Path App…. What is it?

After reading about the second round of investment that Path had received yesterday I was keen to find out a bit more about the social platform I had only heard mummers of faintly in the background until now.

“The smart journal that helps you share life with the ones you love”

The tagline from the minimalist website doesn’t give too much away so I had to dig deeper to find out why investors like Richard Branson and Jerry Murdoch are willing to contribute to a $30 million round of investment, currently valuing the company at $240 million.

Path was Founded in 2010 by some pretty big hitters. Dave Morin (previously Co-Inventor of Platform and Connect at Facebook), Shawn Fanning (creator of Napster) and Dustin Mierau (co-creator of Macster). What that means is that its already older than Instagram…. and it hasn’t really caught on has it?!

Path app review, what is path, path investment

But after downloading the app which is a platform built entirely for mobile use I can see what loosened the investors pockets. Path aims to be a combo of Facebook, Instagram,Foursqaure and maybe Twitter all in one. There is also a strong focus on close relationships, (rather than being connected with every Dick or Harry you went to summer camp with) with Path initially limiting you to just 50 friends. This has recently been increased to 150 friends, but the emphasis is that this is a more personal social network than others.

Users can use take pictures directly from the app and use many of the filters that Instagram has become famous for. Part of the attraction to Facebook of Instagram was its ability to take photos directly from the social platform in as few steps as possible. Path allows you to do it in three steps, which is comparative to Instagram.

Users can also check into places or add location tags to any posts they create. They can also let people know what music they are listening to providing a link directly to both listen to the song and to buy it from iTunes.

And of course comments and updates can be provided too.

What I think is key to Path’s appeal is its amazing user interface design (UI) and user experience design (UX) where ease of use and navigation features strongly. The platform itself is slick and aesthetically pleasing and anyone that I have convinced to sign up immediately likes it and wants to use it.

Creating posts is incredibly simple: click on an icon at the bottom of your screen and six buttons fan out in a quarter-circle. From here you can write whatever’s on your mind whether thats tagging where you are, who you are with, what you are seeing, how you are feeling or what your listening to. These all appear on a single screen along with your friends’ updates.

What is Path?, Path app , Path user experience

I can certainly see why, with its slick interface and focus on a smaller network between closer friends, Path is appealing. Facebook is the master of social networks, but I’m not sure that it is suitable for certain types of posts that I may want to put up. Photos on Facebook tend to be mainly of people and usually of them having a good time. Photos on Instagram tend to be of things. These arty, beautiful photos of a tree you pass feel a bit poncy and unsuitable on Facebook, yet fit in perfectly on Instagram. In the same way I think in a smaller social network letting people know who I am with and what I am listening to seems more appropriate.

The problem with Path is though that it currently has about 798 million less users than Facebook. No one I know was on it until I convinced a few of my friends to try it out and the fact is a social network is only as good as its network. But with such an interest right now on sites with design at its core like Instagram and Pinterest it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Path comes more and more to our attention in coming months.

If you are on Path let me know. My username is Barrytg! I have included a link to an excellent site about user design called Start ups this is how design works.

Also check out great blog by Shane O Leary.

Path app, What is path, path social platform, path investment

Winding Path to Success?

The Dangers Of Driving In Heels!! Pinterest Competition

Confused.com an online website which provides people with online insurance quotes is trying their hand at using Pinterest for a marketing campaign.

The company is trying to highlight the perils of driving in heels using this fun video which you can check out below. Its shows a (fairly) elegant women strutting her stuff a long the high street getting admiring glances from passersby. When she gets to her car though that’s when her troubles begin.

To be in with chance to win a pair of Butterfly Twist lightweight folding flat pumps (very desirable i’m told!)viewers are encouraged to post their own pictures of the most preposterous footwear on Confused.com’s new Pinterest page.

The ad is clearly aimed to the female market which goes hand in hand with Pinterest usage which is strongly skewed to the feminine side!

According to Confused.com’s research, British drivers have some odd, and unsafe, habits. Forty percent of women drive in heels, while 24% of women and 22% of men have driven with bare feet. (And 46% of drivers eat while driving.) Not everyone even gets dressed before they get behind the wheel: 25% have driven while wearing their pyjamas.

