DailyTekk » Think Tank http://dailytekk.com Thu, 20 Mar 2014 18:32:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 Answered: Is Google Glass Dorky or Cool? http://dailytekk.com/2013/12/03/google-glass/ http://dailytekk.com/2013/12/03/google-glass/#comments Tue, 03 Dec 2013 14:00:37 +0000 http://dailytekk.com/?p=10410 googleglassdorky

Google Glass is coming, but will the world see through—and embrace—it’s quirkiness? Early explorers, and the people they come in contact with, are already forming opinions. But whether they love it or hate it may be beside the point if Glass isn’t seen as aesthetically admissible by the mainstream. Most imaginations probably envision Sheldon and friends more than Rachel and Friends as the types most likely to sport Glass (in public). But by resting Glass on the ears and noses of the non-nerdy in it’s marketing, Google has done it’s best to make the screen-on-a-frame look as socially acceptable as possible. Advertisers, however, cannot be trusted without verification because they have an agenda.

Glass is functional—it was designed to be useful. But will the fashion, not merely the utility, make or break wearable technologies like Google Glass? To make a product that will be worn worldwide, Google and other companies must possess a more complete understanding of how IT relates to a person’s ID. In the battle of apps versus appearance, which matters more?

I’ve asked a sizable group of technology entrepreneurs and executives for their opinion on the matter and their answers might surprise you. Since dorky seemed to be the prevailing conclusion among this group, lets start there.

The Dorky Point of View

Google itself defines dorky as a dull stupid fatuous (silly and pointless) person. In contrast, Google defines the word cool as fashionably attractive or impressive. With that in mind, are people outfitted in Google Glass oblivious, lacking judgement and common sense—or are they hip and in style?

As a startup founder and co-creator of the FlameStower, Andrew Byrnes admits that the line between cool and dorky is permanently blurred. That said, he thinks, “Google Glass is amazing tech… but its insanely dorky! Each time I see someone wearing Glass, it looks like they’re staring at a computer monitor—lazy eye, dropped jaw—even picking their nose because they’re distracted.” That certainly seems to qualify as oblivious.

Alex Neskin, CTO and founder of Petcube, describes Glass-wearers as just plain awkward: “All the face-touching, nodding and loud conversations with Glass add plenty of awkwardness points to the device.”

“Glass is definitely a little dorky, but I think it has a future,” adds Hursh Agrawal, co-founder of Branch and Potluck. Agrawal appears to question whether the benefits of Glass are enough to drive mainstream adoption at this point: “I’m just not sure they have enough utility at the moment to warrant wearing them on the street.”

As a guy who knows a thing or two about creating stylish accessories, Greg Petersen, co-creator of the MOS (Magnetic Organization System), says, “I would definitely love to have the product and have a screen constantly in view. That being said, I would wear them knowing that I look dorky and willing to live with those consequences.”

Some people take the current iteration of Glass at face value: merely a starting point. “I don’t think the mainstream version of Google Glass will look anything like it does now. I have no doubt that wearable computing is going to be a mainstream thing in the future,” declares Brenden Mulligan, founder of Cluster, before getting a bit harsher. “I wouldn’t wear Glass because I think people wearing it look like idiots, but I look forward to a day when it’s not such a ridiculous looking device. And that day will be here sooner than we think.”

AUUG founder Joshua Young seems to agree. “Google glass may be considered dorky now, but it won’t be for long. Augmented reality glasses will eventually be inconspicuous and available in any style. Current challenges to such eye wear are the social intrusion of surveillance and distraction, as well as battery life and general clunkiness. Technical limitations aside, the technology and social etiquette will shift to find a compromise for acceptable use.”

Thinking along the lines that Glass will start out dorky and improve in social adoption over time seems to be a popular view shared by Thejo Kote, CEO of Automatic. He relates to Young and Mulligan, “In it’s current form factor, Google Glass is more dorky than cool. I can see that changing over time as the capabilities of Glass get miniaturized into a smaller form factor.”

Acknowledging that Glass has currently gone to the nerds, Good.co CEO Samar Birwadker says, “Gadgets become world-beating technology when they enable a user to do what s/he already wants to do, but in a more efficient, perhaps even gratuitous manner. For a new technology to cross the chasm, what’s needed is that crazed, illogical set of early adopters that will defend their purchase decision tooth and nail and impact the product’s evolution. I think Google Glass has more than it’s share of fans/nerds who will not rest until it becomes cool someday.” Robert Scoble, anyone?

The Cool Point of View

Of all the tech entrepreneurs and execs I spoke with about Glass, only three came out and said it was cool. Mark Ghermezianis, CEO of Appboy, put it like this: “To the extent that Google Glass holds the promise of granting your vision access to the sum total of human knowledge, it’s awesome.” I guess if you think Glass is awesome you aren’t worried about getting a glare.

If desire is a sign of coolness, Ivalio Jordanov, co-founder, 23snaps, certainly likes Glass. He says it’s, “Dorky. Very dorky. Why? Because I can’t get my hands on a pair… it’s definitely cool.”

The third brave soul in the “Glass is cool” camp is Saurin Shah, co-founder of Sift, who asserts, “Google glass is cool. In one of favorite animes (Appleseed), people wore a Google Glass like device called a Connexus. Although the Connexus was ultimately used to mind-control people, it looked very cool! A few years later, Google introduces its version of the Connexus. It’s just as cool now as it was in the anime. Now we need the Google Giant Robot…”

Other Viewpoints

To some, the only thing that matters is the utility. “It’s not about cool or dorky,” says Filippo Yacob, Managing Director and founder of Primo.io. “It’s about how useful the application of this technology can be to someone within a given context. My normal glasses are dorky, but I use them because without them I can’t see.” As an aside, he speaks to the issue of more connectivity, “Personally I like to break from being connected in my every day life, I prefer my devices to stay in my pocket as opposed to on my face or wrist… but again, it depends on what I’m doing.”

Like Yacob, Alex Cabrera, co-founder of Marquee, agrees that, “It’s not so much a question of them being cool or dorky.” To him it is also more about the applications and the utility of the device. “It’s inevitable that devices which bring augmented reality to the mainstream are going to be with us,” says Alex, who believes devices like Glass will become accepted social norms. “We’ve seen this with smartphones—how it’s almost acceptable to stop a conversation midstream to check a notification; but smartphones can be discrete, you can put them away. I don’t think we start answering the social questions until it’s not obvious someone is wearing a pair.”

“I think it’s both,” maintains Horia Cernusca, co-founder and CEO of Swipe. “It’s definitely something you’ve seen in movies and always thought ‘this would be amazinnng.’ I’m not so sure I’d wear it constantly, at this point, mainly because I’d always have to talk to it which could be awkward in public. I can see it being useful while driving, while at work, or while traveling.”

On the other hand, Doorbot inventor James Siminoff things it’s neither: “Google glass does an awesome job riding the line between “cool” and “dorky”. It is an incredibly innovative product that bridges the gap between technology and our daily lives.” He’s also inspired by Glass. “Google’s willingness to take risks when innovating new products is inspirational to us as we also continue to push the boundaries of technology.”

Finally, Henry Villiers, CEO of WeStore, thinks its too early to say but points out, “Google glass aims to add subtle, informative value to your inner world, but when you put a pair on, you become a beacon of attention to the outside world, which kind of defeats the point.”


So is Google Glass dorky or cool? After reading through these responses, I have come to the personal conclusion that Glass is absolutely, positively dorky—for now. I agree with those who believe Glass and/or similar wearable products will become the social norm in the future. Maybe we can leave it like this, for now: Glass is dorky—but perhaps in a cool way (or is it cool in a dorky way)? What do you think?

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Should Tech Companies Employ Remote Workers? http://dailytekk.com/2013/03/04/should-tech-companies-employ-remote-workers/ http://dailytekk.com/2013/03/04/should-tech-companies-employ-remote-workers/#comments Mon, 04 Mar 2013 18:02:35 +0000 http://dailytekk.com/?p=9196 163076190Are remote workers a good investment? This is, not surprisingly (given the times we live in), a burning question that affects the entire workforce and economy to some extent. In recent years remote workforces have become a staple in the tech sector, yet there are signs of blowback as companies like Yahoo! decide to reel in remote workers or give them the axe. There is something to be said for seeing people face to face; it’s why Steve Jobs designed Pixar’s HQ building for impromptu bump-ins. At the same time, there is a lot to be said for remote workers. Jason Fried of 37signals is a big proponent Here to help you make up your mind on the subject is the DailyTekk Think Tank. As you’re about to discover, remote workers are generally smiled upon by the panel.

