Archive for the ‘instant gratification’ tag
Yahoo has just launched the newest version of IntoNow, its TV companion app, and it’s bringing a boatload of new features to tablet and smartphone devices.
IntoNow is the media-centric company’s television sidekick “experience.” It brings avid TV fans a comprehensive offering of news headlines, statistics, and even social media updates from popular actors. IntoNow 3.0 is specifically tailored for iOS devices (the old IntoNow is also available in the Google Play store; we anticipate an Android-friendly version of IntoNow 3.0 will be available shortly).
The app update aims to give fans more and better ways to engage with and around television shows. The TV portion of the app will continue to deliver relevant stats, tweets, and trivia in real time. Music Sync is an IntoNow feature that can automatically identify a song playing in a show and take you to iTunes for instant gratification, should you choose to own said tune.
One hilarious new feature is mashing up TV moments with meme-making. Called CapIt, it allows viewers to screen-capture and caption anything they see on their TV. Angelina Jolie’s gonna love that.
Another new feature is group chat, which is what it sounds like. You can instantly set up private conversations with friends, start a chat around a specific show, or set up a recurring chat event to coincide with a show’s air time. It’s like a book club, but without all that annoying reading.
“iOS devices are pervasive in our living rooms, and second screen behavior is now commonplace. IntoNow wanted to up the ante and give people a whole new experience,” said Yahoo product VP Adam Cahan in a release on the update.
“We’re the first to offer some major technological innovations – like the ability to capture and share moments that happened seconds ago on TV or automatically identify songs playing in the background – all of which gives people watching TV with IntoNow 3.0 a unique, interactive experience.”
Here’s a sneak peek at some of the new features:
As a footnote, do let’s refrain from placing any praise or blame for this product on Marissa Mayer, the company’s new CEO. Girl’s only been there two weeks.
Top image courtesy of Goodluz, Shutterstock
There’s no shortage of ‘social/mobile/location-based’ video sharing apps out there, which will let you take a video and maybe slap a filter on it and share what you’re doing with people nearby and show off how friggin cool you are. Think Socialcam/Viddy/Klip/etc. But how social is that, really?
Well how about this: What if you could actually make videos that were TRULY social, that combined elements from videos that you’ve shot, as well as those from your friends and other people nearby? What if you could instantly mash up, remix, and share those videos with people on other social networks? That’s the kind of experience that the makers of the Vyclone iPhone app have created.
Vyclone takes advantage of location data to determine who you’re nearby while you’re shooting video in its app. It then matches that video against other users nearby. The app allows the creation of videos using up to four different camera angles at once, and includes the ability to switch between filters to provide different effects. Once videos are shot and uploaded to the server, the app syncs them up based on the timestamp and then stitches them together randomly, keeping the audio track of one of the videos.
One of the cool things is that Vyclone can be used even when you don’t have WiFi or a good wireless connection. While it’s nice to get the sort of instant gratification that comes from instantly uploading videos and having mashups created on the fly, the app works even when videos aren’t available in real-time. It merely checks the location and timestamp of available videos, regardless of when they’re uploaded. That means that you could add them days later, and Vyclone would still make new mixes based on new assets.
Once created, Vyclone has all the usual viewing and sharing options you’ve come to expect from these types of apps: You can share on Facebook or Twitter or save to your camera roll. Then, it can also be uploaded to YouTube. Users can also watch videos shared by other users inside the app, tag friends and events, comment on videos, and follow other users.
So I’ve taken a lot of video apps for a spin in my day, and I have to say that in my limited test run, Vyclone is seriously one of the coolest apps I’ve ever tried out. I used with a friend it last weekend during an event in Oakland, and captured video from an event in which a music video was being filmed.* This was the final result, as shot from two different camera angles while screwing around with filters:
Concerts and music festivals are an obvious use case for this type of video app, but users could also use it at sporting events and even in smaller groups. Think about capturing different angles at a birthday party or wedding, maybe? Anyway, the app currently supports just four videos being mixed today, but the founders tell me that the backend is infinitely scalable — which means that it could potentially mash up dozens of videos, like at a big Jason Mraz concert or whatnot.
Speaking of, the founders include Joe Summer, musician and Chief Creative Officer (and Sting’s son), who dreamed up the idea. He tapped his good friend David King Lassman, CEO of Vyclone, to help execute on the plan. The company has an office in Los Angeles and a development team in London building the app. Vyclone has raised $2.7 million in seed funding from investors that include Ashton Kutcher’s A-GRade Investments, Live Nation, DWA Investments, and Thrive Capital.
* Yes, those are women punching at each other with gigantic blowup boxing gloves. The event was entitled Foxy Boxing, and the artist featured here is Big Freedia, Queen Diva and New Orleans bounce music extraordinaire. What can I say, I do stupid shit on the weekends.
Today’s guest post is written by Bob Reed.
I have to get something off my chest.
I like strategy and process.
I like developing communications roadmaps that take companies someplace and accomplish something.
I’m not one of those “pull it out of no where” communicators. A strategy based on engaging in correct and extended tactics during a long period of time will pay off and yield tangible returns.
Call me crazy but cogent plans help me sleep at night.