There only seems to be about 7 entries so far so it might be worth getting out the old electric picnic wellies!

Lets us know what you think!

Pinterst competition, confused.com

The Next Pinterest or Twitter? Review of the next big Start Up Companies

Y Combinator was set up in 2005 and put into place a new model of funding for start up’s. They invest a small amount of money (average $18k) in a large number of start up technology firms. Each of these start ups’s will move to Silicon Valley for 3 months where Y Combinator will work intensively with them to get them in the best possible shape to pitch to investors. Each of the start up’s will then present to a large audience on Demo day.

To date they have assisted in the start up of over 385 companies. Here are my favourites from this years Demo Day which happened on March 27th.

the next big start up company, tech, silicon value, y combinator

Pair : This one is a little bit cheesy but it could be a lot of peoples dirty little secret!  A private social network for couples.  Pair lets two people create a private timeline where they share photos, videos, sketches, activities and more. The iPhone app, which launched just four days ago, has already garnered more than 50,000 registered users who have used Pair to send more than 1 million messages. Pair has received funding from SV Angel and Path founder Dave Morin, who told Pair’s team that Facebook has created social networking’s “cities,” Path is building its “houses,” and Pair is like its “bedroom.” I think the the one-click “Thinking of you” button could be a big hit with guys.

Priceonomics: With the ever blurring line between online and offline purchase decisions I think this one will be huge.  An online price guide for anything. Type in anything you want to own and it will tell you how much it should cost, like a Kelly Blue Book for smartphones, laptops, TVs, stereos, etc. Priceonomics crawls through hundreds of millions of transactions to find out what people are selling and how much they’re selling it for. It got 250,000 page views in March, plans to make money through targeted advertising, and already has funding from SV Angel, Andreessen Horowitz, CrunchFund, and several angels.

Sonalight: If anyone is on the road as much as me this will be great. I have even looked for an app like this before unsuccessfully so it is definitely going on my list.Touting itself as “Siri on steroids,” Sonalight is an app aimed at letting you send text messages while driving by using just your voice. The app purportedly works even while a phone is your pocket. Already, the app has been used to send 500,000 text messages at a rate of 50,000 per week since its debut back in October.

Midnox: Why is it that my perfect videos from a night out always seem so wobbly the next morning…?! Well  the Luma is an iPhone app that stabilizes the videos taken with a mobile phone in real time. The app also adds full resolution visual filters in real time, which are “non-disruptive,” meaning that they can be changed or removed after recording is over. The company has also built editing tools and sharing features for the videos taken with Luma.

Some really great start up’s there so keep your eyes open and I’m sure we will be seeing them in no time.

 

SXSW – What it’s all about and what start up’s that could make a splash

There’s no doubt you have noticed the abundance of web chatter over the last few days about SXSW, but if like me you are based far away from the hype, you might be wondering what it is all about.

 

SXSW is the South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival which was first held in 1987 in Austin, Texas. The idea was to draw attention to the city’s vibrant music scene. despite the city not being among the top American metropolitans it had a very cosmopolitanism population because of the influence of the University of Texas which brought people from all over the world. Austin also had a reputation as a party city.

Whilst the festival started solely as a music festival in more recent years it has morphed into having a strong technology focus as well. In 2007 a totally unknown social media start up called Twitter came to the event. the rest is history. In 2009 it was FourSquare’s turn. With a track record like that there’s no wonder techies the world over watch with gleeful anticipation for the next start up super star when the event kicks off each year.

Industry big players get involved too. This year Google have built a replica of their famous headquaters on the outskirts of Austin named Google village. Facebook, Microsoft, Samsung and many others all are ramping up their presence there this year as well.

Being a music festival by origin the event still attracts huge stars with Hollywood stars such as Leonardo DiCaprioMatthew McConaughey and Jack Black all making appearances in the Texas capital.

But are there any big hopes this year in the technology area? This year the theme appears to be “social discovery” smart technology that moves the user experience from an active “check-in” (like Foursquare) to technology that runs in the background and automatically notifies users when the situation calls for it.

