Archive for August 26, 2011

Take A Tour Of ZocDoc — NYC’s Next Billion-Dollar Startup

ZocDoc founders Cyrus Massoumi Oliver Massoumi

Oliver Kharraz and Cyrus Massoumi cofounded ZocDoc in 2007.

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quora

Alexandra Wilkis Wilson Alexis Maybank Gilt Groupe

Coupons.com


ZocDoc, an easy way to book doctor appointments online, is a startup that will soon be entering the billion-dollar valuation club.

Last month it raised $50 million dollars at a $700 million valuation.

More than 700,000 people use the service every month. ZocDoc is free for patients and charges every featured practice $250 per month.

While it wouldn’t give us the number of doctors on the site, ZocDoc says its number of available appointments jumped from 3 million in February to 5 million last month.

The founders say they spend most of their time hiring to keep up with the site’s growth.  “This time last year we had 30 employees,” CEO and cofounder Cyrus Massoumi tells us. “Now we have 150 people.”

Take A Tour Of ZocDoc — NYC’s Next Billion-Dollar Startup

ZocDoc founders Cyrus Massoumi Oliver Massoumi

Oliver Kharraz and Cyrus Massoumi cofounded ZocDoc in 2007.

See Also:

quora

Alexandra Wilkis Wilson Alexis Maybank Gilt Groupe

Coupons.com


ZocDoc, an easy way to book doctor appointments online, is a startup that will soon be entering the billion-dollar valuation club.

Last month it raised $50 million dollars at a $700 million valuation.

More than 700,000 people use the service every month. ZocDoc is free for patients and charges every featured practice $250 per month.

While it wouldn’t give us the number of doctors on the site, ZocDoc says its number of available appointments jumped from 3 million in February to 5 million last month.

The founders say they spend most of their time hiring to keep up with the site’s growth.  “This time last year we had 30 employees,” CEO and cofounder Cyrus Massoumi tells us. “Now we have 150 people.”

Google Is Totally Overthinking This "Ignore" Thing (GOOG)

ignore talk to the hand

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Facebook control who tags you

Google Shuts Down Slide -- A Year After Dropping Almost $200 Million On It

Max Levchin


Google+ is supposed to be different from Facebook because it gives you more control over what you share with whom.

But the company is totally overthinking it, offering options that only geeks (and people with lots of free time to manage their social networks) will use.

Today for instance, it added a new “Ignore” feature.

When somebody adds you to one of their Circles, you now have the option to Ignore them. That means you’ll never see anything they post, but they will still be able to comment on your posts and see what you post.

That’s different from Blocking them, which basically eliminates all interaction.

But Google already solved this problem by giving users separate news feeds. The main “Stream” shows posts from people you have followed — like Twitter (you can also subdivide it into particular cirlces, so you see only posts from Friends, for instance).

The “Incoming” feed shows posts from everybody you’re connected with — including people who are following you, but you’re not following.

So to ignore people you don’t know and don’t want to know, all you have to do is ignore the Incoming feed. Which is probably what 99% of Google+ users do anyway. (Does anybody really want to see a bunch of random stuff from people you don’t know and never followed?)

There’s another scenario that the Ignore button addresses. Say somebody follows you, but you don’t follow them. Every time they mention you, that mention still shows up in your main news Stream. Ignoring them gets rid of those mentions.

Is that really so annoying? Can’t people just…ignore them?

(Better yet, couldn’t Google have made the default behavior different so that stuff wouldn’t show up in your main Stream unless you asked for it?)

Having all these different options may seem like a great idea to Google engineers who love to optimize everything, including their interactions with other humans. But for mainstream users, it all seems terribly confusing.

And you can’t just ignore the Ignore option — it’s right there in front of your face every time somebody adds you. See for yourself:

Google+ notifications ignore

 

Google Is Totally Overthinking This "Ignore" Thing (GOOG)

ignore talk to the hand

See Also:

Facebook control who tags you

Google Shuts Down Slide -- A Year After Dropping Almost $200 Million On It

Max Levchin


Google+ is supposed to be different from Facebook because it gives you more control over what you share with whom.

But the company is totally overthinking it, offering options that only geeks (and people with lots of free time to manage their social networks) will use.

Today for instance, it added a new “Ignore” feature.

When somebody adds you to one of their Circles, you now have the option to Ignore them. That means you’ll never see anything they post, but they will still be able to comment on your posts and see what you post.

That’s different from Blocking them, which basically eliminates all interaction.

But Google already solved this problem by giving users separate news feeds. The main “Stream” shows posts from people you have followed — like Twitter (you can also subdivide it into particular cirlces, so you see only posts from Friends, for instance).

