to follow your kids on social media.

The team at uKnow thinks they’re doing it differently. “uKnowKids enables parents to ‘have their child’s back’ without constantly looking over his or her shoulder,” the website says. It’s watching out for them without being intrusive. uKnowKids was also the first monitoring program to offer several features including text slang translation, image monitoring of Facebook and Myspace, and activity and trend analysis.

The 4-year-old company recently completed a $2.2 million funding round and expect to announce a full series A in the coming months. uKnowKids is just the first program in their plans. Soon they hope to release uKnowFamily, which will keep every family member connected. They are also experimenting with a location app that will stand separately from the other two.

The Woda brothers aren’t new to startups or online safety. Prior to uKnow, they were both on the founding team of BuySafe, a software that allows e-tailers to provide a secure shopping environment. They’ve brought that experience over to uKnow and are now working hard to protect kids and families in the digital space.

As a parent myself, I admit I dread the day my kids are let loose on the Internet. It’s a scary world out there, and I’ll definitely check out tools like uKnowKids to protect them.

 

Circle Helps Families Redefine Internet Use

circle

 

Recently, I downloaded the Kindle FreeTime app for my Kindle Fire. It allows my boys to essentially have their own Kindles within my Kindle, complete with parent controls and set time limits on games, books, and apps.

It’s worked beautifully. The boys are slowly getting acquainted with technology, but I don’t have to worry about them racking up Angry Birds charges by accidentally clicking through to the Internet. And the time limits I’ve already programmed in keep us from fighting over when Kindle time is done.

This is great for my kids now, but how am I going to help them manage that time as they get older? And, frankly, my husband and I need a little control over our devices, too. With our jobs, it’s really easy to get sucked into social media, emails, and texts, even during our limited family time.

It’s one of those problems I have, but I didn’t really realize I had it until I got an email explaining Circle. All at one time, I was made aware of the problem AND the solution. I love that.

Circle works as a kind of middleman between the home router and the different devices used by family members. Through an iOS app, the administrator can manage everything from how long someone can use social media to which category of websites kids are allowed to access. There is also a “pause” mode, ensuring a device-free dinner or family time.

I know what you’re thinking. “My kids can figure out how disable that in 2 seconds flat.”

The team at Circle has thought of that. The device has no off button, so it can’t be turned off. If it is unplugged from the wall, it continues to run on the internal battery. When that battery starts to die, the administrator receives a notification on his or her cell phone. For now, that’s as failsafe as it gets.

Using Circle in the home can ensure that everyone is learning to manage their online time responsibly, adults as well as children.

“As a parent, we have an obligation to learn how to live with technology and help our children explore the internet in a balanced, safe and smart way,” said Circle founder and CMO, Crystal Wiley in a statement. “Circle empowers me to stay on top of and effectively examine my household’s internet habits, and provides tools to improve our family’s online experience.”

Taking a page from Apple’s playbook, the team at Circle has made the device simple and beautiful. The tiny box will fit into the décor of any home, without all the wires and black boxes we typically associate with technology.

Circle recently announced a new Kickstarter campaign, aimed at raising the money they need to bring the product fully to market in 2014. As of publication, they were at X of their $250,000. If you’re like me and thinking, “Hey, I didn’t realize I need that, but I do!” head over and pledge a few dollars.

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Voices Heard Media Helps Brands (Including Startups) Engage Their Customers

 

Voices Heard Media, Knoxville startup, Tennessee Startup, Startups

These days, customers expect more from brands. Gone are the days when we make a purchase and walk away. Now, we often spend time and effort researching major purchases, and we care about the companies where we choose to spend our money. With the advent of social media, we have come to expect a high level of engagement with the companies we love.

Tony Runyan puts it this way: Two-way communication is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity.

But, that engagement can be expensive and difficult for companies to maintain on their own, which is where Voices Heard Media comes in.

Voices Heard Media provides a suite of plugins that increase customer engagement. Their products include apps that handle contests/sweepstakes, trivia/quizzes, social media streams, live Q&A sessions, video polls, and conversation around a brand. They work with big names like Disney, Food Network, and Fox Sports.

