Mobile And Apps Are King
There was barely a mention of websites all week. Everything I did in New York was done via apps and all the start ups I saw were demoing some sort of apps for either mobile or tablet devices. Now granted some of them would have a strong web presence to back up their apps but plain old websites were very much a sideshow. The default platforms of choice were Andriod and Apple iOS and the vast majority of apps were either around very functional tasks or location and social based apps. It felt like walking around New York 50% of the people I looked at had their heads in their smart phones at all times trying to consumer some sort of information.
Grab The Money While You Can
The advice from people like the founders of Paypal and the biggest VCs around was to grab the money as quickly as you possibly could while it was still around. Valuations are crazy high at the moment and that means that people are nearly begging to get money in to companies. For start ups this is an incredible situation but the clear message is that this is all part of a cycle that has been seen before and even if you didn't totally need to raise money now would be a good time to grab some while it is so easy to come by.
Facebook And Twitter Are Your Online Identity
Every single start up and business were using the big two to get at users by either piggybacking on to them for new users or building apps that would integrate deeply with them. Facebook in particular was part of nearly every single app or new product launch at the event. In a world where nobody wants to sign up for new services it was widely accepted that these 2 platforms could be used to bypass that stage for both apps and websites.
Twitter Is About To Monetize Big Time
Heading in to the conference I have to say I was having some doubts about Twitter and the direction it might be heading in but after listening to all the early investors the feeling is that revenue is about to be switched on in a very big way and Twitter are a lot further down the line with this than people might think. I left feeling that there was a very clear vision for the service and all of the investors who were asked would they sell their stock said absolutely not that the best was still to come. Interesting times ahead for Twitter but it sounds like the much sought after revenues could finally be on the way!
Technology Is Disrupting Real World Businesses
The internet and mobiles in particular has brought the internet in to the real world more than ever before. Services like Uber are disrupting the Taxi industry. Airbnb are changing the way people stay in other cities when they travel. A whole range of new start ups are changing the way we shop online and in general social media and technology are invading every single walk of our daily lives. This is mostly a good thing as all of these technologies are improving outdated business models that weren't that convenient but we needed to be shown a brand new way with new technology before we all converted.
Blogs Are Turning In To Media Empires
The sheer size of the Techcrunch conference was incredible and when I heard that they sold 2100 tickets at anywhere between $2/3000 it made me realize that one conference alone could be bringing in close to $10 million in revenue when you include sponsors and other sorts of packages. A crazy figure and certainly not the sort of number you would hear in relation to a blog. In the same week GigaOm another blog that I love raised a whopping $6 million in funding to develop it's products. Add in numbers like $300+ million for the huffington post and your realize that blogs are starting to become very serious business indeed.
[caption id="attachment_20128" align="aligncenter" width="632" caption="Charlie Rose interview Ashton Kutcher at Techcrunch Disrupt"]
How We Pay Is About To Change Drastically
We are not quite there yet in terms of having virtual wallets but a couple of announcements this week could be game changing at at the very least show us the direction that things are headed. First came Square with a new tool that could end up replacing receipts and till registers with their app and an iPad. Next up was Google with their announcement about Google Wallet a tool that turns your phone in to a wallet and does away with the need for cash.
Photo Sharing Continues To Explode
The last 6 months have all been about photo sharing apps like Instagram, Picplz and Path as well as the established players like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. There are also a whole host of new apps on the way and photos are being added in to 100s of other services from invoicing to location based apps. The main reason for this is the better quality cameras that we all now have on our mobiles and the boom in photo sharing will only speed up if anything. The chart below shows the growth of Instagram since the start of the year with the service getting a whopping 10 new photos every second and passing 4.5 million users in just over 6 months even though it is only available on the iPhone only.
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