Author Archives: Ken Yeung

About Ken Yeung

Editor-in-Chief of and an accomplished interactive producer in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area interested in all things in tech and marketing. Whether its gadgets or startups or related issues, he's eager to learn about it. From attending local and national conferences to appearing at events, parties, and other meetups, Ken is interested in sharing what he sees. Oh, and he's an accomplished photographer too, having been commissioned by Mashable, TechCrunch, TechSet, SXSW, BlogWorld, and many more.

Refer.lyThere has been a lot of news and content produced about finding ways to determine one’s influence. Perhaps the two most cited sources of determining influence has got to be with Klout and Kred. These services are known by the community as being the de facto place to measure how influential you are and businesses should determine who they should reach out to when they want to get the community to notice their campaigns. But what if there was a way where people can decide if they’re an expert or not and not have to resign themselves to an algorithm, wouldn’t that offer more value to someone in order to help them determine what they want to actually consume?

That’s exactly what a brand new service called hopes to accomplish. Started by Danielle Morrill, this cool new startup is geared towards helping you create your own affiliate links just for recommending things that you love. And why wouldn’t this be something that everyone wants to do? After all, we’ve all been there where we like a certain product so much that we just have to tell our friends, right? For me, it might be a new gadget or digital camera that I’m rather ecstatic about and as a result, want to share it with people across my social graph–so why shouldn’t I be able to be rewarded for something that I’m already interested in doing AND am in love with? In a 2006 Comscore report, the number one reason why brands and products were recommended was because evangelists and brand advocates wanted to help others. For companies trying to tap into this social graph, it’s going to be rather difficult as people can be suspect of ulterior motives. But if a friend or a colleague recommends it and promotes it using social channels, there’s a higher likelihood of adoption and persuasion. A Harris Poll in 2010 found out:

Nearly half of Americans who use social media say reviews about a particular company, brand or product from friends or people they follow on social networking websites influence them either a great deal or a fair amount (45%) – the same number as Americans who say reviews in newspaper or magazine articles influence them (46%).

Facebook signs onto NASDAQ for IPOAs each day in the month of May goes by, we move closer to what will surely be a historical day not only in the day of public trading, but also in the technology community. This week, it’s being said that the long-awaited Facebook IPO is set to go forward–or you could subscribe to the other side of the coin that says it’s going to be delayed. All the players are moving into position in what many say could help the social network raise close to $100 billion in capital. The asking price is rumored to be between $28-35 and Bloomberg is reporting that Facebook will stop taking orders tomorrow for the IPO–two days ahead of schedule. It’s being said that the potential investment could have Facebook have a market value that would surpass that of UPS as the “most valuable company in history to go public in the United States” (based on market capitalization). Not bad for a site that is mainly geared at helping folks communicate with each other.

All in all, one of the missing pieces has just come into play–since their IPO announcement months ago, Facebook has been waiting on approval from the NASDAQ stock exchange in order to be listed for their IPO. Today, Facebook filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) documentation which stated that their stock has been registered and approved for listing with the NASDAQ. So sometime this week, the world’s largest social network will begin trading under the ticker symbol “FB” (how fitting).

CNN Money reports that Facebook is on track to begin trading publicly starting on Friday, May 18 and in what may seem to be more of a common occurrence, Facebook founder & CEO, Mark Zuckerberg will not be in New York City to ring the opening bell, instead opting to remain at Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters to do the honors. There is precedent to doing this, as Zynga pulled the same stunt in December by ringing the bell from their San Francisco headquarters. Perhaps Mr. Zuckerberg doesn’t want to get that famous photo opening the market or travel to New York? Or maybe he just cares too much about Facebook and wants to continue focusing on building out the social network’s mobile strategy (because obviously they’re scared of the mobile space). It could also just backfire on the company since there are some investors who have come  to question Mr. Zuckerberg’s demeanor throughout the investor road show. Regardless, one thing is for sure, whether it’s this week or next week or however long, Facebook is sure to go public and the employees will soon realize their dream fulfilled, and find themselves a lot richer too.

Mark Zuckerberg's hoodie as shown at The D ConferenceIt’s the start of a brand new week and this one is especially special since it’s the week where Facebook is rumored to be issuing their IPO. There has certainly been a lot of questions and news surrounding the upcoming public release of Facebook stock, but what’s probably the most surprising came out of a recent article that featured a quote by analyst Michael Patcher, who is the managing director of Wedbush Securities, that said “Mark and his signature hoodie:He’s actually showing investors he doesn’t care that much; he’s going to be him…I think that’s a mark of immaturity…” Soon the debate over whether Facebook’s IPO was worth pursuing shifted from whether the social network could hold up their end of the bargain, in the face of a growing mobile issue to now being about the wardrobe attire of its famed founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg and its apparent tie to him being too immature to lead.

