Monday, September 29, 2014

Loom Bands took off because of the inventor's daughters' videos on YouTube

Is there anything more 2014 than Loom Bands?  About half the people (grown ups) I'm in meetings with seem to wear them...  They're everywhere.

An article in The Guardian at the weekend about Rainbow Loom inventor Cheong Choon Ng has this fascinating detail on the role YouTube played in the phenomenon (my bolding):

"We invested our entire family savings of $10,000 (£6,152) to order tooling and 2,000lb (91kg) of rubber bands from China, and assembled the kits ourselves in our garage. I spent months going round toy stores in Michigan with my daughters, trying to sell the loom band. Nobody was interested. The problem was that people didn't understand how they worked. So I asked my niece and my daughters to create YouTube videos, explaining how to make rubber-band bracelets. These created a trend.

In July 2012, I received an order from a toy store in Alpharetta, Georgia, for 12 loom-band kits. Less than two weeks later, the same store placed an order for $10,000. When my wife and I saw it, our jaws dropped. We thought it was a mistake. The store owners told us they had never seen anything like it. After that, our sales climbed every month until, in December 2012, we reached $200,000 wholesale sales a month. I took a three-month sabbatical from Nissan, but never returned to my old job."

I think that this is the original video:

See more of the videos here

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

App Integrations

One trend we're seeing at the moment is that apps are becoming more like the mobile web.

Apps (& games) are most people's experience of mobile - stats from Flurry show that apps now make up 86% of the time spent on mobile, and the mobile web just 14%.

The experience with apps used to be that you would open one, do something, and then open another one.

As time has gone on it's become possible to deep-link into apps.

My favourite example of this is CityMapper, the app that has done so much to demystify public transport (buses especially) in London for people like me,

The button below, if you open it up on a mobile, in CityMapper will direct you to my office.  No need to open the app, and put the address in, this link takes to to precise instructions to get to 10 Triton Street, NW1.

Get directions with Citymapper

While this is deep linking into an app from the web (which YouTube has been doing for years), we're now starting to see examples of deep linking to a precise place in an app, from another app.

Uber is a leader in this.  Their recent API announcement unveiled a number of integrations -

"Here are just a few examples of how our partner apps are making it even easier to get where you want to go with Uber:

Dinner date? Request an Uber to your favorite restaurant right from the OpenTable app. Your driver will arrive already knowing where you are headed.

Catching a flight? The United mobile app shows ETAs of the closest drivers and fare estimates, so you can get reliable ride to and from the airport for less.

Night out? Time Out shows different Uber options—from low-cost to luxury—so you can be sure to arrive in style to the city’s best nightlife.

Need a place to stay? Book a room through the Hyatt Hotels & Resorts app and request a ride to your hotel right from the reservation screen.

Want a recap of your journey? Use Momento to view a timeline of your Uber trip history alongside other moments in your life."

There's now even ain integration with the Starbucks app (in the US) that lets you order an Uber to take you to your nearest Starbucks, or even order a coffee for delivery by an Uber driver.

Apps did not used to behave like this, and in doing so now they're behaving more like the web, with things linking through to other things.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Buying on Twitter - Pilot programme announced

Twitter has finally revealed plans for a pilot programme allowing people to buy things within a Tweet.

"In our test, an entire purchase can be completed in just a few taps. After tapping the “Buy” button, you will get additional product details and be prompted to enter your shipping and payment information. Once that’s entered and confirmed, your order information is sent to the merchant for delivery."

The test includes partners like Stripe for card payments; you'd have thought that shipping and payment details could be saved within the app (as they are with Amazon) before too long - that would cut down on the stages.  [The video actually suggests that payment card data will be stored]

So far launch partners are mainly musicians, but also Burberry, Home Depot and some others are in there.  Full list in the blog post here.

I'd love this to work - but AmazonBasket hasn't exactly set the world alight so far.

Watch this space!

Nissan's speedy 'Royal Baby' tweet

Nissan apparently tweeted this just 7 minutes after the announcement that The Duchess of Cambridge was pregnant with her second child.
Pretty impressive when you consider that it wasn't particularly expected, or at a time when people were on high alert, e.g. during a sporting event.

Fewer than 200 RTs 3 hours later though - and I imagine that lots of them are from media obsessives like me, rather than royal fans (or petrolheads)

Full story here

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