October 05, 2011
Georgia Tech's Rosa Arriaga on the Power of Human Censors
Georgia Tech Psychologist Rosa Arriaga talked to the Idea Festival audience about the importance of human censors to not only empower patients to take better control of their diseases, particularly chronic diseases, but improve self reliance overall.
She notes that individuals of chronic conditions aren’t even aware of their own symptoms. She brought up SocialMirror, which is a targeted social network for individuals with autism. Tools like this for patients can help them stay motivated about making their regime a priority, including medicine.
Through his network, the app can provide feedback about what an autism patient should do or not do in a particular social situation, such as what to wear at a particular event, what to say, what to bring to a meeting or party, certain behaviors and so on. The social network combined with caregiver and doctor feedback can be a powerful tool to help patients become so much more self reliant than they could ever have imagined in the past.
This would obviously work for so many other conditions and chronic diseases. She ends with this parting thought and prediction. "The future of health and well-being will be done with social computing and social/human censors.”
September 29, 2011
Aneesh Chopra: Blue Buttoning Our Own Data Will Fuel Innovation & Empower Americans
If you haven't heard of the name before, Aneesh Chopra is the United States Chief Technology Officer, where he serves as an Assistant to the President and Associate Director for Technology within the Office of Science & Technology Policy. Whooah Nelly, that's a mouthful of a title.
In other words, he works to advance the President’s technology agenda by fostering new ideas and encouraging government-wide coordination to help the country meet its goals from job creation, to reducing health care costs, to protecting the homeland.
I had a chance to listen to him speak at the Idea Festival recently, where his talk focused on the President's mission and goals, with a central core theme to make it happen: working from the bottom up, not the top down and opening up data so others can create and innovate with it, and we, as a nation, can thrive.
Here's what they're currently focused on within the above framework:
- Putting more people back to work
- Boosting access to capital for high growth companies
- Turning job seekers to job creators
- Unleashing the mobile broadband revolution
- Modernizing 35,000 schools
- Making government services transparent to job creators
- Open Government aka the Start Up America initiative
- Patent reform
- Catalyze breakthroughs
Technology was a big part of his message as he echoes Obama's pitch, "for our families and our businesses, high speed wireless service and mobile is the next train station, it’s the next off-ramp..it’s how we’ll spark innovation, new investment, new jobs." He also referenced Silicon Valley start-ups on more than one occasion, including Instagram and Crowdflower.
Aneesh says that there's an aministration commitment to unleash market opportunities by framing current or proposed policies to inspired entrepreneurs and gaining valuable policy feedback for iteration with an emphasis on healthcare, education and energy.
Where is the puck heading?
"We need breakthroughs," he says. "The only way is to tap into new hubs outside Silicon Valley." Hear hear Aneesh.
He also talked about education dominance, pushing software that adapts to how students learn, inspiration for the proposed ARPA-ED. They want to open up the data to teachers and make it accessible to them and their students, regardless of where they are in the country.
Another challenge they face he throws the audience's way is the clean energy revolution. They're hoping that ARPA-E investments and NIST standards activities will spur creativity.
He cites the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as an example, America's center for weather data. The weather industry is worth about $2 billion he reminds and "they're fueled because of open government data."
Aneesh adds, "we can also encourage market transparency." Healthcare.gov is a comprehensive catalog of insurance options, an effort to create more transparency than ever before. You’ll be able to find pricing data, how often an insurance company charges a premium, and how often were people rejected (denied coverage for whatever reason).
He also mentioned “Blue Button”, a public/private initiative that scales, where veterans can download their personal health information from their My HealtheVet account. My HealtheVet users who receive VA health care services can also refill their prescriptions and view their appointments, allergies, and laboratory results online.
Why not transfer that kind of tool to other areas and industries he says, such as education. "Imagine if every student could get a downloadable document of his/her assessment, a personalized platform that translates from student performance to market reality. We need personalized platforms for each of our children that can translate into something meaningful. This is the kind of thing that can fuel products and services. Find where the data sits and find out a way to liberate that data.”
He adds, "We're liberating government data & if people can become billionaires because of it, God Bless." The audience laughs.
