Tag Archives: techcrunch

Do you like the new Facebook app?

Many are in love with the new Facebook app and giving it high ratings. “Its App Store review average has risen from 1.5 stars to 4 stars in just three weeks since relaunch, Facebook told reporters at its headquarters.”

 

source: TechCrunch

 

And apparently we were all chomping at the bit. Half of all iPhone users “updated their apps in just four days”. I was one of them and I love the new app’s speed. The old one was so slow I ignored it and placed it on my last page of apps.

Listen to Mark Zuckerberg and Mick Johnson, mobile product manager, talk about these developments at TechCrunch Disrupt, and learn about how Facebook went native to solve its mobile problem.

Smartphone owners love shopping with apps – use them on average 17x month

From the Nielsen Wire:

…Nearly half of American smartphone owners (47%) used shopping apps in June 2012, according to Nielsen.  Overall, 45 million smartphone owners used apps in the Shopping/Commerce category, accessing shopping apps 17 times on average during June 2012.

 

 

More analysis:

  • eBay, Amazon, and Groupon dominate with 60% of all uniques.
  • Shopkick somehow keeps users in the app for 3 hours.
  • TechCrunchNielsen On U.S. Mobile Shopping

Reading Rainbow turns into a startup, releases an iPad app

Back in 2009, NPR ran a story titled “‘Reading Rainbow’ Reaches Its Final Chapter.” At the time, that probably seemed like a reasonable headline — after all, after 26 years, the beloved TV show was going off the air, the victim of changing government funding priorities. But it looks like there’s actually a lot more to the Reading Rainbow story, and its next chapter is starting in earnest today, with the launch of a new iPad app.

The app was created by RRKidz, a startup co-founded by Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton and producer Mark Wolfe, which licensed the Reading Rainbow name and content from public TV station WNED. (It also acquired the Reading Rainbow Twitter account earlier this year.)

“Television was an ’80s medium,” Burton said. So after the TV show ended, he and Wolfe asked themselves, “What would today’s technology be?” The obvious answer: The iPad.

 

More on the startupReading Rainbow returns as a startup and an iPad app

 

Reading Rainbow iPad app

Continue reading

Microsoft invests half billion in the Nook, making it more valuable than Barnes and Noble

Microsoft and Barnes & Noble have teamed up to compete against Apple and Amazon in the eBooks business. The new partnership sees Microsoft investing $300 million in a new Barnes & Noble subsidiary.

The $300 million investment in the Nook subsidiary of Barnes & Noble gives Microsoft about 17.6 percent ownership of this business unit. That values this part of the business at about $1.7 billion. Before the markets opened this morning, the Nook business was valued about $900 million more than Barnes & Noble itself.

via GigaOm

 

In addition, Microsoft is paying another $305 million to get Nook on Windows 8 with some content:

Microsoft will be paying the Barnes & Noble subsidiary $180 million for revenue sharing on the Nook app that B&N will make for the Windows 8 platform. This is nonrefundable, the filing notes. Microsoft is also paying $125 million (equal to $25 million over five years) “for purposes of assisting NewCo in acquiring local digital reading content and technology development.” This, too, looks to be nonrefundable.

via Techcrunch

To put that in perspective, in the last quarter Barnes and Noble made $52 million in profit (on $2.4 billion in sales), and Amazon pulled in $130 million in profit (on $13 billion in sales). Clearly, Amazon has a big edge over B&N.

But, when you look at Microsoft’s earnings for the last quarter, $5.1 billion in profit (on $17 billion in sales), it looks like the big dog just entered the game. But, don’t forget that Apple is on the scene as well.

Clearly, the e-reader battle is just heating up and everyone wants a piece.

***

On a side note, Target just announced they are pulling all Kindle’s from their stores due to ‘showrooming.’ The practice of visiting Target to physically touch a product, so you can then buy it on Amazon.

Venture capitalists invested $5.8 billion in the first quarter of 2012

Venture capitalists invested $5.8 billion in 758 deals in the first quarter of 2012.

The report shows that after a strong fourth quarter 2011, VC investment activity for the quarter fell 19 percent in terms of dollars and 15 percent in the number of deals compared to the fourth quarter of 2011 when $7.1 billion was invested in 889 deals.

  • Life Sciences and Clean Technology sectors saw decreases
  • Double-digit percentage increases in the Consumer Products and Services, and Telecommunications industries.
  • The Software industry received the highest level of funding for all industries

 

Read the full reportLeena Rao, TechCrunch

 

The evolution of design, for blogging

This week TechCrunch launched a new design for their site and Michael Arrington, the founder, posted links to the previous designs. Which gives us a unique chance to see the evolution of blog design from 2005 to 2011.

Screenshots of all four changes are provided below and here are the big changes I noticed, what did you see?

