Archive for the ‘venturebeat’ tag
This sponsored post is produced by StackSocial.
The iPhone is so much more than a simple phone – it’s replacing a ton of other gadgets that you’d normally take with you when you’re on the go. One of the biggest uses of the iPhone is for taking photos, and this VentureBeat offer will show you how to make the most out of each and every shot – and for just $19!
In this video course, you’ll learn about:
- Your iPhone’s Camera Settings & Functions
- Managing Photos in the Camera Roll
- Sharing Photos in the Camera Roll
- Popular Sharing Apps
- Favorite Apps for Photo Capturing, Editing, and Special Effects
- iPhone Photography Tips and Techniques – Building Your Creative Eye
- Connecting iPhone and Computers for Sharing and Archiving
While familiarity with basic iPhone operation is helpful, all operations to success in this class will be covered in the sessions. For more details on the important reminders surrounding this offer, check out the VB Store.
Here’s what some of this course’s satisfied users have to say:
“Love the enthusiasm & professionalism of Chet Davis already…can’t wait to learn more.” – Farnoosh
“Chet has created a concise, easy to follow, set of lectures for the iPhone… To sum up, the course hits all bases and has taught me some new tricks, which makes using my new iPhone even more enjoyable!” – Chris
“As someone technologically challenged I appreciate how the viewer is walked through all the lessons. Very helpful and I highly recommend!” – Annette
The instructor for this course is Chet Davis. Chet has 17 years of experience in the classroom as teacher of a high school Video Technology program in California. He’s made presentations at National and Regional Conferences and led hands-on workshops for in 41 US States, 3 Canadian provinces and in Europe (European Schools Program).
So what are you waiting for? Learn the tools, techniques, and tips to create stunning iPhone photographs with this video course – and save 51% in the process. Pick it up at the VB Store for just $19 today!
Filed under: Lifestyle
This sponsored post is produced by StackSocial.
We all love capturing video on our iPhone and now thanks to Kogeto we can take amazingly awesome 360 degree video with the click of a button. It’s that simple. Not only is the video quality great but the interactive 360 views are unreal. Any serious iPhone user is all about innovative and well designed products when it comes to add-ons, and this one truly sets itself apart from the rest of them. When Kogeto says they’re trying to help you share the world around you…they’re dead serious.
The Dot raised over $100,000 on Kickstarter and is now in full force changing the way you see the world…one video camera at a time. And VentureBeat is going to help you get it at the low price of only $27.99!
(Note: This offer is available ot continental US customers only.)
Here’s what you can do with the Dot on your iPhone 4/4S:
- Shoot: Snap Dot onto your iPhone 4 / 4S, download our free Looker app, and press record. Dot will capture everything around you. Capture the crowd and the band. Film the beach at the same time as the sand volleyball team. Record a virtual tour of your dorm without missing a thing.
- View: The video on your screen is only the beginning. Swipe or click and drag across the screen to swivel around in 360°. Or switch modes and view all 360 at once in super-widescreen. You get to see everything.
- Share: Your Dotspot is ready to share with the world via email, Facebook, Twitter, or Kogeto.com with just a single click. Got a blog? Tumblr feed? Website? You can embed your videos there – or anywhere!
This Dot is specifically designed for iPhone 4/4S users. You’ll receive a black strap that snaps onto your iPhone and then you’ll be able to snap in the video lens which will allow you to capture your video. For more on this offer – including all important reminders – please visit the VB Store.
This offer won’t be around for long, so pick up a Dot for only $27.99 from the VB Store and start shooting the world in 360° today!
Filed under: Gadgets
This sponsored post is produced by StackSocial.
Want to get an iPhone or iPad app on the App Store, but don’t want to take the extensive process to learn how to code it? Have you considered outsourcing it, but don’t want to fork over the cash to build it? Then this is the course for you.
With this course, you’ll learn how to build and release an iPhone or iPad app from scratch with absolutely no programming required. And VentureBeat has it for the low price of $79 – but only for a limited time.
This online course is jam-packed with more than 180 step-by-step video tutorials where you will learn how to prototype, design, and release apps onto the app store.
Who is this course for?