He continued to push the open government throughout his talk including in the Q&A at the end, which was incredibly well received. (note: while the audience had visitors from the west coast, DC, the north, NYC and other places, there was a large number of locals - aka the midwest meets the south...in other words, family values and education are high priorities).
Certainly blue buttoning our own data is going to fuel innovation and empower individuals. Isn't it where we have to go? If we don't, we become victims rather than creators of our own lives and destinies in more ways than one.
September 29, 2011 in America The Free, Conference Highlights, Europe, On Being Green, On Education, On Health, On Innovation, On Mobile & Wireless, On Politics, On Technology, On the Future, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
September 16, 2011
DEMOfall 2011: From Online Death & Fashion Augmented Reality to Music Robots & Reid Hoffman
DEMOfall kicked off this week simultaneously with a bunch of other industry events in Silicon Valley. A host of 80 companies presented on-stage and held court in the pavillion at the Santa Clara Hyatt.
They also did one-on-one fireside-like chats with a host of industry illuminaries, including LinkedIn and Greylock's Reid Hoffman (left) and Intuit's Chairman of the Board Bill Campbell (interviewed by Brad Stone from Bloomberg's BusinessWeek).
Brad Stone asked Bill what he learned from Steve Jobs. The very first thing Bill came back with, without hestitation was product....having a great product.
He spoke with a sentimental voice as he talked about Steve Jobs and his legacy he has left the industry with so far, obviously referring to his recent step-down. Bill also talked about the importance of product management and having a great team in place. "The real role of the product manager is getting the product design right," he says. "Simplicity is key. Keep the UI simple...." He paused. "That's what I learned from Steve Jobs."
Cloud was covered on more than one occasion, starting with a panel discussion on how mid and large-sized companies are adapting to the cloud. Matt Marshall interviewed Cisco's VP Sheila Jordan and John Petrone, CTO and Senior VP of Autobytel.
Below is Geoffrey Moore, Managing Director, TCG Advisors/Venture Partner, Mohr Davidow Ventures.
Another cloud technology discussion happened with Accel Partner's Chuck Ganapathi, Jive Software's David Gutelius, Microsoft's Dan'l Lewin and The Founder's Institute's Adeo Ressi. Enterprise technology sages Larry Augustin from SugarSRM, Tom Gillis from Cisco and Paul Santinelli from North Bridge Venture Partners were interviewed by IDG Enterprise Senior VP John Gallant.
"When you go enterprise, go BIG if you're doing a start-up," says Tom Gillis. "Think of virtualization of the data center and video, which are going to be big and disruptive." While there was an emphasis on encouraging start-up founders to focus, Larry Augustin added a potential danger in getting too focused.
"Don't let focus focus focus restrict you and narrow you into small company mentality and thinking," says Larry. All agreed that while consumer start-ups have to think about the social and user experience and getting user adoption, focusing on the customer is what is most key for enterprise companies.
Think of it as an enterprise platform which automates the discovery of expert coworkers based on expertise, experience, connections and responsiveness. Whodini delivers the right person, right away. It's a cool concept and received a positive response from the audience and panelists.
Also high on the list was Fluxx from Fluxxlabs, who someone said of its capabitilies: I like the information processing part of it, but it really needs to include my inbox."
OLogic, Inc. brought their new robot onto the DEMOfall stage. (there always seems to be at least one robot at DEMO each year). A.M.P. is what they call him, an Automated Music Personality, which they call the world's first two-wheeled, self-balancing smartphone accessory. (wow, that's a mouthful, no? Call it a robot which delivers great music - it's a helluva lot simpler).
The other cool thing is that this self balancing “robotic” music player can be operated using a Smartphone (only android for now). The price point they say is about $400 or potentially less. (reasonable for a product in this category).
MashOn, Inc. announced Dabble which they refer to as the "Cure for the common shop." CRIKEY, this is their explanation of Dabble.
"Dabble is an HTML5 patent-pending embeddable web application that provides a comprehensive product personalization and customization platform and “on-demand” manufacturing solution for shop owners operating on the leading eCommerce platforms. Dabble’s Cart Adaptor technology, Fulfillment Adaptor, Product Customization Tool, and Self-Service Administration Dashboard work together to provide “The Cure for the Common Shop.” WHOAHH Nelly. Are you kidding? Simplify baby, didn't you hear Bill Campbell's message?