Will Overstreet founded Voices Heard Media in 2007. In his former gig as an Atlanta Falcon and sports broadcaster, Overstreet noticed that a simple conversation with a fan increased the likelihood that the fan would buy a jersey, listen to a show, or tell friends and family about Overstreet’s brand. He realized that there had to be a scalable way to take that kind of interaction into the digital world.

Tony Runyan joined the company in 2008 and made the initial big sales they needed. Now the VP of Product, Runyan develops new products, among other things.

So, what can the Voices Heard Media products do?

When I ran into them at the Southland Summit last month, I recognized the Food Network site on their display computer. The company wanted to increase engagement on their site, so they had Voices Heard Media create a Q&A session with the most recent The Next Food Network Star winner. The idea was simple enough: visitors sent in questions over one week, then Aarti Sequeria answered them. But the magic happened when, after the event closed, it still continued to drive traffic and interactions on the site.

All products from Voices Heard Media work on a company’s website, mobile site, and Facebook tab. The company sees this flexibility as absolutely necessary in today’s digital world.

They may work with some of the biggest names in the country, but they also handle smaller, local-focused companies like news outlets, political campaigns, and creative agencies.

Their prices are pretty startup-friendly, too, starting at only $50 for a basic package. And they can bring the same expertise they’ve built with big brands to your new company.

Check out Voices Heard Media and see how they can help your startup engage your audience.

 

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Why Is The Big Apple Becoming the Big Tech Apple?

New York startup, New York Angels, Pervasive Group, Guest Post, Big Tech AppleThe rise of the New York tech scene is the most significant development in the American startup world since the tech bubble burst in 2001.

Ten years ago Silicon Valley was America’s only real startup technology hub, with minor outposts in Boston, Seattle, Houston, and New York. Now the American startup scene has a large, vibrant home on the East Coast.

New York is now leading the way in early-stage growth and fast becoming the home base for consumer-facing technology startups from across the globe.

Sure, the Big Apple still pales in size to Silicon Valley. But the gap is rapidly closing. New York was once only the fourth largest US market for startups. Now it is second and home to over 3,000 startups, as billboards across the city proudly proclaim.

What is causing this rapid growth and is it sustainable?

The cause of New York’s startup growth is the confluence of interested money, effective politics, and symbiotic blending of common interests. The Big Apple finally managed to harness the vast assets and capital available because of its status as the world’s financial capital and put that to good use creating companies. By most metrics, there is no wealthier area in the world than the greater tri-state of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Now companies are finally able to harness all that capital – both from institutional funds and angel investors – to thrive and create a sustainable startup market.

The city was also able, through effective politics driven by a tech-friendly City Hall run by visionary billionaire Michael Bloomberg, to steer politics towards effective startup creation. Many of the city’s most effective startup-engines, including incubators like NYC Alley, are products of both private endeavor and public policy. Several of the most ambitious public-private partnerships of the last decade, including the new Cornell-Technion Entrepreneurial University partnership, will spur startup growth in the city for decades.

At the root of the tri-state’s startup growth is its focus on smaller, expansion-oriented, consumer-facing companies that can leverage the tri-state’s vast population of individual private investors and take advantage of its strong mix of media and advertising. My own company, Pervasive Group Inc., leveraged relationships with the New York Angels, the Tech Launch accelerator, and investors across the tri-state to raise its angel round and fund the MMGuardian™ Parental Control solution for Android smartphones.

MMGuardian is a parental control application designed to give parents a comprehensive solution to smartphone dangers facing kids, particularly cyber-bullying, texting while driving, and harassment via calls, texts, and apps. We were aptly suited to take advantage of the Big Apple’s exciting media environment and large networks of concerned, active investors looking to support companies they believe in.

Best of all, New York’s startup growth is very sustainable because the networks created, policies put in place, and relationships built over the last decade will not go away. Specifically, the tri-state’s strongest angel groups–including New York Angels, Jumpstart, and Delaware Crossing–will continue to expand and to build relationships with companies worldwide, including transplants from regions as diverse as Silicon Valley and Israel. And the Big Apple’s venture scene, which remains small but is growing rapidly, will continue to expand and supplement its influential angel networks.

New York was once known as the financial capital of the world, the place where money moved. It still is, but now the Big Apple can add something more – as a city that does not just move money and companies but one that creates them.

