For Pinterest, A Picture is a Thousand Words

Thinc Iowa: Ben Silbermann of Pinterest from Silicon Prairie News on Vimeo.

Pinterest is a focused version of Tumblr.

Whereas Pinterest focuses on collecting stuff through photos, Tumblr is a blog platform for expressing collections through multimedia (photos, video, quotes, text).

My most popular Tumblr posts are typically a compelling photo plus one or two insightful sentences. The same goes for Facebook, where pictures produce higher engagement than videos or plain text.

Pinterest is merely carving a niche out of something it knows works really well and focusing on that. Instagram is keeping it equally fun and simplistic with pictures on the iPhone. In a way, Pinterest fulfills the Instagram web browser experience.

People like collecting things and showing friends and followers these interests in the easiest way possible. For Pinterest, a picture is a thousand words.

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Show Me The Path

I usually hop on the newly released apps quick, mostly because I want to see how they may disrupt other mediums or compete against mainstream platforms.

Path is the latest app getting praised around the web. It’s actually been out for a year but the second version is a such a major upgrade that reviewers are saying it’s the most beautiful app on the iPhone yet.

I downloaded it last night, tried to sign up only to fall asleep at the welcome screen.

I’m sitting this one out. It’s more exciting to read the reviews rather than using it when none of your friends are on there.

I may give the app exploration in a bored state. Maybe it is the next game changer? Maybe not.

I’m so stretched on other platforms it’s hard for me to imagine actively joining a new one. Beautiful and all, this is the main thing Path has against it.

WordPress Ads

I received an email this morning from WordPress.com about its own ad system, an alternative to Google Adsense.

With Adsense, you embed a strip of html into your blog hoping that it matches your blog content.  Relevant ads were rarely the case when I experimented with Adsense.

The WordPress ad system will be no more relevant but it may be easier to sign up and install.  It’s definitely worth testing.

Personally, the only reason I’d run ads on my blog is to raise money for charity.  I’d rather sell eBooks if I wanted to monetize my efforts.

This is Your Backend – 60 Hudson Street

Bundled, Buried & Behind Closed Doors from Ben Mendelsohn on Vimeo.

There’s a good chance that your data has passed through 60 Hudson Street.
 
I’ve always wondered where personal data actually lives and what center is feeding it to the world. Like a protective shell, the buildings keep the machines charged up so the world can do its business. 
The internet appears invisible to the end-user but the pipes are physical.

Built For The Mac (Noah Laptop Case)

Ucon | Noah Laptop Case from Ucon GmbH on Vimeo.

Inventors love to build widgets around Apple products, not just apps.

The above Laptop Case matches the carefulness and eye of Johnny Ive.

If you’re going to build a product around Apple computers, it has to live up to minimalist, meticulous design, not too mention high price point.

For those interested, the product is on sale at the Ucon Acrobatics website.

Home Workers Are More Productive

Telecommuting workers “are 40% more productive than their office based counterparts.

I may be more productive working from home but I don’t prefer it.  Work is a team sport.

We’re digitally connected everywhere and all the time, but nothing beats the idea generation that arises from face to face interaction.

We’re hardwired to be social just as we’re hardwired to move and exercise.

I think we should have the option to work one day every two weeks from home.  Doing so would save money on gas and give people a sense of rest, even though they’re merely stressing from their own desk chairs.

Personally, I love the feeling of waking up and riding the train to work into New York City every day.

I read the newspaper and write every morning, which takes a good 45 minutes in any case.  I also like observing the sights and sounds and stores of NYC which inspires ideas for my blogs.

Story short:  a little bit of telecommuting every now and then doesn’t hurt anybody.

Unfettered Smartphone Messaging To Be Countered?

The Smartphone put an end to control.

The Vladmir Putin booing video is circulating the Russian blogosphere.  A few years ago, the only video footage could have come from the state which would have never released it.

Meanwhile, the Occupy Wall Street movement persists, using the power of its own Twitter handle and hashtags to spread its message to the millions of others connected on Smartphones.

Smartphone messaging only works if others have them.

Imagine a North Korean capturing and distributing anti-government content only to be seen by the world and not at home because no else has a Smartphone. That’s a message with mass without the relevance.

My gut tells me that the uncontrolled nature of content produced on the Smartphone will go unfettered for a few more years while governments across the world drum up smarter ways to counter negative sentiment.  For this, the government needs technology companies which as of now, mostly serve the public and not the states.

The state will hire hackers to manipulate search results, monitor social media, and product more viral state messaging.

