Now Playing Tracks

Whatsapp out…Telegram in?

I know I’ve tried this before with ChatOn when Facebook’s buying Whatsapp was just a rumor… But I really want out of Whatsapp.

Here’s yet another app that has way more to offer than Whatsapp PLUS your privacy.

It lets you have private and secret chats, saves your chats to the cloud - what a novelty!, and has a desktop app.

Besides I have an issue with stalkers. Facebook you asked me for my phone number a bunch of times and I said no. Can’t you take the hint?!

I didn’t want to give Facebook my phone number so they bought it behind my back….?! Talk about spoiled little rich kid.

So…Hey, let’s switch to Telegram
http://telegram.org/dl

Who’s coming?

Update: I hear Line isn’t half bad either. http://line.me/en-US/

I’m back on Facebook…and hating every minute.

Following my previous post about why I think Google+ is heading in the right direction, I can’t help but go into why I think Facebook is on a downward spiral.

So there are the obvious points of failure that I mentioned in where Google got it right, just to recap the primary elements:

1) New & innovative technology - we’ll see where Graph Search leads… But it seems like all Facebook has been good at lately is snatching up good technology companies (Instagram & others) and doing nothing exciting with them. I even think the primary selling point behind Graph Search is cleaning up their messy UI.

Where in the interim Google+ has hit the jackpot once again with auto-awesome and other new features - something Facebook totally should have thought of first with Instagram.

2) Terrible mobile apps. Nuff said.

(Since writing this, they also came out with Facebook Home.  Which is a good idea - but I didn’t like the app itself.  It isn’t seamless and is a “one click too many” launcher. A launcher needs to provide quick access to the most basic functions - and Facebook Home does not.  But that’s an entirely different post, and off on a tangent).

I don’t know about Apple devices, but Facebook has been smartphone cancer for all of my Android devices - eating up CPU and draining battery, so much so that I’ve uninstalled the app, and only use the mobile version (which too has its limitations).

3) Loss of control. From being unsure how or just simply being unable to control interaction on Facebook, it becomes a burden to actually use. I also have an issue with buggy apps that don’t remember default settings - especially security settings - and Facebook is #1 with that.

Aside from doing the comparison thing - I do believe that Facebook has distinct & unique #fails that I’ve only found with this platform.

It doesn’t learn anything about its users.

Some examples:

I have to constantly update which notifications/invites/groups/emails I’m not interested in receiving. Every time there’s some new and stupid game that has Facebook login, I get disruptive notifications on my phone - and for other stupid apps too.  If I have said once, I’m really not interested in these - respect it.

The same goes for all of the stupid prompts and such you get all the time about providing your phone #, activating Facebook email and more.  Enough.  

You need all kinds of stupid hacks and workarounds for basic functionality - like editing posts (well at least until recently - I believe Facebook has fixed this in the interim since starting this post - but this has been a major fail until now).  See this video.

Really buggy PPC. (Not to mention other functionality).

I have had so much trouble running PPC campaigns with Facebook that I have opted not to run them on the platform in the end.  This is a major monetization weak spot for Facebook - I’d suggest they fix this immediately.

There is other basic functionality that is just plain buggy that Facebook doesn’t seem to want to fix too - even simply uploading pics - sometimes only works once in three tries (and then I have the same status update without the pic three times), or sometimes double posts.  Unknown what the deal is.

Poor support

I have never encountered an issue on Facebook that was quickly resolved or even resolved to my satisfaction, and the user forums are such spam.

I’m sure there are a million other issues - but these are just off the top of my head.  There are also a million features that are missing from uploading GIFs, to linking out to external events - but we won’t even go there.  Facebook was once the pillar of innovation - and they’re lucky they have the buy-in and market penetration they’ve achieved, but nothing gold can stay.  If they don’t step up their game, they may find themselves a has been - a la MySpace.

Customer Satisfaction - The Pillar of Good Marketing: @Doxie Style

One of the most underrated pillars of good marketing is customer satisfaction.

As a person who lives in a country where this concept doesn’t even exist, I know how to appreciate customer service at its best.