Yes, But It Takes an Investment

ryan-fixedCompanies should definitely employ remote workers if they’re prepared to make the investment of time, culture, and resources. Remote employees—those who don’t report daily to a corporate office—still require management, attention, staff development, and regular face time with their colleagues. They come with the same amount of overhead and expenses, just different types. But the benefits far outweigh the costs (StackExchange’s David Fullerton has a great article in Fast Company on that very topic this week.

Over 35% of Mozilla’s global workforce—full and part-time employees, contractors, etc—are what we affectionately call “remoties.” And that’s before I count the thousands of volunteers who aren’t even employed by us that contribute every day.

Remoties often struggle to feel connected to those of us who work in offices, and we invest a lot into travel for workweeks, team building, and face time to counteract it. But we also get to hire the best people, no matter where they are and what life circumstance are keeping them in their current location. To stay effective and cohesive, we adapted our culture. Today we flow seamlessly in and out of chat rooms, video conferences, and collaborative document editors to work with people around the world. I have staff in five timezones who I speak with daily. It’s not an event—it’s just how we work. Some days I wonder why I bother going to my office, when I spend most of it on a video chat with my team.

This model isn’t for everyone, and we’re not perfect at it either. I won’t judge those who think it’s organizationally not a fit, who aren’t prepared for the investment, or who feel it’s not right for their strategy. And besides: they’re leaving some incredibly talented people out of their hiring pool as a result— more for the rest of us.

Ryan Merkley (@ryanmerkley) is Chief Strategy Officer at Mozilla, where he recently launched the Webmaker initiative, helping users of the web become makers of the web.

YES! This Is The 21st Century

martyMy answer ia a big YES! This is the 21st century and technology allows us to break free from the limitations of physical location to work across geographical boundaries and time zones. Marissa Mayer’s recent edict that prohibits remote working arrangements will prove to be a short sighted attempt to motivate her employees and will fail miserably.

The key with all this is flexibility. While working from a remote location is not always the best arrangement in all situations; without that option, the organization will miss out on greatly enlarging their pool of possible contractors and employees who may not reside in a near-by physical location and either not willing or able to travel to a central office to perform their work tasks. I love Jason Fried’s stance and philosophy about business and Melissa Meyer could stand to learn a thing or two from him.

It’s the results of the work that matter. If I were Marissa Mayer, I could care less where and when that work was performed, as long as it met company objectives and expectations and preferably exceeded them. Sure, it’s always good practice to schedule time when your team can meet and collaborate in person which helps deepen working relationaships more than remote interaction can. A balanced approach tends to work best. Instead of dictating how your staff has to work, senior leaders should be encouraging ownership of work and make it their prioirty to build trust with their staff. Only then will the entire organization truly succeed.

Marty (@martymcpadden) is the founder and CEO of PodJamTV Productions who also blogs for the Huffington Post.

Yes, How Else Would They Get Work Done?!

chadIf they don’t, how else are they going to get anything done? I don’t know about you, but most of my meaningful work gets done between 5 to 9, not 9 to 5. I’m with Jason Fried on this. While all of our employees come in to the office everyday, when real work needs to get done, it’s GTFO of the office time. As Fried has said, developers and designers often need long, uninterrupted periods of time to get meaningful work done.

When someone taps you on the shoulder or starts a conversation across from you, it rips you away from that place you were. That place where time stands still and you have absolute clarity about what needs to get done. That place where you are under the hypnotic suggestion of the productivity fairy. That place where your brain rewards you with a constant drip of dopamine as you see the results of what you’re creating. A place that, if allowed to stay there, will add more value to the company in 4 hours than a typical 40-hour work week with distractions, interruptions, meetings and manager inquisition.

Chad Halvorson (@chadworks) is the CEO of thisCLICKS, makers of When I Work, a cloud-based mobile employee scheduling software.

Absolutely, Most Companies Should

kerryAbsolutely, most companies should be open to allowing people to work remotely. Studies have shown that remote workers are more productive, and companies and employees save time and money by being flexible.

Less office space means less overhead for management, and eliminating or reducing the commute saves employees gas, time and, money that would otherwise be spent on lunches out or dry cleaning.

Unless the person’s job is to be physically present, for instance a hostess or greeter, then the location in which someone does their work has very little impact on productivity. In my personal experience, working in a large office with cubicles can, at times, be very counter-productive. It can be challenging to tune out all of the ambient noise, snippets of conversation, and environmental distractions long enough to focus on mentally demanding tasks. The fact is, I wind up doing work that requires concentration off-site, during the two days per week I work remotely.

Companies should also consider how a remote work policy benefits them in terms of retention. Studies have consistently shown that more than 80% of employees would like the opportunity to work remotely, which means companies that are willing to be flexible can have their pick of top prospects.

They’re also going to save money because they won’t lose people who need to relocate due to their spouse’s work arrangement, family demands, or other circumstances. Advertising, interviewing, and training just one new employee can cost upwards of $18,000, so the cost savings should be enough to persuade most fiscally minded managers to consider allowing remote work.

The benefits don’t end there, either. Think of how many bright, talented women leave their jobs after having babies because childcare is prohibitively expensive and their office situation isn’t flexible. If they could shift their hours and work remotely, they could continue to contribute to their employer’s bottom line, and maintain the professional skills that will keep their career on track.

Of course, if management has permitted remote work and employees have missed deadlines or the client experience has suffered, then it makes sense to reexamine the policy, but it really should be a case-by-case analysis, rather than a blanket rule. I’m sure the much maligned Yahoo CEO had her reasons for pulling the plug on the company’s remote work program, but most companies could benefit from a more measured approach.

Kerry O’Shea Gorgone (@KerryGorgone) is an attorney, new media specialist, and educator teaching Internet marketing at Full Sail University in Florida.

It Depends, But It Can Save Time and Money

annThe decision to employ a remote workforce varies on the position that person holds, and obviously this will range from department to department. There will always be jobs that require the employee to be physically present, whether it be for collaborating with a team or managing other employees. The key to making a remote workforce successful, no matter how many members of your company work at home, is hiring the right employees. Make sure they have the self-discipline to work from home and the ability to manage their own time to make deadlines as assigned. Also look at promoting the most qualified of the team to management, then provide them with the proper training to lead the team—this will give them the tools to run your company efficiently.

Just think about the amount of time and money that employees save by being able to work remotely. There are so many parents who have been able to benefit from this business practice. Having a remote workforce also makes the company more environmental friendly, and therefore our world a better place.

I have a wonderful editor who works remotely from the other side of the country. We have a weekly meeting where I discuss my expectations with her and assign project due dates. It works beautifully for us, even with a three-hour time difference.

The corporate world, of course, can be different. Take stock of how many times a week you truly need to speak to each employee in person, rather than by email, telephone or Skype. Think about how often you use those three modes of communication when the person is in the office nearby! Use this information to create a meeting schedule and have your employee come in for face-to-face time accordingly. If projects or workload means that they need to be in-office for a full day or more, then by all means implement it—but don’t do it for the sake of doing it. There’s nothing worse than hearing from a manager: “But that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Technology is opening up new and wonderful ways to collaborate, team up and accomplish goals, both personally and professionally, in this day and age.

In business, kindness and leadership goes a lot further towards achieving success than showing your employees a lack of trust and respect. Collaborate, share, respect, trust, grow and learn from your team. However you end up configuring your workforce, a healthy working environment will foster creativity and produce results in any field.

Ann Tran (@anntran_is a key influencer across multiple social media platforms, an avid travel enthusiast and lover of anything involving technology.

Absolutely; Remote Workers Are Here to Stay

kimRemote workers absolutely have a place in today’s tech landscape and we are here to stay, just not on Team Yahoo, unfortunately. Much of today’s online content comes from professionals who work from home, including me.

Just like working in an office, there are pros and cons to working from home.

