February 26, 2013

Location-based services are coming of age (and it’s way more than Foursquare)

3 iphone-screenshots
From left, screenshots of the new app Now, EyeEm and Gogobot.

Geolocation apps start to splinter into verticals

This is the second in an ongoing series on the state of geolocation apps, sites and services. Also see:
• Part 1: Are you ready for the place graph?

Target audience: Startups, entrepreneurs, businesses with location-based components, educators, journalists, general public.

JD LasicaIn part one of this series we looked back at the early days of geolocation, with Platial kicking off the geoloco revolution in the practically prehistoric year of 2005. Since then, a number of paradigm-shifting startups have already come, gone or been sold, among them fwix, Loopt, Ditto, Blockboard, Everyblock (shut down this month) and the late lamented NextStop and Whrrl.

geologo-logoOn Sunday Josh Williams, former founder-CEO of Gowalla and now a product manager at Facebook, penned a great writeup on the early years of the Foursquare-Gowalla death match, spanning 2009-2010, before Foursquare emerged as the King of Check-In Mountain.

Now that the table has been set, what’s next for geolocation? Is it all about Foursquare, Yelp, yawn and go home?

I don’t think so. Instead, we’re seeing geolocation begin to splinter into niches and verticals. And, within a couple of years, geolocation capabilities will simply be baked into our everyday on-the-go lives.

From Silicon Valley and elsewhere, startups have emerged with powerful, useful geolocation capabilities central to their business model. As someone who’s as much an entrepreneur as a social strategist, I’m about to cast off into these choppy waters myself with a startup called Placely. (Come add your email addy to be notified when we’re ready to roll!)

Flavors of location: Travel, recommendations, geo-social & more

We’re still in the expansion, experimentation and buyout phase — before the inevitable contraction, consolidation and hand-wringing phase sets in

In surveying the competitive landscape, I’ve been struck by how diverse the geo landscape has become. We’re still in the expansion, experimentation and buyout phase — before the inevitable contraction, consolidation and hand-wringing phase sets in. Every week, it seems, I hear about a new startup doing something interesting with geolocation. (I still wish Gowalla had pivoted instead of selling to Facebook.)

Navigation apps like Waze and mapping sites (Google, Apple, Mapquest, Bing Maps) are all about location, but they’re too obvious to include here.

So what are the new breed of startups using location information in interesting new ways? Continue reading

January 28, 2013

Are you ready for the place graph?

Jason-Wilson
Jason Wilson, co-founder of Platial, in San Francisco on Thursday (iPhone photo by JD Lasica).

Platial helped pioneer place-based social networking

This is the first of a multi-part series on geolocation startups and services.

Target audience: Entrepreneurs, founders, startups, geolocation services, mobile ad networks, businesses, educators, journalists, general public.

JD LasicaFor years, entrepreneurs, tech observers and funders have known two things about the geolocation space: It holds an enormous amount of promise, and it’s taking an awfully long time to get there.

geologo-logoGeolocation startups are hot in Silicon Valley right now, from Zkatter, a San Francisco-based startup from British young gun Matt Hagger that wants you to capture and share moments in real time through mobile video, to Findery, the venture-backed San Francisco startup from Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake that wants you to leave notes, media and digital objects for others at specific locations.

What’s my connection with geoloco? For the past half year I’ve been working on a geolocation startup called Placely (register for the beta here). We’re still early in development, so I’ll talk more about our plans for Placely in a future post. But today I think it’s worth doing a quick survey of how far we’ve come (not very) and how far we still have to go as geolocation gets ready for its closeup. Continue reading

June 6, 2012

Why you, too, should be social media slutty

Are you plugged into new communities, interests and passions?

LinkedIn

Photo credit: Christopher S. Penn

Chris AbrahamIf you call yourself a social media marketer and you’re not completely promiscuous about it, you’re not serving yourself, your boss, or your clients. If you’re not constantly downloading new apps or registering for every single new social network, you’re slacking. If you don’t endlessly click YES when it asks you if you want to search for or invite your friends, you’re derelict in your duties. And if you aren’t hooked in to share everywhere whenever possible, you’re not going to understand how all of these connectors, sharing strategies, cross-posting techniques, check-in features, and general spaminess and shamelessness quotients work first hand.

