Yopine and Today's Sports Media Landscape

By Andrew Board, Yopine Marketing

The extraordinary advancements in media technologies that have been made over the past century have lead to an ever-changing worldwide media climate. These advancements, coupled with the skyrocketing popularity of sports in America and elsewhere, have lead to a complete transformation of sports media in the U.S. and beyond.

 

Today, fans don’t get all of their sports news from game stories and box scores in newspapers. Instead they are surrounded by media that can bring them news, columns, live score updates, and even live streams of games at all times. These changes have allowed fans to follow sporting events 24/7. This sports media explosion has lead to huge increases in the amount of money being pumped into the sports industry.

 

24 hour sports television programming is a huge part of the sports media landscape. With more airtime than games to show, these networks, such as ESPN, FOXSPORTS1, and others, have to fill time with highlight shows, pregame shows, and debate talk shows. Much of the programming on these stations is now centered around fan feedback and interaction.  ESPN2’s First Take is an example of such a show, featuring prominent sports writers Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless who debate each other on the hot sports topics of the day. Shows such as First Take are continuing to grow in popularity, driving programming in non-game hours for 24-hour sports networks.

 

Sports fans can now access stories, score alerts, and other things instantly on mobile apps. Apps such as Bleacher Report TeamStream allow fans to keep up with their favorite teams seamlessly. TeamStream specifically allows fans to follow a news stream for any professional or college team they wish that keeps them up to date on any news, scores, and updates on the team. These apps, especially TeamStream, also feature comment and debate sections, allowing the fans to voice their opinions.

 

Along with apps that provide updates, fans can now stream live games to their computers and mobile devices. Cable companies such as ESPN, NBC Sports, and FOX Sports offer streaming of live game content through web browsers and mobile apps. The MLB, NFL, and NBA all provide streaming subscription services that allow fans to stream every game on any device. This increased availability of live game content is probably the single most important thing when it comes to the future of sports media and entertainment media as a whole. If fans can access their sports through a streaming device, and their favorite shows through Netflix, Hulu, HBONow, etc., cable television may become expendable.

 

The question now is: where does Yopine fit into all of this? The answer is that Yopine could play a key roll in sports media, which now craves instant fan interaction, especially with second screen. With regards to the 24-hour sports networks, Yopine could be a very useful tool for second screen viewer engagement. For example, Yopine could be a great partner and tool for First Take, allowing for the live TV audience to engage in the debates of the show by answering live polls. These polls could be structured to have fans to pick which analyst they agree with after a segment of the show, allowing the fans to connect with the actual on air personalities. This second screen viewer engagement would be very valuable to a program that is trying to keep users from changing the channel during commercial breaks, and therefore keep their advertising rates at their desired level. On top of that, the polls themselves are a sponsorship opportunity for a program.

 

Yopine could be a great tool for different sports apps, as well. Yopine could partner with Bleacher Report and provide Bleacher Report with a better, more visual way of issuing fan polls and debates both on their website and on their mobile app through the Yopine SDK. Such a partnership would allow Bleacher Report to engage their fans with polls more often, making Bleacher Report more fan-oriented. These fan polls could also be sponsored, along the same lines of Bleacher Report’s sponsorships with the “Coors Light Cold Hard Facts” stream.

 

Lastly, Yopine could provide polling that occurs live in sequence with live-streamed games. NFL Sunday Ticket or NBA League Pass could partner with Yopine in order to provide live polls in the stream interface in order to increase fan interaction and keep their fans on the stream when a break in action occurs. These polls, once again, would allow for advertising and sponsorship opportunities inside the stream. As sports moves away from television and conventional commercials, any piece of advertising space or signage could be crucial for companies trying to profit off of these streams.

 

Yopine also has the unique capability to take the pulse of a live crowd. Using the people around me technology in the *crowd platform, teams and broadcasters can take the pulse of the fans in the stadium. This could allow a team to do a simple player of the game poll. For example, the New York Jets could ask the fans in the stadium to vote on the Budweiser Player of the Game. First off, it allows for greater fan interaction with the on the field product. More and more fans are on their smartphones and other devices while at games. This would allow them to still be taking in, for example, a New York Jets product while at a New York Jets game. Also, the advertising and sponsorship opportunities that would come with such polling would be massive. “Budweiser Player of the Game” is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sponsorship possibilities that could put money directly into the pockets of the teams.