Here are the benefits I’ve personally experience from telecommuting every day:

  • More time with my three kids
  • Zero childcare expenses 
  • Zero commute
  • Zero fuel (and other car-related) expenses
  • Zero office politics
  • Zero dress code (yes to T-shirts and yoga pants!)
  • Flexible work hours
There are plenty of downsides to telecommuting, though. These are the drawbacks I battle often:
  • Loneliness (zero face-to-face interaction with coworkers, no friendly water-cooler talk) Full disclosure: I rent a desk in a nearby co-workspace office to alleviate this, but seldom use it. 
  • Putting in too many hours and overworking (working from home makes it easy and quite tempting to work anytime, outside of normal working hours, especially in the middle of the night and even during family meals, at times)
  • Lack of productive continuity (due to stopping and starting often to pick up kids from school, take them to extracurricular activities and doctor’s appointments, along with a flurry of household and other family-related responsibilities, including meal prep and laundry)
  • Constan pressure of having to be entirely self-motivated and self-disciplined (there’s no client or boss looking over your shoulder, making sure you are doing what you have committed to do)

Working from home gives me the flexibility to forge ahead in my journalism and children’s streaming TV careers AND be an active, involved mom in my three children’s lives. Telecommuting enables me to balance my work and family goals. But the right balance is extremely difficult to come by. I’m constantly battling to stay focused and on-task. Telecommuting certainly isn’t for everyone, but it’s absolutely necessary for me, at least until my kids are grown and off at college.

Kim Lachance Shandrow (@lashandrow) is a Los Angeles-based tech journalist who specializes in writing about social media marketing, startups, smartphones, streaming TV, mobile apps and green technology.

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What Should America Do About China’s Supposed Hacking? http://dailytekk.com/2013/02/25/what-should-america-do-about-chinas-supposed-hacking/ http://dailytekk.com/2013/02/25/what-should-america-do-about-chinas-supposed-hacking/#comments Mon, 25 Feb 2013 17:01:21 +0000 http://dailytekk.com/?p=9151 1361312994741.cachedThere have been many charges of hacking leveled at China over the last few years: from hacking reporters email accounts to sinking acquisition deals to stealing trade secrets to trying to gain access to critical infrastructure control systems.

According to security firm Mandiant, China has now been proven guilty (caught red-handed) on the charge of hacking entities within the United States. How should we respond as a nation? Is this is big deal or simply a nuisance? Here to help you decide is the DailyTekk Think Tank. Be sure to leave us a comment to let us know what you think!

America Should Be Proactive

martyInstead of being mad, the American government should be proactive and put a priority on cyber security and beefing up our defenses. I don’t think the general public realizes how dependent we are on computers and networks in the control and automation of major systems. Our massive electrical grid, communications and financial networks are heavily dependent on complicated network systems. These are all prime targets of sophisticated overseas hackers.

What makes the China situation so egregious is the hacking activity is condoned and even supported by the Chinese government. If China expects to be friendly trading partners with the United States, they need to stop this behavior and the United States needs to start taking cyber security seriously and truly make it a national security priority.

Marty (@martymcpadden) is the founder and CEO of PodJamTV Productions who also blogs for the Huffington Post.

Don’t Add Fuel to the Fire

kimCyberarms retaliation against China would only add fuel to the “cyber Cold War.” Instead, American companies and government should focus not only on better defending their most vulnerable networks and rolling out official rules of engagement, but also on encouraging the creation of a mandatory international cyberarms control agreement.

As California Senator Dianne Feinstein pointed out this week, we have long had international agreements to police war crimes, but no such agreements or legislation to govern cyberwar. It’s high time we create them and soon.

Meanwhile, not many people are talking about this in the wake of China’s alleged cyber attacks, but America has engaged in its fair share of cyber espionage and attacks, too, and even owns up to both as a critical facets of national security. Stuxnet, the computer virus that the U.S. used to annihilate Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility in 2010, is just the tip of the iceberg.

Kim Lachance Shandrow (@lashandrow) is a Los Angeles-based tech journalist who specializes in writing about social media marketing, startups, smartphones, streaming TV, mobile apps and green technology.

Demand Extradition

kerryWe should be mad enough to demand extradition of those responsible. Hacking isn’t just annoying and disruptive: it costs businesses money. If left unchecked, hacking can destroy small businesses and weaken large companies, ultimately undermining the economy as a whole. Stealing is stealing: it’s no different than if a U.S. hacker were to break into a Chinese company’s network and steal the plans for a new smartphone — it’s a crime. Governments need to cooperate to bring hackers to justice. There are instances in which hacking is used not for profit, but to make a political point. We saw this in the case of Aaron Swartz, who hacked copyrighted academic articles and made them available for free. The laws on the books could use refinement to address instances like the Swartz case differently than instances in which theft or terrorism is the objective, but we all share an interest in protecting our economy and the intellectual property of our citizens. We need to secure our infrastructure, and pay close attention to how sensitive information is handled, particularly as the workforce becomes increasingly remote.

Kerry O’Shea Gorgone (@KerryGorgone) is an attorney, new media specialist, and educator teaching Internet marketing at Full Sail University in Florida.


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Will the New BlackBerry Z10 Be a Hit or a Flop? http://dailytekk.com/2013/02/04/will-the-new-blackberry-z10-be-a-hit-or-a-flop/ http://dailytekk.com/2013/02/04/will-the-new-blackberry-z10-be-a-hit-or-a-flop/#comments Mon, 04 Feb 2013 15:58:56 +0000 http://dailytekk.com/?p=9071 blackberry-z10-small

Does the BlackBerry z10 signal a comeback for RIM? Are consumers going to get excited about this new phone that signals RIM’s attempt to recapture lost marketshare from Android and iOS? Can BlackBerry dominate the next generation of enterprise mobile computing? Or, as many suspect, will the z10 flub rather unspectacularly as an also-ran that nobody remembers? What do you think, would you buy one over an Android or iPhone? Here’s the Think Tank’s take to help you make up your mind.

The CrackBerry May Be Cracked Beyond Repair

kimIs the “CrackBerry” brand cracked beyond repair? I’m leaning toward yes, but I can’t say for sure. Only time will tell. However, I do know that BlackBerry needs a lot more than a quick (and unimaginative) company name change to stay relevant in the smartphone game. (And forget about competing in the tablet arena while you’re behind, BlackBerry. Everyone knows the PlayBook did not play nice. What a disaster!)

I think it’s a case of too little too late for BlackBerry. Even with some 75,000 apps up for grabs in BlackBerry World, two newborn smartphones, and a brand new operating system, it’s highly unlikely that BlackBerry will catch up with the giants Google and Apple any time soon — or perhaps ever.

With the exception of Paris HiltonLindsay Lohan and Madonna apparently, consumers fell out of love with BlackBerry a couple of years ago. It was hard not to develop a wandering eye as our culture’s iPhone, iPad, and Android obsession burned hotter than ever.

Still, there just might be enough corporate IT managers and other loyalists in the business marketplace who favor BlackBerry for its renowned enterprise software and security to keep BlackBerry’s weak pulse slowly thudding onward for now.

I don’t know about you, but it would take much more than an overhauled operating system (BlackBerry 10) — that was embarrassingly late to the party time and again — to lure me away from my iPhone, and it’s just a plain old iPhone 4 with a cracked screen to boot. And you can forget about converting my 12-year-old Android user, BlackBerry. He says only “old people” use BlackBerrys. Ouch!

Worse yet, says my tween, BlackBerry’s app store doesn’t even have YouTube. The horror of it all! “I mean, who doesn’t have YouTube, mom?!” Oh, and you can add Netflix and Hulu to the list of apps that BlackBerry World doesn’t have but should.

Kim Lachance Shandrow (LinkedIn) is a Los Angeles-based tech journalist who specializes in writing about social media marketing, startups, smartphones, streaming TV, mobile apps and green technology.

Where’s the Major Leap Forward in Innovation?

martyIn a word…NO. Today’s smartphone/tablet marketplace is app and eco-system centric. Blackberry has been rapidly losing market share over the past several years. The launch and wide adoption of the iPhone and iOS platform and the introduction and rapid growth of Android devices has turned the mobile space into a fierce two horse race. I can’t see how Blackberry is going to make significant inroads without a major leap forward in innovation. Judging from the announcement event, I didn’t see that being offered.