  • Ads – most dramatic change, in number (1 ⇒ 8 ⇒ 10 ⇒ 1) and size (wide banner is gone).
  • Admin links – like categories, search, about, have steadily moved up the site, now resting on the very top.
  • RSS – went from prominent placement to completely missing.
  • Content – hasn’t changed, except for picture on left and title font growth.
  • Sidebar – the eternal experimental space with the site going from sidebars at dual surround, dual right, thinner dual right, and single right.

 *TechCrunch runs on WordPress*

2011

2008

2006

2005

Photo credits

2011 – my screenshot

2008 – Digital Inspiration

2006 – CrunchNotes

2005 – Michael Arrington on Flickr

Facebook’s Social Mail and Innovation

When Amy and I started this company, 1×57, one of the things we wanted to do was pursue innovation. To create an environment where discussions can be open and frank, and lead us all to a better understanding of our world.

In this post I want to discuss social mail, Facebook’s latest innovation. I think this idea is innovative and revolutionary, but like any idea it is all in the execution. As the email wars heat up with AOL and Yahoo releasing updates to their webmail, it is clear that Google is in the lead. They recently released their Priority Inbox and the idea and execution are near perfect, in my opinion. Now, Facebook is entering the fray and here is why I think Google is scared..

To understand Facebook you have understand Mark Zuckerberg. The company does have countless managers, senior executives, VC’s, and nearly 2,000 employees but Mark is still king. The interesting part is that he doesn’t seem to be a good of a CEO but he is the boss for one reason and it is what drives Facebook. He wants to digitize our lives.

A process that I would argue is painful and frustrating for the average person. I think the frustrations over privacy and global domination are a thin veil for the truth. Of the 500 million users only a small fraction worry about that. The rest of us are more concerned about having our parents linked to us, or our ex-girlfriends, lame high school friends, etc.

When criticizing Mark Zuckerberg, as Debbie Weil does in her piece, I think its important to keep this in mind. Mark is not an evil genius, nor is he a polished executive. He is just a geek who regularly publicly humiliates himself. It sounds like such a familiar stereotype that I shouldn’t be surprised when the popular kids then make fun of and deride the geek. It is possible that we are blaming Mark for our own anguish over this digitization of our personal lives, even though any number of sites are pursuing this and it would have occurred anyways without him.

If you do pierce that veil you can start to see things a little more clearly. An objective business analysis shows that Google is deeply afraid of Facebook because their business model is built on turning weblinks into Page Rank. They maintain their edge over their competitors in the search market by jealously guarding that algorithm and relentlessly improving it. Facebook is built upon personal links between friends and colleagues and classmates. They maintain their edge in the same way by jealously guarding it and relentlessly innovating. The scary thing for Google is that their innovations are step based, meaning that they are only incremental improvements. In this area Google faces stiff competition from Bing and can only win by engaging in an arms race. A process that takes all the creativity and fun out of the job. It becomes a factory floor where stamping out regular new improvements is the job.

Contrast that with Facebook where innovation is exponential. This means big ideas, lots of creativity, and a real push to make it work today and you have an engineer’s dream job. It is easy to see why employees are leaving Google and joining Facebook en masse. Even though Techcrunch and most others would have you believe that it’s because of salary or a potential IPO. The real truth is that top talent cares more about the work they do than the money. Especially considering the environment they exist in where 100k salaries are paltry and talent is always paid well.

An example of this is Facebook Photos. In a silent but deadly way Facebook has come to dominate the entire online photo market, putting Flickr, Picasa, MySpace, and all the other niche sites in a distant second. It seems ridiculous how Facebook can ingest all of our photos, provide no vision for getting them out or even still having ownership of them, and still become the dominant player. Then you remember that all the other sites offered amazing features but no friends. It’s like if a (photo of) a tree falling in a forest and no one is around to see it, does it really fall?

This shows the power of personal relationships. Once you have that network built you can add countless pieces to it and people will love it. Video, links, threaded comments, events, groups. Each step adding millions more users and billions more dollars.

That is as long as each addition mimics real life as much as possible. You have to digitize our lives not filter them, because any filter will have a bias. Mark has learned this lesson many times over and now seems poised to move past it. He has a clarity of vision and is becoming very convincing to many of Silicon Valley’s brightest players.

Imagine if Mark came to you and said, ‘I want you to take your passion and create it online. I don’t want you to create one small part of it or even put your own mark on it, I want you to create a lasting perfect recreation of human culture online.” Then he shows you how he has done it before and how incredibly successful it has been. I don’t know about you but I would go googly-eyed and maybe even drop my company to do so.

This brings us back to Social Mail as Facebook’s entry into the email market. If you watch the announcement video and see it through the lens I just laid out for you, it becomes very clear. They are creating a message service that mimics our social lives as closely as possible. You want to talk to friends then talk to your friends and we will remove all the extra stuff like CC and Subject Lines. We will even add in caller blocking and other features that will make it easier to communicate. Each chapter of the video is designed to show you how much like real life Social Mail will be.