When I originally read about this I thought we were getting closer to relevant deals and discounts being automatically pushed to people depending on their location. Whilst the concept of marketers knowing where you are at any given time does frighten a lot of people, being told that your favourite magazine, which you buy every week any way, is on sale at a discount in a store you are passing, seems like an exciting step forward to me. However most of the start ups that are being highlighted for attention seem to have networking and conferences as their main focus.

Apps like Sonar which operate similarly to Foursquare but uses filters to display to you people with similar interests to you that are in the same proximity.

Glancee mines Facebook and presents to you people close by that have common interests to you. It has a user interface which allows you to initiate chat with them through the service too.

Highlight tracks your location and then notifies you when people you have met are nearby. It stores their details and so I suppose works as a digital way to remember peoples names!

The one that I think is probably the most interesting is Roamz. It works like a kind of backward Foursquare. It tracks where you are and then suggests locations, sites and events that you may like to go to based on your own interests. What I think this does is remove the check in process, which in turn may increases up take by the masses. I still think ultimately though that there needs to be more reward to people for giving up their privacy and this will only come when businesses participate more widely and offer discounts and deals to those people using these services.

Chirpify – Will People Buy Things On Twitter?

With Facebook’s IPO on the horizon and the success stories of other tech companies like Google, Apple and even Netscape still fresh in our minds, there seems to be increased media attention on the latest start up’s potential tech stars of the future. I recently blogged about Pinterest, the fastest growing social platform online, and today I wanted to have a quick look at another company which has caught my eye.

Facebook IPO Social Commerce, Start Up Companies, Chirpify

Chirpify enables businesses and consumers to buy, sell, donate and exchange funds on Twitter, turning Tweets into transactions. Everyone keeps saying social commerce is the next big thing. On a basic level this means giving people the ability to purchase products directly through social media sites. This is already relatively prominent through the likes of Facebook even if a lot of these products aren’t actually real. Last year Zynga made up 12% of Facebook’s massive revenue, and that was largely through the sale of virtual components for their games.

Looking to the not to distant future though companies are likely to leverage the concept of influencers by offering people the ability to earn discounts by sharing products they like or have bought and thus encouraging others to buy them too.

Lockerz, which has received a whole bunch of funding itself over the last two years has just recently launched a Pinterest like pin board platform, where users can actually gain points which can then be used for purchases, by pinning items to their own boards.

So with these media rich social platforms all trying to coax people out of bricks and mortar stores and online to make their purchases, what hope does a company aiming to use 140 characters to get people to buy have?

There is already a certain degree of selling happening through Twitter. Brands send out links to discounted offers, or celebrities use the micro blogging site to flog their own merchandise to their followers but all of this happens outside of Twitter. People click on a link and are brought some place else where they can make purchases. The whole process isn’t exactly seamless.

What Chirpify does is to allow people to buy, sell, donate and transact directly on Twitter simply by replying to a Tweet. This is done by integrating Chirpify and Pay Pal directly with your Twitter account. Users can then purchase an item on Twitter by simple replying to a Tweet listing with the word buy. This could certainly make for some interesting drunken purchases if it is in fact as easy as this to transact.

Social commerce, buying things drunk, Chirpify

There also seems to be potential for donations and with the every tech savvy Obama camp gearing up for another election campaign, being able to get set priced donations directly from people on Twitter simply by them replying donate, seems like a huge benefit.

Another feature which I thought was cool was that it provides an easy platform for people to exchange money. For example if you and a friend or splitting a bill. One of you can simply pay the other person by directly responding to a tweet.

However the fact of the matter is that most of these things can be done already,directly through Pay Pal, but leveraging the huge user base of Twitter might just catch on.

Some start up’s get millions in funding, and the fact that Chirpify, formally known as       sell simp.ly got their first investment of just $50,000 recently, might suggest it is small scale. But with social media sites determined to do all it takes to keep users on their site rather than sending them elsewhere, perhaps…Twitter themselves might come knocking?!

Twitter interest in start ups