Yet, so many companies persist with the need for instant gratification. They persist with short-term thinking brought on by even shorter-term attention spans.
I don’t mean to go on a rant here (apologies to Dennis Miller and not the current one; the one at the time when he had talent), but precision is needed to strategize and execute integrated social media marketing campaigns and to measure their business outcomes.
Having said that, I propose the following phrase be banned from our business lexicon forever:
Down and dirty
These three words are the harbinger of wasted time, effort, and budgets. I’ve worked on the agency side of PR and marketing for most of my career, and out of the list of useless business jargon, “down and dirty” is the one that makes me clench my teeth to the point of cracking a molar.
Too many marketers use it to convey to their agency they want to just get something out quickly and inexpensively. “Keep it simple,” they say. “You know, don’t spend too much time on it; just get it out. ”
So much for strategy.
Executing something with the down and dirty mind set is like sitting inside a German dirigible brimming with hydrogen while holding a match.
Oh, the humanity.
The only aspect remotely strategic about the phrase is the person saying it is being lazy, cheap, or both.
I’ve created a list of talking points here so next time you get asked by your client or employer for down and dirty, you’ll know what to say.
Down and dirty marketing:
- Threatens brands because of a lack of strategy behind the efforts.
- Does nothing to enhance reputations.
- Won’t build products, services, or your business model.
- Will not positively ingratiate your company to people and their needs.
- Is sloppy.
- Won’t encourage others to share what is good about your company when you don’t care enough to do it for yourself.
- Is for poser marketers.
- Doesn’t engender trust.
- Won’t keep your company top of mind.
- Won’t position you as a thought leader.
- Won’t help you invest in the best marketing strategies (whatever those maybe) to boost customer loyalty and retention.
Well, almost never. There’s only one use of down and dirty will ever be acceptable:
Down and dirty describes the kind of work ethic that is needed to succeed.
Bob Reed. is partner and co-founder of Element-R Partners, LLC, a B2B communications practice that works to make the impersonal, personal. He writes a social media interview series at his agency blog, B2You. Follow him on Twitter at @RAReed.
If you get a sudden hankering to watch Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” (who hasn’t?), and the only device handy is your iPhone, starting today there’s even less standing between you and instant gratification.
Vevo (the joint venture music video site from Sony Music, Universal Music, and Abu Dhabi Media) already has a strong mobile presence, with apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7 and BlackBerry Playbook. Previously, however if you visited the site on your mobile device, you wouldn’t have been able to watch videos — instead, it directed you to download one of the apps. Now, thanks to the launch of Vevo’s new mobile Web experience, you can watch directly form your mobile browser, no downloads required. (You can also watch a bunch of music videos, including “Call Me Maybe”, via YouTube’s mobile apps and mobile website, but with Vevo you get a music-focused experience and access to a library of 50,000 videos.)
I checked out the mobile website on both my iPhone and my iPad, and it worked fine. The browsing and searching experience are pretty straightforward, and the videos played smoothly over my home WiFi.
Beyond being a general sign of the increasing importance of the mobile web, this could be important for Vevo as more and more social sharing moves online. As the company notes in its blog post, when someone sees a link to a Vevo video on the mobile version of Facebook or Twitter, they can now tap on the link and the mobile website should start playing the video within seconds.
Last night, Mark Schaefer was in town and we held a little TweetUp with 70 of his closest friends.
I said people think the writing the book part is hard, but it’s really the promotion and book tour part that is hard.
He asked me if I was exhausted yet (I said yes) and I asked him the same question.
Bob asked some really interesting questions, which led to this: The rights for Mark’s Tao of Twitter has been bought by McGraw-Hill (his Return On Influence publisher) in order to get a second edition out very quickly.
Because a competitor is publishing a Twitter book and they want to beat them to the punch.
Is Publishing Dead?
And just when you thought publishing was dead…
It took a full year to get Marketing in the Round out, from signing the contract and writing the book to editing and actually printing it.
A full year.
In the blogosphere, we’re accustomed to instant gratification. If I publish this blog post by 7 a.m. CT, I’ll know by 9 a.m. whether or not it hit a nerve with readers. And, if it doesn’t, I always have tomorrow to write something better.
But, with a book, it takes a full year to get any sort of feedback on what you’ve written, which is kind of crazy in today’s instant, real-time world.
Enter publishers buying the rights of self-published books. Admittedly this isn’t something I saw coming, but it’s brilliant on the part of McGraw-Hill.
You see, the book is already written. It’s already selling. The author already has a built-in audience for this particular content.
In Mark’s case, he wants to extend Tao of Twitter beyond his own network. And the publisher wants to beat a competitor to the marketplace.
Suddenly a year is shortened to less than three months. No, it’s not real-time yet, but it certainly is a way to look at publishing that doesn’t take 12 months and almost reinvents the industry.
Why Should You Care?
We come at it from different perspectives: He self-published, “How to Crush It, Kill It, and Master Cold Calling Now!“
I went the more traditional route.
He talked about how effective self-publishing has been for him. Not only does he make more money per sale, he gained everything I said was great about having a publisher: Instant credibility, increased speaking fees, more clients.