Well developed app eco-systems which both Apple and Google have successfully cultivated strongly encourage user loyalty. As people purchase more and more apps and get comfortable with each of the two leading mobile platforms, that investment in time and money make it less likely they will abandon that investment for something new and untested. On the business side, Blackberry still has a chance to make inroads although iPhone and Android have already made a huge and possible irreversible impact on the corporate market.

If Blackberry can truly innovate and offer consumers benefits they cannot and will not get with iPhone and Android then they have a shot at success. My gut feeling is that the train has probably already left the station and Blackberry will remain a marginal consumer player at best.

Marty (@martymcpadden) is the founder and CEO of PodJamTV Productions who also blogs for the Huffington Post.

BlackBerry Doesn’t Have a Chance With Consumers

chadApple and Android have had a few years to edge in on BlackBerry’s B2B market share. I see a lot of enterprises adopting the iPhone while abandoning BlackBerry. It’s taken a lot of effort to convince IT departments that iOS is a viable enterprise mobile platform. And now that iOS is making its mark, it’s going to be even harder to convince executive leadership to go back to BlackBerry. Especially since it’s been the leadership teams putting the pressure on IT to consider iOS— at least that’s how it looks from my vantage point.

BlackBerry may have a chance to win back some of its B2B market share. From what IT people tell me, it’s a fantastic platform for control and device management. That said, I don’t think it will have a chance in the consumer market. Windows Phone 8 has a far better chance at gaining consumer market share than BlackBerry.

Chad Halvorson (@chadworks) is the CEO of thisCLICKS, makers of When I Work, a cloud-based mobile employee scheduling software.

A New Angle But Nothing Revolutionary

jonI admire Blackberry for taking on a new angle – a device that satisfies the needs of a business with the end user’s wants – but I think it’s just that, a new angle. There’s nothing revolutionary about this new phone and I don’t see innovation happening at Blackberry anytime soon, because they lack leadership. For a good product, you need good people. I don’t see them hiring big new names to turn the ship around. As a result, I think Blackberry will continue to struggle.

Jon Stein (@jonstein) is the founder and CEO of Betterment and is passionate about helping people make smart decisions with their money.

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Would You Buy a Google Chromebook? http://dailytekk.com/2013/01/28/would-you-buy-a-google-chromebook/ http://dailytekk.com/2013/01/28/would-you-buy-a-google-chromebook/#comments Mon, 28 Jan 2013 20:07:17 +0000 http://dailytekk.com/?p=8977 samsung-chromebook-frontviewSince their launch in 2011, Chromebooks have slowly been gaining steam. Lenovo just thew their hat into the Chrome OS arena along with Acer and Samsung with a Chromebook designed for education. Starting at $199, Chromebooks do one thing: launch Chrome and connect to the web. In a world of tablets and smartphones, do Chromebooks matter–at all–in your opinion? Would you buy one/recommend buying one? What do you like or dislike about the idea of a Chromebook? Will businesses get on board? Consumers? What do you think Google is trying to accomplish with the Chromebook? Are Chromebooks (and Chrome OS) an important challenger to Microsoft and Apple? Here’s the Think Tank to give you their opinion:

No, But It’s Perfect for the Google Universe

martyAs of now, I would not buy a Google Chromebook. This is not to say everyone should not buy a one. For most people, the Chromebook is a perfect device since 95 percent of the time the only app most people use is a browser to access the Internet and; for those who primarily live in the Google universe, this is the perfect portable device.

As for me, I’m firmly entrenched in the Apple ecosystem so a Chromebook really would not be a good choice for me. I also work with and edit photography and video so my computers needs are more than just a browser. Along with a 27 inch iMac, the MacBook Air is my notebook computer of choice.

I believe the Chromebook is a transitional device. As tablets and other tablet like device (like smartphones) gain more power and usability, these are the devices that will continue to gain traction. It’s ultimately about portability, versatility and connectivity. A tablet is portable in that you can tuck it under your arm (or in your pocket in the case of the iPad Mini and other 7 inch models,) versatile in that you can use peripherals such as keyboards to add specialized functionality when needed and connected in that most tablet devices have 3G and LTE data connectivity built-in and all have wifi so you can be online from anywhere.

So to answer the question: Would I buy a Google Chromebook? My answer is no but I suspect for most average people who have data needs that are mostly satisfied through a web browser, the answer is a resounding YES!

Marty (@martymcpadden) is the founder and CEO of PodJamTV Productions who also blogs for the Huffington Post.

Yes and No; It Depends

chrisI ordered a couple of Acer Chromebooks to test out (I wanted to give the Samsung model a try, but they were consistently sold out all across the web) and I have to say I really like them, surprisingly. I can’t replace my normal computing routine with a Chromebook at the moment… I’m too dependent on Adobe Creative Suite which demands a lot more power and obviously needs to be installed locally. But, for many people I know and work with, the Chromebook is perfect–it not only does everything they need, it’s cheap. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chromebooks became free someday as Google does it’s best to keep people using it’s search, especially in the face on new Facebook Graph Search competition. I wish I could get away with just a web browser… but I still can’t quite do it. If I could, I’d happily use a Chromebook (although I still prefer my MacBook Air, given a choice). It turns on quick, has some nice built-in features like the ability to snap windows (ie Chrome) to either side of the screen. I have an iPad, and I love it, but I am a device guy–a Chromebook is nice to have around just cause… I can pick up and use it anywhere without really worrying if it gets messed up/dropped/scratched/stolen. It’s almost disposable. Secretary’s (and who are we kidding, some executives) can get by on a Chromebook no problem (it has an HDMI out as well for connecting to a monitor or TV). So, yes, and no.

No, But I’d Recommend a Chromebook to My Grandma

chadIt’s not in my budget because if I bought a Chromebook, I’d have to buy another laptop to get actual work done. I don’t need two laptops.

When I think of netbooks, I associate them with crappier versions of every other computer on the market. Who wants one laptop for getting stuff done, and one craptop for checking email and tweeting? No thanks. I’ll use my iPad for that.

So, no. I would not buy a Chromebook. I thought netbooks were dead anyway now that we have iPads. That said, I would recommend a Chromebook to my Grandma if she asked me what kind of computer she should get that isn’t an Apple.

I’m not entirely sure what Google’s M.O. is with Chromebook, but tablets like the iPad have clearly struck a cord with a demographic that historically hasn’t considered using social media or even getting online. The Chromebook may be able to do something that netbooks couldn’t — get people to buy them. If they do, it will be the OS that earns Google a win for netbooks.

Chad Halvorson (@chadworks) is the CEO of thisCLICKS, makers of When I Work, a cloud-based mobile employee scheduling software.

No, Because I Have an iPad

kerryPersonally, I wouldn’t buy one, but that’s only because I have an iPad already. As a parent and educator, I think there’s absolutely a market for an affordable tool like this. With its low price point, it could even help to bridge the “Digital Divide” by enabling more people to access the Internet. The Chromebook doesn’t directly compete with Microsoft or Apple, because those companies are reaching for a higher-end market. This could be a useful tool for consumers who otherwise would be priced out of the tablet or laptop market.

Essentially, Chromebooks are good for one thing: accessing the Internet using Chrome. This is fantastic, provided users can do all the things they’d generally want to do online. Video playback on some major sites — including Netflix — doesn’t work properly on the Chromebook, which limits the appeal of this tool for recreational and educational purposes. If they can sort that out, this could be a viable option for a largely untapped market.

Kerry O’Shea Gorgone (@KerryGorgone) is an attorney, new media specialist, and educator teaching Internet marketing at Full Sail University in Florida.

No, But I’d Buy One for My Son

kimNo, I wouldn’t buy a Google Chromebook, well, at least not for myself. I’m seriously considering buying one for a certain someone in my family who just happens to have a birthday right around the corner, though (hint, hint).

I have a Macbook Pro that I’m very happy with. However, I do wish the Google Chromebook had been an option back when I purchased my Mac laptop, which certainly didn’t come cheap. Ranging between $199 and $249, a Chromebook would have been a much more budget-appropriate choice.

