Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘foursquare

Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit Madrid: A Q&A With Mobile Startup Deja Mi CEO Justin Miller

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The great thing about IBM events — other than the food and the building locations out in the middle of nowhere — are the exceptional people you meet.

Scott Laningham and I have been milling about, keeping an eye out for “smarter” folks (smarter than us, anyway) to chat with here in Madrid, and we found one in the form of one of our partners right here on the ground: Raleigh, NC-based Deja Mi, whose co-founder and CEO, Justin Miller, is here helping promote his mobile photo geolocation service as another way of conducting “Smarter Commerce.”

If you haven’t seen or heard of Deja Mi yet, believe me, you will.  As Justin expressed it, they’re a mashup of one part Foursquare and one part Instagram — yeah, that little smartphone picture company Facebook just picked up for a cool billion dollars (You remember that line from “The Social Network,” where Napster co-founder Sean Parker tells Mark Zuckerberg that it’s a billion dollars, not a million, that’s cool!?)

Anyhow, Deja Mi takes the smartphone photography app one step further.

Let me set the scene: You’re in a location, your smartphone knows where you are, Deja Mi knows where you are, and suddenly, a shared experience in the real world becomes a shared experience through a photostream.

As I indicated to Justin in our interview and as the light bulbs went off (I’m slow that way, so sometimes it takes me awhile), Deja Mi is word of mouth being replaced by “picture of mouth.”

Or was that “word of eye?”

In any case, download it at the Apple App store or Google’s Play store to a mobile near you soon.

You don’t want to be the last one on this particular mobile phone bandwagon!

If I Die…Please Leave A Message

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File this one under the “Things To Do Before I Die” category.

If I Die, the new Facebook app for when you're prepared to send the very best -- and the very last.

There’s a new website where you can leave a message that will only be published after you die.


“If I die” is the name of it, and no, I didn’t find out about it because someone who was dead left me a message.

This is just one of those Web phenomena where you can’t decide A) Why didn’t I think of that? or B) What WERE they thinking?!

Here’s how it works: You install the “if I die” Facebook app on Facebook, with all the concordant permissions to use your data (including, presumably, longgg after you’re gone).

Then, you create a video or text message (I’m thinking video.  If you’re going to have to deal with me after I’m dead, I want you to see my once living visage live and in the flesh!).

Then, you must choose three trustees among your friends, who also presumably will confirm A) That you kicked the bucket and B) Will validate your “if I die” message so it can be made public.

But the best part of the Web site was the campaign they ran to get people to sign up for the App. Apparently, the hesitancy wasn’t that people were worried about their privacy after they were gone (although it’s inevitable Facebook will change their privacy policy AGAIN long after I’m gone).

No, it’s that nobody wants to believe or think about the fact that someday, when they least expect it, they’re going to die.

So the campaign used the API of popular location-based services like foursquare and Gowalla to identify still real, living breathing humans when they checked into a place, and then called to the place of the check-in to ask if they could speak to the person who checked in so they could explain that someday they were going to die, and that they really ought to think about leaving a message well in advance of said inevitable demise using this nifty new Facebook app.

Wow, who would have thought that the campaign to drive adopters of the app could be any creepier than the app itself??  Is there some kind of new “Do Not Die” list so I can be spared such interruptions when I’m simply trying to get a Double Latte at the Starbucks?!?

You can watch the video below to learn more.  Me, I’m off to start my death preparations in a more old school manner: making out my ‘bucket list!’

Written by turbotodd

January 6, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Oh The Places You’ll Go

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I’ve been signaling to some of my colleagues that it would be time to short their mental position on upstart location-based services like Foursquare and Gowalla as soon as the industry giants jumped into the fray.

That, in fact, the big players would suck all the oxygen out of the geo-location room.

But it appears I was wrong, at least in the near term.

After Facebook announced it’s new “Places” capabilities, which allows you to announce the location of you and your friends via the FB system, Foursquare saw its “biggest day ever in terms of new user signups” according to a Tweet by Foursquare co-founder, Dennis Crowley.

I’d be Tweeting that, too, if I were the CEO of the David of location-based services to Facebook’s Goliath!

Of course, I’m still wondering what the play of the other goliath is going to be in this space, Google.  Is it my imagination, or is Google starting to get way out-innovated by Facebook (controversial though some of those innovations may be).

Well, I don’t have to worry about all that, as I don’t use location-based services.