Naturally here in Silicon Valley, many founders of the best companies and startups that are succeeding and going public have young founders, but should their wardrobe affect how they lead? Of course the industry covered this with even one respected writer saying that it’s ridiculous. Enthusiastic angel investor and founder of 500 Startups, Dave McClure went on a wild twitter rant soon after the announcement and AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher called Mr. Patcher simply a “doofus”.  Fellow startup entrepreneurs defended Mr. Zuckerberg’s attire simply by saying that the infamous hoodie did not really correlate to the market performance–the company would still probably reach $1 billion in profits. In fact, Box’s CEO, Aaron Levie, of which is probably in good shape to mimic Facebook’s success in the cloud storage department, was quoted as saying:

After Facebook hit $1B in profits, you’d think investors would start demanding Zuck wear a hoodie. Yahoo CEO: No hoodie; AOL CEO: No hoodie; Facebook CEO: hoodie. Coincidence?

Foresight (image credit: mademoiselle lavender)Ever wish there was a way to find out just what’s coming in the future so you can have a better understanding of what’s coming in the future? No, I’m not talking about the latest cool startup or product, but rather better understand the trends and the behaviors that encourage people to make the decisions that they do. Well we might not have a crystal ball readily handy or have Miss Cleo on speed dial, but what we do have is an amazing lineup of speakers and talks planned at the inaugural Glimpse Conference here in San Francisco.

Held at the Marriott Union Square Hotel on June 6, 2012, this one-day conference is aimed at exploring how people use “social discovery to uncover new ways to live, learn, share, decide, and buy”. Interact with some of Silicon Valley’s boldest experts and leading reporters to gain a better perspective on how social tools help people learn new things.

The Internet has become an increasingly important source for helping consumers research and learn what’s new and popular. Traditional media just isn’t having as much impact anymore. In a 2010 Pew Internet report, in the mid-2000s, 58% of Americans reported doing online research relating to the products and services that they considered buying.  Today, there are many new tools and applications out in the marketplace that help the consumer find information they want and it’s probably spearheaded by the proliferation of mobile devices like the smartphone and the tablet. From the disruptive influence of applications like Flipboard, Zite, and AOL Editions to finding out new hit tunes on Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody, and iTunes, and the amazing power of social networks like Twitter and Facebook–the Internet has produced a game-changing revolution that has caused the average person to modify their decision-making paradigm.

ScantogramThere are a lot of different mashups of technology and startups over the past few months and years and it’s definitely the year of the API. It all starts off with an idea and then by leveraging the API of that startup, others can build their own vision of a product. It usually happens with one of the more popular startups and today, one of them happens to be Instagram. Naturally, startups are going to try and “ride their coattails” (in a good way) to find ways to improve the service or come up with a great product. Launching this week, Scan-to-gram just happens to be one of them.

Started from nothing more than a mashup of ideas during a Scan company hackathon event, Scan-to-gram is the outcome of Scan team members mashing up their popular QR code generator and Instagram in order to create a fun new way for companies and others to have a web presence and increase their following on the photo-sharing social network. Not a bad idea from the company that produced one of the top downloaded QR code scanners in the Apple marketplace. According to TechCrunch, Scan is in the business of “creating apps that extend the potential application of QR code tech…” and they’re doing a pretty interesting job of trying to make QR codes less boring and more valuable. For many people, the thought of using a QR codes probably seems a bit far-fetched–some might even speculate that they’re dead. After all, it wasn’ t as if they’re a new thing in the marketplace. The QR code was first invented in 1994 and was designed to enable tracking of vehicles during the manufacturing process. But it’s only been recently since QR codes have hit their stride, somewhat, and have become more mainstream–but there’s a long ways to go. And that’s just what Scan seems to be trying to do, but they have a long way to go.

Recent statistics show that in June 2011, there were 14 million US smartphones that scanned a QR code, but when you compare it to the entire US smartphone population (82.2 million), it’s not that impressive. But now when you look at all the emerging startups making names for themselves and getting acquired, they’re all mobile-based and rely solely on the smartphone. Take Instagram, Path, Highlight, Foursquare, Flipboard, Evernote, etc. for example–these are all mobile-based startups that people with smartphones are rapidly downloading. The camera on the smartphones have become even better too. So the environment is there eagerly awaiting for a really great startup to put it all together. Scan just managed to find the right deal–make it easy for people to find their friends and great photographers on the number one photo-sharing app. That’s what you get with Scan-to-gram.