Then, there was one of my favorite apps which of course threw me (and everyone around me) when they first walked on stage. I-Memorial.com has a place where you can leave your legacy after you die on i-Tomb.net. Imagine a place where you can set up your messages, videos, photos for people to see after you die. He walks on stage and says to the DEMO audience, "we are here to transform death." Half the room laughs, while some are likely uncomfortable. Is this for real we're all thinking. Yup, and after I listened to their pitch in detail, I began to think, "what a great idea." From the traditional grave to the virtual tomb, they are allowing every person to build their own immortality: the resting place of the deceased. i-Tomb is a collection of videos, text and photos of the deceased, in other words, life after life. You can leave virtual flowers, a candle for someone or share your feelings about your son or daughter on video that they can listen to after you pass away. You can also leave your "death wishes" in a particular section on the site such as how you want to die, flowers and music you want at your funeral and so on. They are launching in 14 languages and targeting people aged 40 years and older. The other demo I liked is Schedulicity, which is an online appointment scheduling app, aimed at helping small businesses save hours a day and increase profitability by eliminating the hassles of scheduling with pen and paper. By offering online service scheduling 24 hours a day through multiple digital channels, businesses are able to easily and effectively attract new business, increase the frequency with which their current clients book appointments, decrease cancellations and concentrate on providing the best possible service during their business hours. They have also integrated with Facebook, so small businesses can receive bookings through their Facebook page using Schedulicity’s scheduling widget. trueRSVP did an alpha pitch, demonstrating how frustrating the RSVP process is today by using a woman in a wedding address whose husband-to-be didn't show up at the altar. It is the first RSVP system that’s flake-proof. By providing five RSVP options and multi-faceted algorithm factors in attendees’ reliability, event planners can now get a more accurate estimate of how many people will actually show up. Create virtual outlooks, mix-and-matching items from different brands and collections from all over the world. Try it on and share this experience with your friends and stylists to get advice. Below, see an example with Topshop. Below is a video of the panel on consumer technology sages: SofTech's Jeff Clavier, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Ellen Pao and Aileen Lee, Menlo Ventures' Shervin Pishevar and Nextdoor.com's Nirav Tolia. Below is a group shot of the DEMOfall "demo god" winners on stage on the last day. Here's a link to the DEMO flickr set so you can go on a visual journey of this year's fall event. Photo credits: Stephen Brashear
September 16, 2011 in America The Free, Conference Highlights, Events, On Mobile & Wireless, On Search, On Social CRM, On Technology, Social Media, Videos, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink
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AND, since I'm a bit of a fashionista, here's a call out to Fitting Reality. Female Russian CEO - Inga Nakhmanson, did a great job explaining the simplicity of the service on stage. Using VIPodium, which is based on Augmented Reality technology, you can virtually try on clothes either at home or in the store.
Other things about the event and their company "gives." Demo offers full scholarships to 20 companies who are "bootstrapping it" and have raised $500,000 in funding or less. Within the 20, there are several specific charters that are supported by the following sponsors:
September 08, 2011
Imagine a place where you can set up your messages, videos, photos for people to see after you die. He walks on stage and says to the DEMO audience, "we are here to transform death." Half the room laughs, while some are likely uncomfortable. Is this for real we're all thinking. Yup, and after I listened to their pitch in detail, I began to think, "what a great idea."
From the traditional grave to the virtual tomb, they are allowing every person to build their own immortality: the resting place of the deceased. i-Tomb is a collection of videos, text and photos of the deceased, in other words, life after life.
You can leave virtual flowers, a candle for someone or share your feelings about your son or daughter on video that they can listen to after you pass away. You can also leave your "death wishes" in a particular section on the site such as how you want to die, flowers and music you want at your funeral and so on. They are launching in 14 languages and targeting people aged 40 years and older.
The other demo I liked is Schedulicity, which is an online appointment scheduling app, aimed at helping small businesses save hours a day and increase profitability by eliminating the hassles of scheduling with pen and paper.
By offering online service scheduling 24 hours a day through multiple digital channels, businesses are able to easily and effectively attract new business, increase the frequency with which their current clients book appointments, decrease cancellations and concentrate on providing the best possible service during their business hours.
