Daily Archives: June 9, 2011

I’m on vacation, check out these cool tech startups

I’m on vacation until June 20th. Say hi if you see me on a beach in Santa Monica or Laguna, which is where we’ll be hanging out.

In the meantime, last night I uploaded a bunch of videos for you to enjoy while I’m gone. I will make a best attempt to really stay off the Internet (I know I’ll fail, but I am going to try).

Twenty Feet lets you know more about your social media stats; I love Twenty Feet. Every morning it sends me an email and lets me know if something weird happened in my stats for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other places. For instance, did more of my videos get favorited than usual? Did more people subscribe or unsubscribe than usual?

Twimbow brings color to social media; Twimbow looks a bit like TweetDeck, but look again and you’ll see a colorfully different approach! By using colors you can uncover tweets and status messages from people and brands you care about. Here Luca Filigheddu, CEO of Twimbo, shows me what it does and what his philosophy is behind social media clients.

Intuit opens up platform to outside developers; Alex Barnett, group manager for developer relations at Intuit, shows me their new platform for developers to build functionality into Intuit’s products. ZDnet wrote more about it here. This is called “Intuit Anywhere,” a series of widgets and data services that connect QuickBooks Online data to applications outside of the company’s marketplace.

ShopKeep brings an iPad-based Cash Register to life (and Web, and Mac and PC); Are you a small retail store? Do you need a better cash register? Well, ShopKeep.com visited me yesterday and showed me their new system and explained why it works better than other PC-based cash registers. Plus, they have one that works on your favorite devices. Learn more at http://shopkeep.com/

Microsoft Business Intelligence “Power Pivot” tool for looking at Tweet data; Bruno Aziza of Microsoft’s Microsoft’s Business Intelligence group recently filmed me for BI TV at http://www.microsoft.com/bi/en-us/Community/Pages/BITV.aspx Here I turned the camera on him and he is showing off a free tool for looking at data from Tweets and business meetings inside Excel. Get it at http://www.powerpivot.com/

In-depth look: Genwi app creator for iPhone, Android, and iPad; Do you want to easily create apps for iPhone, Android, and iPad all at once without much coding experience? Lots of businesses do. Here I get an in-depth look at a very useful tool, Genwi with CEO PJ Gurumohan. Learn more at http://isites.us/ and follow them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/GENWI_iSites

Trend Spottr finds trends in your tweets; A real-time analytics service that identifies & curates the top trending content from Twitter and Facebook for any search term or topic of interest. Here Mark Zohar, CEO, shows it off to me. Really useful for Twitter freaks like me! Follow them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/trendspottr

Big Live: fostering real-time interactions around content; Producers of online video content are always looking for ways to get their audience more involved and more engaged beyond just leaving comments. By leveraging the social network, Big Live is providing a solution that fosters real-time discussion among audiences.

Why Nokia’s Elop is wrong about mobile sales: users aren’t idiots

Nokia’s CEO, Stephen Elop, still isn’t quite understanding why Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 isn’t selling. He thinks it’s about hardware.

“Windows Phone scores better than Android and iPhone with consumers, but OEMs are doing their best work for Android. For Nokia our best work will be for Windows Phone. You will see waves of families of devices that deliver on the promise of Windows Phone 7,” Elop said in a keynote at the Open Mobile Summit in London today.

Here’s the deal. It isn’t about hardware. It’s about apps and the professional VC-backed app developers are actively ignoring Windows Phone 7. Not to mention that even the apps I’ve tested that are on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone 7 generally aren’t as good on Windows Phone 7.

Users are not idiots. They buy use cases, not hardware.

Now, lots of people love to argue with me saying apps don’t matter. But they do. And if you say they don’t then you are betting that there’s a huge market of idiots out there who don’t care about apps. Hint: that market is shrinking all the time.

Think about it. If you buy a phone and then you sit next to someone with an Android or iPhone, and they show you all the apps they are using that you don’t have, won’t you feel like an idiot? Of course you will.

Now, to the point. I’m going on vacation. I’m testing out a Windows Phone 7 device (a Samsung model) and an Android device (a new Verizon Droid X2). First thing up, who has the best Disneyland apps? iOS, of course with Android coming in strong too. Who has the best restaurant apps, like Foodspotting or Chewsy? iOS of course with Android coming in strong too. Windows Phone 7? Not even in the same ballpark. Shall I go on?

So, until Microsoft figures out how to get professional app developers (hint: they are mostly venture funded because that’s what it takes now to hire a team of six developers, like what Instagram has) excited about its platform it will continue not selling, no matter how shiny the hardware is (and, hint, Android’s hardware is pretty damn good, that’s not my problem with that platform).

Here is a hint. Recently Finland’s “Y Combinator” came and visited me. They call it Startup Sauna. Not a single one of those companies showed me a Windows Phone 7 app. Not a single one, and these are Europe’s best developers from Nokia’s backyard. You should have heard what they said off camera. It was stunning. They are betting their companies on iOS and Android and if you care about the apps these startups are showing off, that’s the platforms consumers will bet on too. Unless you think they are idiots.

Don’t believe the Finnish developers? Visit my YouTube Channel. I have more than 700 videos up there. Count how many professional developers show me Windows Phone 7 apps. Go ahead, I’ll wait. I did, three. Out of 783 videos. And that’s not counting the additional 245 videos we’ve uploaded to Building43′s YouTube account (not a single Windows Phone 7 app over there).

Here’s the Startup Sauna videos:

1. Here founder Kristo Ovaska explains the program and what they are doing in California. You can follow Kristo on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/KristoOvaska

2. This company is Fund Friends which is a game that helps you with your investments http://www.fundfriends.se/ and here the founder Mikael Andersson shows it to me.

3. FutureFul shows me a new kind of way to discover news and information about topics you care about.

4. http://www.campalyst.com/ is a social media analytics software that measures conversions and ROI for your company’s social media campaigns. Here’s how it works.

5. Guntis Smaukstelis, CEO, of Mighty Fingers, shows off his new real-time game engine, which builds HTML5 games. Pretty cool stuff. Learn more at http://mightyfingers.com/

6. What’s better than Red Laser? Scandit, which is one of the companies that visited me with Startup Sauna, a Finnish startup incubator. Here Samuel Muller, CEO, shows me the app and explains how it competes with other barcode scanners on iPhone, Android, Symbian, and PhoneGap platforms.