Tag Archives: Facebook

Pinterest Ripoff

Today there has been a discussion on the web regarding Singapore’s latest copy of the very popular Pinterest. Disclosure: The founder is not a Singaporean.

It’s nothing new about websites copying the successful ones, but the commotion came from a blatant copy of the original site, which caused quite a stir among the community, and thus the discussion of “Singaporeans” are uncreative has resurfaced, again.

If you see this article from SgEntrepreneur, you’ll find that the ripoff, Singterest, is exactly the same as the original one:

Source: Sgentrepreneur

As the author puts it: “I’m not very fond of copycats. I think if one were to do a startup, it should be cutting edge instead of trailing behind the footsteps of a giant.”

Source: Twitter

Of course, there are some discussions on Twitter as well, and the site owner of Singterest responded saying that they launched it the same week the idea was conceived, and that now they wished that they launch it on April 1st instead as a April’s fool’s gift.

What are my thoughts?

Execution matter, and Singterest should be creditted for it.

For one, Singterest put up the site in just a matter of a few days since their decision to build one that is localized to the Singapore community. Personally, I think this is a job well done. A few days ago, I spoke to someone who gave a very good advice to the Singapore community: “Just do it. Dont hold back and not launch your product. Unless you have a superstar team and everyone is super focused on it, nobody really cares.”.

So what if Singterest is a complete ripoff? What matters now is that, they have a working site, they have users (i think), and it would only take them a few more days to “localize” it, adding on a Singapore touch to it. And personally, I think this should definitely deserve some credit, as Mark Zuckerberg puts it: Keep focused and keep shipping.

On creativity, and stealing.

Very few ideas are new nowadays, so what really sell nowadays are the UI as well as the marketing. For now, I guess what startups founder can be creative about is on innovating the delivering of an existing business model, or innovating on its user interface. For Singapore, I think the community is getting there. But we have to think the Asian way. Asia is not the States, and Techinasia also published an excellent article on this topic, where we should leverage on our “home advantage” and build something that suits the Asian ecosystem.

On copying and stealing, personally, I think there is nothing wrong in copying, as Steve Jobs puts it in 1996, good artist copy, great artist steals. While Singterest received some reprimands from the community for blatantly copying the whole Pinterest site, including their tagline, most of the startups now copy some components and designs of their websites from other existing websites too. Perhaps Singterest shouldnt have copied the whole site and release it to the public, just like that. Let’s see if Singterest will come out with something different in the next couple of days.

This represents a personal opinion. If you have read this far, you should definitely follow me on Twitter.

Importance of Social Media Acknowledged

It may not have been a national disaster, but experts say the massive online buzz generated by Thursday night’s MRT train breakdown shows the key role social media will play in such a scenario.

This underlines how important it is for government and corporate organisations to establish a presence on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, they added.

In fact, two of the pictures that have come to define the crisis – one of a smashed train door window and another of a message sent out by SMRT to its taxi drivers of an ‘income opportunity’ created by the breakdown – were sourced from Twitter.

And Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew’s first comments on the breakdown were delivered not through an official press statement, but via a Facebook posting.

Media and crisis management experts said Thursday’s episode illustrated how much faster news travels now – through the sharing and re-posting of information on the Internet – compared with five years ago.

By the time SMRT finally made an official announcement at 9.15pm, thousands of tweets and re-tweets of the incident on Twitter already made SMRT one of the top trending Singapore topics.

Source: Straits Times

 

Sexy App here to stay: Path

Its been a while since I came across an app that makes me excited, one that makes me feel that it is here to stay. Path is one of them. Essentially Path is a smart journal that helps you share life with the ones you love. Sounds like Facebook? Well, to a certain extend it is similar to Facebook, but personally, i think it has the potential to be the next Facebook on mobile.

Essentially what the app allows you to do is, to share with your Path friends any pictures, who you are with, where you are, what music are you listening to right now, your thoughts, as well as telling your friends when are you awake/sleeping. Before sharing about the features, I would like to commend on the really really neat user interface(UI) of Path. The color scheme is red which is already a plus point in terms of differentiating factor as compared to other social networks apps(Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook Messenger), and on top of that, it features very much like the timeline where you scroll down from top to bottom to see your path. No words is enough to do justice to the really neat UI, you have to see it for yourself. It’s sexy, I promise. =)

   

What really interest me about Path are actually 2 things (other than the really neat UI):

1. The decision to allow only up to 150 friends:

What this means is that, you can only have up to 150 friends that sees your Path. This ensures that you share good quality contents and you only share with those that you are comfortable with, like how you would share your secrets with your closest friends. This is important because unlike Facebook, one will practice filters towards the friend selection with Path and this will slowly consume Facebook’s role in my opinion. Facebook is perfect for those that do not undergo changes in their life stages but it will be a problem for those that go through various life stages, and thus have different circle of friends on their Facebook friend list, for example for my case where I went to college, and when I am working now. For different stages in my life, I share different things. And when I have different layer of networks on my Facebook, it makes sharing complicated. Today, because I have professional networks on my Facebook list, I am not motivated to share statuses such as “Twilight Rocks!” or “I don’t like my lecturer”, not that I meant them but you get the idea. Nowadays, I only share statuses that are neutral or politically correct and acceptable to everyone. I am even wary about the photos that my friends tagged me and sometimes I have to remove them from my timeline, simply because I don’t want my professional networks to have access to them. This is bad news for Facebook.