 

The *crowd platform could also allow for broadcasters to take the poll of a stadium and share that with the television audience. Fox could ask during a Washington Redskins game “should Robert Griffin III be benched” and then share the stadium response, and possibly even compare to the responses of a similar poll that is put out to the television audience. Once again, the sponsorship possibilities for the networks are tremendous with this type of polling.

 

Yopine provides services across different platforms that are compatible with current and future sports media. Fans and content producers alike crave more audience interaction, and what better device than Yopine to make that happen? 

The '90-9-1' Principle aka the 1% Rule

Lurker, Participant, Creator....Where are You?
By Gary W. Mendel - founder, Yopine

You are somewhere between addicted to and completely lost without constant, reliable and fast access to the InterWebs.  You smack instinctively at your pockets just to feel the shape of your phone against your body when you are out.  You’re not odd or strange or manic or crazy.  You are part of modern culture in certain parts of the world and it’s probably ok.

What sort of Internet citizen you are is an entirely different blog post…but what sort of Internet participant you are is the subject of some extensive study, debate and strong sentiment.  If you aren’t a troll, then your citizenship is upheld and you pass as a nice person.  You are okey dokey.  However the kind of participant you are has much further reaching implications both for you personally as well as the machinations that comprise Web marketing, virality, sales, trends, popularity, company valuations and the very stability (or instability) or your respective economy.

 

Let me tell you about the 90-9-1 rule.  In a nutshell, 90% of us lurk over the Web…9% of us participate in the Web…and 1% of us create for the Web.  You are now looking inward asking 'which am I'?  Neither is better or worse than the others, however it is actually the 1%’ers (while being a mere 1%) who are creating nearly 100% of the good/bad/ugly that is the content consumed by everyone.  It is important to point out that the 1% does NOT apply to the Internet as a whole.  Think of it simply as the '1% rule for the websites (social media, commercial, blogs) and apps in which I participate'.

 

It's probably clear that its not this simple or this cut and dried. Personally, I am sometimes all three cases in varying degrees, however the more dominant position for me tends to be the 90%. When I am reading (90%) news articles I am certainly not a news reporter (1%) but I will add the occasional comment (9%).  When I am writing blog posts(like right now) for my company, even though the posts are somewhat rare, I am quasi 1%.  When I am creating content for Yopine (having a blast polling the world), I am pure 1% and I do that a lot….but, I am also at the same time interacting with others’ content making me the beloved 9%.  Ultimately however, I would categorize myself overall as a 90%’er because I read an inordinate amount of Web content relative to that which I create. Confused?

 

To categorize yourself as a 1% denotes a pretty high opinion of yourself, and that’s ok.  Someone who blogs and has north of 10,000 followers on any social media hub has a record and is probably justified in that assessment.  Someone who has +- 400 followers (me) shouldn’t fancy themselves as such, but rather take heart in their interesting, sometimes funny and oft positive 9% contribution.

 

I’m sorry to report that trolls are 9%’ers.  I’m sorry because they provide 0% to the betterment or quality of anything on the Web. But that’s the beauty of these principles…they often tamp down that which is ugly, pathetic, hate-filled and mean.  You become 1% effectively because you are interesting and productive.   That is not to say you can’t be controversial, opinionated or a complete jerk…but you have to have a point and generally be intelligent. Trolls are 9% simply because anyone can comment, retweet, modified-tweet and share.  I wish they could be ignored but rules are rules and trolls buy things thus making them the object of advertisers’ desire and affection much the same as you and me.

 

So where should most of us be?  Be wherever you want and own it.  If you like to hover, you like to learn.  That’s is just fine. If you like to participate, that is excellent especially if you are sincere, honest and mature.  If you are awesome and creative and thoughtful and articulate then the world wants you to create and be a 1%’er. Further, nobody says you can’t experiment…that is, to settle into the most comfortable role for you relative to this so-called rule.

 

Maybe it’s a ‘rule’ or maybe its a ‘rubric’ or maybe its just a thing. Who cares really.  The beauty of whatever you want to call it is that it results, by and large, in good things.  You can get anything from the Web, you can learn anything from the Web and you can create anything on the Web.  Sounds more like a fun guideline than any sort of rule.

