February 6, 2014

InContext: The coming onrush of contextual devices

incontext
VCs Josh Elman, Charles Hudson and Bubba Murarka (the three gents at center) were among the speakers on hand at InContext 2014 (Photo by JD Lasica).

Will contextual data create better user experience that drive more engagement?

Target audience: Tech professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

JD LasicaWe all know that the rush toward the mobile Internet is the mother of all megatrends. Less well known is a fascinating, still nascent subset of mobile: contextual mobile devices. That was the topic of an afternoon gathering yesterday called InContext 2014, hosted by EverythingMe yesterday at Terra Gallery in San Francisco’s SoMa district.

(It’s a crazy week for me. Here are the Flickr photos I shot Monday and Tuesday at Startup Grind in Silicon Valley. Yesterday, InContext. Today, attending CMX Summit to hear about community building.)

At InContext, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, mobile analysts and journalists exchanged views on what looks to be the Next Big Thing in mobile: contextual awareness. The idea, in short, is this: You give people what they want when they want it without them asking for it. Continue reading

October 2, 2013

Photos of Launch conference for mobile startups

pablo-sandoval
Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants, former World Series MVP, demonstrated Zepp at Launch Mobile.

JD LasicaIspent the past two days at Launch Mobile & Wearables, a gathering of several hundred entrepreneurs, technologists and startup staffers in San Francisco organized by entrepreneur/VC Jason Calacanis and his team.

As usual, I did more tweeting than blogging, but I also captured more than 60 photos of the event, seen in the Flickr set above. (I still love you, Flickr!)

The grand prize winners were three startups:

SoundHound, a brilliant bit of software that helps users identify songs, summon up song lyrics on the spot, conduct voice search (including identifying radio segments) and much more.

Zepp Labs, which trotted out Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants and former Giants star JT Snow to show off a multi-sport training system, tiny sensors — and big crack of the bat.

MyTime, which lets you book appointments online with top-rated merchants, such as massage therapists, dentists, hair stylists, acupuncturists, chiropractors and other services.

I agree with the judges — terrific selections, all worth a look.

September 30, 2013

Ansa: Text friends safely, securely & without regret

Go ‘off the record’ when sharing sensitive messages

Target audience: Startups, network managers, college students, privacy experts, mobile users, educators, journalists, Web publishers.

JD LasicaMobile is taking over the world, as tens of millions of us migrate from desktops and laptops to smartphones and other mobile devices. Today I’m attending Launch Mobile in San Francisco to get a sense of the latest trends (see my tweets by following @jdlasica on Twitter). And earlier this month I attended TechCrunch Disrupt, where a number of young social and mobile startups were on display.

One of the startups that caught the eye of the judges was Ansa, a messaging app that gives you control over the messages you share. One judge called it “Snapchat for grownups.”

I interviewed co-founder and CEO Natalie Bryla in this 6-minute video:

Watch, download or share the video on Vimeo
Watch, embed or share the video on YouTube Continue reading

September 25, 2013

Book review: ‘Age of Context’ captures the pulse of new tech

Robert-Scoble-Google-Glass
Robert Scoble, co-author of “The Age of Context,” wearing Google Glass at the 2013 Startup Conference (Photo by JD Lasica).

New book, out today, identifies ‘five forces’ animating modern culture

JD LasicaEvery few years someone comes along and pulls the camera back to reveal a wider view of the technological changes coursing through the business world and larger culture. Robert Scoble and Shel Israel have done just that with their new book, “The Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy” (paperback, self-published).

The authors nicely contextualize what they call the “five forces” in what amounts to a technology megatrend: mobile, sensor devices, social media, big data and location-based technologies. These forces add up to a formidable package, one that deserves scrutiny far beyond the boundaries of greater Silicon Valley, where much of the action takes place.

age-of-context

The book goes on sale today on Amazon (though Amazon lists its release date as Sept. 5).

Scoble and Israel (both friends) convey their thesis – generally about the public good that will be served by the new contextual technologies, accompanied by the occasional caveat or warning – by stringing together short anecdotes about how people are adopting and adapting to this quickly emerging landscape.

Throughout the book, the authors raise provocative questions about how society should navigates an era of pervasive data: Who owns data being collected on individuals? How are the rules of privacy being reshaped, and who gets a say?

As someone who is immersed in Silicon Valley culture, I found myself nodding along more often than not, bemused by some of the bouts of optimistic boosterism and skeptical of some of the more grand claims. But that’s precisely why “The Age of Context” works: It raises the right questions and takes square aim at many of our cherished beliefs. We all have opinions about the effects that these transformations are casting on society, and you’ll have your own chance to cheer or jeer at the conclusions the authors draw. Continue reading

April 3, 2013

3 key inbound marketing strategies for mobile apps

hugemarkets

Be social, court your fans and tell your story

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, app developers. This article originally appeared at SEOmoz and is republished with permission.

By Robi Ganguly
CEO, Apptentive

robigMobile. The word makes some of us cringe these days. Everywhere you look in the marketing world, you see signs of it – mobile this, mobile that.

Sometimes, I feel like we’re pushing the idea of mobile to the limit. But then I look at the numbers:

  • Apps have already surpassed the Web when it comes to consumer time spent and are second only to time spent watching TV.
  • There are more than 750,000 apps in the App Store alone.
  • These apps have over 40 billion downloads.
  • There are 1 billion smartphones in the world, and that number will triple in three years.

Continue reading