- Beginners who want to make and release apps today
- People who want to release apps and add them to their resume
- People who want to start making money by making apps for other people
- Designers who want to rapid prototype app ideas
- Small businesses who don’t want to hire a developer
What will you learn?
- How to prototype, design, and release apps into the app store
- The entire process from idea creation to production to release
- How to avoid and overcome app development pitfalls
- How to create a mock proposal to potential clients so you can start making apps for other people
Who created this course?
John Bura is the man behind this course – and he is a master of his craft. Not only has he been developing games and apps since 1997 but he’s also been teaching for the last 10 and now is the proud owner of Mammoth Interactive.
His company produces leading technologies for XBOX 360, the iPhone & iPad, Android, and HTML 5. He’s positive energy has been pumped into more than 40 commercial games and several of his games have risen to #1 in the Mac app store.
What you’ll need
- A Mac computer
- Recommended to use Apple’s Lion OS X operating system along with the most current version of Xcode (free in the App Store)
- Sign up for a free Buzztouch account (web-based software you’ll use to create your apps)
- A developer’s account (you can sign up in the Mac App Store)
Note: You can get all of the important reminders surrounding this offer by visiting the VB Store page.
This course will put you in a great position to learn the entire process from idea creation to production to release. And while every project has pitfalls, this course will provide you with creative and technical commentary that is designed to help you avoid the pitfalls of production.
This course provides a whole lot for very little cost thanks to VentureBeat. It normally sells for $497, but for a very limited time, we got it on special just for you…for only $79. Grab it from the VB Store while you can!
Filed under: Entrepreneur
This sponsored post is produced by StackSocial.
VentureBeat has a slew of offers available right now, and here are just three that we want to shine a spotlight on:
The Mac Productivity Bundle 4.0
The latest Mac productivity bundle we’re offering is jam-packed full of useful tools that will help you on a daily basis. If there’s one thing your Mac can do, it can boost your efficiency and effectiveness…but you need the right apps to help you do that.
With this exclusive promo you’ll get 9 of the hottest products on the market for only $49.99! (you’re saving $640!) The Mac Productivity Bundle 4.0 has just about something for everyone.
To learn more about this offer, visit the VB Store.
CrazyTalk Pro 7
If you’ve been looking for animation software at its best – and at a price that can’t be beat – then we’ve got a deal for you.
CrazyTalk7 is the most popular facial animation tool that uses sound and text to vividly animate facial images. Whether you’re using it to enhance a video project or for fun with family and friends, it’s an app that’s a nice addition to your Applications folder for those times where you need to add a little pizazz to your creative works of art. And for a limited time, VentureBeat has it for just $99.99!
To learn more about this offer, visit the VB Store.
The Runaway Collection: MEElectronics Headphones
No one wants to deal with wires anymore. That idea has shifted more and more to the world of headphones, and we’re offering a pair of great Bluetooth wireless headphones that are sleek, comfortable, and sound spectacular.
The Runaway Collection series of headphones by MEElectronics is 43% off the regular price here at VentureBeat – but only for a limited time. These headphones are only $57 – and that price includes shipping to customers within the continental USA.
To learn more about this offer, visit the VB Store.
Remember – all of these offers are only available for a limited time, so grab them (as well as all of our offers) while you can over at the VB Store!
Filed under: Lifestyle
This sponsored post is produced by StackSocial.
From capturing audio and video to converting media to copying, sharing, burning and more, Roxio Toast 11 quickly and easily gets you the media you love…wherever you want it!
Completely redesigned from the ground up, the best-selling Roxio Toast 11 Titanium features a new user interface that’s up-to-date, innovative, and intuitive! With newly refined workflows, built-in video tutorials and much more, Toast 11 is the ultimate digital media toolkit for newcomers and experienced users alike. And VentureBeat has this powerful and versatile software solution for only $49.99 for a limited time – that’s a savings of 50%!
Here the top features of Roxio Toast 11 Titanium:
- Capture: Grab video & music from anywhere – the web, portable devices, discs, LPs, or apps running on your Mac.
- Copy: Copy CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs – even using multiple drives. Copy dual layer DVD-Video discs on to 4.7 GB single-layer discs.
