Tag Archive | "inside"

Inside Jobs: Facebook’s Hardware Engineering Head Who Likes Getting His Hands Dirty

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When you think of people in the upper echelons of technical fields like hardware engineering, you might think of lifelong academics with multiple degrees in engineering and math and science. But if there’s one thing that’s become clear in our Inside Jobs series, there are a lot of different types of people in the roles that make the tech world really tick. Take Matt Corddry. As the… Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Power Editor changes: some Partner Categories moved

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Facebook recently made a change to Power Editor, moving some of the Partner Categories into sections called More Demographics and Behaviors. Hat tip to Andrea Warner of Marketer’s Braintrust for sending this along to Inside Facebook.

Readers: Have you seen this? What do you think about the switch?


Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

Google Gets Up Close And Personal With Polar Bears Using Street View Cameras

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In the past Google has taken Street View into the inside of an Amsterdam Barge (which just happens to be the HQ of the startup MobyPicture) and the inside of Doctor Who’s Tardis. Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Jason Calacanis’ Mahalo Is Reborn As Mobile News App Inside

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Jason Calacanis is getting back into the news business with a new app called Inside, which highlights and summarizes the top news stories.

Although Calacanis has been involved in several startups and startup events (including the TechCrunch50 conferences, prior to an acrimonious split), he may still be best known as the founder of Silicon Alley Reporter and especially of Weblogs, Inc., a group of blogs that includes Engadget and was acquired to AOL (which owns TechCrunch). More recently, he was the founder of Mahalo — in fact, Inside is technically the same company.

For Inside, Calacanis hired Gabriel Snyder, formerly editor of The Wire at The Atlantic, to be his chief content officer.

“The idea behind it is that the world is heading to mobile, but there still isn’t a solution in the new space,” Snyder told me. “I feel like the transition, in terms of news and mobile, is sort of where news and the web was in 2002. Everyone knew the web was going to be huge, but there still wasn’t a grammar to the form.”

Naturally, Snyder hopes that Inside is going to reinvent that “grammar” on mobile. The “atomic units,” he said, are brief updates created by a global team of curators who find and summarize important news stories. The idea is to give you the basic facts of the news if you’re just browsing or you’re in a hurry, but if you’re interested in digging in, you can read the original article or swipe left to read the previous updates on the same topic — Snyder described it as an attempt to “marry what humans are good at and what technology is good at” in one product.

The idea has similarities to Circa and to what Calacanis was already doing on a smaller scale for tech news with the Launch Ticker. Snyder and Calacanis aren’t pitching this as a replacement for original news coverage (“The news story isn’t broken,” Snyder insisted) and they emphasized their goal of linking to high-quality journalism, not just someone who has reblogged another publication’s stories.

Snyder also said Inside’s curators are focused on making the headlines and updates as fact-based as possible, with a limit of 300 characters for each update — so the entire headline, image, and update text will fit on your smartphone screen without any scrolling. (My sense from browsing the app is that the updates tended to consist of terse declarations of a story’s main ideas divided by semicolons.) He added that over time, he’s interested in experimenting with what an update can do — for example, he suggested that it could become a new way to share live coverage of an event.

Initially, you just browse the Inside app based on the top stories and on different news categories, but as you read, you can indicate the kinds of articles you want to see more and less of, and Inside will create a personalized news feed.

And even though Snyder said the team is focused on the mobile experience, there’s a browser-based version too, which will be particularly important when people link to the updates on social networks.

As for making money, the obvious plan would be advertising, but Inside doesn’t have any ads at launch, and Snyder said, “I don’t think anyone is really thinking about that right now.”

As I mentioned, from a corporate perspective, this is actually latest iteration of Mahalo, with the same investors (including Sequoia Capital, Elon Musk, News Corp, CBS, and Mark Cuban). The company started out as a “human-powered search engine” and pivoted several times. We last wrote about Calacanis, Mahalo, and Inside.com in the fall of 2012, when it seemed like the site was going to launch as a “knowledge community.”