Path, on the other hand, made the correct choice by restricting how many friends you can have on your Path friend list, ensuring that the same thing that happens to Facebook doesn’t happen to Path. It allows sharing of social and fun content to your close friends.

2. The “Im awake/Im sleeping” sharing:

You can also tell Path when you go to sleep and when you wake up, and it will create an update with that data, and additional clever story-telling. Sleep for two hours and it might say you, “need coffee.” Snooze for ten and it could say, “Ready to attack the day!” Path has a novelist on staff, I’m told, to keep these little items fresh.

Source: Cnet

This simple feature allow you to share to your friends when you are going to bed and when you wake up. Its a simple notion of telling them “hey I am away now so don’t be surprised if I do not reply”, and the waking up sharing button encourages more social engagements with friends the first thing in the morning. When I see my friend ‘waking up’ on Path, the simple gesture of saying “Good Morning!” would come to my mind, and this social engagement is what I think would make Path stick. Another thing about this sharing is that, the app conditions you to share on the app before you go to bed and to share the first thing in the morning. This is a very strong feature because of the element of conditioning. Conditioning is a means to modify one’s behavior through constant and repetitive behaviors and engagement. When we are conditioned to share everyday when we go to bed/early in the morning (if we choose to since the app doesn’t forces you to share), when you have an experience to share (e.g. you are at a concert), because you are conditioned to share on Path as compared to sharing with 1001 other photo sharing apps (e.g. instagram).

This, is a powerful feature.

Path is founded by an Ex Facebook employee Dave Morin who was part of the team engineering Facebook Connect. The team received a neat funding for the app, and has more than 1 million users to date. So yeap, download it and add me on Path @ Jacky Yap and join the new cool! =) The UI will blow your mind away. =)

Are we moving into a Startup Bubble?

Came across an article just now: US Entrepreneurs reduce startup activity. As the title suggest,

The United States has fewer entrepreneurs starting businesses and more closing their doors, according to the newest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, an ongoing study of business startup activity in more than 80 nations.

The report was based on data from 2010 so it means that the actual data this year might be worse and there were even more startups closing their doors this year. Many felt that we are going into another Dotcom bubble because too many people striving to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, trying to run their own startups. Even Sean Parker, cofounder of Facebook felt that Silicon Valley is in trouble, because according to him, there are too many companies fighting for too few talents, and huge companies like Apple, Google and Facebook enter into a battle for talent through actual company acquisitions. Because out of 10 startups, there are only 1 successful one. So the talents and time building the other 9 startups are basically wasted.

Here’s another article on startup bubble by Techcrunch.

Personally, I feel that this is very true. Everyone is inspired to be entrepreneurial and to start their own company, and existing companies fight for more growth through talent acquisition, no wonder more and more venture capitalists are moving to the East for more talents and more startups to fund (hence the cycle repeats all over again).

So, are there any ways to stop this from happening? How do we inspire entrepreneurs who wants to start their own company and at the same time contribute their talent into the correct channels? What if Big companies such as Facebook, Google and Apple could create a startup department which allows aspiring entrepreneurs to work on their idea for full time for 2 years, and if it doesn’t work out, they are now part of the companies in return for the incubation and mentorship that is provided. For the entrepreneurs: this give them more access to a wider network, and a sense of security to take more risk since if the startup doesn’t work out, they have a job at the companies (could be small jobs). For the companies, this allows them to identify and grab hold of the talent, and could also identify future possible acquisitions of the startup into the company. Further arrangements such as outsourcing some part of the work on a part time basis could also be done from the companies to the entrepreneurs during the 2 year incubation period. Of course, the entrepreneurs’ selection process has to be done properly.

Might be a good idea.

Singapore, ripe for technology disruption

I was at invited to the Youtube Singapore Official launch today to cover the event. Youtube recognizes the importance of Singapore and launched their first localization program in Singapore. 2 weeks ago it was the event F8 by Facebook, where they too have a new office in Singapore this year. Other than Youtube and Facebook, Linkedin also launched their office here in Singapore less than half a year ago. Everything happened this year in Singapore.