- Convert: Convert video from the web, TiVo DVRs, EyeTV tuners, Flip Video camcorders, to play on the iPad, iPhone, video game consoles and more.
- Share: Publish your video directly to YouTube, Facebook, or Vimeo. Toast will even automatically tweet your YouTube and Vimeo links.
- Burn: Toast is the easiest and fastest way to burn your digital media on to CD, DVD or Blu-ray Disc for both Mac and PC.
Roxio Toast 11 Titanium is indeed the ultimate media toolkit for your Mac – completely redesigned. So head over to the VB Store and grab Roxio Toast 11 Titanium for just $49.99 while this offer lasts!
Filed under: Lifestyle
Paul Kim’s before-and-after pictures are pretty astounding. He argues that you can look that way, too, if you use his Alpha Trainer app, which provides a workout regimen on iOS and Android devices that you can take to the gym. The app is part of Kim’s goal of making personal training more social, enabling people to tap their friends for support in becoming more fit.
Now, somewhere in the fine print, it must say that you have to work out for six hours a day to look like Kim does in his picture. But Kim swears that isn’t true, and he has created a custom training program with his Alpha Trainer app that will get you into better shape in 14 weeks. Alpha Trainer gives you a custom workout program that is narrated by Kim himself, who admits letting himself get out of shape on his last startup before he went back to the gym with a vengeance, moving from 17 percent body fat to 4 percent body fat in 10 months. He started San Jose, Calif.-based Nido Labs, named after a resort in the Philippines where he chilled out, to codify a serious fitness regimen in an app.
“This is something that I believe passionately in,” Kim said in an interview with VentureBeat. “I came up with this as I did my own body transformation.”
The app is launching today on the Apple iTunes App Store and on the Google Play store. Kim said that app can be customized in 100,000 ways to fit each user’s needs. It also features social motivation, inviting friends to provide encouragement with every fitness achievement.
Kim previously ran KreditFly, a venture-funded alternative payments company that raised $3.25 million but didn’t survive. Before that, he created BilltoMobile, a $9.5 million-funded company that was acquired in 2010. He also worked at Samsung’s venture capital arm, and he once was a management consultant. But fitness was his first love. His first job was as a fitness trainer at Bally’s. And he’s a certified personal trainer and a fitness competitor.
“I went the Philippines to decompress from years of startups,” he said.
The current market for health and fitness technology is huge, but it is dominated by navigation-based cardio-tracking apps such as Runkeeper. Many of these apps are now undifferentiated, except for some like Zombie Run that are putting game mechanics and storylines into fitness programs. There are also a ton of wearable health and performance monitors like Nike FuelBand or the Basis Health Tracker. But these are all reactive, not proactive, in Kim’s view.
Food-tracking apps can help you record what you eat, and existing workout and fitness apps require you to input your workout data in excruciating detail in small mobile devices. These apps can provide pictures and videos on how to do exercises, but they are often generic.
“I kept looking at the market, and the tracking is often really tedious,” he said.
What’s missing is something that gives people deep health and fitness guidance, coaching, and instruction in a systematically designed and tailored program. You can get that at your gym with a live personal trainer, but this can cost more than $1,000 a month (or maybe $50 to $500 per session) to get outstanding advice and monitoring. But what if your workout should change based on your body type, fitness level, age, gender, workout preferences, your schedule, workouts confined to home, or specific problem areas in your body?
“Everyone has different issues and goals,” he said. “We will have the largest library of 14-week workout programs for both the gym and home.”
Kim, a 1999 runner-up for the Mr. Korea body-building competition, said Alpha Trainer targets this need. He designed each program over the course of the past year. He changed the workouts for body type, goals, preferences, and even technology platforms (such as mobile devices or tablets). And the price is right. The apps is free to download and try out for four weeks.
After that, you have to decide if you want to pay to get the remaining weeks through the purchase of an Elite subscription.
When you use the app, you’ll see Kim demo the exercise with the proper intervals of rest, sets and repetitions. You can use the program to log and track your weight progress if you wish. Such a “freemium” model will eliminate some of the barriers that normally get in the way of fitness goals. If you’re thinking that the first four weeks are the same as the next 10, you’re wrong. Kim deliberately divides the program into multiweek parts, based on his experience with fitness regimens. At first, he said, your body needs to be shocked. Then you can focus on cutting fat. You can upgrade to premium features for a fee, and you can purchase Gold Coins to send messages and gifts to others.