Calacanis told me today via email that a knowledge community was never the plan for Inside.com — he said that after he realized that Mahalo’s efforts to create YouTube content were a “suckers game”, the team has been “focused 100%” on developing the current product, and it still has enough money to continue running for two years. (The team has “sunset” Mahalo itself, which Calacanis said “is a fancy way of saying it makes 7 figures so we’re not shutting it off but we are not investing in it.”)

I also asked how the news business has changed since Calacanis sold Weblogs, and he told me:

In a way, what I’ve learned as a consumer is that the big problem today is not that there isn’t great journalism going on — it’s that there is so much “other” and “bad” stuff going on.

You have massive link-baiting and reblogging going on, and the news organizations who do the best social media optimization are winning over the folks who ware doing the best journalism. I’m hoping that Inside highlighting the best journalism the product creates a “healthier media diet” for our consumers. Sort of like Whole Foods, where they don’t let any of the bad stuff [in].

Inside’s iPhone App can be downloaded here, its BlackBerry app can be downloaded here, and the mobile web version can be accessed here.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Q&A with Inside Social Marketing speaker David Serfaty of Matomy

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As director of social advertising at Matomy Media Group, a global performance marketing company, David Serfaty oversees the company’s agency-based social media marketing practice. He advises clients on best practices and strategies for ensuring performance across all of their social advertising campaigns and works with the company’s social media strategists and technology teams to deliver performance-based solutions to the company’s clients.

Serfaty will speak Dec. 4 at the Inside Social Marketing conference in New York, leading the session, “Don’t get left behind. How to get the most out of Facebook Mobile.” Passes are still available, so you should register now. Inside Social Marketing has brought together speakers from Poo-pourri, the NHL and Virgin America, among many others.

Serfaty — previously COO of Facebook PMD Adquant — spoke with Inside Facebook recently, offering tips for marketers looking for more success through Facebook’s mobile platform.

Inside Facebook: What will you discuss at the conference?

David SerfatyDavid Serfaty: The talk I’m going to give is a workshop called, “Don’t get left behind, how to get the most out of Facebook Mobile.” I really want to dive into some of the things that advertisers are going to need to equip themselves, in terms of how to leverage acquisition, how to leverage engagement within Facebook advertising.

The platform itself is moving at an electric pace. There are new features, new functionalities coming out all the time. I really want to dive into the checklist items that any advertiser is going to need in order to make the most out the ecosystem right now. I want to talk about the product placement and the targeting methodology used for acquisition and for engagement. We’ll look at some of the recent trends coming out of the platform and what you need to actually measure.

IF: For brands that are finding success through mobile on Facebook, what are some things that they’re doing well?

DS: The companies that are successful on Facebook with Facebook advertising right now are the ones who are really able to leverage the newer developments. For example, Facebook just came out with a really neat new ad unit for driving acquisition — video mobile install ads. We’re seeing really great results with it. You can click on it and see a 15-second video of the application.

Basically, the secret to success on Facebook is the quick adoption of new stuff, to put it simply. It’s a very competitive landscape, and as soon as Facebook releases something, you need to be on top of it. You need to figure out how to bid, how to target and how to do it properly.

One of the advantages that we have at Matomy (and also with Adquant) is that we share performance DNA. Everything we do is measurable, it’s quantifiable. Everything on the Facebook platform promotes the attitude to provide real, measurable business results. If you’re able to get on top of these things as they happen, you have a real advantage. You have a head start and you’re able to enjoy the gold rush.

IF: In the future, how important will video be to a Facebook marketing campaign through mobile?

DS: It’s going to be vital, to differentiate Facebook as a marketing channel. I think the advantage that Facebook has on mobile is just the sheer level of engagement. It’s the fact that people spend so much time every day, multiple times a day checking it. They’re treating ads as if they’re native content.