Being on maternity leave, I recently decided that I’d like to finally take on a project I’d been hoping to do for a long time - digitize all of my pictures.  I have boxes of old pictures that are completely wasted in their print format, and wanted to remedy the situation.

I pull out my Doxie scanner - an awesome little portable scanner - (that I haven’t used for months mind you) to discover that it’s having some issues.

image

I decided to be a B**** and call them out about it on Twitter, instead of being a mensch and writing them an email.

And despite my obnoxiousness, they were really nice about it, and told me they have excellent customer service, and to reach out by email.  Which I did.

After telling my story, and initially asking for a replacement accessory kit that is received with Doxie so I could clean and recalibrate it (which being the responsible people that we are - we lost at some point) - they, no questions asked, said it was going out in the mail immediately (even though I’m in Israel).  After a couple of hours, their customer service rep (who deserves a shout out herself) - Sue - of her own initiative contacted me and told me they’ve decided to replace the scanner altogether - and that we can just recycle the faulty one. I was so pleased, I actually wanted to ask if I could add $50 and get the more advanced version (but thought that would be a little too greedy on my part).  I already wanted to consume more of their products, being so happy with their customer support.

I like companies that:

1) Stand behind their products

2) Treat the customer with respect and trust

3) Are quick to respond to an issue.

This builds my trust in and respect for THEIR brand.

Thank you Doxie - you have been wonderful - I will be sure to purchase your products again.

Tools I Like: Springpad

image I may be way behind the eight ball with this one, but I just discovered Springpad - which to me replaces about 100 different apps I used to use, and aggregates everything in one place pretty conveniently.

I’m not kidding - for me it’s Evernote meets Pocket meets Pinterest meets Favorite Tweets meets Amazon + eBay Wishlists meets Astrid meets Asana meets Gmail (certain functionality) meets Tripit meets Noteshelf… You get my drift. Of course, this all depends on how you consume apps & their purpose for you, but in terms of functionality for me, this is one super app to replace them all it looks like.

The devs of this app have done something simply brilliant.  Aside from having a really functional cross platform app that also has a desktop version (apropos my previous post about why this is important) - they also catered to aesthetic appeal with this app.  It’s really beautiful.

This app enables you to create notebooks in an Evernote/Noteshelf fashion - share them publicly or privately (for more personal things), and makes it super easy to save stuff to said notebooks - you can send emails to be filed in your notebooks, you can save virtually any link at the click of a button on any platform - via the Chrome plugin you can do this on a desktop too, otherwise you “spring” them on mobile devices, take pics and spring them, scan barcodes etc. etc.

You can take virtually any kind of note - see screenshot below - AND you can share individual notes or entire notebooks.

image  

Some of the stuff I’ve used it for:

Replaced my recipe label in Gmail - where I send myself awesome recipes - I’ve made this notebook public.  Happy to have contributors there - whoever’s interested.

I’ve saved all my bookmarks from Pocket & favorite tweets.

Aggregated my wishlists from all of my favorite eCommerce sites.

Saved my notes to self for awesome marketing ideas.

Created a grocery shopping notebook - which allows me to create a page in the notebook for my weekly shopping - and actually look back to see what was bought and what wasn’t, without necessarily deleting items or without it all being under one list (Astrid or Asana-esque).

And plenty more.

What’s more - while you could feasibly do this with Evernote - it doesn’t give you the beautiful look and feel (and there are limitations due to premium features), whereas Springpad actually takes the pictures from the links so it has a nice visual experience and makes it easier to find things - Pinterest style, and allows you to file more easily.

Plus you can have followers like Twitter or Tumblr for those who like your public notebooks and want to see more.

I like that they took everything from a UX perspective into consideration:

Privacy - Check

Sharing - Check (Whatever floats your boat)

Social Interaction - Check

UI - Check

Price - FREE! (The best part about my favorite tools)

While they currently don’t have any premo schemes like other apps (as far as I can tell) - I’m sure they’ll find a brilliant way to monetize, since it looks like they have a pretty awesome team.

