Original post by David Meyer via GIGAOM
Analytics startup Adeven suggested earlier this week that two-thirds of App Store was pretty much invisible to most users, leaving the apps unranked and hardly downloaded.
The company said, somewhat controversially, that Apple’s app search was lacking, leaving users largely dependent on Top 25 lists that tend to reflect the size of the developer’s marketing budget more than they do relevance to the users’ needs.
It’s not the first time someone has highlighted a problem here. Indeed, there are a few companies trying to target a perceived need for app discovery. Appsfire and Quixey spring to mind, as – of course – does Chomp, which Apple bought earlier this year.
But another service that has been gearing up for around two years is Berlin-based Xyologic, whose Xyo service went into closed beta on Thursday (you can request an invite here).
Xyologic’s big selling point is the way its technology classifies apps into relatively specific genres – a strategy that it says makes it possible to understand even vaguely-expressed search queries. In a recent blog post, the firm said its work so far has shown:
- only five percent of app search queries are for specific usage functions.
- a similar amount are for specific app names.
- the vast majority are category searches.
August 8, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by Lauren Drell via Mashable
Startup life isn’t easy, but it seems like a hell of a lot more fun than working at a stodgy corporation. Ambitious startups have struck a balance of “work hard, play hard” by offering employee perks that prove the higher-ups will go the extra mile to show their teammates that they’re valued and appreciated. The best way to attract fun, hardworking people is to let your team behave as fun, hardworking people — exciting work environments are enticing, so ping pong breaks and team lunches should be encouraged, not frowned upon as unnecessary time-sucks.
“We want to create a place where people are excited to come to work everyday. We think the best way to do that is by creating a fun and productive work environment, where people are growing and doing great things while having a good time,” says Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker.
May 29, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by NIR EYAL via TC
If you’re like me, you’ve had enough of the Facebook IPO story. For tech entrepreneurs struggling to build stuff, the cacophony of recent press is just more noise. That’s why when my friend Andrew Chen posted an insightful analysis of Facebook user data, I was happy to get back to learning from what the company did right instead of debating what its bankers did wrong.
Chen calculated Facebook’s historical ratio of daily active users (DAU) to monthly active users (MAU) and the stats are startling. Since March 2009, when the earliest data is available, approximately 50% of Facebook users logged in daily.
As other technology companies struggle to maintain DAU to MAU ratios of 5% or less, Facebook’s numbers appear stratospherically high in comparison. But what is equally surprising is the consistency of that ratio over time. Despite periodic user revolts in reaction to changes in the site, the ratio remained strangely stable. In fact, the number has risen over the past year and is now hovering at 58% as of March of this year.
It’s as if Zuckerberg has steered the company by this golden ratio. Which begs the question: is there some wisdom here regarding this ratio as a predictor of Internet success? Obviously, there are no guarantees and starting cutting edge tech companies will always be risky business. But, assuming you have a solid business model, there are good reasons to believe that if there is one metric to focus on while building your business, it’s the percentage of users who come back daily as expressed by this ratio.
May 28, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by Joann Pan via Mashable
Ever want to pay someone to sit on hold for you? Or to compile a list of the best gluten-free food in your area? Fancy Hands is a NYC-based startup that lets you do just that. The web-based service makes extra help affordable with flat rates.
Fancy Hands offers the services of personal assistants to the masses. The company’s fleet of professional contractors, located throughout the U.S., are always available for service requests around the clock. The army of assistants will do almost anything that doesn’t involve them getting up from their chairs.
Fancy Hands specializes in research, making phone calls and returning emails. Popular requests also include arranging appointments, finding local services, transcribing small chunks of audio or compiling lists. For a better idea of the range of services, check out Fancy Hands’ list of common requests.
Members can submit requests from anywhere in the world to Fancy Hands. Submissions are received by email, by phone or through Basecamp. Requests are usually completed on the same business day. Tasks may take a couple minutes or an hour depending on details.
May 27, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by NEIL PATEL via TC
You may have seen it by now…Google’s concept video about its new Project Glass. These glasses will do what your smart phone will do only without having to hold anything…you actually see your options at the side of your view.
You can get directions, send and receive texts, make calls, schedule tasks and even share your view with another person.
It’s a really exciting idea…especially if you love technology. But the actual product is easily years out from becoming a reality.
Was Google wise to release an idea so early? And should startups do the same?
Concept videos give you constructive criticism
At this stage Project Glass is nothing but a video…and may not be a reality for a long time. Augmented reality experts point out that there are huge hurdles the Google has to overcome.
So why did Google unveil so early?
May 21, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by Brian Gondo via TechZim
So you are Tengesa, ForgetMeNot, Dariro, 6tm solutions, and countless other Zimbabwean and African startups that are hoping to change the world and you are looking at Facebook’s IPO; you realise that Mark Zuckerberg and co have reached the promised land.