They have also integrated with Facebook, so small businesses can receive bookings through their Facebook page using Schedulicity’s scheduling widget.
trueRSVP did an alpha pitch, demonstrating how frustrating the RSVP process is today by using a woman in a wedding address whose husband-to-be didn't show up at the altar. It is the first RSVP system that’s flake-proof. By providing five RSVP options and multi-faceted algorithm factors in attendees’ reliability, event planners can now get a more accurate estimate of how many people will actually show up.
Create virtual outlooks, mix-and-matching items from different brands and collections from all over the world. Try it on and share this experience with your friends and stylists to get advice. Below, see an example with Topshop.
Below is a video of the panel on consumer technology sages: SofTech's Jeff Clavier, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Ellen Pao and Aileen Lee, Menlo Ventures' Shervin Pishevar and Nextdoor.com's Nirav Tolia.
Below is a group shot of the DEMOfall "demo god" winners on stage on the last day.
Here's a link to the DEMO flickr set so you can go on a visual journey of this year's fall event.
Photo credits: Stephen Brashear
September 16, 2011 in America The Free, Conference Highlights, Events, On Mobile & Wireless, On Search, On Social CRM, On Technology, Social Media, Videos, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
SOcial, LOcal, MObile, the Power Behind LeWeb's 2011 Start-Up Competition
SOcial, LOcal, MObile is the new black for startups this fall say the Guidewire Group who are powering this year's LeWeb'11 Startup Competition, centered on the SoLoMo theme (that's social, local, mobile, for the non-geeks who haven't memorized yet another acronym).
The annual showcase of emerging companies will honor the Top 3 startups creating state-of-the-art apps for the SoLoMo consumer or business markets. They are looking for the most exciting and innovative ideas that exploit the power of social engagement and location awareness of tablet and mobile phone devices. To be eligible, startups need to have less than €1M of investment.
Applicants will use Guidewire Group's forthcoming G/SCORE Analytics platform to profile and take a G/SCORE assessments. Those assessments, along with Guidewire Group analyst and community input, will be select 16 finalists to pitch for a spot among the Top 3 at the december conference in Paris.
To learn more about the competition, visit LeWeb's start-up competition page.
September 8, 2011 in America The Free, Conference Highlights, Europe, Events, On Geo-Location, On Innovation, On Mobile & Wireless, On Search, On Social CRM, On Technology, Social Media, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
September 07, 2011
Nominations Open For Tech4Africa Innovation Award Till Sept 12
Tech4Africa is calling for entries to their inaugural Tech4Africa Innovation Award. Designed to recognize homegrown innovation and further inspire the industry to develop global solutions to uniquely African challenges, the award is open to both individuals and companies.
The process has been broken down to its bare bones in a bid to make applying as simple and cost-effective as possible. Individuals or companies need to send a single-page synopsis of their product or service, what the innovation is and the level of success or traction that it has attained.
The only qualifying criteria are that the innovation must have been in the market for at least one and a half years and have been created by Africans to solve uniquely African challenges. Participants are welcome to nominate themselves or suggest a deserving recipient.
Entries for the Tech4Africa Innovation Award close on September 12, 2011, following which a list of 10 finalists will be drawn up. The winner will be announced at an award ceremony to be held the night of October 26, 2011, as a curtain raiser for the two-day conference that starts the following day.
Some of the industry’s leading minds gathered for two days to participate in presentations by and discussions with international speakers on the state of web and emerging technology on the continent.
The 2011 edition of Tech4Africa will be hosted at The Forum in Bryanston, Johannesburg from October 27 to 28, 2011. Registration for the conference is open, with full details on the website.
* Photo by whiteafrican (Creative Commons)
April 16, 2011
AdTech San Francisco Keynotes, Takeaways & Notes to Self: #adtech
John Bax says their focus is on "local" and that local ads obviously do the best locally since there's more of an understanding of what their brand is about when you have regional sales guys. "Intimacy works," he says.
Mobile is also an important strategy for them according to Bax. He gives a few examples including a local merchant in Virginia who has a B&B. Within 15 days, they sold all the rooms the vendors wanted to book in advance, focusing on a different strategy for how they promoted weeknights versus weekends.
He also noted that people signed up for things they weren't necessarily searching for. For example, those who signed up for a sky diving promo they did were not proactively looking to go sky diving. Their strategy works if you look at their stats and results - they apparently also sold 2 million movie tickets with Fandango.