You can pick the days when you will work out, and you can select the exercises you will perform. Many, but not all, of the exercises come with a video. You work out while using the app, which has a timer. After you’re done, you can post the accomplishment to Facebook. You can pause the workout if you are interrupted.
Alpha Trainer also uses social motivation from your close friends. You can invite them to offer you encouragement as motivation partners. These partners are notified via an alert on your workout days. They can send you encouragement messages and gifts from within the app. That part of the app is akin to mobile messaging apps such as What’s App, Line or Kakao Talk. (All of those are growing quickly). The good thing about the social motivation is that the partners will download the app as well, and they may adopt it. That could make the app naturally viral.
Alpha Trainer also has workouts that you can do that are separate from your customized workout program, such as core workouts, bodybuilding, sports training etc.
“People who have a strong network are many times more likely to hit their goals,” Kim said.
The program also has its own “gamification” features, using game mechanics such as XP (experience points), levels, earned or purchased virtual currency, gifting, and leaderboards. That is all aimed at making the app more engaging for users.
The company is self-funded by Kim and it has six full-time and part-time employees.
You can’t access Facebook in China. Twitter is unheard of. And Google … well, Google has left China, and China isn’t exactly writing a Taylor Swift ex-boyfriend song about the world’s largest search engine.
So social media and search engine optimization in China is a whole different ballgame. But an important one to play for any American company that wants a presence in the middle kingdom, according to Bin Lee and Iris Huang of Glogou.
“Asians are all social media users,” says Lee. “Social media users in China are way more active than Facebookers and Twitter users — social media is their key outlet.”
Glogou has been helping U.S companies sell into China — a “reverse Alibaba,” the company calls itself — for about five years. In a natural progression, last year the company started to explore helping Western corporations build their online profiles in China in addition selling their products.
Which, of course, exactly mirrors what companies have been doing in the Americas and Europe for the past five years. But there are some differences.
And those differences between China and the western world are the key reasons for Glogou’s existence. The reasons go beyond social media and into reasons such as what happened to Apple over the past few months — negative press in government-owned media outlets and coordinated astroturf social media attacks. And of course, reasons such as those behind Google’s exit from the Chinese market. Basically, if the Chinese government doesn’t approve of what you’re doing, you’re not going to be successful in China.
Early detection and response — Apple CEO Tim Cook eventually apologized, probably settling the issues — is critical.
But not all challenges with doing business in China can be chalked up to political problems. In the Chinese government’s efforts to accomplish its goals — whatever they are — there’s a lot of collateral damage.
“Many US sites are not accessible from China,” says Huang. “It’s amazing how many … often that’s not because of political reasons, often simply due to technical reasons.”
So Glogou provides site monitoring services based in China, confirming that your site is accessible from mainland China, and building you a small Chinese site if it is not. And, the company provides social media monitoring: checking Weibo for mentions of your company and brand, and monitoring sentiment. That’s a big deal, because Weibo has more users than Twitter and almost as many users as Facebook.
That is due to the fact that social media is Chinese citizens’ key political outlet, Lee says. While the government does censor certain keywords, posts, and sometimes entire topics — such as the pigs floating in the river in Shanghai, which had two million search results before disappearing entirely — the government has to grant a certain level of freedom, he told me. Which makes social media a key outlet for political as well as personal sentiment.
“The official newspapers never criticize the government, so people need to release some negative feelings” Lee says. “They criticize the government via social media.”
But it’s not just about social media — search engine optimization is also key, and SEO is an entirely different matter in China than in the U.S.
“We also help U.S. businesses to make sure they are included on Baidu,” Huang told me. “Because if you’re not on Baidu, you’re basically invisible in China.”
In addition to SEO services, the company has built an English interface for Baidu’s ad platform, which is entirely in Chinese. Baidu has advertising products roughly analogous to Google’s AdWords and AdSense products, which until now have been almost entirely off-limits to English-speaking users.
China’s an important and growing market for U.S. businesses, a fact that social media management big boy HootSuite recently acknowledged by adding Weibo support to its tools.