 

Just don’t tell the advertisers….

Gary Mendel, a co-founder of Yopine has been a programmer, marketer and product guy.  "I am amazed at how accurate 90-9-1 is from the grandest scale (FB/Twitter) to the smallest (the rest of us).  Please reach out to him on Twitter.

Gary Mendel, a co-founder of Yopine has been a programmer, marketer and product guy.  "I am amazed at how accurate 90-9-1 is from the grandest scale (FB/Twitter) to the smallest (the rest of us).  Please reach out to him on Twitter.

Yopine Adds Linkedin Integration

By Gary W. Mendel - founder, Yopine

Yopine’s infamous ‘share flower’ just got a little ‘bloomier' with the addition of Linkedin posting integration.  If you don’t know what the share-flower is, open up any poll or brainstorm and long-tap (hold your finger down) anywhere on the screen and a nice 4 petal flower blooms...the share-flower.  Clockwise from the top is Facebook, Link (copies url and poll image to clipboard), Linkedin and Twitter.

This feature has been around since day one in Yopine but it’s intentionally kept out of sight under the thinking that if users know its there, it needn't clutter up the interface.

For those who know and love the share-flower, you will notice the email petal went away.  The truth is that the link petal achieves the same objective, you just have to open your own email client and then paste the link in vs having Yopine bring up the email client.

 

So the decision was made to make sharing with your Linkedin network after one of our customers named it as their #1 need and concern.  Quite simply, they want to engage their vast Linkedin network in order to understand what types of products and services are right, necessary and needed by people in their line of business. The image-based, simple and clean UX (user experience) of Yopine fit the need and we were able to make it happen in short order.

 

Thanks to a robust API delivered by Linkedin, Yopine content (polls and brainstorms) can be shared/posted to your Linkedin wall with one tap.  Once you have built and are satisfied with your poll on Yopine, you long-tap-share with Linkedin.  On your first try, you will need to log in to your Linkedin account.  From there your question, image(s) and options travel to your wall seamlessly.  The beauty of what your network members see is that they needn’t have Yopine present to view the content (though we would be glad for the download).  The link comes across and takes non-Yopine users to a an HTML5 mobile web app inside of the Linkedin browser.  This means that your network members have full access to like, share and comment on the poll or brainstorm within Linkedin.

 

As the world’s largest connected business network with over 300 million registered users in over 200 countries, it was a natural progression for Yopine to enable its customers to be able to share with Linkedin.  At Yopine we focus on doing one thing very well - polling.  Gathering feedback from fans, friends, followers and interested parties from any and all sources is a major benefit and value to any business.  Yopine works with brands, broadcasters and publishers to make the feedback loop as simple, quick and effective as possible.  We work with companies from national broadcasters to giants in banking and wealth management.

 

The Yopine/Linkedin integration is the latest in work done to offer our customers a better and more far reaching set of returns in the form of feedback and data.  In the next several weeks we will begin launching our “STAR” platform which is a business console enabling polling both across continents and across the room.  Look out for proximal awareness polling and brainstorming and a bunch of other fun, cool and innovative products from Yopine.

 

Every voice counts.

The Dawn of the iPhone 6

By Sarah Bowden, Marketing and Social Media Manager

Many rumors have been flying around about the upcoming release of the iPhone 6. Will it be bigger? Will the screen resolution be increased? Will it even be made out of the same material? All these things have caused both excitement and anxiety in our tech heavy world as people anticipate it’s arrival, rumored to be in Fall 2014 around October. 


What most expect is an iPhone that looks similar to the Samsung Galaxy S3, which currently boasts its 4.8” screen size.  The believed goal is a phone that is a miniature tablet, allowing users to hold the phone comfortably with one hand while also being able to see and experience more on their screen.  The debate on what size the iPhone 6 will be has run in a few directions. Ultimately, many believe that Apple will release two different sized iPhone 6s- one similar to the current Samsung Galaxy S3 and one even larger at around 5.5” screen size. 


Another rumored feature includes the material used for the iPhone. Currently, the iPhone’s aluminosilicate glass is one that is scratch resistant but certainly not shatter proof, as many users can attest. It is speculated that Apple will switch over to a sapphire glass which is not only more durable, but also much thinner and carries almost 100% transparency; the sapphire glass is already being used as the home button and the back camera for the iPhone 5s.


