Quora, Expertise Gone Social

Dan Kapla of Twilio on the rise of Quora:

By combining an answer voting mechanism and a reward addiction loop (upvotes are crack) with a strict identity requirement and a one-to-many follower model, Quora started solving the problem of extracting high-quality experiential knowledge out of humanity’s collective head and getting it into structured form on the internet.

As I wrote last week, Quora is the new way to learn.  I’ve been using it actively since the iOS launch to offer my expertise in social, music, and self-help areas.

Think of Quora as a social platform with the requisite follow, share, and vote (like) buttons a la Facebook and an open encyclopedia like Wikipedia.

Try it and learn from others.


Facebook is a Necessary Evil

I would stop using Facebook tomorrow if I could.

But Facebook’s got me where its want me, in the doubt position, always curious about its platform.

There was a long stretch (maybe 5 months) where I rarely logged in to Facebook. But I’m back again, and really only posting to increase my Klout score.

That’s exactly what I mean though:  whenever I go away Facebook finds a reason to pull me back in again whether it’s through a cool new plugin I want to try or a person I want to contact because I can’t find his or her email.

Facebook will always be there for me when I need it.  But how my occasional logins lead to ad-revenue is a whole another issue….

How Content Sells More Product


The content ends up selling the cameras.

The ubiquity of hi quality photo and video devices conveniently located on the Smartphone turn brands into owned content producers and user-generated aggregators.

Burberry is a prime example of a brand making its own content and using it on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to engage customers.

This week GoCamera promoted a user generated video on Youtube to spread awareness about its cameras.

Cool and shareable content generates sales because it feels more personal to consumers than TV commercials and it hits people on the go or at their computers.

Even more, content production is cheap and the marketing on social platforms is free.

Having a content strategy is a new and more subtle form of advertising.

Undermining the 80/20 Rule

Pareto’s 80/20 principle is typically a good rule of thumb for everything, from the most popular revenue generating products to figuring out the most effective use of our time.

But in the ad driven and stumbleupon world, the 80/20 gets skewed; there’s tons of products that get heavily promoted combatted by tons of products that people randomly discover.  Both paid and organic media drive a lot of hits.  Youtube videos are the perfect example of this.

Chris Anderson’s long-tail theory empowers the mass of niches against the hit, especially for free stuff like videos on Youtube.  And Pareto’s theory is a good way to look at what’s actually driving revenue.

Make everything available and see what happens.

External Hard Drives Looks iCloudy

We need Internet external hard drives, Internet storage, the “cloud,” whatever you want to call it.

Apple’s iCloud comes at the right time, when mobile and Internet have intersected to allow consumption from anywhere.

Right now, I’m testing out Amazon’s cloud services for my music. It works. So does Google music cloud. But I want Apple, that’s why I’ve been waiting for the iCloud.

There’s been conflicting reports about iCloud in it’s ability to host owned music that can’t be matched in iTunes. This will be a serious setback if this feature gets excluded.

As you can see, I want to dump my files, especially my music files, and I want to do it on Apple’s servers. Simply said, iTunes is still the best music jukebox around.

Quora is a New Way To Learn

Quora is my new favorite iPhone application.

It feels like a game, an interactive mixture of answering, asking, and reading questions that other people have specialized opinions and knowledge on.

You also get rewarded for participation with votes.  If you want to learn and stay on top of the latest news on anything broad and specific (tech, politics, Steve Jobs), download the app and stimulate your brain.

I know I’m getting smarter for it.

My Quora Profile

SMS is Dead

Dump your SMS plan, you no longer need it.

iMessage is coming out this week.  GroupMe, Kik, Facebook messenger, and BBM are already viable alternatives.

The record labels know this:  you can’t fight free.  And the providers know they can’t just raise the data plans to accomodate for billions in lost text dollars.  Bad customer experience risking backlash.

Traditional texting is over, move on without it, and force everyone else to come along for the ride.

People Just Want The Points

I saw Kiip CEO Brian Wong speak this week at the iCitizen conference.

He spoke about the humanization of technology.  At the end of the day, the customer just wants to be rewarded with points for participation.  Some people care more about gathering points than getting a discount.

To Gary Vaynerchuk’s point (no pun intended), we are in a Thank You Economy and points are just another way of saying ‘thank you’ even if the points amount to nothing.

We can now win instantly in the digital world and share reward notifications with our friends via Facebook, Twitter, and email.  The gamification of shopping, tying consumers from their mobile to the store, represents the shift into social commerce.