Which means knowing what Chinese think of you and your product is probably a good thing, as you’re trying to sell into their country.
Chandra Duggirala, maker of an experimental device for type two diabetes, is on the verge of giving up.
Duggirala’s company, Novobionics, raised a small amount of funding for a noninvasive technology that mimics the effects of gastric bypass surgery. The device tricks the gastro-intestinal tract into thinking it is full, which slows the rate of nutrient absorption, thereby easing suffering for diabetes patients.
Despite promising early results, the entrepreneur and physician at San Mateo Medical Center has struggled to procure a second funding round that would bring it to market.
“We’re living in a time of total uncertainty,” Duggirala explained. “When it comes to medical innovation, investors essentially have to pay the government to invest in tech, which is scaring them off.”
Is the FDA killing medical innovation?
“Uncertainty” is not a word that Silicon Valley’s investors — or their limited partners — like to hear, so Duggirala’s story is far from unique.
Medical device entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs have complained vociferously for years that funding is drying up. And a confluence of factors have made the situation steadily worse.
A 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, the rising cost to get a device to market, and a lack of regulatory clarity from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are cause for concern.
The tax may not seem like much, but it’s on revenues, not profits — and since most medical device companies are far from profitability, that takes an especially deep bite. It’s still unclear which entrepreneurs will be required to pay the tax. For instance, will the government levy it on mobile medical devices — or smartphone apps — that are sometimes used in clinical settings, like this urine analysis app?
Other health-tech experts point to the current patent system that, as Practice Fusion’s senior policy strategist Lauren Fifield puts it, is “confusing and a real mess.” Because the Patent Office is slow to approve applications, inventors must work in secrecy to protect their ideas, sometimes for years. One entrepreneur might have a tremendously good idea for a device and be unaware that four other groups are working on a similar model.
A spokesperson from the FDA said the agency is aware of these concerns.
“We’re reaching out to venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to include them in our discussions and have used the feedback to develop smart regulations that balance patient safety and innovation,” an FDA spokesperson noted in an email interview, and provided a link to a new program where entrepreneurs work in concert with FDA employees.
(Note: It took the FDA took two weeks to assign a spokesperson, and cancelled interviews on multiple occasions, after VentureBeat requested comments — indirectly confirming criticisms about its glacial pace.)
The FDA may be partially responsible, but it points out that it’s not the only organization that has a role to play in bringing a new medical device to market. Entrepreneurs will also have to contend with institutional review boards, third party payers, and they have to front the cost of a clinical trial.
Venture funding is dwindling
Malay Gandhi, the chief strategy officer for digital health incubator Rock Health, estimates that medical device funding is down 13 percent year over year. He noted that class 3 medical devices are the most affected, as it’s taking longer than ever before to get these high-risk (and potentially high-reward) products to market.
Further research from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association found that the $700 million in 84 deals that went to medical device companies in 2012 represented a 17 percent drop in dollars and an 11 percent decrease in the number of deals year over year.
“We have been pushing the FDA on how difficult it is to get products approved,” said Michael Carusi, a general partner at ATV Capital who specializes in life sciences and medical devices.
Alongside many venture investors, Carusi believes that the uncertain approval process for new medical devices is stunting innovation and killing jobs. In 2011, the New York Times reported that Carusi donated $1,000 to a Minnesota congressman who lobbied Washington D.C. to support a bill that would make it easier to bring new medical products to market.
Carusi’s relationship with the FDA has fractured over the years. His firm has grown all too familiar with abrupt regulatory changes midway through an investment.
Most recently, a spate of new mitral repair devices hit the FDA speed bump, prompting Carusi to question the high bar for efficacy of early-stage devices that are far less invasive than the alternatives.
This follows one of his most high-profile investments, XTENT, which went public in 2007 during the glory days for medical devices. But the Sun Valley medical device manufacturer saw its path to market prolonged by two or three years due to new regulation. The company was later sold at a “massively discounted value,” Carusi recalled, and was eventually shut down.
Worse still, portfolio companies have been stunted by regulation from Washington D.C., only to see success elsewhere. Just a few months after the FDA voted against approving Emphasys Medical’s lead device to treat emphysema, the company’s assets were put up for sale. Silicon Valley-based Pulmonx would later acquire the technology and begin marketing it in Europe.
