Category Archives: Technology

Many people have been asking themselves the toughest question of all: iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S III? The smartphone design and manufacturer is important. But oh so more critical is the operating system you choose: iOS or Android. There are so many similarities in the two operating systems that now the lawyers are getting rich — but there is a major factor to consider that you may not be thinking about as you hone in on your final decision:

Platforms matter. They really do.

When you get an iPhone, one of the first things it asks you during setup is to create an iCloud account. What, you don’t have one? You probably do and just don’t realize it. Did you ever create a .mac email address back in the day? If so, you have an iCloud account. If not, what is iCloud you ask? Well, iCloud is Apple’s attempt at a mostly free cloud storage service. Kinda like Dropbox for all your Apple-related content. iCloud is really fantastic if you have multiple Apple devices. With iCloud you can sync your email, contacts, calendar, and even more important, your apps and iTunes media across all your iOS devices and Macs. You never really leave home without access to those trashy reality shows you bought on iTunes.

When you setup your new Galaxy S III one of the first questions it throws out at you is what is your Gmail address? LIke iPhone, Android revolves heavily around Google’s services. And of course, Google helped invent the cloud and what it’s become over the years. So once you type your Gmail address, you will be able to sync all your Google services, including email, contacts, calendar, and Google Drive and Play. Similar to iPhone, you can sync all your media purchased or rented through the Play marketplace.

The gotcha: This is where platform matters. If you mix and match, a la having Mac computers at home, a Windows laptop at work and an Android device like the Galaxy, you’re potentially gonna miss out on what a closed platform brings you. You can’t listen to or watch your iTunes media on an Android device. You can use third-party apps to access your Play media on iPhone, but it’s not a stellar experience. The Gmail app on iPhone is a much different experience than it is on Android. And of course, do we really need to talk about maps on both platforms? It’s a different experience.

As each company reaches for more marketshare, they are closing their ecosystems even more. To be successful, they’re going to need to offer experiences that compel customers to want to commit to one ecosystem. A truly “open” platform is no longer possible. You’re going to have to choose and deal with the consequences. The experience when you’re on one or the other is optimal — it diminishes a bit when you mix and match.

At the end of that day, you may consider important features such as screen size, battery life, ease of use, and more. However, you also need to think about the platform and what it means for you and how you use your device. If you like access to your data and your content across multiple devices, you may need to make a platform decision before you make a smartphone choice.

Big data — a set of technologies that apply complex algorithms to large sets of data in an attempt to extract meaningful results — is currently all about targeted marketing. For years, companies have been trying to figure out how to use the customer data they collect to create more targeted advertising. The retail world has a whole lotta data on you just sitting there waiting to be used to get you to buy more stuff.

In most instances, we all benefit from targeted ads. Retail marketing knows people will click on ads that are relevant to them. And frankly, if you’re not interested in golf, you shouldn’t be shown ads for new golf clubs. It’s as simple as that. In our ad-fueled economy, we are all aware that we have to deal with ads. Why not have ones presented to us that actually interest us?

The trouble that retail is having is how to take all the data and analyze it so that it can then be targeted appropriately. This requires a fundamental shift in how networks are designed and accessed. And on top of that, the transition to mobile is also a wrinkle for big data… how to find more sophisticated ways to parse the data. It used to take over eight weeks for a typical retail operation to analyze data feeds and extract meaningful results — now with advanced data analytics tools this type of processing can happen in one day. This may be bad news for impulse shoppers — but it’s great news for retail.

That’s one reason Silicon Valley is lit up with so many big data startups. All these startups are vying for a new marketplace that promises seriously big returns: the data explosion we’re all experiencing is estimated to be a $100 billion market. The prize goes to the one(s) that can figure out how to take all the fragmented consumer data and package it in a way that provides compelling narratives at very granular consumer levels. There’s so much data available it’s like taking thousands of shredded documents and re-assembling them by hand. But once the solution is realized it will be an enormous payday.

This means networking companies are gonna score big as well. Infrastructures will need to be redesigned to gather and crunch the data and spit out meaningful results. This opens new marketplaces for older, traditional companies as well: switches, networking gear, cable, servers, etc. When you consider the transformation “big data” brings, it will make the social media revolution seem like small potatoes. Just watch and see. And keep buying stuff on your smartphone. You’re creating massive amounts of data that thousands of people are feverishly working around the clock to harness and synthesize… all in the name of selling you stuff you didn’t know you needed.

Well, it’s over. Or almost. Everything you think you know about the next five years at least is over. Decisions have been made — in reality a mini-revolution has occurred — and yes, it includes you and that little palm-sized gadget you’re married to. This revolution is all about you, requires your participation, and will fundamentally shift everything about your life. It’s happening — the train has left the station — and you’re an unwitting passenger.