Paul Grossinger is a New York City entrepreneur and angel investor.  He is the Co-founder of Pervasive Group Inc. and invests with the New York Angels.

This New York startup wants to DoItInPerson

serious

SocialRadar is 8 Weeks Old, Raises $12.75 Million

Social Radar, DC Startup, Funding, Startups

The 10-person team over at SocialRadar is asking, “What Series A crunch?”

Eight weeks after formally founding the Washington D.C.-based company, they are now announcing a $12.75 million round, led by New Enterprise Associates, Grotech Ventures, and SWaN & Legend Ventures. Notable angel investors such as Dave Morin, Steve Case, Kevin Colleran, Ted Leonsis, and others are also joining in.

So, what is SocialRadar? The company’s website describes it like this:

Today over 1.1 billion people have smartphone devices that can broadcast their locations. Over 2.8 billion people have social profiles online. In the future, the power of your smartphone’s location will inevitably be combined with your social network – allowing you to walk into a room and already be aware of the people around you and how you are connected to them.

SocialRadar believes they are building this technology now.

At the 2013 CTIA expo, CEO Michael Chasen explained that they first developed technology that monitored all the top social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc. Then, when a SocialRadar user walks into a room, the GPS on their smartphone will locate all the people they might know and explain how they know them. No more standing around awkwardly in a bar, only to realize your best friend from college is sitting just a few seats over. When  you enter the bar, your phone will let you know who’s there.

What differentiates them from other “people finder” apps is privacy. With SocialRadar users control who–if anyone–can locate them.

The company is preparing for their beta launch, coming soon to iPhone and Android. They’re also building a version for Google Glass, which seems to be a perfect fit.

Chasen was formerly a co-founder and CEO of Blackboard, the online learning platform that sold in 2011 for $1.7 billion.

You can sign up for the public beta on SocialRadar’s website.

Email Is Ripe For A Disruption Is It Coming From HotMail & Microsoft?

Hotmail,Gmail,Microsoft,email disruption,Mailbox app,TaskBoxBack in the mid 90′s you were too cool for school if you were using a free web based email service. Hotmail  had surged to the top of the email providers that were called “web based” then, now of course it’s cloud based.  Back in 1997 Microsoft acquired Hotmail for $400 million (that’s about a billion in 2013 dollars).

Around the same time there were other providers out there like Yahoo, Rocketmail and a host of quick up and comers but none had the market dominance of Hotmail.

In 2004 the tables were turned when Google introduced their GMail platform. The attraction was it’s clean look and virtually unlimited space. We’re all too familiar with the ticker that shows just how much data those Google servers are handling.

Now as everyone turns to mobile, it’s been a pretty safe assumption that the next email disruptor would be of the mobile variety. Mailbox app came out with a lot of thunder, despite the fact that I hated it. I like an app called TaskBox but it hasn’t had the big red carpet marketing push that Mailbox had. It was actually their great marketing stunt, making people wait in line, that attracted a ton of attention, a ton of early users and then a purchase by the folks at DropBox.

There have been a few other subtle email disruptions that have come up in the past few years like Sparrow but nothing has disrupted email the way that GMail did nearly a decade ago.

Until now?

This is how Hotmail looked in the 90's (image: Business Insider)

This is how Hotmail looked in the 90′s (image: Business Insider)

Microsoft has just redone their cloud based email platforms. They’ve given a new look to all the various email brands available in the Microsoft cloud. Today, by going over to hotmail.com you can sign up for a brand new Hotmail email adress, a Microsoft live account or Microsoft’s new outlook.com service which was the big thing Microsoft was pushing at SXSW this year.

Gone is the clunky style 1990′s interface that plagued Hotmail and made them look decades behind when it came to competing with GMail. At first glance most users to the new Hotmail may get confused and think they are looking at GMail.

The new interface is extremely clean and the ads have been moved to non-obtrusive boxes on the right side of the page.  Microsoft has also incorporated contacts, calendar and their cloud based Sky Drive as part of the new outlook.com/Hotmail experience.

It would take a lot for me to move off the totally integrated Google cloud that I’ve been chained too for the last few years. My contacts, calendar and mail have been managed by Google for at least the last 4 years. I’ve also been using Google Docs and now Google Drive since they were first introduced. It had actually been a solid 4 years that I hadn’t’ had a Microsoft product on any of my Mac computers (I recently purchased the latest version of Office for Mac).