If you want to hunt me down, you can probably find me at home working from my home office (which checking in to seems kind of patently self-obvious and gratuitous — Hey Ma, look, I’m Mayor of my own home office!), or heading to an airport somewhere.

And I’m absolutely certain nobody needs to find me on the golf course!

If you really want to find me, send me an email.  Better yet, send smoke signals!

If you’re in the nobody-on-Facebook-needs-to-know-where-the-heck-in-the-world-I’m-at-camp, I would recommend you follow Lifehacker’s prescription for disabling Facebook’s Places.

Before you call me the grumpy old Luddite, let me be clear: I have no problem with location-based services in principle.

I just am concerned that not nearly enough forethought is being given to the continued and rapid distintegration of personal privacy, neither by consumers nor the companies building these new services.

I think there are also ample enough precedents that there should be more concerns about personal safety, particularly for young people (adolescents, tweens, etc.)

It’s one thing for your teenage son or daughter to get an iPhone.

It’s entirely another thing for them to turn Facebook on on that iPhone and have Places announce their location to the world.

Bad people are listening to and watching these services. They’re a small minority, to be sure, but they are out there, and I fear location-based services are providing a fast check-out lane for predators and the like.

Which is why I AM all for folks finding more information on this subject and learning more, and educating themselves about this technology and its implications.

A good start is the EFF’s primer on locational privacy, as well as this Wikipedia entry on location-based services (including the section on privacy).  Feel free to add other resources for location privacy awareness and protection in the comments box below.

Written by turbotodd

August 20, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Where Am I?

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Whoa there, Nelly!

Rumor mill has it Yahoo is considering a purchase of location-based marketing darling Foursquare for a mere $100M buckaroonis.

That’s certainly one way for Foursquare to lose its way in the digital wilderness.

Let’s be real: Yahoo doesn’t exactly have a glowing record of effective acquisition integration.

Of course, that raises Texas-based location service competitor Gowalla’s stock in trade.

Then again, both Gowalla and Foursquare should probably get theirs while the gettin’s good.

One major move by Facebook in the mobile location arena and you can watch that oxygen leave the bubble faster than Tiger Woods flees a post-Masters press conference this week in Augusta.

(Sterling performance yesterday, BTW, Tig..now, get out on the golf course and show us you can actually still play golf.)

Me, I’m still not telling anybody where I am in the world using these services.  While I’m sure they’re good for something, I have enough trouble keeping up with my location without advertising it to the world.

And quite honestly, I see too many opportunities for social etiquette snafus, never mind all the privacy issues I’ve raised previously.

“Oh, no, you mean, we were BOTH at the SAME bar at the same time and we COMPLETELY missed one another?? How could technology POSSIBLY have failed us so?!”

John Battelle writes it’s a “demo” thing (as in “demography”).

May be.

But I still maintain the only person in the world who needs to know where I am is me.  And I don’t need an Internet service to tell me that.

At least not yet.

Written by turbotodd

April 7, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Mobile Nowhere

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You don’t have to hit me over the head about the fact that mobile is a key meme at this year’s SXSW Interactive.  I get it.

However, don’t look for me on any of those mobile social networking services.  As I joked in a recent Tweet, I’ve not become mayor of anything on Foursquare or gotten any rewards on Gowolla because it’s nobody’s business but my own where I am at any given time.

And, I have no interest in having all that information shared with third parties who don’t necessarily have my best interest in mind.

You need look no further than the recent incidences with Google Buzz or Facebook to know that your information can be used against you even when brands with the seeming best of intentions screw people over without any consequence to them, and all in the name of “adding value” to their service.

Most of the value being added is to their bottom line.  Make no mistake about that.

I’m not suggesting these services can’t be fun.  I got a full-on demo of FourSquare the other night, and a guy from E-Bay explained how I could use it to find all the geeks in the bar at once.

Certainly an interesting opportunity, particularly with respect to SXSW Interactive.  We geeks are mostly harmless, but honest to God, if I want to find a few thousand of them, all I have to do is walk within four blocks in any direction of the Austin Convention Center.  You can’t throw an iPhone without hitting a geek…several at once, in fact.

But what if I were a battered woman whose ex-husband was trying to track me down by socially engineering their way into my profile?

What if I were a Chinese dissident on foreign soil trying to remain completely anonymous?

What if I just simply don’t want major Internet concerns profiting from my whereabouts?

If I want to become mayor I’ll run for office someday.  In the meantime, if you want to find me, send me a Tweet or an email.

My FourSquare account is no more.

Written by turbotodd

March 13, 2010 at 8:19 pm

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