Startupers beware: your mothership will eat you for breakfast

April 14, 2010

The recent news and rollouts by major companies are going to have a huge impact on the startup surface, and sink a lot of them as well. Here are some I want to mention:

  • Microsoft’s roll-out of web-based and free Office is going to damage web office suites developers, like Zoho;
  • Microsoft’s new Outlook 2010 is going to include social network features. Bye-bye Xobni (which is a social Outlook plug-in);
  • Twitter buys one of the iPhone clients – Tweetie. It means all other iPhone twitter clients are screwed;
  • Facebook, in addition to their Credits system, is rolling out an offers system – a very popular way of monetization. Wait till they make their Credits the only way to take money from the users, and numerous startups will kiss good-bye.

However, the top prize for screwing its ecosystem and partner network goes to Apple:

  • Their are introducing their ad platform iAd. No doubt it will be the exclusive way for advertising on iPhones and iPads;
  • Their new SDK licence agreement clearly prohibits use of any development platforms except for Objective C. This is a major blow to Adobe with their new Flash CS5, which includes tools to easily port Flash apps to iPhone OS. It also potentially makes Unity – a new platform for 3D  game design outlawed.

The lesson we all can learn: when your application totally depends on some company’s product for monetization or value for users, the company can evaporate your business in a blink. Our MobileNoter also falls into this category. People like our product, but if Microsoft decides to port its OneNote to MacOS and iPhone OS, we’ll have to have a much better product than theirs in order to win the customers.


NSFW: The last “0 friends” South Park episode is hilarious

April 11, 2010

This episode became an instant classic. The quotes from it will be repeated for years.

Here it is: Made me ROFL. I mean it actually, literally did. Facebook, Farmville, chatroulette… The Mad Money and TRON touches are a masterpiece.

P.S. Have you been to the chatroulette? The South Park guys do  NOT exaggerate about it.

iTunes to use your Facebook connections

April 9, 2010

Only a few days ago I discussed the idea of companies using people’s social graph for mass-scale marketing, and here comes the news: Apple is going to do just that in iTunes. This is huge. It will add more power to Facebook in their quest to become the world largest ad platform.

What are the best days for AppStore sales?

April 7, 2010

It is probably not news for anyone who’s been in the AppStore business long enough… My friends, who develop iPhone games say that Saturday is a huge spike in downloads. Sunday is good too. If your app gets into the “new apps” list on Saturday, it’s likely to make some buck, even if it is going to be buried in the 500th spot in the “top downloaded apps” list eventually. MobileNoter is Business/Productivity software. Weekends and holidays are not good for us. Wednesday is one of the best days for sales for Business and Productivity. Luckily, our business model does not rely on bored people who would download and try anything for a few minutes of entertainment. Even though it’s not in any of the Top 10 list, people do find, download and buy our app.

How can companies use my social graph?

April 5, 2010

It’s interesting to see when the brick-and-mortar companies will start actively use people’s social connections. There are so many examples how it can be done.

1. Many mobile network carriers have plans with one or more “favorite numbers”. When I make a call to one of these numbers, the call is cheaper or entirely free for me. Why not offer me to make all my Facebook connections “favorite numbers”? Make them cheap to call if they are with other carrier and free to call if they are on the same carrier. It’s an incentive for all of us to stick with one carrier.

2. When I buy a vacations tour, why not offer me a discount if I make all of my connections know what agency I used for that? And if anyone from my connections buys at the same agency later, offer more discount or some bonus points? Same goes for anything, like when one buys movie tickets, insurance, or clothes.

The key here is to create incentives for people to promote products and services to their social graph. The reward should be paid for actions (my friend also bought certain something), not for clicks and views. When companies start doing that, they won’t need any other advertisement. Facebook will be the major ad platform of the future, not Google.

Evernote gains traction

April 4, 2010

Evernote released a decent application for iPad. However, a much more interesting thing about them is that they got their software pre-installed on certain Samsung Android phones, and there are people who integrate their software with Evernote through Evernote API. That’s really impressive.

iPad is out

April 3, 2010

So, the iPad is out. MobileNoter has been updated for iPad, so we got into the grand opening. We see a significant spike in downloads of our app, even though it’s definitely not mind-boggling. This is understandable, since there are not too many devices sold yet.

I started to think more favorably about the iPad. It seems that it will provide everything most people really need from a computer. What people need? A daily fix of Facebook, some games, YouTube, and maybe some news. iPad is great for that.