One thing that could be a game changer for me is how long I can tolerate the newest “compose” screen for GMail. While you can still “temporarily” go back to the original compose style, the new style is extremely hard to manage when you’re trying to get through your GMail as fast as possible.

On iOS it seems that Microsoft accounts integrate just as easily as GMail accounts, however I haven’t used a native Microsoft mail app, nor have I even looked to see if one exists.

For now I’ve got the Hotmail account set up and we will see how it goes. All of my primary mail accounts are still GMail though.

What about you? Add your comment below.

Now Read:

So Am I The Only One On Earth Who Thinks Mailbox Sucks?

 

Jeff Bezos Just Crapped On Netflix, Roku,and Boxee: Developers, Startups Get Ready

Amazon,Roku,Boxee,Apple Tv,Jeff Bezos,DevelopersBloomberg has reported that Amazon’s stock price has gone up and then slightly flattened this afternoon and Netflix has definitely felt stemming from an announcement Amazon made today.

Amazon, the company that essentially created the e-commerce category, or at least heavily refined it, announced today that they are going to start offering their own set top box. In the same way that Google and other tablet manufacturers grew quickly concerned about the ramifications stemming from the Kindle Fire tablets, the set top box manufacturers now have something to worry about.

The Seattle based company will now offer a box that competes with the likes of Apple TV, Roku, Boxee, NetGear and even some options offered by console gaming system. Currently, several of these competitive boxes offer Amazon’s video subscription service that comes free for Amazon Prime members.

Just as Google has added a wide range of other services beyond it’s huge search platform, Amazon has continued to grow into a complete e-commerce ecosystem. Of course they want customers to continue to engage with their bread and butter, e-commerce business, but now they are able to engage customers in more intimate ways.

sneakeruptAmazon built their Kindle Fire tablet line based on the Android operating system and then created their own completely walled garden ecosystem that offers their tablet users access to apps,games, e-books, movies and music all through the Amazon e-commerce platform. Many analysts say this was a great move on their part.

This move also opens up a whole new platform for developers to get behind and support. Apple TV is an extremely hard platform for developers to get into and many feel that Android, and it’s hundreds of available devices and fragmented OS is tough to penetrate market share.

Developers and perhaps startups will now be able to work on the Amazon set top box ecosystem to offer apps, games and other downloadables to compliment the content platform that will be in place at launch.

Amazon has built up a tremendously loyal following over the last two decades. They have also been instrumental in moving some customers from books, to e-readers and now to tablets. With this huge set of customers, an Amazon set top box will be a much more comfortable platform, rather than going with the boxes that are currently on the market.

NetFlix, a huge content delivery company, will now have to compete with Amazon because it’s not likely the Amazon box will carry the NetFlix app. Also, first run movies and TV seasons tend to take longer to get into the NetFlix system than say Amazon’s video delivery service or even iTunes.  This will give Amazon a huge competitive advantage.

Amazon also plans to create their own content, a model that’s proven very successful for NetFlix with their in house produced series like House of Cards and Hemlock Grove.

Have you seen our startup coverage from “everywhere else”

Nevada Startup SocialMatic Bringing Instagram To Life With Polaroid

Socialmatic,Instagram,Polaroid,Instagram camera,Nevada startup,las vegas startupI guess someone forgot to tell the founders of Las Vegas startup SocialMatic that bringing Instagram to life was done over 50 years ago with the first Polaroid. Of course the technology needs an update and a digital camera with an Instagram style face, some filters and Polaroid prints may just do the trick.

For now the company has entered into a binding agreement with C&A licensing an authorized Polaroid licensee and the same one that licenses the Polaroid One Step SX-70 image and likeness to Instagram.

Currently SocialMatic only has some really good mockups but they reportedly plan on bringing a product to market by 2014.

(photo: socialmatic)

“We are so proud to work together with C & A and Polaroid, giants of digital photography.” – said Mr. Antonio De Rosa, CEO of Socialmatic. “It ‘s been a long and difficult negotiation but we were strongly motivated to reach an agreement to create a small revolution in digital photography. This mix of Hardware and Software, together with our brand new photo social network will fill the gap between virtuality and reality.”