With the emerging iPhone 6, also brings a new iOS system of iOS 8. The new update brings a fancy photo editing application, text message integration to your other Apple products, keyboard, messaging, and mail enhancements, as well as an updated Siri. Too bad for iPhone 4 users and those with any iPhone older than that because the iOS 8 will only work on models of iPhone 4s and newer, making your old iPhone obsolete; even iPhone 4s users are rumored to have a slower interaction with the interface.


With so much to look forward to with this new release, how could there be any downsides? Well for starters, if the iPhone 6 does come out with a model that is 5.5”, users will be struggling to use the phone with one hand and most likely have to use two hands to navigate the device. How interesting it is to think that as consumers we used to want our phones to become smaller and smaller and now we are back wanting our phones to be larger, almost tablet-like. Another point of problem is the sapphire glass, which although is more durable is also currently less abundant and therefore more expensive, raising the price of the already expensive phone to an even higher price. Finally, the biggest downside to waiting and paying for this grand upgrade is that companies like LG and Samsung are improving their phones at such a rapid rate that your iPhone isn’t as unique as it once was. Sure, consolidation of your iTunes, iPhoto, Apple products, etc. is extremely convenient, but many users don’t even take advantage of half of what the iPhone has to offer so why wouldn’t they go to a cheaper phone that has many of the same specs when screen size seems to be at the top of many consumers lists? 


For Yopine, there’s things to consider. A changing screen size may change the way our application and others are designed. What happens for companies like our own who don’t use a separate interface for tablets, but instead an elongated version of other phone versions.  Instead of stretching the iPhone 4 or 5 screens, there may need to be a completely different design for optimal use and screen space. Our application relies heavily on high resolution images, polls, and listed brainstorms. With the increase in screen size, it allows for less movement and scrolling between options so you can see more contributions all at once. You will also be able to see more of the image when polls are being used. 


We can only wait and see how consumers will respond to Apple’s new iPhone 6 and whether the jump in screen size is beneficial or ultimately a flop. 

Applications to Better Your Education Experience

By Sarah Bowden, Marketing and Social Media Manager

Marshall McLuhan, a famous pioneer of media theory, once called media the “extensions of man”. Now, at the time he wrote this there were no iPhones or tablets or smart boards, but regardless McLuhan was on to something. He meant that media extends the senses given to man so they can communicate with one another in ways and speeds that are, to put it bluntly, inhuman.  As we have progressed from the emergence of writing to television, the internet, and now into “smart” technology, we find ourselves addicted to the media we use; each medium seems like a life line and at times we seem lost without them. 

 

So what happens when the mediums we have adopted into our daily lives collide with education. Do they repel or slowly integrate? Today, we are seeing more and more integration of media in the classroom as organization and learning applications emerge to help students and teachers interpret the world around them in more ways than ever. While this media integration is a newer process and we still don’t know how the long term use will effect users, it’s important to embrace the change as an “and” rather than an “instead” to the traditional educational style, which many associate with solely lectures, readings, and writings.

 

One of the biggest promoters of using technology in classrooms are colleges and universities where most students have access to a computer or laptop and are encouraged to use various applications to increase their learning experience. At the University of Virginia, I have been exposed to various applications that have both organized and altered the way that I view learning- all for the better. The first application I began using was Dropbox. Dropbox is an online application that acts as a cloud of information, allowing you to upload and store files, pictures, etc. all in one account. Many of my professors began using Dropbox widgets on their class websites for us to turn in assignments and papers, which not only organized our submissions, time stamps and all, but also allowed for the professor to grade each assignment online and return them to us without any physical transfer of papers.

 

Another application I began using was Evernote. Writing notes is an essential part of learning anything and while sometimes graphs and charts need to be handwritten, I learned that many lectures I sat through would better be noted and absorbed later if I typed them out.  I began using Microsoft Word to write my notes and quickly learned what a rookie mistake I had made when I came back from class one day and noticed my Microsoft had crashed and all my files were corrupted. This is the time where you ask where I backed it up. As you can suspect, I didn’t, so once I lamented my hardship to a professor, they recommended Evernote. Evernote not only backs up everything to your account online when connected to the internet, but also has many features such as text recognition, file attachment, presentation modes, and screen captures that all increase the way you can learn and understand the content in front of you. 

