Technorati Tags: social communications
I've been somewhat of a road warrior the past few days, and have such been relying more on the utility of my iPhone. Being a mac user, and a user of Apple's programs (Mail, Address Book, iCal, etc), the iPhone was an ideal solution at first glance.
Unfortunately, two downfalls are overshadowing all the great utility it has to offer.... Those downfalls are a) the slow ass data service, by which you would send and receive emails and access the web, and b) the short battery life. As I strolled the CTIA floor this week in between meetings, I saw all mobile cool j's with their hot Nokia phones among other things. Made me consider for a moment, as to whether the grass was greener - a common plague for the gadget prone. The moment didn't last too long though, when I had to without notice do a 3-way call from the iPhone. It was the most basic/simple of any and worked perfectly.
I went to Paso Robles High School in the late 80s. We had a fair every August, which took over (and still takes over today) the town. It's a fantasia like no other. There's a ride called the Flying Bobs, which are these little cars that sway side to side and spin around a carousel going up and down.
It features a DJ spinning Hot Blooded by Foreigner, and saying an occasional something on the mic. "Yeeeaaaaah, everybody wanna go faster now???" "We're gonna to turn it round, turn it all around!" "We're gonna turn this mutha out!" If you've ever been to a county fair, you probably know 'that guy'.
My startup life (and perhaps yours) is like the Flying Bobs, staring this nutty DJ/carnie as my narrator and part-time conscience.
If these walls could talk.... I am going to write one of the best roller coaster start up books of all time. You wait. It just might be called the Flying Bobs;)
Surely you've read, Skype plans to integrate into MySpace, to be the IM and soft phone client of choice. I get it for IM, since Skype is a respectable IM client really. But are people really going to make phone calls over Skype?
NY Times says:
The companies hope that the combination will accelerate the growth of two already robust online networks. MySpace has 110 million active users around the world, but its members are mostly concentrated in the United States. Skype has 220 million users, most of them outside of this country. There is little overlap, particularly in the United States, where, according to Nielsen NetRatings, only 6.7 percent of Skype users are also users of MySpace’s instant-messenger software.
Ok....so MySpace users are US centric right? So why the hell would they want to have to a) get a headset and b) download a client to make calls from their computers? Let's face it, we live on our mobile phones. That's where we make and receive calls. The only motivation to use Skype is to save pennies on long distance, something that doesn't move the needle on a US based phone bill.... and thus to MySpace users.
The best answer (and I say this with a giant Jangl hat on) is to somehow enable MySpace users to make and receive calls and SMS over their mobiles, maintaining privacy and control over who calls.
Robert Scoble wrote about facebook being a modern day roladex a while back. It's true, it's a roladex on steroids really. You get a lot more out of it than a business card in a plastic binder, or even an outlook contact (or Apple Address in my case).
I will point out, that we built this app called Phonebook, which helps facebook really be your next generation roladex. The app provides a phone number for all your contacts, voice mail delivery, call setting preferences that let you decide which phone to receive your calls on, etc. It's the only app in facebook that lets you get a phone number for all your people.
This is an at-a-glance view of phonebook (BTW note the phone numbers for each friend.... I'm comfortable putting them all in the blog, because you can't dial these numbers to reach them; only I can from my phone).
One of my neighbors works in technology infrastructure and runs marketing. He wanted to establish a blog for his company, and have it authored by his CEO sometimes, and sometimes by fictitious beings. I talked to him about things I've been learning, practicing and apparently now preaching. Some of this comes back to some sessions I once had with the great Shel Israel.
Companies don't blog, people do. So let's can the fictitious blogger personality and bring in the CEO. But when doing so, don't make him only blog about promotional company stuff. Don't be a blowhard. That bores most people. What attracts us as humans is a story. You have to tell your story. Don't make every blog entry the freaking release notes of your company. Say something interesting. Say something that requires balls. Say something that exposes you. Say something that illustrates your relevance.
Most first time executive bloggers claim they're too busy to blog. (I've certainly been too busy to blog lately). Well bullshit. Make time. Do it first thing in the morning or late at night, when you're in a zone of some kind. Midday stuff is hard because you're putting out fires or building them, and that just doesn't lend to the groove.
For Immediate Release
Mike Hunt, Jangl, Inc.
925 867 5309
Jangl Completely Integrates into The Internets!
—Jangl Developers Usher in New Era, Fully Enable Jangl Service Integration Into eBay, MySpace and All Widget-Friendly Sites, Using “the Magic of Cut and Paste”—
October 5, 2007 – Pleasanton Calif. – Jangl, Inc., the company bridging the phone and the web for millions worldwide, today announced that they’ve cracked the code on full Jangl service integration into any widget friendly site on the Internet. Starting in February 2007, Jangl’s widget can be applied anywhere you want to cut and paste some simple code on a widget friendly page.
Through an intensive development effort that employed dozens of grounded teenagers, Jangl is pioneering the advanced technique of “Cut-and-Paste en masse”. This technique brings together two state of the art techniques in development and product placement – “swarm sourcing” and “cutting-and-pasting” widgets into widget friendly sites. The end result can be found in Jangl widget Q&A, where the secrets of cutting and pasting are revealed for everyone. Teenagers are standing by at Jangl to assist you in finding the critical keyboard commands that will help millions of people add Jangl to eBay and other consumer sites.
“One day I was in our competitive lab and I watched an intern cut some code from our widget generator, and paste it into a page on eBay – I was like, ‘where did you learn that’? This whiz kid tells me he learned about it from press releases issued by Jaxtr and JaJah,” said Michael Cerda, CEO and Founder of Jangl. “After taking a closer look, we realized that thousands of our own Jangl customers were already using Jangl in MySpace, eBay, LinkedIn and hundreds of other new partners we’ve never even met.”
Aaron Burcell, Jangl VP of Marketing added, “Cut and paste can’t be underestimated. It enables us to scale our business by methodically putting out press releases naming any open widget-friendly environment as a partner. There are 3000 social networks in Ning alone, enabling Jangl to announce a new partner everyday for the next ten years. Cut & Paste is going to be huge, perhaps bigger than open source – I’ve already told Steve Jobs to look into it.”
Jangl is the first company to create voice services for dating, social networks and social media. Jangl is the first company to create private connections that protect our number. Jangl was the first private voice services company to use the letter “J”. Jangl has partners that really do want our services in their sites. Our partners’ commitment is verified by signatures on contracts that describe a relationship wherein we work together to make money. We also have many customers that pay us money. That money is delivered in US dollars, not a made up currency. To learn more, visit us at www.jangl.com.
I naturally take an interest in any company following suit in a trend we started eons ago, which is front ending online engagements with a button or widget that provisions communication on a phone. The latest to this party appears to be TringMe. Techcrunch covered it today. It appears to be a widget end users can place anywhere online, and choose what happens when people visit the widget, i.e. place a call which rings their phone, softphone or voice mail.
I was curious as to who this company was, so I did some digging. Yusuf Motiwala appears to be the guy behind it, based in India. He works for a company called Plurant Technologies doing IPTV stuff. Maybe this is a side gig for him, or perhaps a Plurant experiment. It's not obvious that there's a real company behind this, given their website requires a password.
End users are going to have to know a little more about the company (or at least feel a good about it) before coughing up their phone numbers, that's for sure. But what's more is, if you are brave enough to put a tringme widget in your page, I can abuse the hell out of you. I can just click and call all day long, leaving you voice mails or ringing your phone. There's a fine line you walk on abuse vs. simple UI sometimes, only I think this guy chose to apply the simple UI to the wrong part of the communication flow. We'll see what the market says, if anything.