I think the idea is brilliant. The execution is the tough part. However, it seems that Mark Zuckerberg is putting all the right pieces into play, top talent, clarity of vision, and a relentless drive to make it happen.

Maybe he isn’t such a bad CEO after all…

Facebook's Social Mail and Innovation

When Amy and I started this company, 1×57, one of the things we wanted to do was pursue innovation. To create an environment where discussions can be open and frank, and lead us all to a better understanding of our world.

In this post I want to discuss social mail, Facebook’s latest innovation. I think this idea is innovative and revolutionary, but like any idea it is all in the execution. As the email wars heat up with AOL and Yahoo releasing updates to their webmail, it is clear that Google is in the lead. They recently released their Priority Inbox and the idea and execution are near perfect, in my opinion. Now, Facebook is entering the fray and here is why I think Google is scared..

To understand Facebook you have understand Mark Zuckerberg. The company does have countless managers, senior executives, VC’s, and nearly 2,000 employees but Mark is still king. The interesting part is that he doesn’t seem to be a good of a CEO but he is the boss for one reason and it is what drives Facebook. He wants to digitize our lives.

A process that I would argue is painful and frustrating for the average person. I think the frustrations over privacy and global domination are a thin veil for the truth. Of the 500 million users only a small fraction worry about that. The rest of us are more concerned about having our parents linked to us, or our ex-girlfriends, lame high school friends, etc.

When criticizing Mark Zuckerberg, as Debbie Weil does in her piece, I think its important to keep this in mind. Mark is not an evil genius, nor is he a polished executive. He is just a geek who regularly publicly humiliates himself. It sounds like such a familiar stereotype that I shouldn’t be surprised when the popular kids then make fun of and deride the geek. It is possible that we are blaming Mark for our own anguish over this digitization of our personal lives, even though any number of sites are pursuing this and it would have occurred anyways without him.

If you do pierce that veil you can start to see things a little more clearly. An objective business analysis shows that Google is deeply afraid of Facebook because their business model is built on turning weblinks into Page Rank. They maintain their edge over their competitors in the search market by jealously guarding that algorithm and relentlessly improving it. Facebook is built upon personal links between friends and colleagues and classmates. They maintain their edge in the same way by jealously guarding it and relentlessly innovating. The scary thing for Google is that their innovations are step based, meaning that they are only incremental improvements. In this area Google faces stiff competition from Bing and can only win by engaging in an arms race. A process that takes all the creativity and fun out of the job. It becomes a factory floor where stamping out regular new improvements is the job.

Contrast that with Facebook where innovation is exponential. This means big ideas, lots of creativity, and a real push to make it work today and you have an engineer’s dream job. It is easy to see why employees are leaving Google and joining Facebook en masse. Even though Techcrunch and most others would have you believe that it’s because of salary or a potential IPO. The real truth is that top talent cares more about the work they do than the money. Especially considering the environment they exist in where 100k salaries are paltry and talent is always paid well.

An example of this is Facebook Photos. In a silent but deadly way Facebook has come to dominate the entire online photo market, putting Flickr, Picasa, MySpace, and all the other niche sites in a distant second. It seems ridiculous how Facebook can ingest all of our photos, provide no vision for getting them out or even still having ownership of them, and still become the dominant player. Then you remember that all the other sites offered amazing features but no friends. It’s like if a (photo of) a tree falling in a forest and no one is around to see it, does it really fall?

This shows the power of personal relationships. Once you have that network built you can add countless pieces to it and people will love it. Video, links, threaded comments, events, groups. Each step adding millions more users and billions more dollars.

That is as long as each addition mimics real life as much as possible. You have to digitize our lives not filter them, because any filter will have a bias. Mark has learned this lesson many times over and now seems poised to move past it. He has a clarity of vision and is becoming very convincing to many of Silicon Valley’s brightest players.

Imagine if Mark came to you and said, ‘I want you to take your passion and create it online. I don’t want you to create one small part of it or even put your own mark on it, I want you to create a lasting perfect recreation of human culture online.” Then he shows you how he has done it before and how incredibly successful it has been. I don’t know about you but I would go googly-eyed and maybe even drop my company to do so.

This brings us back to Social Mail as Facebook’s entry into the email market. If you watch the announcement video and see it through the lens I just laid out for you, it becomes very clear. They are creating a message service that mimics our social lives as closely as possible. You want to talk to friends then talk to your friends and we will remove all the extra stuff like CC and Subject Lines. We will even add in caller blocking and other features that will make it easier to communicate. Each chapter of the video is designed to show you how much like real life Social Mail will be.

I think the idea is brilliant. The execution is the tough part. However, it seems that Mark Zuckerberg is putting all the right pieces into play, top talent, clarity of vision, and a relentless drive to make it happen.

Maybe he isn’t such a bad CEO after all…