When you couple this engagement level with the rich format of video, it really lends itself to bringing in new levels of engagement for users. It’s really not intrusive. That’s something that’s important to point out. It’s a video that you can opt-in to watch. You can scroll past it without really noticing it. Or, if it does catch your attention, you can now watch the video. It’s a really big advantage for Facebook because what brings them ahead in the game is they have eyes engaged on the screen.

IF: What are some mistakes that you still see brands make through mobile?

DS: I think the biggest sin has to be not tracking properly and not setting up the correct contacts with tracking companies. Not measuring beyond install and not taking into account that when optimizing ads. Really, that’s the biggest sin.

Want to know more? Register for the Inside Social Marketing conference and learn from the experts how to optimize your Facebook campaigns.

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

AOL Asks AOLers To ‘Disrupt AOL’

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disrupt all the things

Over the last few years, TechCrunch has done a pretty good job of Disrupting things. We’ve Disrupted San Francisco, we’ve Disrupted New York City, and most recently we’ve Disrupted Europe.

But now, our parent company wants TechCrunch employees, and all the rest of the company, to “Disrupt AOL.”

In an internal memo today, AOL Global CTO Curtis Brown announced an “exciting event” that will be taking place next month in AOL campuses “around the world.” In an “exciting twist” on the TechCrunch-branded Disrupt events, the company will be running an internal “Hackathon” and “Idea Battlefield” in which participants will be able to “pitch their ideas” in front of “judges.” Winning ideas will be “considered for actual development.”

Oh yeah, and there is a “pretty sweet prize package,” “including CASH.”

Then there’s a whole part about the “AOL Open philosophy,” which I’ve never heard of but apparently “challenges and rewards AOL brands to be more open,” which I have never actually seen happen. (One could argue that having the Disrupt branding “borrowed” without our knowledge for this “exciting event” is an example of such “openness.”)

The memo touts the company’s “long history of innovation,” which is qualified by the number of patents AOL has been awarded. Because patents = innovation.

Putting aside the fact that an internal hackathon is actually a cool idea, and that encouraging cross-promotion of various internal APIs is a good thing, and that yeah, we could come up with some new ideas for this “Idea Battlefield,” I began to worry that maybe AOL could become too Disrupted.

For instance, what if someone Disrupted our broadband business, the most profitable part of the company, and our grandmothers ended their 15 year-old AOL subscriptions? What if someone Disrupted our horrible internal employee portal, which is only accessible through the most arcane and impossible VPN you might never hope to use? What if someone found a way to Disrupt our massive – and growing – layer of middle management at AOL, thereby crippling our bureaucracy and spiraling the company out of control?

Would barnyard animals sprout wings? Would dogs and cats live peacefully together? Would AOL as we know it cease to exist?

Almost forgot: If you’re an AOL employee, not only can you submit your ideas to “Disrupt AOL,” but you can also help choose the logo you’ll be forced to look at while doing so. (I’m voting for D.)

Full text of the memo:

Hey AOLers –

About a month ago, we held Beat The Internet Breakfasts in multiple AOL offices. We asked you to share thoughts and ideas about the AOL community, our products, and how we work. We read through each and every submission, and we started to take action.

See the different logos below/attached? We need you to pick one. For a t-shirt, for an invitation to the Event we are announcing today and for the design on the $2,500 check you and your co-workers might win as one of the prizes…. But more on that in a second.

We are pleased to announce an exciting event coming next month. Disrupt AOL will take place on our campuses around the world on December 3rd, with a Judging Event broadcast globally on December 5th. Putting a twist on TechCrunch Disrupt, this event will be comprised of a Hackathon and an Idea Battlefield, and will culminate in your projects being pitched before judges and considered for actual development. Oh yeah, winners also will get a pretty sweet prize package, including CASH.

