Ford’s decision to scrap its manufacturing plants over the next three years will have a devastating effect on the automotive supply chain, with component manufacturers being warned they need to…
Here’s a startup hoping to fill the gap left by the demise of Facebook Questions: French-Belgian startup Poutsch, now based in New York and exhibiting here at TechCrunch Disrupt NY’s Startup Alley, has built a platform for tracking opinion data by crowdsourcing market research, which is incentivised through a free-to-use-and-browse social opinion network.
The startup describes itself as a “question & opinion” platform — rather than a Q&A play like Quora. “The difference is we’re not looking for one answer,” says co-founder Felix Winckler. Poutsch’s platform takes the temperature of whatever its users are curious enough to ask about — so everything from ‘what’s your favourite fruit pastille?’ to ‘are you still using Mailbox?’.
Poutsch’s platform lets users ask, answer and view questions, read opinions and look at charts displaying how the data breaks down by variables, such as location, gender and age. They can also follow other users and share their questions to their own network to keep the opinions flowing in. As you’d expect for a site that needs user-generated content to function, Poutsch is free to use, as well as for third-party sites to use its widget to embed polls. The ultimate aim is to monetise the platform by selling opinion data to advertisers, marketers, product manufacturers and so on, says Winckler.
Poutsch launched a public beta back in January. An iOS app is due soon. It says it’s acquired “thousands” of users — both individuals and organisations — to date but won’t be more specific. It’s currently live across 160+ countries.
The big challenge for Poutsch will clearly be acquiring enough users to generate the volumes of data it will need to monetise its platform. The most answered questions on the site mostly have only a few hundred responses apiece, while many trending questions have just tens of responses, so there’s clearly some work to do there. But it’s still in beta — with a “hard launch” due in about a month.
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I am looking for a reliable non-ferrous component manufacturing firm located in bangalore.
1. High material removal rates (high productivity) is necessary as there is considerable removal of material for the job.
2. The firm should not be excisable.
Please suggest reliable component manufacturers with high end cnc machining center.
Thanks & Regards
It’s been a busy DAM week, so let’s get started. In recent digital asset management news: KIT Digital DAMs its Cosmos System, Superior reps WoodWing, 2013 predictions, Nativ launches its Mio SaaS, manufacturers’ DAM needs, smaller is better … and more.
While the media obsesses about the Labor leadership and the election, the strength of the Australian dollar is a key unacknowledged factor currently shaping politics.
With modern manufacturers’ breakneck product release cycles fuelled by consumers’ vapid demand for the latest and greatest technological trends, there’s very little incentive to build anything to last — why bother when it will be replaced in six months anyway? However these steel shears don’t abide such wasteful notions. They’re built to cut through everything but your workbench and outlive your kids. More »
Forget an aspple a day, vitamin manufacturers would have you believe it’s important to take daily vitamins to boost your health. And a surprising proportion of Australians do. More »
But I am one of the sexiest writers in the world. I know that, because the One True Source of All Knowledge, the oracular fetcher of all truth, says so. I’m speaking, of course, of Google. Type in sexiest writers into your search box, dear reader, and the results will astonish. Or disgust — I can’t predict.
Naturally, it’s all a gag.
But it does show what Tiptopio can do: get you to the top of Google search results. It’s search engine optimization — but a little different. I spoke to founder Katharine VanderDrift last week.
“We’re trying to build more visibility for products and services from the US,” she told me. “Almost everyone uses outsourced manufacturing, shipping products to the U.S. and taking U.S. jobs. I want to help American-made products rank for the first page on Google.”
And, it works for more than folliclely-challenged insecure technology reporters: we tested the service on VentureBeat. Don’t believe us? Look up best blog in SF. Whoa: would that be VentureBeat? As you and I both know, Google never lies.
Tiptopio promises results quickly — in 30 days or less. But the big shock is the price: just $ 49/month.
I’ve personally authorized search engine optimization campaigns for $ 15,000 a month and worked with many of the leading firms in the field, and not always had results that good. So I asked VanderDrift about Tiptopio’s strategy.
“Our process is much simpler than most SEO firms,” she said. “We purchase free-standing domains, and we create a content strategy that we call ‘topic modeling.’”
With “topic modeling,” Tiptopio creates a particular concept — such as sexiest writers — builds content around it, and sets it free on the interwebs. The key is knowing to not only create content on that particular topic but to build content on related topics as well.
“For example, we take a phrase or a word, like Superman. To rank for that, you have to include some things about the topic … in this case Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and so on. Google knows these things are connected to ‘Superman,’ and you can’t be relevant to Superman unless these related topics are also there.”
That’s a smart approach, and it’s paired with a ballsy decision: Tiptopio only does on-page SEO, no link-building. That means the company doesn’t pay for links, solicit links, or otherwise try to artificially bump a particular website in the Google link economy. All of its SEO efforts are content based, right on the domain that Tiptopio is trying to get to rank.
In other words, it’s the SEO without the sleaze, something that anyone who has had to hire — and fire — SEO firms will definitely appreciate.
(Except, of course, for the very sexy writers.)
One more thing: the “Made in America” seems to not just be a schtick or market differentiator for VanderDrift.
“I’m very passionate about it,” she told me when I questioned that part of Tiptopio’s strategy. “I’ve done simple studies on products and services, and what happens is they’re completely dominated by massive importers.”