All it takes is one monolithic government like China to quell the instant buzz of Smartphone messaging.  And like the global weapons program, China will sell its public monitoring software to other controlled states like Russia.

I’m Thankful For Moving Beyond Flickr

My instagram was buzzing active today because I had the fortunate opportunity to attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Here are my snapshots of the Smurf and Tim Burton balloon:

I’m also celebrating my 3rd month away from Flickr, the picture hoarding website that basically deactivated my account and created a bunch of red tape preventing me from getting it back in.

I’m so thankful that I graduated from Flickr and can use sites like Inkstagram to share my photos instead.

One customer service mistake can you leave you dead, especially during the busiest season of the year.

Apple Store – Grand Central Station (NYC)

Apple previewed the opening of its Grand Central Station store this morning.

Above is a my own snapshot while passing through.

The store sign reads:

“Grab an iPod Touch.  You’ll wish your commute was longer.”  

I don’t think opening up a store in one of the busiest train stations in the world was Steve’s idea.  It feels forced, more like a shareholder’s desire to over-expand before selling out.

Even if it makes $1 million/day to offset the mere $1 million in yearly rent, the store’s placement still feels weird for such a respectable and forward-thinking company.

Is the Grand Central store a smart long-term move or a shareholder short-term strategy?

Look More Like Twitter

It’s no surprise that Google+ wants to look more like Twitter.

Facebook is doing the same thing with the ticker.

Advertisers, especially those on TV, want real-time interaction.

Real-time interaction equals more buzz and ultimately more viewers. More viewers raises the cost of ad space.

I suspect we’ll see Google+ trying a little bit of everything, plucking the best features of both Facebook and Twitter.

Here’s a scale hint: create the most interactive mobile experience possible.

Teenage Mobile Dreams

Teenagers prefer a smartphone over a car (New York Times):

“The iPhone is the Ford Mustang of today.”

Instant communication cuts down the need to drive.

Why drive over to a friend’s house when you can Facetime with them from your home.

Why meet up at a cafe to collaborate on homework when you do work with that same person on Skype.

Why go shopping when you can shop on the web.

Driving has lost its coolness, more of an inconvenience than anything.

Teenagers want to drive less and spend more of their time communicating on their phones.

Black Friday Is Officially Mobile

Mobile shopping is going to explode this Black Friday.

Here’s what to expect:

  • Shoppers using barcode scanner apps to get comparative pricing
  • Shoppers buying through apps or online through mobile browser
  • Shoppers using self-checkout on their mobile

Handheld and Internet connected, the Smartphone is changing the way people shop in real-time particularly when it comes to pricing and check out.

For all non-shoppers, prepare for the cell phone networks to be slower than normal on Friday.  Don’t forget to connect to WiFi.

Returned Kindle Fire

After a bad experience with the Amazon Kindle Fire (returned after 3 days), there’s no way I’m buying generation #1 of Amazon’s Smartphone.

The key to the Kindle’s first success was simplicity; a thin handheld wifi connected black and white eReader with access to tons of books and publications.

The Kindle Fire is the exact opposite debut; a heavy and slow wifi connected color “tablet” that’s frustrating to touch with access to a plethora of unformatted publications.

Clearly, Amazon is not a technology company.

Amazon is a grocery store of media building hardware to remain vertically aligned.  

Also part of the frustration is my own early adoption.  Years of iPhone experience set my expectations high.

Amazon’s first tablet is a failure.  But at least it fell forward.

Two Days With The Amazon Kindle Fire

After two days with the Amazon Kindle Fire, I feel expectedly disappointed.

The immediate flaws:
Slow processor
Heavy, like an old brick cellphone
Screen shifts vertical-horizontal unpredictably
Manual newspaper download
The Economist looks like someone scanned it in
No twitter app

The positives:
Cheap
Good video quality
Loads of content
Fits in your hands like a glove

Had I not had the ease and simplicity of the original Kindle and an iPhone 4S, I might have less observations and expectations and be more happy.

However, I kind of expected this outcome but hedged on quick software improvement. No online retailer is better than Amazon at listening to its customers.

My suggestion for others thinking of buying the tablet is to stick to the basics and buy a touch Kindle instead.

And maybe, just maybe, the price of the iPad comes down:)

If Facebook is __________, Twitter is ____________

If Facebook is PC, Twitter is Mac.

If Facebook is China, Twitter is India.

If Facebook is Walmart, Twitter is Target.

Facebook is much larger but not necessarily a more effective communications tool.

Both are complimentary but not interchangeable.

Do you use more than the other?