I would consider purchasing a Samsung Chromebook for my almost 12-year-old. (Shh! Don’t tell him.) It would be a perfect low-cost first laptop for him. As a 6th grader who wrestles a grip of homework, reports, and presentations, he has to quickly create, edit, cloud share, and email text documents, spreadsheets, and image and video files on the fly. He could easily do all of that (via Google Drive, Gmail and such) and much more (IM and explore the web, hopefully not too much) with a Chromebook, all while seamlessly syncing it with with his Android smartphone.

Despite rumors that Chromebooks only do one thing (access the Internet and not much more), they’re actually packed with quite a few top notch built-in apps and utilities, including a native media player, photo editor, and many more built-in geeky goodies. Plus, I hear they’re pretty much bulletproof when it comes to viruses and malware.

Bonus: With a Chromebook, my tween (and don’t tell him I called him that, he’d be mortified) could easialy listen to music and stream movies via YouTube and Google Play. Both are nearly impossible to sanitize in terms of age-appropriate content, though. Chromebook at his fingertips, my son could even chat with up to nine friends all at once via Google Hangouts, though I’m not sure I’m quite ready for him to take the way-too-public required Google+ social media plunge.

And how could he survive without a million games to conquer? It’s a good thing the Chrome Web Store features countless fun (and free!) games, including a few of my son’s favorites, like Motocross Nitro, Mini Ninjas, Need for Speed World, and, yes, the almighty Minecraft.

Final verdict: I’d definitely buy a budget-friendly Google Chromebook over a pricey Macbook for my kids (the other two will want what their big brother has, no doubt). If someone spills Gatorade on it or drops it in the pool, I won’t be out a thousand bucks. As you can see, a killer price is far from the only reason I’d pick one (or three) up for my brood. Now to figure out where I can get one within walking distance of my home…

Kim Lachance Shandrow (LinkedIn) is a Los Angeles-based tech journalist who specializes in writing about social media marketing, startups, smartphones, streaming TV, mobile apps and green technology.

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Does Social Media Sabotage Happiness? http://dailytekk.com/2013/01/21/does-social-media-sabotage-happiness/ http://dailytekk.com/2013/01/21/does-social-media-sabotage-happiness/#comments Mon, 21 Jan 2013 13:15:57 +0000 http://dailytekk.com/?p=8827 146280426Technology and the Internet have yielded some amazing, even life-changing, advances including social-networking. This week’s burning tech question focuses on whether or not social media can lead to happiness or sadness, or both, or neither. It’s an issue that has been hotly debated over the last couple of years. Psychology Today put out an article all the way back in 2010 saying that research showed that in a social network, “happiness spreads among people up to three degrees removed from one another.” Fast forward to the beginning of 2012 when a Utah Valley University study received wide coverage by finding that Facebook was making us sad. This Slate article summarized the findings by saying, “By helping other people look happy, Facebook is making us sad.” Also check out this article by psychologist Graham Jones titled Buying From Social Networks Could Make Us Sad. So what’s the deal? What have you found from your own experience? To help you make up your mind, our excellent panel has weighed in and it looks like they don’t find much blame in the medium itself.

The Internet Isn’t Making Us Sad Any More Than TV Is Making Us Fat

ryan-fixedSaying that social sharing sites show the “best of the world” is like saying television only shows the Hollywood dream version of reality. The Web is like a realtime sample of humanity; it’s all the emotions at once. Joy. Rage. Empathy. A LOT of Schadenfreude. For years, Facebook’s killer feature was a complete accounting of all the people who didn’t like me in high school.

The Internet isn’t making us sad any more than television is making us fat, or cellphones are giving us short attentions spans. I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve here, but I believe it’s the most powerful force for innovation and creation in human history — a series of tubes that simultaneously made the world smaller and bigger than we ever thought possible, while giving us the ability to reach out without ever leaving our homes. The next round of dramatic innovations will be about making that power portable, ubiquitous, and sharing it with the next 2 billion people who’ve never experienced it.

Is the Internet making us sad? The only despair I feel is for those who might never realize that the Web is so much more than tweets and reblogs: that we can get under the hood and make it whatever we want.

Ryan Merkley (@ryanmerkley) is Chief Strategy Officer at Mozilla, where he recently launched the Webmaker initiative, helping users of the web become makers of the web.

The Only Person Who Can Sabotage My Happiness Is Myself

kimI barely use Pinterest, but I’m a Facebook freak. I practically live on Facebook, both personally and professionally. If it’s possible to be clinically addicted to it, well, I probably am. Most of my personal Facebook status updates are sickeningly upbeat and maybe even a little cocky (“I just published this article here.” “Off to the dojo to spar.” “I just ran X miles in X minutes.”). Fine, they’re mostly cocky, which is probably super annoying to anyone whose newsfeed I status bomb up to four or five times a day. I use Facebook to gather career cred and contacts (a la LinkedIn), but mostly to interact with former classmates, friends, and family… and several dozen strangers whom I’m not even sure why I friended. I try stay mainly positive on my FB wall, but switch it up with whiny updates from the downer side of life (“Up all night with hurling kiddos again.” “Blew a red light and totaled my car.” “Can’t believe some dude fell asleep during my speech.”).

Despite studies that show the more people (and especially women) use Facebook, the lower their self-esteem dips, I still get a reassuring thrill out of learning what my 1,502 “friends” are up to every day, basically all day. Facebook is a one-stop gossip shop that makes it fast and easy for me to lurk on lots of people’s lives. Trolling everyone’s probably at least somewhat inflated status updates keeps me feeling connected to a larger community, which makes me happy, not sad. And, yes, sometimes a little jealous, too, especially when I see that a fellow writer published a book (a longtime goal I have yet to achieve). But that’s just life — life reflected on Facebook.

There will always be haves and have nots, on Facebook and off. Some of my friends, family members, and colleagues will do more, be more, and have more than me, in real-life and on Facebook. Before Facebook, people paraded their life’s achievements and possessions via annual Christmas cards and letters, family vacation photo albums, grandparent brag books, narcissistic blogs, and countless other means of ego on display. No matter what my so-called “friends” are bragging and buzzing about on Facebook, the only person who can sabotage my happiness is myself.

Kim Lachance Shandrow (LinkedIn) is a Los Angeles-based tech journalist who specializes in writing about social media marketing, startups, smartphones, streaming TV, mobile apps and green technology.

The Medium is Not the Cause

jonI’ve read about the Stanford research on how social media can make people sad, but I think it’s misguided. Proper casual usage is a joy and connects us with old friends we would otherwise lose touch with. It provides more social access and opportunity than we might have otherwise, and it makes keeping in touch more efficient.

Do people abuse Facebook and make themselves sad? Okay. But it’s the medium not the cause. I don’t think companies need to say – don’t spend your entire life on our site. Obsessive types may just find something else to obsess about. There’s a difference between a product that’s directly responsible for causing ill health – like lead paint – and a product that amplifies already existing conditions, like jealousy or low self esteem.

Jon Stein (@jonstein) is the founder and CEO of Betterment and is passionate about helping people make smart decisions with their money.

Strangers Are Just Family You Have Yet to Come to Know

annIt’s a big world out there and with the fast pace of social media, we can use it for entertainment, social good, advertising, networking—the list is almost neverending. It’s true that many people, myself included, want to put their best face forward whether it is online through social media, or in person at a business function or social event. As long as we are honest and resist embellishing the truth, we can use the medium for fun, and even use its power to do good. I’ve used Twitter to help out with fundraising and have seen others use it very successfully for campaigns.

“Strangers are just family you have yet to come to know.” —Mitch Albom

On Facebook, I sometimes post photos of beautiful and exotic places as destinations on my travel wish list. I may not be able to visit to Rio de Janeiro or Bora Bora today or tomorrow, but it’s on my list, and posting it on Facebook opens conversations with friends and people from across the world. Some of us may not be able to check off every destination we’ve hoped of visiting in our lifetime, but there isn’t anything wrong with a little daydreaming—in fact, it can give us the inspiration to achieve goals.

I try to keep my social media pages positive and informative, and feature beautiful visual images for an interesting diversion. We as individuals need to take responsibility for our own social media pages just as much as the big companies do. I was very happy to see an article on The Guardian UK’s website about five social media applications that are doing what they can to foster development, growth and empowerment across the globe. For instance, Rwanda’s health minister, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho (@agnesbinagwaho) opens a dialogue on Twitter every Monday so that citizens can talk directly to their government. Catapult is the first crowdfunding platform aimed at women and girls that allows supporters to track the progress of their donations. It may be small steps, but they are definitely in the right direction.