Manny Anekal from Zynga came at his presentation primarily from the angle of giving back, i.e., "here's what Zynga is doing to give back to the world." In addition to listing all the things they are doing for social good, he ended with a leave behind for brands wanting to do a campaign with them: "We can get you up and running quickly. We were able to get a major brand up and running within six weeks," he says. He also shared stats and insights into their Frito campaign, which grew their fan base to over a million.
He started with the Pepsico pitch of products and services under their umbrella, reminding people that they operate in more countries than the UN. Then he proceeded to go primal on us and show a slide of dinosaurs and early man's progression.
"Why we are all dinosaurs?" he shouts out to the audience. His key takeaway was about adapatability in a world that is changing so fast with exponential technologies hitting us year after year making it harder to keep up.
"Adaptability is key to survival and success moving forward," he notes. “If you cease to adapt, then you cease to survive.”
While I missed Guy Kawasaki's keynote, I did not miss his book signing of new book: Enchantment, which was proof that he nailed it on stage. The line was so long for both purchases and signing that they ran out of books.
ESPN's VP Carol Cruz introduced this year's Achievement Awards right before Arianna's keynote. This year's award went to Mars' Carol Walker, who shared the award with Kathy Reardon in a 'classy moment.'
My tweets during the presentation below including AdTech's Brad Berens' share of where advertising numbers have gone up this year. Kudos to Brad and his dynamic team for pulling off yet another incredible AdTech this year.
- Carol Walker in touching classy moment shares #achievement award with Kathy Reardon on #adtech stage this AM:http://ow.ly/i/ajSA9:22 AM Apr 13th via HootSuite
- ESPN's VP Carol Cruz gives Carol Walker industry #achievementaward at #adtech -- http://ow.ly/i/ajRS9:15 AM Apr 13th via HootSuite
- Brad Berens on the #adtech stage sharing advertising numbers & stats all going up inc attendance: http://ow.ly/i/ajRf
I covered Arianna's keynote in depth here including a two part video. Below she powerfully nailed her talk, which primarily focused on humanity, sleep deprivation, hyper local and hyper connected and balance.
April 16, 2011 in America The Free, Conference Highlights, Events, On Blogging, On Branding, On Journalism, On Mobile & Wireless, On Technology, PR & Marketing, San Francisco, Social Media, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
April 11, 2011
Call Advertising Market Acquisition: Marchex Buys Jingle Networks (the FREE411 Guys)
Marchex, Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHX) announced the acquisition of Jingle Networks, adding a growing source of mobile distribution to its call advertising network.
The deal is that Marchex plans to pay up to $62.5 million in cash and stock for Jingle Networks, which is a leading providers of mobile voice search performance advertising and technology solutions. Some may know them through their service: 1-800-FREE411.
Jingle Networks’ core business is providing performance advertising solutions to mobile carriers and mobile network operators so that advertising agencies and businesses can leverage in-call advertising, including pay-for-call, to gain new customers over the phone or through the use of mobile applications. Over the last twelve months, Jingle Networks has added numerous mobile distribution partners and grown its mobile partner call volume by more than 200%.
Combining energies, the Marchex Call Advertising Network will now have an annualized reach of more than 500 million phone calls across digital media, including mobile. This new call advertising network empowers both large and small businesses to reach customers when they are ready to buy. As the digital advertising market shifts to incorporate phone calls in a more significant way, the Marchex Call Advertising Network is best positioned to provide solutions to advertising agencies and businesses due to its open platform approach using all digital media platforms and supporting all partner types.
Driven by the rapid adoption of mobile and smart phones, mobile carriers and network operators are seeing a significant rise in the number of consumers leveraging voice search to find businesses. Voice search, however, can be costly for mobile carriers and network operators given the technology and other items necessary to operate the service.
Call advertising helps businesses acquire and up-sell new customers through phone calls, by reaching customers when they are ready to buy. Marchex provides unique phone numbers and analytics tools that are used by advertisers to place, measure and optimize campaigns across all digital media channels, which helps these businesses increase their sales. Call advertising and analytics technologies are more important than ever to track and measure the success of call advertising campaigns in order to help advertisers better optimize their call advertising strategies to increase impact, maximize spend and deliver better sales results for their business.