Yesterday, Interactive Sg too launched the entrepreneurial tv show – Angel’s Gate where entrepreneurs get a chance to pitch their idea to investors, very much alike to Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank.

All these happened in a few month’s time.

All these mega players in the technology industry moving to Singapore and setting up their base here only reinforces the fact that Singapore has a strategic location, the infrastructure and the optimal business environment to support their growth in Asia. Also, this is a substantial proof that the technology industries are all slowly converging to Asia and focusing their growth here. It’s really exciting to be right in the middle of all these happenings. Asia, is ripe for technological disruption, and Singapore happened to be in the centre of them.

Other than Facebook, Linkedin, Youtube/Google, Yahoo also has an office here. You know who else is missing?

Twitter. =)

Last Week’s Highlight

In case you missed it, I wrote a few articles last week.

Startup Review: Learnemy. Did a review for Learnemy and gave them a few suggestions which helped the Founder get some clients.

Tech Highlight of the Week: New Facebook Feature. A post on my thoughts for the new Timeline Feature that was just released by Facebook.

App of the Week: Cardflick.

N-Chat: N-Chat with 4 awesome parties. Shared my conversation and thoughts after having a chat with 4 awesome parties.

On Entrepreneurship: N- Dilemma and “Project”

New Facebook Features

Yes, you are looking at the new profile page of Facebook, completely redesigned with the newly introduced Timeline, which aims to transform the original Facebook Profile into a platform to showcase the story of your life. It’s incredible: Facebook has become a tool that’s a reflection of who we are.

“It’s the heart of your Facebook experience, completely rethought from the ground up,” Zuckerberg says, noting that they’ve been working on it all year. “Timeline is the story of your life.”

“For the past year, Facebook has been working on the beautiful re-imagining of the Profile, which they call “Timeline“. I just got it enabled on my account. Going back in time and seeing the past several years of my life displayed in this way is nothing short of profound. Facebook has used software to make something meaningful. Something emotionally powerful.”

Notice that at the side of the main profile page there is a timeline bar which allows you to scroll and navigate directly back to the previous year all the way till the year you were born, and you are allowed to add “significant/life events” onto the slots and fill up your timeline. Prior to this, the profile page was just a 5 mins showcase of your basic info and what was your recent activity but with the new timeline, you can stalk someone dating all the way back to when he/she was born. With the new timeline and its various integrated features such as the activity map, friends you made in that particular month, and even the ability to make one of your post a featured post really added a whole new level of social integration as well as personal touch into Facebook, something that Facebook have been lacking all these while.

Some implications:

  1. “Facebook just cheated on the dating game. Now guys can do more research in order to impress a girl on how well he “knows” her.”

  2. Timeline, you make me want to use facebook again. Well played, Zuck :)
  3.  Facebook is gonna kill Foursquare off because every check in into Facebook will add onto your timeline. as opposed to Foursquare which uses the element of gamification to motivates users to keep on checking in.
  4. Users will be even more hooked onto Facebook because the time spent on other user’s profile will increase by a lot more.

Obviously the whole redesign of the profile page have achieved its objective and although people are gonna complain about the change, they are gonna get used to it and once again, Facebook redefined the way human interact with each other online. Facebook announced all these new features last nite on F8 and was glad to be there online and watch it happen. =)

Implications for startups:

  • With the new timeline, users are gonna spend even more time on Facebook and this creates even more opportunities for startup founders.
  • Other than the new timeline, a whole new class of apps are also introduced: the open graph app which allows users to share with their friend what they are doing through Facebook. Illustration: If i am listening to a music, and Facebook status updates me as listening to say “Club can’t handle me”, you can click on the side ticker (status update bar) and can instantly listen to the music that i am listening. This opens up a whole new variety of startup opportunities which provides value added services that engages both users.
  • Eg: Someone can create a site that allows users to rate each other in terms of their music taste. Or, someone can create a platform that allows users to share files directly through the Facebook status updates. Take the deals site for example, if Groupon could leverage on the open graph feature, and allow users to share the deals that they are enjoying with their friends which then allow their friends to be redirected to Groupon with just a single click on the open graph status upgrade, it can mean a lot to regain a huge market share. I am confident we will see major sectors, from music to reviews to commerce, revolutionized by authentic friend-to-friend interactions.
  • The new timeline and open graph can also kill a lot of startups. Take Foursquare for example. I’ve downloaded the app just a few days ago and have been checking in since (because I want to win the badges) as opposed to checking into Facebook like what i usually do. With the new Timeline, now I revert to checking into Facebook simply because it take notes of it and integrates it into my activity map on the new timeline. Not quite sure how Timeline will affect the existing apps and games though because I don’t use them.
  • Super excited because we are gonna see a whole new classes of startups coming up again. =)