The “Incoming” feed shows posts from everybody you’re connected with — including people who are following you, but you’re not following.

So to ignore people you don’t know and don’t want to know, all you have to do is ignore the Incoming feed. Which is probably what 99% of Google+ users do anyway. (Does anybody really want to see a bunch of random stuff from people you don’t know and never followed?)

There’s another scenario that the Ignore button addresses. Say somebody follows you, but you don’t follow them. Every time they mention you, that mention still shows up in your main news Stream. Ignoring them gets rid of those mentions.

Is that really so annoying? Can’t people just…ignore them?

(Better yet, couldn’t Google have made the default behavior different so that stuff wouldn’t show up in your main Stream unless you asked for it?)

Having all these different options may seem like a great idea to Google engineers who love to optimize everything, including their interactions with other humans. But for mainstream users, it all seems terribly confusing.

And you can’t just ignore the Ignore option — it’s right there in front of your face every time somebody adds you. See for yourself:

Google+ notifications ignore

 

New community powered support network launches for Hurricane Irene

Get Satisfaction’s Drew Olanoff just launched a community-powered support network for Hurricane Irene to help people get Hurricane Irene news, share ideas on how to prepare for a hurricane and help one another with preparing.

The network is one of many support communities on Get Satisfaction, a white label community platform that can be launched quickly and easily in events such as these. Get Satisfaction, a San Francisco based company that launched in 2007 primarily helps businesses better engage with their customers online.

There are several forums out there devoted to the same cause, but Get Satisfaction has great features like additional support links including a Disaster Prevention Guide and updates from CNN. So far, only 14 people have joined with 17 posted topics as most are probably just fleeing to Twitter and Facebook for their rants before fleeing to the nearest cozy bar for their needs. But if you’re looking to share an idea or report a problem, check out the Hurricane Irene network here.

New community powered support network launches for Hurricane Irene

Get Satisfaction’s Drew Olanoff just launched a community-powered support network for Hurricane Irene to help people get Hurricane Irene news, share ideas on how to prepare for a hurricane and help one another with preparing.

The network is one of many support communities on Get Satisfaction, a white label community platform that can be launched quickly and easily in events such as these. Get Satisfaction, a San Francisco based company that launched in 2007 primarily helps businesses better engage with their customers online.

There are several forums out there devoted to the same cause, but Get Satisfaction has great features like additional support links including a Disaster Prevention Guide and updates from CNN. So far, only 14 people have joined with 17 posted topics as most are probably just fleeing to Twitter and Facebook for their rants before fleeing to the nearest cozy bar for their needs. But if you’re looking to share an idea or report a problem, check out the Hurricane Irene network here.

Mobilize 2011: Save $200 when you register by Aug 27

Insight, opportunity and growth abound at Mobilize 2011. Over two days, we’ll unveil the newest opportunities at the crossroads of mobile and cloud computing — from products and services to new technologies and emerging markets. Register today to claim your spot next to GigaOM Pro analysts, GigaOM editors and some of the most influential leaders in mobile.

Sure, you could stay at the office and simply read about new mobile opportunities, but here are three sessions you just can’t get anywhere else:

• Tom Conrad, CTO and EVP of Product, Pandora

“Pandora is mostly on the move.” Pandora is the poster for success in the mobile world. This 100 percent browser experience–based company has seen 70 percent of its traffic shift onto mobile platforms and devices. CTO Tom Conrad will share technical and business challenges that Pandora has overcome to get a foothold in mobile, as well as reveal the company’s next mobile target — automobiles.

• Erick Tseng, Head of Mobile Products, Facebook

“Making mobile more social.” As Facebook looks to provide a full-featured user experience in an increasingly mobile world, it must overcome a fragmented landscape of operating systems, devices, geographies and networks. Erick Tseng, the head of mobile, will reveal how the company is leveraging the web to build its own products and how a recent acquisition is helping deploy a unified Facebook experience on a very big scale.

• Olof Schybergson, CEO, Fjord

“Can invisible also be amazing?” As the bond between mobility and cloud increases, we will need to design invisible and seductive service experiences. Device-to-cloud interactions will yield new products that adapt to device capabilities and context. Among the considerations: Who will own user data, and will push advertising ruin user experience?

Speakers represent the movers and shakers of mobile innovation. See the full list here.

Register by August 27 and save $200 on your two-day ticket to Mobilize 2011.

As Digital Revenue Grows, Will the Web Finally Disrupt Radio?

Pandora made $67 million in revenue during the second quarter, the vast majority of which was from advertising. As one analyst noted, the company is now generating more revenue per 1,000 listening hours than its traditional counterparts.

