Archive | October 4, 2012


Someone having one of those days that nothing comes out of your hands? That you are bored and just browsing the internet? Probably all of you have had one recent. Some may already know the feature central in this post, but to the others, I would like to explain what StumbleUpon is.

StumbleUpon was founded in 2001 and grew rapidly over the years. Nowadays, the service has more than 25 million registered users. It is available on multiple platforms, like Android and iOS. What you do is, install the application and register for an account. (also possible via Facebook) Next, fill in at least 5 of your interests. These could vary from extreme sports to science and from animals to design. Now an ‘Stumble’ button will show up in your screen. Everytime you click this button, StumbleUpon will show you new and interesting pages somewhere on the web. By liking or disliking these pages, more pages of your real interests will be shown. Over the time, a better selection could be made and boring moments will probably belong to the past!

I think you all should give it a try.

More info:

Spend less time in the doctors waiting room

ZocDoc is a start-up enabling patients to find doctors and book appointments through the website, a convenient way to find the right doctor in your neighborhood. The company already exists for a while and has been growing fast.

But from today on they have implemented a new service, the check in service, which enables a patient to fill out his medical forms before he goes to the appointment. His medical information will be saved to his account and therefore  he does not have to enter his medical data again.

I personally think this makes going to the doctor way easier and I guess it would also improve the clinics, as doctors are well aware of the reason for the patient visiting their clinic, which makes agenda planning easier and hopefully reduces waiting lines.  

Have a look on their website:

Marktplaats: an upcoming danger

Dear Bloggers,

It has happened to me numerous times now on, a Dutch eBay look-a-like, that I order goods from certain people and that I never receive the goods. Sometimes it is to much trouble to go and pick up products that are for example being sold all the way in Groningen, so making the seller send it to you is often a more realistic option. More and more websites are arising where users can comment on their losses through these online auctioning sites? What do you think that Marktplaats can do to reduce the number of fraudulent cases? Fortunately they already came up with the possibility of accepting Pay-pal (which guarantees that purchases are received). Are there for example more opportunities like integrating with Google CheckOut? For those of you who don’t yet know this service, check out the youtube video posted below. So basically, my question to you is how can we make Marktplaats a safer place for all consumers?

Value Innovation & Value Proposition: The Business Model Canvas

More and more people start using the Business Model Canvas as a network innovation tool. According to definition, “the Business Model Canvas is a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool. It allows you to describe, design, challenge, invent, and pivot your business model.” In my opinion, it is a really useful tool and well integrated with the philosophy of value innovation, which is simply an approach to business growth concentrating on new markets.

Below is a picture of framework of the Business Model Canvas:

When we take a close look at this picture, you can easily see that the central of this picture is Value Proposition. The right half of the picture shows all the relations and interactions between this value proposition and the target customer group. In the left half part, all the key resources, main activities and partners that needed to complete this value proposition are listed.

Recently, a popular view claims that the first goal of a new business is to find Product-Market-Fit. However, what is fit means? In my opinion, if it is fit mainly depends on the level of acceptance among target group of the value proposition that the product provide. Only if the value proposition has been accepted by enough amounts of customers, economic scale can be truly formed. Thus, the income from selling the product and service could exceed the cost of providing them, and the company can profit from the business. Then we say it is a feasible business model.

However, the more important question is: how to find this Product-Market-Fit? Or should we look for the potential market for the existing product or the other way around, trying to creating the product for the existing market? From the Business Model Canvas’s perspective, it is better for entrepreneurs to think from the right half to the left half or from left to right?

The traditional industry of technology innovation normally follows the path of Technology -> Design/Build -> Sale, but the new way of innovation, like what Apple, Facebook and Amazon followed is User Behavior -> Solution -> Technology. In this new path, company should observe the change of consumer behavior first, and then design the most valuable solution for the specific problem. After that, start to think if there is appropriate technology to support this solution. If not, then the innovation should be in abeyance until the right technology comes out.

Cinema in pocketsize

In the light of new technologies and continuous expansion of mobile device features, I want to share with you Panasonic’s thinnest laser projector module.

A prototype of the 100-lumen laser projector has been spotted in Japan. It is 75mm thick and projects images at 800×480-pixels. The Samsung Galaxy Beam is the only device launched with a built-in projector. However, it really struggles in daylight.

The new Panasonic technology allows projecting images without focussing. The light doesn’t travel through an LCD filter like regular projectors, and instead is just one single laser beam producing the image.

The technology is still in its early days with bulky and expensive devices.  But could it be that within 2 years from now all of our smart phones will be equipped with tiny beamers allowing us to enjoy cinematic experiences that come in pocketsize?

The American Presidential Debate & 10.3 Million Tweets

Tonight was a record setting night for twitter. The first 2012 Presidential Debate was the most tweeted about political event in company history, with 10.3 million tweets. Twitter seems to add a new dimension of participation in politics, allowing people from all over the world to share their thoughts and feelings in real-time.

What Twitter has to say about this record setting night:

As conversation on the Denver stage and on Twitter ranged from Medicare to Big Bird, there were more than 10 million Tweets this evening, making this first of the 2012 presidential debates the most tweeted-about event in U.S. politics.