And now you have Mark’s example of selling the rights to a self-published book in order to widen his network and get out into the mass audience.
What About Next Time?
I’m not sure I’d do it differently next time. I have learned a ton about organizing a book, writing a book, putting your ego aside while your book is edited, publishing a book, and promoting a book.
I wouldn’t have that knowledge or expertise without it.
But I like this idea of self-publishing something that is ahead of its time in order to sell the second edition rights to a publisher that wants to stay ahead of its competition.
Of course that means your crystal ball has to be functioning and you have to be willing to take the risk. But perhaps it gives you the best of both worlds.
Image hosting service Imgur is now serving up more than 1 billion images per day and has doubled its monthly page views to 2 billion in less than six months, the company announced today.
Imgur branded itself as the “simple image hosting service” because its tailor-made for social news sharing sites like Reddit and Digg. (In fact, a large percentage of total links submitted to Reddit are from Imgur). Imgur’s main selling point is the speed to which you can share a photo or goofy image. Without needing an account, users can upload a single image or group of images to the site by dragging and dropping the files directly on the webpage. Each image has a unique URL that users can then send to friends or share on social networks. It’s probably faster to use Imgur in most cases than it is to send a file over email.
“Speed is a huge priority to us, because Imgur is all about instant gratification,” Imgur founder Alan Schaaf told VentureBeat in an interview. “So, we need to be able to serve our pages and our images as quick as possible.”
Schaaf said the site is experiencing average traffic and upload growth of about 20 percent per month, which started happening after the company began using content delivery network EdgeCast to speed up its delivery of images back in June 2011. In addition to its massive page view traffic growth, Imgur also sees about half a million images uploaded daily, and over three million unique visitors per day. To give you some perspective on where the company stands against other dedicated image services, Imgur’s Alexa U.S. traffic rank is 29 compared to professional photo service Flickr’s rank of 37.
But probably the most interesting thing about Imgur is that its managed to turn a profit soon after launching in 2009 — with five employees and no outside funding raised. The company was named the best bootstrapped startup at the 2011 Crunchies Awards. That doesn’t mean the startup isn’t interested in taking on some funding at some point, but for now it isn’t necessary, Schaaf told me.
“We don’t exactly need funding right now,” he said, adding that its more than capable of funding itself with the direction the company is going. Schaaf said his startup has already been approached by a handful of firms and angel investors that are interested, and that “we’re totally open to taking on money when the need arises.”
Schaaf didn’t specifically mention what that “need” might be, but did acknowledge that funding would be necessary if Imgur ever decided to take on Yahoo-owned professional photo service Flickr. Imgur currently offers a pro account option for $24 annually, which gives you more storage space for images, image compression limits of up to 5MB, and no advertisements. However, Schaaf said this isn’t Imgur’s main focus, nor is it interested in competing with Flickr more directly at this time.
The majority of Imgur’s revenue comes from advertising. Last month, the company reached an agreement with ThoughtLeadr to bring a self-serve advertising to the site. In addition to speeding up Imgur’s performance, the San Francisco-based company is also focused on growing its own community of image sharer.
Photo via Imgur
Shopping for clothes in brick and mortar stories may give you instant gratification and the chance to try them on, but why bother when you can online, get bigger discounts, and have your clothes tailored to fit before they even get to your house? There are plenty of online clothing shops that will take your order and then customize your clothes to fit you like a glove, so you get style and comfort for a song. Here’s a look at five of the best of those custom clothing stores, based on your nominations. More »
“He who would leap high – must take a long run.” ~ Danish Proverb
We live in an instant gratification, microwave success formula time. So many want the success without doing the work it takes to gain success.
Focused, Frequent, Consistent. These words strengthen your run towards taking the leap to your level next.
If you’re looking for that magic shortcut to the mountain top – you’ll save time and energy by climbing pebble after pebble.
Foursquare is enhancing its feature set for businesses today, with the introduction of a new verification service for merchants. The company says that for a one-time, $10 fee, owners and managers will now be able to instantly verify their business in order to start using Foursquare’s business tools, which include the ability to offer specials, update the business listing, and access data about their customers and visitors.
For those businesses who can’t register online, there’s still an option to verify the business via snail mail, but this is a much slower method. Foursquare says the mail-in option can take anywhere from three to four weeks to complete. In today’s age of instant gratification, that may as well be forever.
The business verification process walks the venue owner through a series of simple steps which begin with locating the listing on Foursquare, clicking the “claim” link next to the listing which appears (note that business owners will have to register a Foursquare account in order for this to work), and then finally, verifying that you are, indeed, the manager.
Business owners and managers will need Foursquare with their ID, the URL of the venue and links to the venue’s website, and/or page on Yelp, Google and CitySearch. Foursquare reviews the data and then may follow up with a phone call to the business to confirm, if things look shady.
Obviously, the $10 fee is only meant to slow down those who would want to illegitimately claim a venue of their, but isn’t meant to be a major new source of revenue for the company to tap into.
Foursquare says that as of today, over 750,000 business have signed up to reach the company’s 2 million users via the free merchant tools provided. The new verification feature is U.S.-only for now. (Sorry, world).