Carusi expects to see this potentially life-saving (or prolonging) device return to the U.S. market in five or six years.
The FDA is currently under pressure to determine which mobile medical applications fall under its purview — and will face higher taxes. The agency has yet to issue the final guidance it promised in 2011, and so many entrepreneurs are waiting on the sidelines.
“Developers are mystified by the rules in this highly regulated industry,” said Ben Chodor, the chief executive of mobile health app store Happtique, who we spoke with after he testified alongside a handful of medical experts in Congress.
”The gap between D.C. and Silicon Valley is 3,000 miles, but it feels like 20 years in terms of understanding,” said Fifield, echoing the sentiment felt by scores of health entrepreneurs.
Our pets have better access to new medical treatments
Class II medical devices, indicating only a mid-level risk, are the most common. Among the latest batch, a company known as Alivecor has punctuated the popular imagination.
Imagine being able to press your iPhone against your chest to measure a heart rate. This is the vision for Alivecor, which raised significant venture funding and secured FDA approval. In August 2011, Alivecor succeeded in closing an $13.5 million funding round led by Burrill & Company, along with Qualcomm, acting through its investment arm Qualcomm Ventures.
But Alivecor is beset by challenges in selling to U.S.-based physicians, which raises another potential hurdle. Distribution channels are saturated by large and established players, so getting behind the doors of hospital decision-makers can be difficult.
Rumors are flying in the industry that the company has had far better luck selling to veterinarians than cardiologists. One source joked that our pets are getting better treatment options and access to the most innovative medical devices.
“We didn’t expect to see so much success in the veterinary space,” Joel Light, Alivecor’s business development lead admitted. “But there is far less regulation, so we could get to market quickly.”
For similar reasons, Alivecor will launch its low-cost electrocardiogram in the U.K. first.
“Uncertainty has been a big challenge, and in the medical industry — we see a big gulf between a great idea and a profitable business,” said Light.
Likewise, the executive team behind Visualant, a company with a spectral matching technology, considered the health care industry, decided to take their technology elsewhere.
CEO Ron Erickson said it could potentially be used as an inexpensive medical diagnostic device, but the regulation and “time and money involved” caused them to focus on “more immediate market opportunities.” Visualant’s ChromaID product can “see” what the human eye cannot by discerning minute variations in color.
The innovative technology will not be used by doctors to treat disease. Instead, Visualant will be selling it to defense agencies and jewelers to certify gemstones.
If you want to highlight a product, build a landing page. If you’re an internet marketing guru, make a squeeze page. But if you want to start on online movement — and maybe sell a few books, speaking events, or other products along the way, create a “smart site.”
Author, speaker, and general startup guru Eric Reis should know. His movement, highlighted in his book The Lean Startup, is almost impossible to miss in the startup community. And he’s eager to build and market in simple, minimum viable product ways.
“People are stuck on massive legacy technology,” Reis says. “Anything new they want to do, there’s an approval process, versus with a tool like this one you can just get started immediately.”
But smart sites are a new type of website, built in two weeks for less than $5,000 … with heat-mapping analytics, A/B testing, goal tracking, and logging built right in. Everything on the site is built around a story, and that story is told on just one single webpage … which can get long, but never feels long.
“This is for everyone that wants to tell a story or start something great,” says Chuck Longanecker, whose Digital Telepathy firm created the concept of smart sites one for Reis as well as Tim Ferriss of 4-hour body fame. “Sites don’t necessarily need pages, and working with people with like Eric challenged us to change the way a site could be.”
The key is story.
Like Reis’ lean startup philosophy, a smart site is focused on one particular story. The story of your app, perhaps, the story of your project … or the story of your life. That focus on story ties all the elements of the site together.
For example, Reis’ site theleanstartup.com begins with an introduction: a full-screen photo, a headline, and an email sign-up form. After a “learn more” click, the browser view scrolls down to a teaser: three key benefits of lean. A third click gives you the heart of the story, an overview of the principles of lean startups. A fourth goes even deeper, as does a fifth, a sixth, and more.