True contentment comes from within—as they say, money can’t buy love or happiness. And you probably can’t buy it through Pinterest either. But if we all do our part and try to stay positive, social media surely can be used as a way to support the greater good.

Ann Tran (@anntran_is a key influencer across multiple social media platforms, an avid travel enthusiast and lover of anything involving technology.

Balance Is The Key

martyIf you only live your life online and through other people, you’re probably going to be disappointed and unhappy at some point. Online networks and platforms are not a substitute for real, live and in person interaction with people. Pinterest, Facebook and other social platforms are tools you can use to share your experiences with other people and begin to develop relationships. They are not meant as a vehicle to live someone’s else’s life.

Balance is the key for anyone who is active on social networks; balance between online and offline interaction. Social media sites are not happiness sabotagers in and of themselves; rather, it’s the user’s reaction and interpretation of their own experience using these networks which determines whether it affects their level of happiness.

People that constantly live their lives through the experiences of others (or alleged experiences as not everything someone posts online is necessarily true,) are doomed to feel their lives are not as exciting or happy as others they observe on social media. You create your own happiness through your own experiences. It’s up to you to make the decision to take action to make your desires a reality. Only then can you be really truly happy.

Marty (@martymcpadden) is the founder and CEO of PodJamTV Productions who also blogs for the Huffington Post.

People Behave Similarly Online and Off

chadIn this context, it could be argued that TV, magazines and movies have always been happiness sabotagers. Sites like Facebook and Pinterest are just new versions of the same antics. However, if we dig into how traditional media and social media are different, there may be something to this.

With TV and traditional media, we observe strangers living an above average quality of life, however, with social media we observe people we actually know living (what seems to be) an above average quality of life. If there’s cause for concern, it’s that. The perceived happiness of people we know probably impacts our own happiness much more than the perceived happiness of a stranger. For example, it’s easier to say, “That’s not real life,” to something we see on TV vs. something posted online by someone we know.

If there is sabotage at work, here’s one way to deal with it from a non-happiness crushing perspective: the way people behave online is similar to the way they behave in-real-life. People will always put their best self forward, whether it’s online or when they doll themselves up for a night on the town. Everybody wants to look his or her personal best.

If we consider that when looking at how awesome everyone is through Facebook and Pinterest, we can put our friends’ delusions of grandeur in perspective and not let it cripple our own happiness.

Chad Halvorson (@chadworks) is the CEO of thisCLICKS, makers of When I Work, a cloud-based mobile employee scheduling software.

Stop Living Life Through Social Media

annisaEvery year there is a new social media platform to try – some stick and some fall. But as users spend more and more time with social media, their lives become more dependent and intertwined with their favorite mediums. This goes beyond the common (and frankly pathetic) practice of broadcasting your entire life via social media, the “look at me” mentality has now spread across multiple generations, morphing into a user base that lives their life through social media. Early critics of social media warned this would occur, and recommended the medium be used as a convenient extension of real-life human interaction, augmenting personal and professional relationships. Unfortunately for our society that is not what happened. So now we have an inflated issue of the grass is greener effect thanks to instant access to the successes and failures of our social media circles.

For people who choose to remain offline hermits but online extroverts, social media will always be a source of despair. But for those who choose to interact with a healthier mindset, platforms like Facebook and my personal favorite – Pinterest – are a source of creative inspiration, contributing to important and meaningful conversations based on personal interests, and maintaining long distance relationships.

Regarding businesses’ place in this “live your life online” society, they can only benefit. The more time people spend online as a happy or miserable human being, the more opportunity brands and businesses have to reach and engage them. Today’s users are looking to social media to guide them toward all they can aspire to be, and businesses to should provide them with that type of content. For example – real estate agent should include fun, viral content such as “the 10 most beautiful homes in New York City” alongside their own listings and any blog content, because they gain far greater attention as obsessed pinners pass the link and images around. Beyond convenience or education, businesses can benefit by catering to the changing emotional state of their social media audience.

It is simply not the responsibility of your local travel agent, or the folks at TOMS, to educate today’s users on how to live a happier life with social media. This is the job of our education system, parents, and any users with a shred of self-awareness. But that is a very different conversation of course.

Annisa Farese (LinkedIn), Manager Marketing Communications xAd.

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Can Twitter Beat Google at Search? http://dailytekk.com/2013/01/14/can-twitter-beat-google-at-search/ http://dailytekk.com/2013/01/14/can-twitter-beat-google-at-search/#comments Mon, 14 Jan 2013 14:21:30 +0000 http://dailytekk.com/?p=8510 twitter-drawnTwitter is amassing a treasure trove of realtime data and it wants to make searching through it a better experience for you–and for advertisers. As Twitter has continued it’s transformation into a media company, and as it grows in size and revenue, it may soon find itself at war with some very entrenched, and fierce, competitors. In particular, might Twitter find itself at odds with Google over search (of all things)? Even IF Twitter is ramping up their search priorities, should Google even care? Perhaps Google would be interested in buying Twitter outright, despite reports to the contrary. Either way, our question this week is whether or not Twitter has a chance of beating Google at search. Here’s what the panel has to say:

Facebook May Trump Both Twitter and Google at Realtime Search

martyYes when it comes to realtime search but Google can still win if they can grow their fledgling social platform, Goggle Plus. Automation will always play a big role in determining relevancy. I can’t see how using human powered curation will be economical for Twitter to generate accurate and quality search results and make real time search curation profitable and attractive to advertisers.

In my opinion, Facebook is currently the best positioned to take advantage of realtime search. Their users, over one billion of them, willingly share their likes and dislikes, photos of their experiences and even videos; all uploaded and posted in realtime from their mobile devices. Using that huge basket of data, Facebook’s automated analytics engine is sophisticated and well positioned to overtake both Google and Twitter in the all important race to profit from targeted, realtime online advertising.

Marty (@martymcpadden) is the founder and CEO of PodJamTV Productions who also blogs for the Huffington Post.

Twitter Might Have a Fighting Chance

kimThere’s nothing like human curiosity when it comes to real-time search, and there’s no perfect replacement for it. Not yet, at least. While Twitter clearly appreciates humans with a search-savvy touch as much as they do fancy algorithms, I doubt the social media mammoth will completely loosen Google’s search market stranglehold. Not any time soon, at least.

At most, like Bing and Yahoo (remember them?), I think Twitter’s move to pay real people around the globe to analyze real-time trending search terms 24/7 might, however, slowly nibble at the edges of Google’s tight grip.

Then again, Twitter Search might have a fighting chance after all. Why? Because it’s much more fun to search for juicy bits about “what’s happening right now” than it is to sift through Google’s non-social search results, which are often littered with paid links and other spammy, low-value links.

On a side note, according to Twitter via its engineering blog, Twitter’s brand new search army isn’t “limited to a fixed schedule or location, they can work anywhere, anytime—which is a requirement for this system, since global event spikes on Twitter are not limited to a standard 40-hour work week.” True, you never know when Lady Gaga will tweet about salad again. Being a human Twitter search wrangler sounds like a pretty cushy gig. Hmm, I wonder what the overtime pay is.

Kim Lachance Shandrow (LinkedIn) is a Los Angeles-based tech journalist who specializes in writing about social media marketing, startups, smartphones, streaming TV, mobile apps and green technology.

Twitter Won’t Rival Google Anytime Soon

chadI don’t see Twitter search rivaling Google search anytime soon. Promoted tweets aside, a Twitter search returns results that are directly related to things other humans actually care about—or cared enough to tweet about. This is perfect if what you’re searching for happens to have relevance among other people or if you’re looking to build relationships.

The problem is that there is not enough consistency in the quality and quantity of Twitter’s results when you consider the broader search market that Google clearly dominates. With a Twitter Search, you might hit a home run half the time, but the other half you’ll be striking out completely. With Google search, you might not get as many home runs, but you’ll definitely get several doubles and triples—and rarely strike out.

There’s certainly an opportunity for Twitter to step in with higher quality results. If Twitter search was able to consistently return more relevant, user curated results, they might be able to give Google search a run for its money. There are just not enough people talking about enough things to rival the results that Google can muster—at least right now.