Now that we’re on the cusp of a majority of Americans owning a smartphone, the sleeping giant of big business is starting to wake up and realize that their future profits rely on generating revenue from the little devices. Have they been slow to figure out how to monetize them? Yes. But now they have a few years of data on how you use your device, what you want from it, what you expect from it, and what you may be willing to do with it.

This mini-revolution revolves around what is called social commerce. ‘Cause what we definitely need is another term with the word “social” in it. But listen closely — social commerce is important — both for the web and the mobile marketplace. Social commerce is being ushered in by smart, one-tap types of companies: Open Table, Uber, Solo, First Dibs, and to some extent even the grand-daddies like Twitter. Social commerce is all about providing you a service that is defined by simplicity — the greatest, most successful apps are the simplest to use — and the data shows you are willing to pay for ease of use. Those that turn your smartphone into a remote control for your life are the ones that succeed: with Uber, tap a button and a car comes to take you away — are we living in nirvana? Your mobile behavior has told the marketplace that you will engage in social commerce with apps that add value to your lifestyle — your credit card is on file.

What does this say? It says that as businesses transition from the desktop/PC era to mobile, they should have both a short-term and long-term goal: in the short-term they should focus on developing a compelling user experience to gain and retain a diverse user base. Long-term they must monetize their service: once you’re hooked into their user experience, and you’ve made it a part of your life, you’ll pay for it. Simple. However, monetization must be more than just jamming ads into the feed. Ads alone will carry a company in their transition to mobile for 2-3 years, but there’s a tipping point when too many ads will degrade the user experience. The bottom line for the long-term view is there needs to be a reason to pay for the service.

The device in your hand is altering your life. And once companies transition to full-on mobile services, you will have more options to add one-tap experiences that enrich your life. You’re on the train, so hold on — it will be a bumpy ride — but you’re the central focus. It’s gonna work for you one way or another. That’s been decided.

Uberconference wins TechCrunch Disrupt New YorkThere is something to be said to striking when the opportunity is there. For startups and new companies, the best way to get noticed is by doing something daring and bold that everyone will want to pay attention to. In the technology industry, that means getting on stage and demoing your product to the audience in the hopes that there’s some appeal to the masses. And quite frankly, one of the best places to get your product involved with has to be anything TechCrunch is involved in. Over the past few years, the events put on by one of the industry’s leading publications has promote some of the most popular startups that are used in the world today: Mint.com (acquired by Intuit), Yammer (acquired by Microsoft), RedBeacon (acquired by Home Depot), GetAround, Shaker, and now Uberconference.

It seems that one of the most known things about winning at a TechCrunch event is that it will grant any company instant celebrity status–almost like the publication is a “king-maker” where mere-minutes after touting the success and accolades of a startup, the company goes into overdrive and reaps instant benefits to the news. The track record speaks for itself…after all that notoriety (in a good way), companies are stepping out into the world and entering their beta phase much wiser and with more interest in being funded. And for the lucky few that have successfully navigated their ways through the maze of competition at a TechCrunch event, the future rewards are immeasurable. But don’t take my word for it…let’s look at one recent winner: Uberconference.

HerHighway.com is taking some of todays most influential women in the online communities, placing them into some of today’s top vehicles, and letting them roam the country from Los Angeles to New York to raise money for Breast Cancer awareness.

You can attend a TweetUP in one of many stops across the country and meet all the amazing women who have volunteered their time to do the drive; Race-car drivers,  Social Media GURU’s, Automotive Experts,  Foodies and Fashionistas.

The schedule is as follows:

Starting Line September 25th leave Los Angeles CA – Vegas, NV – Salt Lake City UT

September 26th leave  Salt Lake City UT – Grand Junction CO – Denver CO

September 27th leave Denver CO – Colby KS – Salina KS

September 28th Salina KS – Kansas City MO – St. Louis MO

September 29th St. Louis MO – Bloomington IL- Chicago IL

September 30th Chicago IL – Indianapolis IN (special event)

October 1st Indianapolis IN – Columbus OH – Pittsburgh PA

October 2nd Pittsburgh PA – Philadelphia PA – NYC, NY Finish Line

Here’s a glimpse at just a few of the handful of Featured Ladies for this trip:

Social Media Advisers
Ann Tran
Misty Belardo
Zipporah Sandler
Joyce Cherrier

Automotive Journalists
Christina Selter, Editor HerHighway & Host
BJ Killeen, Drivers Talk
Cathy Droz, Two for the Road
Nina Russin, Carspondent

Motorsports
Judy Stropus, Retired Indy Crew Member/JVS Enterprises
Anne Proffit, Motorsports and Automotive Journalist
Shea Holbrook, Sports Car Racing
Ashley Van Dyke, AVD Motorsports

This September, make sure you start following the hashtag #HerHighway to follow along on what these amazing women are doing.

And hey, you may even see me (Krystyl) along the way! ;-)

Make sure to follow @HerHighWay on Twitter for updates on whats going on, and even a chance to win a seat for this roadtrip!