Can there be too much innovation? Yes, and smartphone manufacturers had to learn this fact the hard way.
Many of the products that touch our lives every day have maturated steadily over the course of decades, including automotive, manufacturing, and entertainment. The mobile industry is a bit of an outlier. While the elements of the technology have developed as a subset of telecommunications over a breadth of time, the current evolution of smartphones is occurring at break-neck speed.
I would consider myself an early adopter. In the 1990′s, I was a big fan of PDA devices, which led me to create the first device-specific OtterBox cases. The issue then was that the PDA was a great data tool, but it wouldn’t ‘speak’ with a pocket-sized cellular device in a seamless manner. At the time, I remember hoping for a single device option, but I thought we were much further away from the type of technology we have today.
Being embroiled in this industry, it’s been amazing to watch the ebbs and flows and rapid consumer-driven evolution of technology and design. The mobile industry offers a great view of how customer demands transform, and even calm, an industry.
People are starting to take their devices very personally. Anyone with an Apple device will probably know exactly which one it is—that’s part of the magic created by limiting the launches to one per year versus many. It becomes an event rather than a frustration because the device you upgraded to just last month is now obsolete.
Android device manufacturers seem to be taking a lesson from Apple. Consumers want staying power. Device lifecycles have become so short that within weeks, what was considered a top-of-the-line mobile seems like a clunky dinosaur.
In the last year, manufacturers have markedly cut down on the number of new launches—focusing instead on a few key devices. And, Android devices—especially from Samsung—are truly gaining traction. Estimates for 2011 had Samsung devices outselling Apple globally—manufacturers don’t typically release the actual number of devices sold, so analysts expounded this from earnings reports. The latest launch from Samsung, the Galaxy S III, has some truly impressive technology, ergonomics and general styling.
Admittedly, it was exciting to watch all of the breakthroughs and new features rolled out on a monthly basis but for OtterBox, this can make us feel like we’re a gerbil on an exercise wheel—always chasing the next thing. For consumers, it is truly head-spinning. They have spoken. Just look at the loyal following Apple has developed.
It’s all about user experience. Customers speak more loudly now than ever before. Companies have to listen more carefully, too, because the competition has its ears open as well. Listening goes beyond hearing what is explicitly said. Companies must be prepared to innovate by hearing what customers are not saying and creatively solve problems that are being vocalized.
Over 50 million people currently use Dropbox, and the service is adding users at a rate of 150,000 a week. But it’s not just viral growth, word of mouth growth, smart branding, and effective marketing.
It’s also preloads on devices.
That’s a little strange to modern ears, because in some sense it’s reminiscent of the bad old days of crapware: dozens of annoying pre-installed apps on new PCs, placed there simply because a software publisher paid the manufacturer.
Why do we need preloads in this age of virality and social media marketing?
I asked Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen, who leads global biz-dev for Dropbox, exactly that question. His answer was both surprising and informative, and made me reconsider some of my opinions on mobile user acquisition.
Fjeldsoe-Nielsen — let’s just call him Lars, shall we — told me that he had to fight internally at Dropbox to even open the topic with carriers and manufacturers.
“Most people were saying we’re doing fine with user growth right now … why do we need this?”
But Lars persisted, wanting to super-charge user growth acceleration. And the way he did it has added not just phantom users but actual real live recurring users: the holy grail of a freemium service.
“You have to prioritize the partners. And you have to make sure that they commit to you as well.”
Dropbox only worked with partners who were prepared to make Dropbox part of their consumer value proposition … and even part of their marketing. For example, a carrier in the UK highlights Dropbox integration in its in-store displays as one of the key reasons why customers should select its phones.
And that’s the key word: integration.
Dropbox only worked with partners who allowed them to embed the software in the entire solution. That means that instead of an icon on the screen which users may or may not want, understand, or even ever open, Dropbox is fully integrated into the smartphone’s functionality. Photos taken are automatically uploaded to Dropbox, and synced to users’ desktop computers.
“One of the biggest problems is getting your content off all your digital devices,” Lars said in a Mobilebeat 2012 session earlier yesterday. This solves that problem.
In addition, Dropbox signup/signin has been included right into the phone onboarding flow. So, as users are setting up their Android device with a Google identity, Dropbox set-up is right there in the middle.
“This is gold,” said Lars. “You pull out your teeth for that.”
If consumers are prior Dropbox users, Dropbox starts syncing their content to the device immediately … giving users an instant reward for signing in. In addition — and this is part of the value proposition to partners as well as end users — users get a free 50 GB Dropbox account for two years, simply for signing in.
I asked app developer Bryan Kennedy, chief technology officer at Sincerely, about this user acquisition strategy. Referencing his mother (for whom he is chief tech supporter and app installer) he said it was a smart way to access parts of the market:
“Most non-tech savvy users don’t know how to install apps on their phones and never will. So for Dropbox to have access to those users … that’s an incredible opportunity.”
And it’s working for Dropbox, in spite of some pain, says Lars:
“Working with OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) can be a pain … but if you do it right it’s definitely worthwhile.”
Dropbox has deals with both carriers and phone manufacturers, included Samsung, of course, HTC, ZTE (a Chinese white-label manufacturer of Android-based phones, Vodafone, T-Mobile, and others.
Naturally, all the deals are on Android. Dropbox hasn’t given up on iOS integration as well, but given iCloud, that may be a pipe dream.
Even so, the dream is pretty good right now for Dropbox.