Chad Halvorson (@chadworks) is the CEO of thisCLICKS, makers of When I Work, a cloud-based mobile employee scheduling software.

Twitter Has the Data, But Lacks the Users

annisaFor many outside the marketing industry, or for users still disinterested in even Facebook on a daily basis, Twitter is still not a priority. Though it’s been said that 32% of all internet users are using Twitter, and the platform continues to grow, it is not yet engrained as a priority in the daily lives of most users. Therefore is it even further from overthrowing Google’s reign. But they do have a unique set of data at their fingertips and how they leverage that in the years to come will shape their fate.

Most internet users today can’t remember a time before Google. The act of “Googling” is synonymous with online search, while the act of “tweeting” still brings to mind a pop culture-obsessed frivolity. Therefore comparing the usage and popularity of the two is like comparing breathing to chewing gum – you can surely do without one of the two… So if Twitter aims to reach internet users and find a home in their daily search activity, the platform itself needs a makeover that focuses on search.

Instead of focusing on the constant, disorganized stream of tweets to sort through, a revised dashboard should segment tweets by category, context, location, and recent/current search behavior. And alongside this revamped visualization should be and advanced search tool that will allow Twitter users to get in and out with the data they need, same as Google. This is an element Facebook has been unsuccessful in implementing and therefore still lags behind in the search game. Twitter has the upper hand on Facebook in this situation, mainly because Twitter is so much simpler with a rather limited number of activities available, whereas Facebook users interact with photos, videos, links, games, etc. inside the platform itself. It’s easier for a new search function to get lost amongst everything else users already flock to Facebook for, while Twitter’s simplicity lends itself to much better placement and therefore much greater awareness and usage.

The use of Twitter alongside Google as an internet institution is many years away, let alone the possibility of knocking Google off the thrown. Because they have two very unique sets of data, a partnership leveraging both would be ideal for both businesses as well internet users who will have little interest in splitting time and resources across two platforms.

Annisa Farese (LinkedIn), Manager Marketing Communications xAd

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Why Did “The Daily” News App Fail? http://dailytekk.com/2013/01/07/why-did-the-daily-news-app-fail/ http://dailytekk.com/2013/01/07/why-did-the-daily-news-app-fail/#comments Mon, 07 Jan 2013 12:00:51 +0000 http://dailytekk.com/?p=8176 The-DailyWhen “The Daily” was launched by News Corp is was a new idea that had never been tried and thus felt a bit exciting, at least to me. I hate to admit this in front of this particular group of people, especially given the answers below, but I was a subscriber right up to the end. Luckily I can say that I would have cancelled long ago, but they made it nearly impossible for a busy guy like me–I simply never found the time to jump through all the crazy and unnecessary hoops needed to cancel (I’m actually a bit surprised the subscription ended when they folded). That said, to the untrained eye it might have looked as if “The Daily” was an experiment that just might have been working. Put into an equation, it might look something like this:

Backed by large corporation + good design + dedicated staff + big PR splash at launch = failure?

Even if the iPad-only publication wasn’t 100% on the right track to success, it did seem to have quite a few good things going for it. So the big question is: why did it fail? The Think Tank panel returns to tackle just that in this first question to the group in the new year. Be sure to chime in with your own opinion below!

Related: Are Digital Magazine Subscriptions Worth the Price?

Online Content is Meant to Be Interactive, Social and Current

martyWhile “The Daily” offered compelling content and an interesting design, it was doomed to fail for one important reason: online content is meant to be interactive, social and above all current. The only thing that separated “The Daily” from a traditional newspaper or magazine was the fact it wasn’t printed on paper.

Apps like Flipboard that offer users the ability to design their own interactive digital magazine from an array of content publishers are a compelling draw. Best of all, it’s completely free! It’s hard to compete with free. There has to be something of premium value to get people to pay a premium to access it. “The Daily” wasn’t it.

Marty (@martymcpadden) is the founder and CEO of PodJamTV Productions who also blogs for the Huffington Post.

Control; I’d Rather Curate My Own News Sources

chadI never used The Daily app or any service like it–that said, there are many pieces to this puzzle, but based on my own experience I’d throw “control” into the mix. I prefer to curate my own sources of news and entertainment. I like the control and I imagine other people do too. I’d much rather go to my Twitter app and enjoy 90% of the content vs. a digital magazine where there may only be one or two stories that interest me. I wouldn’t buy a digital magazine subscription for the same reason I don’t buy traditional magazine subscriptions. There’s just not enough value between the first and last page. This becomes especially true in the digital publishing space where there are so many other content consumption options at our fingertips.

Chad Halvorson (@chadworks) is the CEO of thisCLICKS, makers of When I Work, a cloud-based mobile employee scheduling software.

It’s Hard to Compete Against Free

nolandThe Daily ipad app failed the minute News Corp decided to charge a subscription fee for headline news you can get elsewhere for free. It’s hard to compete against free. Even if The Daily had exclusive news, the model wouldn’t have worked because, well, it’s the news with a shelf life of 5 minutes. Plus, sharing and spreading news is easier than ever before. All it takes is a couple of influential people to tweet or Facebook post breaking news and it spreads like wildfire. The share bear has been released and there’s no way of putting it back in its cave. I don’t think a digital magazine/news subscription service can succeed in a tech-connected world.

Noland Hoshino (@nolandhoshino), Co-Founder and Do-Good Enforcer Bcause Media

It’s Difficult to Mesh the Paper and Pixel Economies

jonI think The Daily misunderstood the market. They tried to be all things to all people, rather than focusing on a niche they could own. It’s nearly impossible to build the best content on a broad range of topics out of the gate. On an internet connected device, people have access to limitless content. A digital magazine is just one of an infinite variety of news sources available to you.

It’s difficult to bring the economics of the newspaper to the economics of the web. The NYT is successful because they have the best content. The Daily could have focused on a niche and claimed to be the best there. But few do that with a paywall.

I don’t think that a startup content app will be successful. A reader, sure. A new content provider, sure. But the combination? Unnecessary.

Jon Stein (@jonstein) is the founder and CEO of Betterment and is passionate about helping people make smart decisions with their money.

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What Is The Next Big Thing In Tech? http://dailytekk.com/2012/12/18/what-is-the-next-big-thing-in-tech/ http://dailytekk.com/2012/12/18/what-is-the-next-big-thing-in-tech/#comments Tue, 18 Dec 2012 19:33:30 +0000 http://dailytekk.com/?p=7826 glass_photos4-580-75What is the next big thing in tech? I have no idea, but it’s fun to speculate. I like this thread on Quora that attempts to answer this very question and you know what? It has some pretty stellar answers. Particularly deep and insightful is what Vankatesh Rao has to say: “Historically, there’s been a fairly good record of people seeing “the next big thing” (NBT) a respectable fraction of the time, so it CAN be done, without 20/20 hindsight. Here are some successful big-thing anticipations that I am cherry-picking to illustrate when, why and how you can predict NBTs.” On top of this, he actually offers a few reasonable ways to identify the next big thing before it is the next big thing. He’s got me convinced that it might actually be somewhat feasible to predict with a decent amount of accuracy. Anyways, here’s what a few members of the Think Tank had to say on the matter.

Wearable Technology

chrisI think the next big thing may very well be wearable technology such as the Google Glass project. While dorky (yes, incredibly dorky) I think they represent the next stage of connectedness. We already have our phones with us at all times but it is getting inconvenient, sadly, to take them out to interact with them. Oftentimes innovations, even tech innovations, center around making life easier for consumers and that can certainly mean allowing people to get lazier and lazier–but not only. We already have some wearable tech available to consumers now such as fitness devices (like the Nike+ FuelBand). One logical place to innovate is the wrist watch–many companies have developed watches that integrate with your smartphone. To get a little deeper, imagine a contact lens that shows you the latest updates from Twitter or notifies you when you get an email? It’s already in the works. Here’s an interesting infographic from Mashable that talks about wearable tech.

Chris (@DailyTekk) is the founder/editor of DailyTekk. 