March 25, 2011
Jensen Grand Prix Insider New Mobile App for What's Hot in the Car Racing World
While I was in Austin for SXSW, I ran across the Jensen Motorsport guys who just happened to have this incredible race car parked on the sidewalk. God bless Texas.
They were part of a promotion for Maple Leaf Digital Lounge and in conjunction with Dynamite Network, they announced the launch of the mobile application Jensen Grand Prix Insider.
Jensen Grand Prix Insider features up to the minute content of what' shot and happening in the car racing world as well as exciting contests and promotions offered by their race team partners.
They handed me a flyer about their promo and the announcement, but it lacked the most important details about the app or the promo. After reading the flyer four times, I finally saw a website link in small font but when I went there, it only gave me a form to enter the contest. I kinda need a reason to guys.
I did manage to find their Facebook page but after several searches, still didn't find much about their new mobile app.
That said, I thought the car was cool and they wooed me into sitting in it and learning more about motorsports in general. And, sitting in the car got me to write this blog post too, but while I'm not the target audience for the mobile app, it would have been great if they included more data up front to make it easy for people who did care about motorsports, to get hooked.
March 21, 2011
Interactivity and You: Which TRIBE do you BELONG to?
The showcase combines documentary storytelling with digital technology. It begs the question: What Tribe Do You Belong to?
Through the eyes of eight style-conscious music fans from My Tribe Is My Life, an interactive web-doc examines their distinctive worlds in a way that allows you the viewer to see the impact of the Internet’s impact on their interpersonal relationships and how they construct their personal identity.
As a player in this interactive experience, you can choose an avatar and find out about the Internet’s impact on you, allowing you to engage in an analysis of virtual networks and to question attitudes about these new social realities.
You will encounter eight diverse characters and have the opportunity to observe them as they go about their day-to-day activities. Through a series of questions, you will be invited to think about the role of the Internet in your own life. When you create an avatar, you can personalize its style, characteristics, accessories, etc., as well as comment on the film and chat with other participants.
The 8 Characters include: Patrick, a Goth loner who lives in his parents’ basement, and has built up a network on a forum dedicated to “vampire” style; Heythem, who organizes reggae parties, and views Facebook as the post-modern address book; Jimmy, a rapper in Abitibi, and a member of Quebec’s hip hop community; Janis (a.k.a. DJ Monochrome), an insurance broker by day and a passionate player in Quebec’s electro music scene by night; Laurianne from Sayabec in the Gaspé, who refines her Goth ethos in daily forum discussions; Sébastien, a Goth dandy/loli and a great admirer of the Japanese Harajuku culture, who regularly uploads photos of himself in his exquisitely constructed clothing ensembles; Pierre-Luc from St-Félicien, a provocateur through his “public private diary,” which has become his Facebook profile; and Shana, an emo teenager from Maliotenam on the North Shore, who derives her sense of identity through her friends, live chat rooms and a penchant for lip-synching videos.
To each his “tribe:” Goth, emo, reggae, rap, vampire. . . . Music is often more than a simple cultural product; it can be a means of constructing identity. Online social networks allow Web users to share music, information, images and feelings; in seeking out their own “kind,” they can discover a tribe that speaks to them. And, in exchange for expressing themselves through sharing and posting, they hope to receive comments, opinions and gestures of approval, all of which serves to validate their identity.
The film trailer can be found here.
March 21, 2011 in America The Free, Arts & Creative Stuff, Conference Highlights, Entertainment/Media, Events, On Mobile & Wireless, On Technology, On the Future, Social Media, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
March 11, 2011
A Sad But Historical Day: Migrating from my Blackberry to the iPhone
The Apple fan boys get to you - you know, that nagging effect that makes you 'feel' inferior. The innovators snarl at you as if you don't 'get it.'
The early adopters call you a dinosaur and keep asking you when you're going to move into the next century. Your blogger friends make fun of you because you have no cool mobile apps. Your media pals have more than one mobile device and they wonder why you don't too. Your clients keep developing apps that you need to test even if you're not their target market.
