Monthly Archives: January 2011

Why Angry Birds +could+ turn into a major identity player

LeWeb 2010

Right now when I want to share my identity with a new service, I usually turn to Facebook. Why?

1. It knows my social graph (IE, the people who I want to be associated with online).
2. It has an identity API (IE, when I sign into, say, CinchCast, that has a way to talk to Facebook and get info from me).
3. It knows a lot about me, including what kind of music, what movies, what website, what drinks, what activities, what food, and more, that I like.
4. I keep it up to date because of social pressure of other members (if you change your email, for instance, watch what happens if you don’t change your address — people bug you).
5. Me, and nearly everyone I know, is on it.

So, right now how does Angry Birds compare?

1. Doesn’t have it.
2. Doesn’t have it.
3. Doesn’t know it.
4. Oh, yeah, we play every day.
5. Oh, yeah, the other day I walked into my doctor’s office with my son and literally EVERYONE in the office was playing Angry Birds. Old. Young. And others.

Now I have some inside knowledge. I was talking with an exec who works at Rovio the other night at the DLD conference and he hinted that Angry Birds would be turning on a gaming network soon.

Why? Well, what’s the worst thing about Angry Birds? That when you get to a new level on one device, all your other devices don’t know about it.

But, let’s take it further. Angry Birds could prompt you to give up a lot of the information Facebook does today. Why? They would trade you “Angry Birds points” for knowing what kind of books you read. Or what movies you’ve seen lately. Or what beer you like drinking.

It could even open up new levels for players that shared a lot of info with the system.

Yesterday I was in a workshop for Lufthansa where they asked us to build a “Facebook airline.” It was amazing to hear how willing the high-mileage travelers in the room were to give up their personal data to have better service.

Would I join an Angry Birds social graph? Damn straight I would and I’d probably urge you to join up too.

It isn’t hard to see how they would become the coolest social network within a month or two. Even cooler than Quora. Heheh. After all, a lot more people identify with Angry Birds than identify with other services online (the same exec told me they can’t keep Angry Birds merchandise in stock).

Maybe this is the competition Facebook needs. Diaspora? Give me a break, that will never keep Facebook honest. Angry Birds, though, could become a major competitor for Facebook and could keep them worried about their future existence, the way Facebook is now keeping Google’s founders up at night.

What do you think? And, if you don’t like it, just pretend I’m a pig and send some of those birds my way!


Photo credit: Loic Le Meur at LeWeb 2010 By Hervé Corcia.

Is our love of Instagram misplaced?

I was really in love with Instagram. I’ve put tons of photos into the system, and love the feedback I get there, love the quality of photos I see flowing through the system there, love the user interface, and more. So do many other people. It was the hit of 2010, breaking a million users after just being out a few weeks.

But is our love misplaced?

I’ve found my love waning after learning that competitor PicPlz is cross platform. That alone should be important, because more of your friends can see (and share with you) photos.

But after talking to PicPlz’ CEO/founder Dalton Caldwell I learned something far more important: it doesn’t destroy image quality the way Instagram does.

Let me explain what I mean.

If I use Instagram it reduces the image size to fit into its format. That’s throwing pixels away.
But worse, if I apply a filter in Instagram, say, to make an image black and white, it permanently throws away the color info and only uploads to its servers a black and white version.

PicPlz, on the other hand, uploads the full quality photo (which takes slightly longer) but then applies any filters you use on the server. Even then it stores both your original image as well as the new, black and white version (or whatever filter you chose). That’s a HUGE difference in philosophy and one that is making me question my love of Instagram.

Further, PicPlz has an API (read and write) that lets you do filters and other stuff server side that Instagram is going to struggle to do.

How about you? Are you still in love with Instagram after hearing all this?

Here, watch Dalton demo his app and tell me how PicPlz works.

Exclusive first look: Zoho Books, taking on small business accounting

This week Zoho announced another service in its online suite of collaboration tools for small businesses, this one for keeping the finances, called “Zoho Books.” Here’s the news from around the web:

Techcrunch: Zoho Preparing Online Accounting Service Zoho Books
GigaOm: Integrated Online Accounting and Bookkeeping With Zoho Books
ZDNet: Zoho launches Books to round out its suite, targets QuickBooks

Here I sit down with Zoho’s CEO, Sridhar Vembu, and Evangelist Raju Vegesna, to learn more and get a demo of how it works.

First look at’s new features; rolling out to five million users!

This week announced a ton of new stuff. You can read the press on Techmeme, or here:

Techcrunch: Upgrades Cloud Storage Platform With New UI, Collaborative Features And More
ZDNet: Box shakes up site with complete makeover, new tools
GigaOm: New Version of File Sharing and Collaboration Service Targets Simplicity
PCWorld: Overhauls Content Management App’s User Interface
VentureBeat: looks to keep it simple with new version of cloud storage software
Mashable: Unveils New, Simplified Interface

To get more detail, though, I sat down with Box’s CEO, Aaron Levie, and Senior Web Developer Florian Jourda, who gave me details behind the new features (like how they used open source technology from Facebook) and showed me around the new features.

Learning more about the hotel marketing system Techcrunch loved

If you read Techcrunch they love pretty much any startup, but they dedicated more words and images to this one than usual: Buuteeq. Sarah Lacy, there, wrote that it’s a cool company with an awful name. What does it do? Helps independent hoteliers market themselves online. So, I sat down with Forest Key, founder, to learn more about it. It is indeed impressive and I learn a lot about how hotels market themselves.