The specific moments that generated the most discussion on Twitter were:
-Moderator Jim Lehrer quips “Let’s not” when Governor Romney requests a topic
-President Obama quips “I had 5 seconds” when Lehrer gives time limit
-The discussion about Medicare and vouchers

The chart below plots the pulse of conversation throughout the debate (click to see full-size):

While it’s maybe not suprising that a lot of people were twittering about this, it’s interesting to see that a lot of different opinions occur about the role of Twitter chaning the political environment.

Where the enthousiastics think that it completely changes the political envoronment, like Drew Olanoff:

What Twitter has done is removed the political trends and influence out of the hands of journalists and into the hands of regular folks like my Mom and friends in Philly. You don’t need a blog to be passionate and informative, you don’t have to be someone “special” with publishing rights at a big important publication like my stupid ass to make a difference.

Critics, like Ryan Lawler, are not that impressed by the effect that Twitter has on politics:

Well, here’s what I think. The day that we stop caring about how many Tweets per second people Tweet will be the day that Twitter actually matters. The day that it no longer has to pat itself on the back is the day that it will have truly reached its maximum cultural impact. It’ll just be something that people do, and we won’t have to think about how much they’ve done it. It will just be.

What do you think about Twitter influencing the politics? Does it really change the political environment or isn’t it really significant?


Mobile Restaurant Search Data Analysis

Restaurants are consistently the top local and mobile search category according to considerable query log data from multiple sources.

This morning I read an article of Greg Sterling which reinforces this. It also includes information about the difference between tablet and smarphone user behaviours. I thought this article may be interesting to share with my fellow bimmers :). Mainly  because we’ve been reading and talking a lot about the big amount of data generated thanks to new technologies. This is a nice example how mobile search data analysis can gain useful insights about consumer behavior.

In this article he writes about a recently reveiled mobile restaurant search data analysis. This research was based on an online survey with 1.500 American smartphone and tablet users and actual observed consumerbehaviors from Smartphone Analytics Panel Nielsen and 6.000 Apple and Android users.

The study found that 95 percent of smartphone users conduct restaurant searches. It also found that 90 percent of these users “convert within the day,” meaning they go out to eat. Perhaps more striking is the fact that 64 percent were found to covert either “immediately” or “within one hour.” This is reminiscent of the 2010 statement by Microsoft-Bing that 70 percent of mobile search users complete a search-related task within an hour vs. one week on the PC.

Tablet and smartphone user behaviors are not the same, however. While that may now be common knowledge, the study documented some specific differences in the restaurants category:

  • While 64 percent of smartphone restaurant searchers convert within an hour, just 44 percent of tablet owners do so
  • In the context of restaurant search most smartphones are used “on the go” (outside the home) while tablets are used primarily in the home.
  • Tablet users are more likely to look for reviews and menus; smartphone owners are more likely to look for directions or call restaurants

As indicated, the top activities among restaurant searchers varied by device. Among smartphone owners the hierarchy of activities was the following:

  1. Call a restaurant
  2. Look up directions
  3. Look up locations near me

Tablet owners were much more in “research mode” and were more likely to do the following:

  1. Look at ratings and reviews
  2. Find online coupons and promotions
  3. Research menu / specific food items

The study also discovered that more tablet and smartphone owners used mobile websites more often but considerably more time was spent with mobile apps. Accordingly, 70 percent of total time spent with restaurant content on mobile devices took place in apps. In other words, the mobile web saw greater reach but users were much more engaged with  mobile apps. This is a microcosm of larger mobile user behavior patterns.

One of the more interesting findings — one that is positive for mobile advertisers — is that “3 out of 5″ mobile restaurant seekers had no particular place in mind upon embarking on their research. In addition, 75 percent of study participants reported noticing mobile ads. So the capacity for marketers to influence mobile user behavior in this category would appear to be great.

The top decision criteria or key reasons among mobile users for choosing a particular restaurant were the following:

  1. Location or proximity — smartphones: 65 percent; tablets: 52 percent
  2. Price — smartphones: 48 percent; tablets: 48 percent
  3. Good reviews — smartphones: 27 percent; tablets: 43 percent

There are two big “takeaways” here. The first is that smartphone and tablet user needs and behavior are often different (and it may vary further by vertical). As a generalization tablet owners are closer to PC owners in their behavior though they’re typically categorized as “mobile” users. The second observation and generalization is that smartphone owners typically have more immediate needs and are thus “lower in the funnel” than users of other screens.


Tech Savvy Traveling

While I am no big fan of flying itself, I have to say that I belong to kind of people who would spend all their money on traveling. And every time I go somewhere the same type of questions pop up. Should I bring my laptop? Or should I just bring my iPad? What about an MP3 Player? The electronic mess in my suitcase ranges from an electrical toothbrush to my digital camera. On top of which I always have to carry around cables and adapters for almost everything. Now this video gives some good advice on how to decide what to bring (and most importantly, what not to bring). Also, did you know that you can bring an easy solar charger that can connect to almost anything? My next travel is coming up n 3 weeks already and I will definitely try to get one of those before I leave. What are your tech must-haves for traveling?

Infographic on Big Data

With all the talk on Big Data recently and the importance of understanding the concept for the exam, I’d like to share this interesting and clarifying infographic with you.

Autonomy is one of the companies who focus on extracting value from big data. They are the ones who can take credit for creating this infographic as a means for an average person to understand the concept. Find that you want to know more after seeing this? You can read more by clicking here.