I’ve never been a big Minecraft player, aside from the internal server we had setup in the office. I got carried away and summoned a bunch of Dragons… that did not make everyone happy. Everyone is going to do a long winded analysis of Minecraft from will they screw it up, its implications for XBox, and what type of CEO it means Satya will be. I think all of that is just pageview fodder, which will culminate with “What Minecraft means for the Enterprise”. I think it’s really simple what it means: Microsoft has a chance to be the first interaction with the next generation of makers. When I was a young kid about 9 years old, I learned visual basic along with some HTML. I thought it was cool to make things. I got some free hosting for my HTML creations and I distributed my Visual Basic made punters…Continue Reading
I was browsing ProductHunt today and my friend Dave posted an email newsletter, GetBiked that’s focused on a once a week mailing of bikes for sale. Ryan had a good comment that you can see below: .@JasonLBaptiste on “passive commerce” re. @getbiked in @producthunt thread: pic.twitter.com/2jpXpE1Gsn — Dave Ambrose (@daveambrose) July 29, 2014 I responded and the thread really started to shape my feelings on something I call passive commerce. Passive commerce is the activity of browsing for an item for sale that you know you’re going to buy sometime in the near future (within the next 6-9 months), but you have no immediacy to buy now. Here’s passive commerce in the context of other types of intent in the ecommerce space: Intent Generation – This is why Pinterest could be big. It helps generate intent for items you didn’t know you even wanted. It’s the ultimate top of the…Continue Reading
I’ve been spending a lot of time over the past couple of months thinking through why there’s no great way to discover mobile applications in 2014. There’s been a number of posts on the topic, including why we’re still in the pre-pagerank phase of mobile. Facebook also brought the issue more into the spotlight with AppLinks yesterday. The problem I see is that we’re trying to correlate something from the desktop world — web search — to the mobile world — app discovery. It’s a wildly different problem and here’s why: Verbs vs. Nouns+Adjectives Discovery in the desktop world was primarily driven by searches for nouns and adjectives. i.e. — best place for asian food as opposed to what we’re seeing in a mobile world, which is primarily driven by searches for verbs/actions i.e. — track my weight. Mobile apps are primarily utility based pieces of software as opposed to content driven experiences that dominated the web. We access and…Continue Reading
Larry Page, the CEO of Google, has what he calls the toothbrush test.  It simply asks if your product is useful enough to be used two times a day and something you can’t function without.  Ever travel without a toothbrush?  That’s how life should feel if your service went away.  It’s a good litmus test as we only use 30 apps at most and it turns out that the majority of millions of app developers are making poverty level wages. So how do you become something as indispensable as a Toothbrush or as breakout as Secret, Timehop, or Whatsapp? If I were starting a consumer mobile company tomorrow, I’d obsess on achieving one thing and one thing only for the first 12 months: Make your service become a daily habit for the majority of your users. That’s it. Seems simple, right? Wrong. It’s the most difficult thing to do in…Continue Reading
Four years ago to the day, I wrote my last article on email newsletters “Email newsletters are still a serious business”, which was a followup to this original article “Email newsletters are serious business”. It turns out that four years later, email newsletters are even more of a serious business. Instead of profiling what the big businesses are in the space, I wanted to explain why email newsletters are a big business and what drives them. Much of this learning comes from a little unknown fact to most: Onswipe almost never came to be four years ago as I was originally planning to start the Weblogs Inc/Vox Media of email newsletters — that all changed when the iPad was launched in the Spring of 2010. Email newsletters build a daily habit Ask any entrepreneur how hard it is to get someone to use their service daily and he will tell you that…Continue Reading