While the licensing deal has been struck with Polaroid it’s unclear whether they will need to do any licensing with Facebook, the owners of Instagram. The mockups look like one gigantic Instagram without the word Instagram on it.

One place where it may get a little hairy is the fact that Socialmatic plans to use the hardware to share pictures on their own photo based social network.

Would you buy an actual “Instagram Camera” tell us in comments below.

Top 10 blunders when developing and managing mobile apps…from a puppy

Appscend,Mobile apps, developers, startups,nibletz, guest post“As long as the world is turning and spinning, we’re gonna be dizzy and we’re gonna make mistakes.” – Mel
Brooks

This is Devie. Besides being the avatar of cuteness he’s an eccentric mobile app developer. Devie is quite
skilled when it comes to the mobile landscape in general and as such it would be wise to pay attention to
what he says.

The mobile app world has passed its infant phase but it hasn’t quite reached full maturity yet and many
developers and companies still make mistakes when it comes to putting out apps on the market.

To this end, Devie has helped us in making a list of the top 10 overlooked mistakes when developing and
managing apps. Heed his words carefully, otherwise, you will make the same face when disappointing your
clients and users, the same face Devie makes when he tips over the coffee cup (which happens roughly twice
a day).

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the top 10 mistakes:

# 1 Forgetting that you’re developing for real people

Apps are built for real people and not ,,the idea of people”. In other words UX or user experience. User
experience doesn’t mean just the interface. The UI is just a part of it. UX is everything from the moment
when the user finds out about the app, reads the description, installs it, sees how it works, when he needs
it, if he smiles, if he frowns in confusion, etc. When designing an app, think about how your regular user will
react to it.

Your app should have a precise functionality in mind, a natural flow like opening a book and an intuitive
design. A user shouldn’t be forced to study an app manual to use a mobile application. Especially if he pays
for it. Always remember : the end user experience is your primary goal.

# 2 Your mobile app looks like a quantum mechanics diagram

In other words, complexity doesn’t necessarily imply cool design no more than simplicity means the absence
of it.

In the case of smartphones, think about the iPhone for example. Do you really want to put 20 buttons and
features on a small screen? Just because you can code your app to do anything you’d like, doesn’t mean
you should. Unless you need an app with a lot of details (such as a media and entertainment app), your
app will take time away from a user instead saving time. Often times, simplicity wins 9/10 over complexity.
App functionality and design shouldn’t be drowned in useless buttons, unnecessary scrolling and being so
complicated that it makes you forget how you got to a certain section within the app.

# 3 Don’t make people squint, the screens are small

So you have a brilliant idea about creating an app. You’re going to corner the market. People will praise you
and cheer you on the streets. You’re the new Michelangelo. You might have created the new Sistine Chapel,
but unless you find a way to put it on a 3,5 inch screen you’re just going to let all that work go to waste.
Instead of trying to paint as many details into your app as possible, let them appear one at a time so your
users aren’t faced with a maze of buttons and too much detail. Let them savor the experience.

# 4 No app scalability

There are a lot of apps out there that have the potential of growing but they were built with only a few users
in mind. Unless you’re intentionally putting out one time apps, you should take into consideration that one
of the reasons you are developing mobile apps, is because you want to reach as many people as possible.

Think about this one. What would have happened if the moment when Angry Birds really got popular,
the app was only designed with limited playability and only for a few thousand users? it would have
become ,,One of those games I played for a couple of days and that’s all“. ,,That’s all” isn’t the phrase you
want to hear when your app is reviewed.

# 5 The app itself isn’t your main source of revenue

The main source of profits isn’t the mobile app. In-app purchases and in-app advertising are. In 2012, more
than 3/4 of the global app revenues came out of in-app purchases. Don’t forget the interactive feature of in-
app currency, for example customer points when shopping. Most apps are sold for 99 cents or $3. You might
reach 2000 users, but your only going to make $2000-$6000.

Developers aren’t different from rockstars. No, developers, you’re not the next Jimi Hendrix…yet. We’re
talking about the fact that most money rockstars make isn’t from cd’s and songs (especially with torrents
nowadays) but from concerts. They make their daily bread from offering interactivity and memorable
experiences.