Each time, you stay on the same page. And each time, you’re presented with a bit-sized chunk of story — never too much, always just enough to want more. A chapter, you might say, with a cliffhanger ending that you just have to click to find.
It’s a deceptive simple design ethic.
“I was really looking for something different,” Reis says. “It’s especially important to me that the site is not just a good marketing tool, but also a good example of the lean philosophy.”
And it all lives on a single page, tied together with elegant, logical steps, each of which is a user’s click indicating interest, engagement, and, ultimately, desire.
The ability to keep those clicks coming, of course, resides in the power of stories, of narrative. Stories are how we’ve shared information from the beginning of time, Longanecker says. Stories are what has connected us against the backdrop of campfires and coffee, and stories are how we interpret our world — and ourselves.
So storytelling was a natural metaphor for smart sites. The challenge is that storytelling is an art, not a science. And yet, Digital Telepathy has found a way to add both.
“Content is king, but you can’t just plaster it all over the page — you have to kind of currate the story,” Longanecker says, and therein lies the art. “You don’t necessarily know the best way to tell a story off the top of your head … you need to test it, iterate it.”
That’s where the built-in analytics come into play, and therein lies the science.
That science means that built-in A/B testing allows Digital Telepathy to play with the design and the story while the site is live, testing to see what works, what’s better, and what needs to die a quick death on the cutting room floor. Built-in analytics from Optimizely and KissInsights help, and more are coming.
The difference versus a standard website is immense, Longanecker says:
“Your website knows what its objectives are the day it goes live, and it’s giving you all this information on the backend,” he told me. “The design’s never done, it can always get better.”
I asked Longanecker and Reis who smart sites work for, who they’re optimized for.
Reis obviously uses smart site technology for the Lean Startup, among other sites, and he’s joined by diet, health, and learn-anything guru Tim Ferriss. These are examples of movements accompanied by products, but startups are also a core demographic — Longanecker cites companies in or exiting from Kickstarter, Y Combinator, and TechStars as a core demographic.
But it’s clearly not for a large corporation, and on purpose. It’s more focused than that.
“I don’t think HP corporate is going to call us soon,” Longanecker says. “However, it’d be a great page for HP for hiring.”
Top-ten-of-everything site Ranker had a novel idea for rating and ranking the best film schools in the country: check which ones graduate the most successful filmmakers.
Makes some sense, no?
So the ratings site checked all the credits on the all-time top 500 movies. And then checked where those actors, directors, and producers went to school to learn their trade.
A ranked list of the top 25 film schools in the world — or, at least, the English-speaking world:
- New York University (208 credits)
- University of Southern California (186 credits)
- University of California – Los Angeles (165 credits)
- Yale University (110 credits)
- Julliard School (106 credits)
- Columbia University (100 credits)
- Harvard University (90 credits)
- Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (86 credits)
- Fiorello H. Laguardia High School of Music & Art (64 credits)
- American Academy of Dramatic Arts (51 credits)
- London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (51 credits)
- Stanford University (50 credits)
- HB Studio (49 credits)
- Northwestern University (47 credits)
- The Actors Studio (44 credits)
- Brown University (43 credits)
- University of Texas – Austin (40 credits)
- Central School of Speech and Drama (39 credits)
- Cornell University (39 credits)
- Guildhall School of Music and Drama (38 credits)
- University of California – Berkeley (38 credits)
- California Institute of the Arts (38 credits)
- University of Michigan (37 credits)
- Beverly Hills High School (36 credits)
- Boston University (35 credits)
Using publicly available data on movie quality was critical, according to Ranker data scientist Ravi Iyer. Ranker used data from Freebase, DBPedia, IMDB, and its own rankings in order to arrive at a list of quality movies from which the source data was gathered.
Otherwise, of course, movie-mill film companies that produce reams of B-quality films would skew the rankings.
When the company mashed the data, it turns out that even though USC produced the most film credits by graduates overall, NYU produces more credits on the top 500 movies. Interesting, some high schools made the list, such as New York’s Fiorello H. Laguardia High School, in number nine, and L.A.’s Beverly Hills High School, in number 24.
It’s perhaps not exactly big data, with 500 movies and perhaps 100-250 contributors to each, but it is a big data approach to solving a problem.