This event is designed to drive the AOL Open philosophy and to challenge and reward AOL brands to be more open. AOL has a long history of innovation, with more than 1000 patents awarded since the inception of the company. By being open and letting the AOL community- all of you bright and creative people- loose on some of our APIs, I’m convinced we will generate some awesome ideas that will help move the company forward in significant ways.

You Want Open? How’s this for Open. Ryan Sagawa, our talented AOL Events intern, has come up with 4 logos for Disrupt AOL. Now we want you to choose the winner. Go to Inside RIGHT NOW to vote for the logo you think should represent Disrupt AOL on all our branding- including the t-shirts all participants will be receiving.

For the Hackathon, teams of up to five people will compete to come up with and code an original, open, viable, and innovative idea within a 12-hour time period. If you are interested in participating in the Hackathon and are in search of a team, send an email to DisruptAOLTeam@teamaol.com and we will connect you to other team members. Teams are encouraged to have a mix of both engineers and product managers.

The Idea Battlefield will allow individuals and teams across the company to submit their potential products for review by a judging panel, with the best submissions going on to a finalist round to pitch their ideas.

Rules, registration, and prizes can all be found now Inside, and we’ll announce the API’s you can choose from in the near future. Please check in often for updates.

I realize that we have a lot going on and many, many, competing priorities, but this event is hugely important to the future of the company so I encourage you to take the time to participate. My hope is that the next great AOL product will be born from this event and we will all win. Think big, take chances, have fun, show your love for what you do, and go out there and root for your colleagues. Look for more information on the Inside later this week for how to register as well as the great prizes up for grabs.


Curtis Brown
Global CTO, AOL Inc

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

InsideMaps Uses 3D Home Models Captured In Minutes To Build The Future Of Furniture Buying

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The InsideMaps team, which is launching its app today on the Disrupt SF 2013 stage, is applying 3D mapping and capture technology to an interesting problem: How do you visualize furniture purchases in your home before you buy them?

According to InsideMaps, you do it by using your smartphone to scan the inside of your home, allowing them to create a 3D model in the cloud that you can then place virtual bits of furniture inside to see how it fits.

This may not seem like an earth shaker, and let’s be honest it is not. But as the son of an interior designer and fine finishes guy who worked in the trade every summer, I can appreciate it as a deceptively useful tool for some folks. Specifically, says CEO George Bolanos, there are a few segments that InsideMaps is aiming at: end-user customers, interior decorators and real estate agents.

Balanos is the founder of Wanadu, a web conferencing company that was acquired by Cisco’s Latitude. He went on to a role as Director of Technology at Sony Mobile. InsideMaps’ co-founder and CTO Jörgen Birkler comes from Sony Ericsson Silicon Valley where he served as Head of Applications & Services Development for the Xperia line.

The app launching today is a fairly simple affair. You fire it up, give it a few bits of information about your home and then begin scanning each room. You’re given the option to do a single or to zap the whole house at once and you’re turned loose to shoot what is essentially a series of panoramic shots of a room from the inside, culminating with a spin in the center. Those shots are then uploaded to the InsideMaps cloud for some special sauce application.

That consists of utilizing data captured by the gyroscope and magnetometer inside your device (which is why they have to be fairly new smartphones) to craft a model. That model is then checked against a series of visual touchstones in the images. The heights of doorknobs, window sills, etc. While they do this, they’re also gathering data about the average sizes of openings like doors and more, so they can apply machine learning to improve the quality of the models down the road.

Currently, the processing takes around 20 minutes for a room or 4 hours for a whole house. InsideMaps is using Amazon Compute Cloud to perform the model-making process, in part because of its instanced GPU setup, which comes in handy for jobs like these.

The app runs on Android for now, but the team is at work on an iOS version. As mentioned above, you need to have a device no more than around 2 years old to have the sensors needed to make the app do its magic.

Once the models are built they can be viewed in any browser using WebGL, with no additional plugins necessary. Users can access them via URL, which is sharable, or send ‘rendered’ 2D snapshots of a piece of furniture in place to friends.