Find me (and Springpad) here: http://springpad.com/#!/Shar1z

The @Samsung @Dropbox Foileshtick (Shenanigan)

This is a two part commentary on brilliant positioning versus less stellar marketing.

Allow me to start with Samsung.

I think the way in which Samsung have positioned themselves as Apple’s leading competitor these days, independent of Google (whose OS is just a means to an end); and the numbers speak for themselves (sales-wise & Apple attack-wise - just emphasizing the fear factor) - deserves serious respect.

If you had asked me who would be in this position a few years ago, I likely would have answered HTC.

But lo and behold, Samsung have made all the right moves with their Galaxy line, releasing topnotch mobile devices that are gaining serious market share, all while undertaking brilliant marketing campaigns (Superbowl commercial anyone?), but they didn’t stop there to make sure they stand out in the competitive Android arena.

They release their devices with strategic alliances to really create that tipping point. They did this with the Galaxy S3 & Flipboard, a much coveted mobile app, and then continued this trend by offering 50 GBs of Dropbox storage to Galaxy S3, S4 & Note 2 users - to provide a holistic Apple iCloud-like experience, and for me that was a major selling point. Very well played. They recognized that technical specs are becoming less and less distinguishable - and it’s no longer just about the device, but the entire experience - something Apple has known from the get-go.

On the less brilliant marketing side - I’m actually going to point my finger at Dropbox.

I don’t like Indian givers.

There’s always a catch. Well most of the time.

imageI remember when Box first came out with their Android app they offered a promotion of 50 GBs for lifefor those that downloaded the app in the first week.  I did that.  I hear it was so successful that they’re even doing it again now, as I write this.  And even the manner in which they initially intended to monetize (add-ins such as desktop sync), they eventually did away with and offered for free (since they realized this was a major breaker for many users).  I actually now use Box as my primary cloud storage, and have chosen to offer Box storage for marketing campaigns and such, since I liked their attitude.

Then there was Dropbox.

Dropbox on the other hand have decided to offer the 50 GBs of storage that come bundled with Galaxy devices for 24 months alone.  I don’t like that.  What’s the point of it?  Kind of like Microsoft reneging on the 25 GBs of Skydrive storage if you didn’t “claim it” (not quite sure how I was supposed to do this still).  I get that you need to monetize, but really if you chose to go into this alliance - go in wholeheartedly.  This is totally half-assed, and means I will never use that 50 GBs of storage - since I can’t just up and move 50 GBs of storage after 24 months, and I think their pricing is a bit excessive.  Take Box’s 1 TB of storage for a fraction of the price.  This is so off-putting it reeks of Apple with their vendor lock-in ploys.

Other options could have been to take back unused storage after 24 months, or to enable the storage only while owning a Galaxy device.  

The alliance was smart, but the execution was poor.

Postless

So I’m guessing you’re wondering where I’ve disappeared to…

I have a 1000 posts that are in partial draft mode - but I’m guessing I won’t be able to get to them in the next 18 years or so, since I have officially deployed my first human project.

Stuff to look forward to then (and I’m sure it’ll be pretty relevant and cutting edge stuff) -

“I’m back on Facebook - and hating every minute of it”

“CM 10.1 vs. Stock Jellybean”

“Tools I like: RabbitSEO”

“Organizing a meetup group”

Some more tool comparisons - and maybe some thoughts on the false advertising of parenthood, or something on the lines of that.

Until then… Thanks for the patience.

Tools I like: Qualaroo

This one is actually one of my favorites.  It’s free, unless you need the premo features, and it is such a useful tool.

Qualaroo provides quick surveys and nudges at the corner of your web page that are unintrusive, and really provide valuable feedback.

I use it to know whether a wiki help section was useful, why people haven’t downloaded our product, and to opt-in to our newsletter (a list which you can easily export as well), and I have received a lot of actionable feedback, and grown our user-base quite nicely.

I really hope they’ll be able to provide more analytics-based features, or integrations with  existing analytics tools, since that’s really the only thing I feel the tool is missing right now.

And like all of my favorite tools - it’s free.

Check it out:  http://www.qualaroo.com.

To Tumblr, Love Pixel Union