How, then, would you be able to honestly either know about or recommend any of them? Unless you want to be a professional tweeter and Facebooker all your life, you had better know both what’s out there now as well as what’s coming down the pike.

This line of thinking has surfaced because I have gone crazy now that I have my iPhone. I have jumped in with both feet and have explored any and all passions and hobbies through apps and vertical communities. Since I am on a health kick, I have joined just about every social network that allows me to track my food intake, my activity, my workouts, my progress, my calorie burn, my running and biking routes, as well as my general movement and sleep patterns: fitbit, Runkeeper, LoseIt, MapMyRun, Strava, Endomondo, DailyMile, PolarPersonalTrainer, and Garmin Connect.

Each one tracks differently, each one enjoys a different segment of my followers as members, and each one touches me in ways that either pain or tickle me. And, for now, I am keeping them all fed and watered — a little easier because all but RunKeeper allow me to upload data directly from my Garmin Forerunner 305, so it’s not too hard.

And since I am the new owner of a motorcycle, I am the member of the Adventure Rider Motorcycle Forum; and because I am a bouncing baby gun nut, I am a member of GlockTalk, Elsie Pea Forum, Rimfire Central, and the Virginia Gun Owners Forum. So, downloaded loads of forum-reader apps, saw how they share, saw how they allowed me to engaged, and decided upon Tapatalk.

That’s not all. After years and years, I have finally admitted to being a TV addict in addition to every other form of media, including books and movies, so I have joined GetGlue, Goodreads, TV Guide, yap.TV, and BuddyTV as a way of keeping track of shows and movies as well as being able to check in and comment and engage and track hashtags and mentions, and so forth.

Yes, in addition to checking in with Yelp and FourSquare in the physical world, I have even started checking in virtually when I am watching dumbass shit on TV such as 2 Broke Girls, Girls, Veep, Suburgatory, Grimm, et al.

And, whenever I have been given the opportunity to share to my Facebook or Twitter steam, I say YES. And whenever I am asked if I want to find friends who already on there or to even invite a massive amount of my friends via email, I surely do do that — to all of our chagrin. But I do it so I know and I do it so that I always know exactly what will happen if and when I recommend something like that to my clients.

Spend some time exploring new communities of action

What’s more, Facebook and Twitter are not the only games in town. Nor are Google Plus and Pinterest. Or even Instagram. So, in order to make the best recommendation to your clients or to best access your target consumer and customer exactly where they live and spend their time, you need to be aware of all of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-tier communities in addition to the most obvious, most competitive, and most costly 1st tier platforms — both to participate in as well as to build partnerships, sponsorships, prizes, and other tie ins and opportunities. While you might be channeling IBM in that you’ll never get fired for choosing it, a Facebook Page-only campaign is pure laziness.

At a very elite conference years ago, I introduced myself as a syphilitic trucker on the social media highway. No, it’s not funny. Truckers are the No. 1 reason worldwide why heretofore isolated rural villages the globe over are getting sick with all kinds of sexually and socially transmitted diseases. Before, only single-tracks, rivers, and airfields — if anything — connected the most remote points on earth; now, a comprehensive spider web of roads and highways is allowing commerce to reach just about everywhere, both to bring in supplies but also to extract commodities and valuable natural resources.

While that sort of shameless behavior may well have made me quite a few enemies, I am generally patient zero when it comes to turning people on to new communities, new interests, new resources, and new passions. I can’t even tell you how many people are on LinkedIn, Plaxo, Facebook, and Twitter because of me; too many to count had been on MySpace and Friendster before that.

And I recommend you, too, really take the time and energy to get off of Tiny Wings for a little while and spend some time exploring these communities of action, circumstance, inquiry, interest, place, position, practice, and purpose yourself. You can’t be a competent advisor unless you’ve had first hand experience over time. So, go git ‘em, Tiger!

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