The business of furniture

The monetary model of InsideMaps is refreshingly concise for an early stage startup. They’re currently working with large furniture distributors to cut deals that will provide a link on their site to the InsideMaps app. This will act as a funnel that allows users to scan their home and then utilize 3D models of the furniture of that maker to fit them into their homes.

I queried Bolanos about how they were going about creating the models of the furniture to use. It turns out that the team made a happy discovery once they started looking into this: most furniture makers already create 3D models of their wares. For ‘augmented reality’ or 3D rotation widgets, sure, but they had the models, and InsideMaps can tap into those without having to reinvent the wheel.

Once the pipeline is set up, InsideMaps is planning on utilizing a revenue setup that combines referral, affiliate and sponsorship models. This creates a ready-made meritocracy where results beget income. It’s a far more honest and straightforward system than a lot we tend to see these days.

Currently, InsideMaps is walking to big retailers including a deal with a subsidiary of the largest furniture retailer in the U.S.

But the direct sales market isn’t the only one that the team is excited about. Bolanos says that InsideMaps is equally intrigued with how the app will work with interior designers and real estate agents. They’ve already begun testing it with real estate agents actually, and it’s working out ‘well’. The idea is that an agent could gift a 3D model of a home to a new homeowner, or provide it in advance in the interest of ‘listing transparency’. In addition to helping people visualize the space in 3D, something a large number of people have a difficult time with, InsideMaps is also able to tap into the ‘new homeowner’, who is 10x more likely to buy furniture during their first 10 years of home ownership.

Eventually, InsideMaps hopes to get the processing down to about 2 minutes per room, with the hope that you’ll have that model processed before you’re even on to the next one.


The panel first asked if the app can do paint and wallpaper as well. Balanos replied that they can indeed, they just ran out of time.

The panel seems to be very interested in InsideMaps turning what they see as a tool into more of a service. A service which can then be used to build out a transactional model for people to have their homes scanned.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Facebook sidebar prompts page likes to ‘Get Important News’

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Some users have seen a new sidebar ad aimed at gaining more page likes.

In the sidebar, Facebook shows three pages users should like under the header “Get Important News.” An Inside Facebook reader tipped us off to this new sidebar ad.

This could be one of Facebook’s new ad units coming to fruition, with the simple goal of obtaining more likes, or just a refresh of sidebar like ads. Facebook is starting to move away from the sidebar in favor of better and more visual News Feed advertisements, but advertisers still utilize it. A recent study by Nanigans shows that page post ad units in the News Feed delivered 26 times greater return on investment. Nanigans told Inside Facebook that advertisers still use sidebar ads and consider them as part of their campaigns as a supplement to News Feed advertising.

Readers: Have you seen this on your sidebar?

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

Announcing the AllTwitter Marketing Bible, Inside Network’s Newest Marketing Resource

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ATMB LogoEvery marketer uses Twitter to engage with customers. But there’s more to a successful campaign than simply gaining new followers and increasing your number of tweets.

That’s why we’re thrilled to announce the newest addition to the Inside Network product family: the AllTwitter Marketing Bible.

Whether you’re a first-time user of Twitter for business or an experienced social media marketer, the AllTwitter Marketing Bible is designed to help you build your audience, increase engagement, and improve conversions and customer loyalty.

This comprehensive subscription product is updated weekly with valuable how-tos and best practices, informative case studies, and detailed provider comparisons. This content will help you stay up to date on the latest platform trends and discover great ways to optimize your current Twitter strategy.

Want to learn more? You can sign up for a free trial to get a sneak peak at a few articles, or subscribe to a monthly, quarterly, or annual account for full access.

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

The Inside Network Job Board: King.com, Tetris, Velocidi and more

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The Inside Network Job Board is dedicated to providing you with the best social media job opportunities across social and mobile application platforms. Here are this week’s highlights from the Inside Network Job Board, including positions at: Aarki, BrightRoll, King.com and more.

April 2014
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