So you are Tengesa, ForgetMeNot, Dariro, 6tm solutions, and countless other Zimbabwean and African startups that are hoping to change the world and you are looking at Facebook’s IPO; you realise that Mark Zuckerberg and co have reached the promised land. And that’s $104 billion worth of real estate. For perspective Econet has a market capitalisation of $710 million and the MTN Group$30 billion.
Last year Techzim, ZOL and other partners launched the inaugural Startup challenge with the view of assisting promising local start-ups on their way to tech stardom. The overwhelming response of entries demonstrated sheer belief among local techies that they too can emulate their counterparts in Silicon Valley and other technological hubs globally.
May 20, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by ROB ENDERLE via Digital Trends
Visual search startup Serge promises to deliver camera-based searches from smartphones, while Isis provides a novel way to try on clothing in stores using Microsoft Kinect.
Every once in a while I run into something really interesting. Such was the case last week when I met with Rich Jenkins, Vice President of Business Development at Serge, new visual search company. Serge is launching a new search service that connects people to their brands through their Smartphones. Because they need to build a database of brands and sell advertisers on the idea of the value of this connection, the company has a rather interesting way to make you part of the sales effort and, at least on paper, you could earn a Ferrari doing it.
I’ve been a big fan of creative ways to get people to do things for you, and like the idea of getting cash better than Google’s historic approach of rewarding you with crappy software for helping them out. Serge actually has two services and the other, called Isis, is more interesting, but doesn’t have the cash reward part.
May 15, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by Sarah Kessler via Mashable
Maybe you need your Google calendar to sync with your Outlook account, or you’re trying to to send edited photos from your iPad to your Mac. Or maybe you just want help getting set up on a new device.
At some point, no matter who you are, you’re likely to meet a technology problem that stumps you — and that you can’t Google.
A startup called AnswerQi thinks there’s potential in online human-based tech help. “There’s an idiosyncratic nature to people and their tech problems,” AnswerQi co-founder Glenn Nano says.
“‘I’m running Snow Leopord with Microsoft 2008 and have this problem’ might be different solution than ‘I’m running Leopard with Microsoft 2010 and have [the same problem].’”
AnswerQi aims to be a TaskRabbit or Zaarly for tech help. Users submit their questions on the site, and consultants (well, just Nano and his co-founder Jamie Forrest for the time being) answer questions within their knowledge base by email.
An upcoming option will also allow users to chat with a consultant instantly. Eventually, Nano hopes that the site will allow technology students and professional consultants to make money on the side.
AnswerQi charges $5 to $30 per question, depending on difficulty, or a subscription fee of $49 for five answers per month. Searching past questions and answers, however, is free.
May 12, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by Marty Zwilling via Fortune
It’s a long way from an entrepreneur’s “idea” to a working product with a real market and paying customers. A necessary intermediate step should be building a prototype.
A prototype doesn’t need to look great, or be built to scale, but it had better accurately translate your vision into something real and tangible. For less tangible products, like software, it should simulate the look and feel of the final product on relevant base hardware. Here are some key objectives to keep in mind when designing your prototype to make it attractive to investors:
1. Validate the customer need and opportunity. I always hate it when I see startups invest millions of dollars in technology before they validate their ideas in the market, only to find that customers seem to be looking for something slightly different. Test your idea early in a form that is easy and inexpensive to modify.
2. Demonstrate to you and your team that your idea is implementable. No matter how strong your vision and theory, you won’t know for sure until you see it, that it really works. Even the best ideas often fail. Even when it works, key members of your team may not understand it all until they can touch and feel it.
3. Leverage the technology to change directions as needed. In these days of rapid change, almost every startup has to adapt its solution, business model, or target customer. A pre-production prototype will allow you to be adaptive without dire consequences.
May 7, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by MARCUS WOHLSEN via abcnews
On the foggy streets of San Francisco, tech superstars and the homeless can be hard to tell apart in their identical hoodies. But there’s a key difference: smartphones and cash in some pockets, neither in others.
These two crowds will soon find themselves even closer together when Twitter moves its headquarters into one of the city’s poorest areas later this year, drawing attention to the divide between the tech haves and have-nots that crops up whenever wealthy companies rub shoulders with communities that haven’t seen the benefits of the latest boom.
Still, optimism reigns in San Francisco, especially when it comes to the promise of technology to improve people’s lives.
Recently, a crowd of such optimists came together for a “hackathon,” a weekend of intense work and little sleep, as part of a nonprofit project called Creative Currency. Engineers and entrepreneurs joined with designers and neighborhood advocates to figure out how technology could help people in the Tenderloin and Mid-Market areas of the city who don’t have roofs over their heads, much less web browsers.
May 7, 2012 | Techmeetups