What to track in your Mobile App?

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Brand new blog post up on the HasOffers corporate blog!

Acquiring users costs money and keeping them is hard. Every app has some amount of churn but how much and under what circumstances depend entirely on you and the experience you’ve created. Since it’s impossible to measure uninstalls – on all three mobile platforms uninstalls happen at the OS level outside the app and are thus invisible to the app developer and to SDK-based measurement – the next best thing is to capture key engagement points and measure dropoff based on the number of users who hit each of these.

Since the functionality and flow of mobile apps vary so radically, it’s impossible to identify specific events that everyone should track. So instead I’m going to go through a few common types of events that I see our clients measure and the value propositions behind each.  Continue reading…

10 Rules for Startups

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I was hiking with a good friend from a previous company this last weekend and we got to talking about some of the things we’d both learned over the last few years of working in tech startups.  I mentioned that I’ve put together a list of rules that for me determine whether I think a company is likely to succeed or not and he expressed interest in seeing it, so here it is.  I reference these rules both during the job hunting process as I’m evaluating opportunities from various recruiters and to decide if and when it’s time to jump ship and look for something new. Continue reading

First Impressions

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I’ve been thinking a lot about Google Glass lately.  There are a lot of naysayers, as with any new tech, but I’m really hoping they’re able to pull off a successful launch.  Unfortunately, Google has a long track record of not giving their new releases the support and rapid iteration that’s required at the beginning of the lifecycle for a new product (ex: Google+) and then standing by while they wither on the vine.  So today I’d like to talk about some of the things that need to go into launching a new product and what we can learn from technologies in other industries that should have succeeded but didn’t.

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Going Electric

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I love my motorcycles – the roar, the lean, the sense of freedom, and the way lanesplitting across the San Francisco Bay Bridge every morning forces me to focus on NOW instead of thinking about everything I have to get done during the  day.  Commuting on two wheels turns my morning into an adventure and I love it. The only thing I don’t love about it, in fact, is that even though my bike is sipping a lot less fuel then a car, it’s still ultimately dependent on a fossil fuel infrastructure that’s completely and irredeemably unsustainable in the long term.  The real question isn’t if we’re going going to stop using petroleum it’s when.

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Doing it Right

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There’s no shortage of people who claim to be experts on Social media. I have several family members who think that because they waste time on Facebook means they’re qualified to list “Social Media” as a skill on their Resumes. Not trying to be mean here folks, but no. It doesn’t. Social Media, as experienced by the end user, is a very very different beast then Social as understood by folks who make their living designing and building the promotions and marketing campaigns designed to attract the attention of end users. Think of it like the difference between baking a cake and eating one – it doesn’t matter how many cakes you’ve eaten, the only way you’ll learn to bake is by baking.

The question many businesses are facing today is how to distinguish the bakers from all the people with crumbs on their faces. It’s not like there’s a certification you can check after all! And that my friends is the purpose of this post. What follows are a few tips designed to help you sort out the actual Social Media experts from the people who just play Farmville or Mafia Wars. You’re welcome. Continue reading

Facebook Search is here

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I wrote about this a few months back, but as of today it’s (sort of) live – Facebook Graph Search is now in limited Beta testing: https://www.facebook.com/about/graphsearch

So what’s the big deal? This is search customized on the Facebook graph so instead of searching for widgets, news, photos, etc and getting a list of everything on the net; you can search for widgets, news, photos, etc that your friends have uploaded, shared, or “Liked.”

The upshot? Flat earthers, creationists, and climate-change deniers never again need to be worried about pesky science articles showing up in their search results and uninformed people of all stripes can now rest safely inside their own little echo chambers.  That’s probably a Bad Thing.  It’s also suddenly a hell of a lot easier to find the information that your friends have shared with you but you might have missed or forgotten about. Assuming that you place some value on that content this is a Good Thing.  It’s anyone’s guess whether the good will outweigh the bad but it makes me a bit uneasy.

This is either the single biggest innovation in Search technology since Google or it’s a sign of the end times. Or possibly both. Either way it’s big news for anyone who works with SEO, Social, or internet marketing of any kind.

Data is King

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Back when I was in college studying Political Science I spent a lot of time (or at least a lot more then I expected going into the program) studying statistics and data.  In retrospect that was a good thing.  Knowing how to get reliable data from focus groups, how to write a survey and avoid bias in my questions,  and how to accurately analyze the bulk data resulting from that survey have all turned out to be very valuable in my work managing user communities.  I’ve found myself thinking about data even more then usual in the last month as I went through the interview process and started my new position at Kontagent. Continue reading

Dollars and Sense

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The tech startup world, as anyone who’s spent time in it knows, is a weird place. It’s a strange little bubble universe that’s absolutely awash in cash while the rest of the economy struggles and stumbles along, but the people you might expect to be raking in the cash usually aren’t. Case in point – the people who’ve benefited the most from the tech boom in SF over the last decade are arguably the city’s landlords. There’s a city full of people with 6-figure incomes who each spend half – or more – of their take home pay on insanely overpriced tiny apartments. According to some studies I’ve seen recently (sorry, I can’t find the link atm, will try to add it in an edit later) rents across most of the city have doubled in the past year. And they weren’t exactly cheap to start with! Continue reading

Facebook working on Search, Google still MIA on Social

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I’ve written several times before about the ongoing merger of Search and Social and I expect it’s something I’ll write on a good deal more over time because I think it’s one of the biggest industry changes we’re facing and has the potential to fundamentally change the way people find information online.  Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg told the world I was right.  Not that he mentioned me or anything, I would be incredibly surprised if he even knows I exist, but in his first post-IPO interview he talked at length about Facebook’s plans for Search. Continue reading