,,Fact : Apps don’t make a lot of money. The content they deliver does.” – Devie

Such as it is, most apps are free anyway and all apps should be free. Why? Because psychologically speaking,
why would someone buy a product they haven’t even tested based on a 3 line description of how awesome
it is. If it isn’t free, then a free trial should be implemented so customers can know what to expect.
Monetizing mobile apps isn’t about selling the app. The app is a medium for revenue and not the end goal.

# 6 Ads can make or break an app

Not all mobile apps are madefor mobile ads. First of all, the smartphone or tablet is not a desktop pc. When
building an app, say for a restaurant chain, an ad that offers coupons or discounts might work. But right now,
banners and spray and pray ads are most likely to backfire on your user experience.

Another thing you should never do is integrate ads that have buttons looking like a natural extension of
the app. Spammy and intrusive ads that gobble up the screen when the user is in mid-use of the app often
begets negative reviews and complaints. Mobile ads are a tricky business. The question you should ask
yourself is :,,Will the ads cut into the user experience and make monetization impossible or not?”

Mobile app success stems in the first place from the user reaction and not just from the fact that your app
was downloaded – Devie

# 7 No points of contact, no user feedback, no improvements = no cookies for developers and companies

There are a lot of apps out there that stand only to gain from updates and improvements that never seem to
arrive. Not all apps have to implement points of contact for developers /companies (such as a mail address
or forum), but it doesn’t hurt when you want to ,,actually!” see how your app is perceived and how it can
be improved from the users themselves. No points of contact sometimes means that you’re telling the
users ,,That’s all we offer and nothing more, so don’t bother us”.

# 8 Poor push notifications pushes users away

Or even the very lack of push notifications for that matter. Apps such as news apps stand only to benefit
from the smart integration of PN’s and they keep users retention at good levels. However, poor PN planning
can ruin your app. PN’s should be relaxed like when a friend calls you and tells you about a good movie that
just came out. But if he’d call you every 5 seconds to tell you about every TV channel, you’d think about
choosing your friends more wisely wouldn’t you?

There are apps for example, that help you find coffee shops on the map. A badly planned PN would be when
every 2 minutes when a user walks an extra 600 ft, an annoying update about a coffee shop a few streets
away suddenly breaks his train of thought. Or if even disturbing users while sleeping is a guaranteed way

to screw up your app. For more details on what you should and shouldn’t do with push notifications, check
out Push notifications, the do’s and don’ts.

# 9 No analytics and no idea what your app is doing on a saturday night at 3:00 a.m.

Analytics or another way of saying app behaviour and user behaviour is a must when you want to understand
what’s happening when your app is ready to grow u p and see the world. The ability to monitor and study
app usage, users characteristics, how long do they use the app, how many times and so on is vital.

Without analytics an app faces fully fledged uncertainty on the part of developers. Not knowing whether
your app really becomes popular or it has been slowly dying leaves you with a blindspot that’s going to affect
investment and results.

# 10 Targeting too many platforms or too few

Apps are fickle children and sometimes they want all flavors of the ice cream or other times just one.
Consider the value proposition of your mobile app. If you’re going for native on multiple platforms, then
really really take a few steps back and consider if it’s worth it. A lot of business /enterprise apps are
preferred to be on tablets due to the wide screen that allows presentations, pitches, reports and getting
quick news from business blogs and magazines.

Rather than developing for 3-4 mobile platforms, such as iPhone, Android, Windows Phone or Blackerry,
make careful considerations about this next question : Can I waste valuable resources such as time and
money developing for multiple platforms while my competition puts out an app before me?

Going for a one size fits all is good in a lot of businesses but the technology for doing this in mobile apps isn’t
here yet. Rather than targeting a lot of platforms, develop an good and polished app for one or two main
platforms such as iOS and Android.

Conclusions : These are just a part of the big questions and mistakes you can make when developing and
managing mobile apps. Other things we could highlight would be : little or no integration with the device’s
native features, apps that are developed requiring user immobility which is the exact opposite of ,,being
mobile”, lack of social network implementations and so on.

The main key ideas you have to keep in mind is UX and targeted needs. Like Rebecca Flavin , CEO of Denver-
based Effective UI said some of the elements of UX: usable, useful and enjoyable. The three cherries of
creating an interactive and engaging user experience.