It took me long enough to move from a simple phone to a smart phone, one that did what it was supposed to do well - MAKE calls, text and store an insane amount of contacts, a priority for me. The Blackberry was a smart phone compared to my LG, Samsung, Palm and Motorola experiments, yet no one in the industry will likely agree.
It did what I NEEDED it to do really well - text, contacts, email and phone calls, ones that didn't drop several times during a conference call. That said, the Blackberry did NOT have an easy user interface for apps I would likely use abroad, like Skype and Google Maps or ones that I'd use here, such as Yelp, movie sites and local sites like SF Gate when I had a need to look up a restaurant or cafe.
You could look at this blog post as a nostalgic parting of ways post more than anything else. While it hasn't been quite two weeks, everytime I look down at my cool new bright iPhone screen with its purple cover, I can't help but long for my Blackberry. Everytime I have to type a text message or an email (OFTEN), it takes me three times as long. Yes, three, not two.
Apple fan boys and iPhone addicts will say that its only a matter of time and I'll be whizzing along on my new slick device with the mega memory and boat load of apps, yet what I'm realizing is that I simply don't need a boat load of apps.
Sure, I spent a few hours within the first 24 hours downloading cool apps that would make me more productive, such as Errands and 2Do, the latter I even paid for though I can't seem to see the benefit yet even after tinkering with it for a few hours.
I downloaded cool photo apps, the Wifi-Finder which has yet to work for me in 3 different cities, and all the social apps I might possibly use: Bump, Twitter, Plancast, YouTube, Facebook, Tungle, LinkedIn, Seesmic, My6Sense, and Hootsuite. Then again, I used the important ones on that list on my Blackberry with great ease anyway.
I have folders now with tech blogs, media sites, cool travel and resource references, 6 travel maps, and apps that revolve around music, spirituality and finance. I have icons for my favorite conferences and the sure, the DEMO and TED apps were useful recently and no doubt, the SXSW Go app will be useful this week in Austin.
YET....I used to fly through emails and text messages on my Blackberry. While I was sitting on the runway waiting for the plane to take off, I might send 50 emails that saved me time later on. I could check into Foursquare in a heartbeat while somehow on the iPhone, it seems like I need to go through an extra step. As for tweeting, don't get me started.
While on the DEMO floor, I snapped a photo using the very cool Instagram app everyone has been raving about (which I like a lot btw, but after four days of it, the novelty is already wearing off), and it took me 8 minutes to get the tweet out. No, I'm not exaggerating.
I realize the new 'toy' is just that - new. And, I have no doubt that my iPhone and Apple fan boy friends and early adopters who may no longer glare at me, may be right on the learning curve. In a few weeks time, I may very well be fixated with the beauty and zillion apps my Verizon iPhone gives me, but it doesn't mean I'll be any faster at churning out data.
Let's face it, I'm not a gamer or a mobile web surfer. Deep down, I'm a productivity whore. Seriously, I love things that reduce the time I'm tethered to my PC or to a radiation-ridden cell phone, whether its floating through data one screen at a time, listening to music or watching a video on a 5 inch screen. It's just not for me.
While there's no doubt, mobile is exploding and as barriers come down, and bandwidth and battery life improves, we'll be using our devices for more things, more often and in more places.
That said, right now, I need my phone to do 3 things really well: have a strong signal in as many markets as possible so calls aren't dropped and I can get online, churn out messages as text or email as quickly as possible, and have an interface and keyboard that allows me to spit out tweets in seconds, so I can focus on the content before me rather than trying to get the accuracy right using a keyboard that isn't a real keyboard. God help those with large hands and fingers.
Note the consistent need throughout: as quickly as possible. Productivity whores love efficiency and when they don't get it, they get cranky.
Here's the other thing that my Verizon iPhone won't give me that my Verizon Blackberry did. In December, when I went off to Paris, I turned on an unlimited data plan that allowed me to surf, text and do email as often as I wanted in Europe for a mere $3.00 a day. No can do with the blocked iPhone. Pals on that same trip ended up paying $300+ by the time they got back for what cost me just under $30.
Toys might be fun, but productive and inexpensive they are not. For fun, why not get an iPad and forget a phone that simply doesn't work well as a phone? Sorry geeks, early adopters, design freaks and Apple fan boys alike, I just don't get it. I'll report back in a couple of months so we can see how little or much I've evolved on this new slick toy you all love.