Traditional Radio Still Dominates

These facts come with one huge, obvious caveat. As Pandora CEO Joseph Kennedy stressed, the company still has only a tiny percentage of the total listenership of radio. It commands less than 4% of total U.S. radio listening and lost $1.8 million in Q2. And while terrestrial radio has had its share of challenges like most traditional media industries, at $17 billion per year it’s far from the brink of death.

Still, the trends reported in Pandora’s financial data suggest some serious long-term viability for Internet radio. In 2010, terrestrial radio revenue increased 6%, which was a big deal because it was the first year-over-year increase the industry had seen since 2006. By contrast, Pandora is reporting quarterly revenue growth of 117% and the company expects that growth to continue.

The Web is Better For Content, But What About Revenue?

That the number of people listening to Web-based radio services like Pandora is growing is hardly surprising. Compared to the limited, one-size-fits-all form that FM radio music stations have taken, the option to stream music based on one’s actual tastes would seem to offer the ultimate alternative. Long gone are the days when program directors and media executives decide what people hear, see and read.

But that’s not news. The Internet successfully disrupted the way content is distributed and consumed awhile ago, and yes, it’s done an excellent job. What it has struggled with, in many cases, is finding a business model to support those new means of content distribution. Internet radio appears set to do that in a way that would make newspapers and magazines jealous.

To be sure, print media would kill for the ad rates Pandora is commanding. Many of them are rethinking the advertising-supported model for online content in favor of paywalls and subscriptions. Meanwhile, for Pandora relied on paying subscribers for only about 13% of its total revenue. Of course, there are reasons why advertising seems to be so much more effective for the likes of Pandora, starting with the differences in format. It’s safe to assume that a 10-second audio ad combined with a homepage takeover on Pandora.com is going to command more money than a skyscraper banner ad on a newspaper Website.

At the end of the day, it’s still early in this game. This was literally Pandora’s first-ever earnings report as a public company. While the company’s revenue is growing, so are its operating costs, which include pricey content acquisition arrangements and an increasing marketing budget. Still, if Web-based music services like Pandora and its competitors can continue to hammer out a viable business model, the future of radio may sound very different.

From the Creator of Delicious: Jig

Jiglogo.jpgJoshua Schachter, founder of the world-changing social networking service Delicious, late last night quietly unveiled his newest work. It’s called Jig and it’s a site for posting your needs and getting responses from other users.

In many ways “what do you need” is the most basic of questions for a tool to ask a human. Jig applies the best practices of contemporary lightweight social networks to the problem of people filling each others’ needs online. It’s not fully baked yet, but it’s got a team filled with rockstars, a beguiling simplicity to it and it may very well unfold into a compelling service to use. I began testing the service a few months ago but news about it unfolded publicly last night on Techmeme.

Got needs? Delicious founder launches Jig to meet them

Joshua Schachter

Joshua Schachter, best known for creating social bookmarking site Delicious, started Tasty Labs in November 2010 with a vague mission statement: “We’re putting the useful back in social software.” On Friday, Tasty Labs announced its first product to the public: Jig.com.

Jig is meant to be “a marketplace for things people need,” wrote Union Square Ventures’ Fred Wilson (a Tasty Labs investor) in a blog post Friday morning. In an earlier post on Jig’s own blog, co-founder Nick Nguyen wrote:

“Our Jig is a website, one that helps you will your needs — by making it easy to share them with people who can help solve them. We build Jig to make it easy to describe what you need with just a few words.”

Essentially, Jig allows people to post questions about anything they need — there are no categories yet, just one big stream — and allow anyone out there to answer them. At the top of the page is a prompt that starts with “I need” followed by a text box that allows you to write a descriptive title, your location, and a few details. Jig has one section for answered questions (more than one person can answer, and each reply can be voted up by clicking “I agree” or “Thank”) and a second section for unanswered questions.

As I’m writing this, some of the questions on the answered page are titled “I need a new show to watch,” “I need a place to buy silk suspenders in Berkeley,” and “I need to find a new loving home for my MacBook air.”

Craigslist strikes me as the initial comparison here, but Jig is different because it has better messaging features and provides each user with a profile. But it’s not exactly clear what edge Jig has on the offerings from companies either the QA space, such as Ask.com, Answers.com and Quora, or the peer-to-peer task management space such as TaskRabbit and Zaarly. According to SEC filings, Tasty Labs has raised $3 million in venture capital to date, so the company may still be cooking things up to further develop the Jig idea.

Image of Joshua Schachter courtesy of Flickr user Joi Ito

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