Take heed of what Devie said and as a company or developer you’ll be able to brag to your friends that you
saved thousands of dollars and created stunning apps because you listened to a puppy.

P.S. – We wanted to put the cherries on top but Devie would have ate them before we got to the end.

This is a guest post by Appscend (www.appscend.com) — the all-in-one cross-mobile performance based
application platform. Appscend offers its customers the fastest cross platform development technology
available on the market today together with a complete list of backend technologies that ensure application
& user management, a powerful push notifications platform as well as app analytics, ad-integration, in-app
purchases and over-the-air distribution services.

Whoops! Wired Reports That Jobs Responded From The iGrave

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At the Sundance film festival this week one of the biggest movies of the year is already jOBS. The biopic film stars startup investor and Hollywood hotshot Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs.

While the film was screened at the event the first clips were released to the Internet depicting a conversation between Apple cofounder’s Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

Gizmodo published this reaction piece from their good friend Woz.

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As you can tell Woz doesn’t seem to happy with the portrayal however he later says that if its fun and entertaining all is the better.

Now we realize that both the founders names were Steve however most everyone in America knows that. They also know that Jobs passed away October 5, 2011.

As most tech publications do, and we are doing right now, Wired picked up the Gizmodo piece.

In their article they attribute one of the quotes to Steve Jobs.

Typically, the author Hugh Hart is pretty good about reporting the facts and fact checking. We are talking about Steve Jobs here.

To our knowledge not even the iPhone 6 will be able to communicate posthumously.

After Battle With Depression Reddit CoFounder Aaron Swartz Commits Suicide

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The 26 year old founder of Reddit died yesterday in New York. Aaron Swartz was reportedly dealing with depression which was compounded by a July 2011 indictment for hacking JSTOR.

Swartz, often considered by many as an Internet pioneer, had allegedly set up a laptop in a closet at MIT with the intent to take the pay wall protected JSTOR content and distribute it for free. It’s believed that Swartz’ hack was why JSTOR moved to a more liberal freemium model.

Swartz appeared in court September 24, 2012 where he plead not guilty.

Swartz began his tech career at 14 when he co-authored the RSS 1.0 specification widely used today. He also founded Infogami which eventually merged into Reddit.

“The tragic and heartbreaking information you received is, regrettably, true,” confirmed Swartz’ attorney, Elliot R. Peters of Kecker and Van Nest, in an email to MIT’s The Tech

White House Responds To DeathStar Petition: We Don’t Support Blowing Up Planets

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“This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For

The Obama administration created the “We The People” petitioning platform in his first term. We The People is a petitioning platform on the official White House website.

If a petition is started on the website and it garners more than 25,000 signatures by the people within 30 days, the White House will respond to the petition.

On November 14, 2012 a petition was created to “secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.

In accordance with the We The People program guidelines the petition garnered over 25,000 signatures. The White House dignified the petition with a well thought out response. While the response was a bit witty it also highlighted some of the advancements the U.S has made in the space program.

Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, began the official White House response:

The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense,” begins Shawcross, “but a Death Star isn’t on the horizon.” He cites a Lehigh University study that calculated that a Death Star would cost a deficit-exploding $852,000,000,000,000,000 (that’s $852 quadrillion), notes that ”the Administration does not support blowing up planets,” and rightly points out that it would be foolhardy to build a space station “with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship.”reported Entertainment Weekly

Petitions ranging from seceding from the union, to a petition to get Pierce Morgan deported.

Behold! Kingston Unveils The Largest USB Flash Drive Ever; The Data Traveler Hyper X Predator 3.0

Kingston, Data Traveler Hyper X Predator 3.0, CES 2013At CES 2013 Kingston, a name thats been trusted in memory for decades, unveiled their latest in the data traveler series, the largest USB flash drive ever. To go with it’s enormous size, 1TB, it also has an equally enormous name, The Data Traveler Hyper X Predator 3.0.

This USB flash drive holds up to 1tb of data and has extremely fast read and write speeds. It’s a simple plug and play flash drive like any other USB flash/thumb drive that you’ve ever used, except it’s huge.

We got a chance to catch up with David from Kingston at CES 2013 who shows off The Data Traveler Hyper X Predator 3.0 and tells us how this flash drive got it’s ridiculously long name.

Here’s the video: