Author Archives: Paula Marttila

Flickr cc: Tramidepain

Robert Polet, CEO Gucci, has famously said:

“We are not selling handbags or shoes. We are selling dreams. That market will always be there.”

While the statement still holds the truth, what’s hot and what’s not in the world of fashion is no longer decided by the few and privileged ones. The social web is changing the rules, by giving independent fashionistas the voice and the tools to get recognized for their own individual taste. As the web and commerce gets more social, so does every step of a decision making process.

Brands are starting to recognize the need of being part of the various stages of decision making process taking place in social networks. Facebook Like button has become the first step to connect with potential customers, and it was only last week Starbucks as the first brand reached more than 10 Million Facebook Likes, and became one of the top ten largest Facebook pages. When it comes to fashion brands, though, one needs to scroll down the list, finding only two fashion brands to make the top 100 list: Victoria’s Secret on place 44 with 5 Million Facebook fans, followed by Converse All Star on place 83 with 3.8 Million fans.

ModCloth, Bloglovin’ and Fashiolista harnessing Likes beyond Facebook

But, not all “liking” happens or is being harnessed on Facebook. ModCloth, San Francisco based indie fashion site featuring vintage-inspired clothing just recently raised $19.8 Million in funding to meet the growing demand of hot fashion items frequently being sold out. ModCloth was early on to recognize and create a marketplace for independent, up and coming designers, reporting $19 Million in sales last year. Influence ranks high among fashionistas, thus by engaging fashion bloggers and fashionistas to become virtual fashion buyers to help ModCloth choose which designs get created, it’s also able to predict the demand much earlier. Watch Eric and Susan Koger, the husband and wife founders of ModCloth, interviewed by Jason Kincaid on TechCrunch TV.

To further interact with fashionistas, ModCloth ran a fashion campaign earlier this year together with Bloglovin’, Swedish blog aggregator startup with 96% female users and 5.5 Million monthly visits. Influential fashion bloggers were chosen by Bloglovin’ to promote fashion items in a transparent and trustworthy way, resulting 5 out 14 items to have been sold out within 24 hours.

Aiming to become the start page for fashion blogging, Bloglovin’ recently also launched a new start page, described as a visual Digg for fashion blogging. By introducing a voting system called “Like”, the most popular blog posts in fashion can now be featured. Bloglovin’ has been picking up steam among fashionistas world wide, overtaking both and with its 1.1 Million monthly unique visitors. Brands like DKNY and Roberto Cavalli have discovered Bloglovin’ to reach out to fashionistas, and H&M has been a frequent advertiser on the site. US fashion bloggers like Fashionchalet and fashiontoast have already created a larger following on Bloglovin’ than for example on Twitter, counting over tens of thousands of followers.

Fashiolista is another European fashion startup from Netherlands, where Likes and “Loves” are everything. It’s a fashion community with a handy bookmarklet tool that lets you collect, save and share all the fashion finds with the rest of the world. One can easily follow other Fashiolistas to get inspired of their fashion sense, as add items from nearly any online fashion shops, such as ModCloth, who has implemented Fashiolista’s bookmarklet. When it will be possible to start subscribing specific tags on Fashiolista, I can see the site getting seriously compelling. Henriette Weber, Danish social media avantgardista and fashionista herself, recently interviewed the founders of Fashiolista.

With help of services like Bloglovin’ and Fashiolista, the life of fashionistas gets easier, when being able to spot the fashion blogs that don’t suck, as to track down the perfect summer season items in the nude.

As for “safe” fashion discovery, I recommend first to head over to Mint Goals to set up your saving plan for all the fashion Likes and Loves. Happy Liking!

More reading on Fashion

Paula is online strategist and startup evangelist. She blogs at and here at
Connect with her on Twitter:
Drop her email at paula.marttila[at]gmail[dot]com

What for a year ago started with This Week In Startups, a live podcast by Jason Calacanis to embrace entrepreneurship and help out startups, has now turned into a web television network ThisWeekIn, covering a wide range of topics from tech to entertainment. Together with co-founders Kevin Pollak and Mark Jeffrey, Jason is now airing 12 weekly shows from their Santa Monica studio. Whether you want to catch up with funny YouTube moments, Twitter trends, coolest Android and iPad apps, or get the latest Internet industry deals and juicy insights, there’s a show for that.

The latest edition to the schedule is This Week In Social Media with the highs and lows of the social web, hosted by Alana Joy and Sean Percival. The very first guest on the show was none other than Brian Solis himself, who got to give his view on the all time trending topic Internet privacy, as to reflect on the impact social media and social networking have on our very own behaviour.

Catch up with the entire interview and social media blunders of the week.

Broadcasting 2.0 – turn your audience into fans and co-producers

The statistics on the two-screen experience keep showing an increasing trend, at the same time more devices are being connected to the Internet. As Justin Kan of already pointed out at the LeWeb conference last year, two-screen experience also counts for 15% of the revenues of the traditional TV.

So, now that services like, Ustream, Bambuser, Qik and soon YouTube (?) are democratizing live broadcasting, and together with social networks making it possible for almost anyone to reach an audience, what is it that makes ones audience to turn into fans?

Include and Engage. I talk based on my own experience: This Week In Startups has managed to keep me engaged since the very first episode, because it stays relevant to its audience by refusing to become an echo chamber and a megaphone for marketing messages. It’s a show built together with its audience using all the interactive tools and possibilities of social media, both before, during, and after a show. The audience becomes the co-producer in choosing guests, topics and participating in the show in a sincere way.

I think Scooter Braun, manager of Justin Bieber, summarized it well in his advice regarding Justin’s engagement with his fans across social media:

“The moment you think you’re too big for your fans, they’re gonna abandon you”.

Which leaves us with one thing that’s certain: The future of broadcast media is social. #EngageOrDie

Paula is online strategist and startup evangelist. She blogs at and here at
Follow her on Twitter:
Drop her email at paula.marttila[at]gmail[dot]com

San Francisco is about to get invated by music tech this weekend. First out is Music Hack Day San Francisco, premier for the 24 hour music hacking event on the West Coast. Music Hack Day was started in London last summer, and has since then been held in Berlin, twice in Amsterdam, Boston, and Stockholm. Read my previous coverage from Stockholm event and you’ll catch the vibe (Photos).

The list of attending companies offering their API’s is impressive even this time, put together by Dave Haynes of SoundCloud, Paul Lamere and Elissa Barrett of Echo Nest, and Daniel Raffel of Yahoo!.

Paul Lamere told me that the event is fully booked, having around 85 hackers out of over 200 applicants to attend, many of them travelling in to join the local music hack scene. Whereas music discovery was a popular theme at the Stockholm event, this time we can expect to see music apps for a new kind of devices, such as the iPad, Boxee, and the Android, to be built along with new music mashups and devices.

Paul added: “Perhaps the most pervasive common theme is that people want to come to the event with an open mind, hoping to meet like-minded souls who are obsessed with hacking on music to bounce ideas of off, to collaborate with and to be challenged by.”

That encapsulates perfectly my experience from Music Hack Day Stockholm.

Boxee will also be joining with its API, giving away a Boxee Box to the best music application that runs on the Boxee, and Brian Ellin, Product manager at Twitter, will give a sneak peak at Twitter Annotations.

For those of you who can’t join Music Hack Day San Franscisco, there’s a chance to catch the Music Hack Day winners at SF MusicTech Summit taking place the next day, Monday the 17th. Both Paul Lamere of Echonest and Eric Wahlforss, Co-founder of SoundCloud will be speaking. Check out coverage and pictures from the last year’s event.

Music Hack Day San Francisco
When: 15th – 16th May, 2010
Where: Automattic Lounge, Pier 38, San Francisco, CA
Dying to get to hang out and see the final demos on Sunday night? Register here!
How to follow the event: Twitter#musichackdayLive stream and coverage

SF MusicTech Summit
When: 17th May, 2010, 9am – 6pm + cocktail party. Happy Hour Sunday, 16th May, 5pm – 7 pm
Where: Hotel Kabuki, 1625 Post Street, San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, make some music!

Paula is online strategist and startup evangelist. She blogs at and here at
Follow her on Twitter:
Drop her email at paula.marttila[at]gmail[dot]com

Photo Credit: Sean Percival

This week is the National Women’s Health Week empowering women to make their health a top priority. And it’s not only women’s health that we should be concerned about. Childhood obesity in United States has more than tripled in the past 30 years, and there are more than 1 billion overweight adults globally, of which at least 300 million are obese. Food industry is vowing to make processed food healthier, meanwhile studies showing how addictive fatty foods are, also suggesting that processed carbohydrates may increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease more than fat does.

Jamie Oliver’s new TV show Foodrevolution has a mission to fight childhood obesity and change the way America eat. His combined Facebook and Twitter community has passed 700 000 followers and the petition to improve school food has so far been signed by half a million people. It’s a great example of how to create awareness by engaging directly with the community, both online and offline. Watch this clip with Stephen Colbert (4min in) and the magnitude of the challenge the nation in whole is facing becomes evident.

So, what if you could bring a personal trainer, dietician and motivator with you all the time? In your pocket? Now you can. DailyBurn and Swedish ShapeUp Club are two easy to use online weight loss and fitness services, both with free iPhone apps. Yes, you can get started with your new life with zero cost (ShapeUp Club is soon to have an application available for Nokia). DailyBurn’s freemium model also offers a basic functionality free online, whereas with ShapeUp Club one can sign up starting at $3 per month to get added functionality, such as advanced nutrition tracking with charts, back-up and online community.

Setting up ones individual health program is quickly done in both services, whether one is looking for losing, keeping or gaining weigth. The iPhone apps make it really easy to record daily food and exercise, with metric system of ones choice, allowing one to create, add and favourite food items and meals. Both services sync all data with the online account. DailyBurn is a bit more fitness orientated with lots of various workout program and challenges, where one can find like minded people for support to achieve fitness goals.

I spent previously four years on developing the largest online weight loss service in Sweden ( in collaboration with an obesity unit, that also conducts research studies on weight loss online with help of the service. These are my learnigs and thoughts on why I think the two services have figured out the key success factors of weight loss, thereby already enjoying over 100 000 users in respective service.

1. The social aspects of weight control. Gaining and retaining motivation with the help of the community, day or night, is very important. To find and interact with other people in the same situation has shown to be crucial to many. Besides from the inbuilt communities, this is where social networks like Facebook and Twitter come to help to increase the interactivity, thus strengthening the core service. ShapeUp Club has been more focused on blogging than social networking so far, where I’m especially happy to see DailyBurn engaging with its users.

Who is joining us tonight for our @jamie_oliver #foodrev viewing party? Last week was fun!Fri Apr 16 21:08:41 via TweetDeck

2. Easy registering of daily calories and activities. iPhone apps do just that! The most annoying thing users know is spending a lot of time to fill in the diary of daily calories and activities. It brings down the motivation and once one skips registering, it gets harder to stay on track. I think both services have done a great job even if I find it a bit easier with ShapeUp Club. On the other hand, DailyBurn offers a FoodScanner app for $0.99 to easier find foods by scanning UPC barcodes or typing in food names.

3. Visualization of the progress. This is the number one motivational factor. To see charts and diagrams over ones weight, waistline, body fat, to name a few, does wonders. DailyBurn is also connected to Withings, a WiFi scale linked to the Internet that automatically tracks weight and body fat directly to DailyBurn. Trust me, men like this one. Men has shown to be more competitive, also when it comes to fitness and weight loss, thus making the information publicly available a good motivator.

4. Watercheck/Water tracker. Grown ups should drink at least 2 liter (0,5 gallon) water per day. Registering and visualizing the daily water consumption is a great way to get a hang of how much water one actually drinks during one day. I’ve learned how easy it is to be mistaken of ones daily water consumption. I particularly like the neat implementation of watercheck in ShapeUp Club’s iPhone app.

As Andy Smith, CEO and Co-Founder of DailyBurn, said: You manage what you measure”. (quote by Mark Suster). I couldn’t agree more.

Ps. Not to worry! For the occasional social drinks, stick with gin & tonic and wine. They’re the kindest when it comes to calories.

Paula is online strategist and startup evangelist. She blogs at and here at
Follow her on Twitter:
Drop her email at paula.marttila[at]gmail[dot]com

Flickr CC: The Rocketeer

You think you can’t make your videos and photos look astonishing? Yes, You can.

Sweden is not only a playground for savvy online music innovators, but a place that also hearts for online creativity, making advanced online video and image editing super simple to use. In Flash. In the cloud. Bye bye heavy downloads and installations.

Jaycut, online video editor, and Pixlr, online image editor, are two Swedish startups bringing cutting egde video and image editing easily accessible to everyone with a browser and Internet connection. One is surprised how fast these editors load in the browser considering their feature rich libraries. Especially Pixlr has been dedicating to offer the fastest loading image editor. I have been testing, and it sure beats its online competitors FotoFlexer, Photoshop.comPicnik, acquired by Google in March, and Sumo Paint. For those small image quick fixes, Pixlr also offers Pixlr Express, a light version of the editor.

Both Jaycut and Pixlr are B2B white label solutions, yet offering their respective editors free to individuals. Being super focused on delivering the best editing experience, they were early on to acknowledge the importance of fans and a user community for feedback. Pixlr has a very active user community with 60% recurring visitors, which also has helped translate the service to 23 different languages and create user tutorials. Working closely with its users, Pixlr’s has released many appreciated features such as image grabbers for various browsers and a recent neat social sharing feature

Video editing and collaboration regardless place or device

With JayCut’s online video editor one can create a movie or a slideshow by adding text, sound effects and smooth transitions. Its newly relaunched community has also focused on the one click social sharing features. Besides from storing, collaborating, and sharing, all content is easily published to YouTube, blogs, or downloaded to iPhone (available in H.264/Mpeg-4, Avi and Flv formats). After having announced its support for Moblin-based ultra-portable devices like netbooks and mobile internet devices (MIDs) last fall, it has also just released an open API to work on.

The one thing I’m currently missing on both JayCut and Pixlr, is the ability to access and upload my content from other services, for example like Animoto does with SmugMug. Pixlr, although, allows image upload directly from URL, making editing my Flickr pictures easy.

Editing as a tool to increase user engagement

Online video is a powerful tool for creating user engagement, and not just in terms of consuming video content. As JayCut’s editor is being used in various brand campaigns (e.g. by Procter & Gamble), it has been able to gather statistics regarding user engagement. On average, a user spends 5 minutes on creating and editing a video. That is a very high number compared to the time spent on regular banner ads, campaign or landing pages. Of course, there’s no magic sauce to create user engagement, but encouraging people’s creativity and allowing them to interact with one’s brand can be very fruitful in building brand awareness and relationships.

So, if you just wish to plug and play, yet have an itch to express your creativity, go and polish up your holidays pictures on Pixlr, upload together with your videos to Jaycut, give your story its own voice – and share it with the rest of the world.

Warning: Don’t try this on your iPad :)

Paula is online strategist and startup evangelist. She blogs at and here at
Follow her on Twitter:
Drop her email at paula.marttila[at]gmail[dot]com

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