The Internet of Things

mattThe next big shift is one we are starting to see now with the internet of things. The main revolutions until now have been really software based or evolution of established devices (phones, computers, PDAs/Tablets) rather than really changing the way that people get the data that exists in the internet. What is changing is that we no longer think about using information on a laptop to set things in the house, rather that thing is itself connected (e.g. Philips Hue or The Nest Thermostat). Where this gets really exciting is when you start to think about inputs because these devices do not have keyboards or pointers so we are having to think more creatively about inputs. Augmented Reality is a particularly exciting example because it allows us to move to a world where technology in eyewear, contact lenses, or other applications we haven’t even thought of yet are controlled not by what we input but rather by what we show an interest in. I think this will be fundamental revolution that changes the way we see and interact with the world around us.

Matt Mills (@mattmills), Global Head of Partnerships and Innovation Aurasma

Computers Will Do More of the Little Things for Us

jonTrying to pick the next big thing is like trying to forecast the stock market – we all think we can do it and 90% of us look like idiots in retrospect for trying. You can’t know what’s big until it’s big. Who would have thought touch-screen-phones/browsers would be it after the Palm and Newton? That said, computers are getting more able every day. Some are waiting for a breakthrough moment when they’re smarter than us – that’s not the right way to think about it. In many ways, they’re already smarter than us. And each year, we add more things that the computers can do better. I think we’ll continue to rely on them for more and more – to drive, to tell us what to eat and when, to plan our finances.

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Why Did Gangnam Style Go Viral? http://dailytekk.com/2012/12/10/why-did-gangnam-style-go-viral/ http://dailytekk.com/2012/12/10/why-did-gangnam-style-go-viral/#comments Mon, 10 Dec 2012 10:50:19 +0000 http://dailytekk.com/?p=7743 Gangnam Style by South Korean KPOP artist PSY is on its way to 1 billion YouTube views (a feat that is certainly making a pretty penny for the artist). There is no doubt about it: this video is popular. How popular? Aside from the impressive YouTube stats, PSY has now performed the song in many impressive venues including Madison Square Garden and The Today Show. He’s also been featured in Samsung advertising material and his video won Best Video at the MTV Europe Music Awards. But that is nothing when you consider the amount of parodies because you know something has truly reached the upper echelons of pop culture when it gets parodied (and parodied and parodied—even the North Korean government made a spoof). The question is, why did Gangnam Style go viral?

This week the DailyTekk Think Tank takes a stab at answering just that. What do you think?


It’s No Surprise—The Label Planned Well

The Gangnam Style video’s surprise leap into the ranks of dance videos gone viral, really isn’t a surprise at all. On the surface, the global love affair with the video featuring a little-known South Korean pop artist seems confounding. To the typical viewer, it’s just a regular guy dancing around and having fun along with a group of professional dancers. the music has a playful beat and the artist and dancers sport splashy, vibrant costumes. Fun to watch, but not really a reason for a viral venture.

In my opinion, the choreographers did an exceptional job keeping the “story” moving along. The dancers employ simple moves that people of any age can imitate and reproduce – whether at a party or just dancing around at home. The lively atmosphere put forth by the music and dancing invites viewers to get up and join the dancers. But that’s not the whole story. A little research into the Asian pop culture in South Korea reveals that the label sponsoring the artist and video planned their entrance into the viral ranks before releasing their hit. They built a platform through YouTube before they released the video — a platform they could use to push their content to a mass of already loyal subscribers. Americans may not realize this, but the video features a number of very popular South Korean celebrities, causing a buzz on the other side of the world that made the American pop culture aficionados stand up and pay attention.

So, why did Gangnam Style go viral and do it in a big way? Careful research, clever use of famous celebs, and incredible marketing. It didn’t “just happen” by chance. They hooked us and we bit—hook, line, and Gangnam.

Ann Tran (@anntran_is a key influencer across multiple social media platforms, an avid travel enthusiast and lover of anything involving technology.

Gangnam Style Had The Right Fuel (But There’s No Viral Formula)

Cute animals, schadenfreude, and voyeurism: that’s the fuel that drives the viral Internet. If the web has proven anything, it’s that budget and professional production are not the key ingredients, and a room full of marketing executives is a near-guarantee of failure. Creating viral content is no more a formula than making a hit TV show, the perfect mixed drink, or a pop sensation. Anyone who tells you they can create something that will go viral is almost always counting their time in 10-minute increments and billing it back to you. The rest of us just try to make things people like. I’d rather spend time making something good than trying to make something viral.

Ryan Merkley (@ryanmerkley) is Chief Operating Officer at Mozilla, where he recently launched the Webmaker initiative, helping users of the web become makers of the web.

Duplication Is Futile

Viral videos are marketing magic delivered in a pot of gold, by a unicorn – once in a lifetime gifts bestowed upon unsuspecting brands or private users. Any attempt to duplicate is futile. Commercial series that went viral include Isaiah Mustafa’s “Old Spice Guy”, or the E*TRADE baby – both have attempted to carry on their viral franchise minus key ingredients (a chiseled athlete and a doe-eyed cutie) without success. They lacked the spark of the original versions, and therefore came across as forced and in-genuine. User-generated viral content such as the recent “S%*t Girls Say” or anything from Jenna Marbles, have acquired a following and remain popular as an online series – for now. But they too will soon join the ranks of “Fred” and every parody of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”, as viral videos or series that have had their moment. “Gangnam Style” will soon meet the same fate, and it’s clear the downward spiral has already been set in motion. It’s reached the pinnacle of popularity worldwide by knocking the Beibs off his tween-built pedestal and now has nowhere else to climb. The magic of “Gangnam Style” is the fact that it’s a legitimate, non-comedic music video in a foreign country. Psy not only takes himself seriously, but is regarded as a type of sex symbol – like a Korean Pit Bull. While I can’t speak to cultural feelings outside the U.S., Psy’s popularity here was built on a really catchy tune and a semi-ridiculous video accompaniment that includes a Macarena-esk dance sequence, lead by a portly pop star in a pastel suit. These factors cause us to laugh both with him and at him as we bust a move. While I’m sure all eyes and ears will be tuned into Psy’s sophomore attempt to carry on his global success, I’m even more sure the forced attempt to continue his reign will fall flat.

So I say to marketers looking to build the next great viral video—don’t bother. The return on investment for viral ambitions is often low. Just keep it fresh, funny and include a little edge. At least you’ll have a successful ad your brand can be proud of—even if the viral video fairy doesn’t pay you a visit.

Annisa Farese (LinkedIn), Manager Marketing Communications xAd.

It’s The Best of All Worlds (And Even I Can Do The Dance)

I first heard the song on the radio and thought it was great but when I was shown the video all became clear. Shows like Glee have demonstrated the oddly hypnotic nature of very bright colours, combined with a current music style. The most impressive thing here is that they managed to produce arguably the best of all worlds. A great song, a fun video, a dance even I can do (and recently did on stage in South Korea) and a range of colours that make Bollywood look rather dull, this is all combined with a theme that is novel.

Can someone else do it, of course they can. The difficulty will be making sure that the basics of why this song is a success (the beat, the catchy chorus, the cheekiness of the video and the eye-popping contrasts of colours) are combined with a theme which is as new to us as the concept of the lives of the superrich in Seoul’s premier district.

Matt Mills (@mattmills), Global Head of Partnerships and Innovation Aurasma

There Is Indeed a Formula…

Despite the fact that every brand dreams of creating a viral video, it’s very difficult to create a formula for it. Difficult, but not impossible, as YG Entertainment the label behind Gangnam Style has demonstrated. These guys left nothing to chance. They created a ready built audience from which to seed the video; they used a topical conversation point – the wealthy neighborhood in Seoul – to create buzz; they included celebrity influencers in the video, who each had their own existing community of followers, and they made the song – and of course the dance moves – novel and catchy. The video was certainly packaged to appeal to mainstream media, who sparked the true “viral” movement. The controversy around Psy’s “original” dance moves, the celebrity support on social media, and (of course) the spoof videos all increased the life of the Gangnam trend. There are lessons for all of us in the Gangnam craze – the value of building a community, the value of engaging with influencers, and the value of riding the momentum. Of course we all dream of going viral, but the biggest lesson is turning all that attention into longevity.

Jon Stein (@jonstein) is the founder and CEO of Betterment and is passionate about helping people make smart decisions with their money.

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