Archives for posts with tag: location-based apps


2012 was supposed to be the year of stalking apps for the hyper-networking types: Glancee, Highlight, Banjo – you name it. Once we arrived at SXSW, we would use these platforms to meet new people, find new connections. A funny thing happened.

Nobody cared.

Besides the usual technology cheerleaders, most SXSW participants just shrugged their shoulders and moved on. It’s pretty apparent, these are total duds. The technology and philosophy behind many of these apps is sound as the concept of implicit social graphs tied to explicit graphs through background location is indeed an interesting idea. Yet, they fail because they don’t solve any problem.

Foursquare and Gowalla (and gazillion other forgotten platforms) were the hot startups a few years ago that dominated the conversation when it came to social location, focused on the check-in model. Foursquare, the winner of the first location-based arms race, with its check-ins plus deals, tips, photos and to-do lists is mildy useful. It’s good for events like SXSW where you want to connect with people in your graph. It’s a reactive app.

The next generation of location apps will be about ambient location: You could be planning on going to one place and see that your friends are at another and go there instead. The app could pull you to a different place than your original destination. Ambient location apps will have amazing data sets: Better location and social models based on location awareness mixed with the data created by such interaction theoretically could have a profound affect on user behavior. In addition, brands and retailers could find this information useful as well.

It’s clear that Glancee, Highlight and Banjo did not crack the code of background location data. (Delete, delete, delete.)

In the next two parts, I will be exploring the differences between noisy and calm technologies, followed by a glimpse in the future of ambient location platforms and the emergence of calm technologies.


When you stay up late enough, you encounter the most bizarre things on TV. Let’s take Shapewear, the Wonderbra of obese people. As the commercial says “It takes away 40 pounds.” Not really. It provides a perception that you weigh 40 pounds less. But what about the reality when you take that thing off? Ooops, haven’t see you 40 pounds lately.

Or, the Mashable headline: Old Spice: The archetype of a successful social media campaign. Yay, Social Media, winning! Conveniently forgetting the fact that Old Spice spent a huge chunk of change on introducing the campaign at the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics. This was more than just a good idea going viral. This was a brilliantly planned campaign. But, like Cisco, many brands/agencies want to believe in viral marketing aka creating a video, putting it on YouTube and hope for the best.

Perception is not reality. It’s just the perception of reality, not reality. Just ask anyone involved in the financial crisis. Or the majority of homeowners.

The marketing industry tends to embrace perceived truths with an amazing speed: The year of mobile – Was it 2008, 2009, 2010 or 2011? Maybe 2012? Viral Marketing. Location-based apps. The Web is dead. TV is dead. Radio is dead. Print is dead. Everybody is dead. Behavioral Targeting works. Sponsored tweets work. We often accept things on face value because it’s more convenient for us. A little digging might change perception and confront all of us with reality. How can somebody say “Display advertising works” when 99.9% of all ads are never clicked on? How can we anyone recommend Facebook ads when their performance is utterly abysmal?

When you follow the perception of truth you will head down the wrong path. Better follow the truth.