 

As quizzes and tests began to pile up, I realized just reading my notes over and over again was not going to be enough to get me that stellar grade. Being a college student, I also didn’t want to waste paper and write flashcards, only to wonder if I had lost one in the process of transferring them from classroom to dorm to gym. Quizlet became my new best friend. Not only was it a way for me to quickly make and review flashcards, but it also gave me the ability to search for sets that people had already made for my class. I was able to share my flashcards with other students and create study groups that really encouraged students to be both interactive and collaborative in the learning process.

 

While Dropbox, Evernote, and Quizlet all help my life as a student outside of the classroom, Yopine is an app that can be used by both teachers and students in the classroom. With Yopine, audience response is made incredibly simple. The professor or leader can stage questions via the *edu web dashboard or create questions, polls and brainstorms on the fly where the audience can instantly respond and give feedback. Picture a professor quizzing studentes on topics in the time running up to a quiz and having the ability to see, in realtime, the questions that received low amounts of accurate responses would signify that they relate to a concept that needs further explaining. I wish I had something like this when I was too scared to raise my hand saying I didn’t understand a lesson because this way it allows users to be honest and anonymous with their responses. 

 

Technology in the classroom is something to which we should look forward . No, I don’t think only textbooks online and online classes can replace the future of education. Remember, we are extending the senses of man, not replacing them. 


Hyper-local Polling with "People Around Me"

By Janie Willner, Marketing and Social Media Manager

Yopine’s new “People Around Me” feature employs proximal awareness technology to facilitate hyper-local polling and brainstorming. What does this mean for users? What does this mean...period? With People Around Me, Yopine users can post polls and brainstorms visible only to users who are in ambient contact with (i.e. do not have to be connected to) any WiFi signal/network. This hyper-local technology provides solutions for a diverse array of use cases. The following examples illustrate a few contexts in which People Around Me can be used:

1)   Educational Response System: In university lecture classes, professors ask questions to measure students’ grasp of the material. Rather than relying upon an unspecific “show of hands” or expensive audience response hardware (e.g., iClicker), professors use People Around Me to direct polls or brainstorms just to students in the lecture hall. Professors will have the capability to prepare several questions before class and stage them throughout the lecture period.

2)   Targeted Opinion Polling: Users can use People Around Me when they need to collect information from a targeted group of people. For example, if you are on a plane to New York City, it is likely that a significant number of your fellow passengers are from NYC and familiar with the area. Thus, if you are wondering where to grab dinner when you arrive, you can post a brainstorm just for the passengers of your flight to provide suggestions. Similarly, if you are at a tech conference such as the recent Apple WWDC, you can target a poll or brainstorm toward only the tech experts and enthusiasts in attendance.

3)   Raffles and Contests: Many events include raffles and contests as a way to distribute fun prizes and promotional items to attendees. Yopine’s People Around Me function serves as a means to fairly and simply administer these contests and raffles. A brainstorm can be shared via People Around Me with event attendees only, with each response representing one’s entry into the raffle. This method also guarantees that external parties are unable to enter the contest remotely. Event organizers can “kill two birds with one stone” by taking advantage of the brainstorm raffle format to collect feedback from the event. A raffle brainstorm that asks, “How would you improve this event for next year?” uses the prize to incentivize participants to contribute ideas.

4)   Social interaction: People Around Me also contributes greatly to the user’s social experience on Yopine. A user at a bar could ask, “What’s the best cocktail to order here?” and view responses from the other people at the bar. If the user is interested in pursuing a conversation with responders, he can easily find them in the vicinity. In future versions of Yopine he will also be able to start a personal conversation with other users within the Yopine app, by dragging his avatar over to the avatar of another user on the screen.  

Yopine v2.1 is live! What's New

By Janie Willner, Marketing and Social Media Manager

 

Yopine 2.1 is now up and running, with several important updates: 

1) People Around Me: Yopine is now fully hyperlocal and proximally aware across iOS and Android.  This means that users can poll or brainstorm exclusively the people around them.  Yopine uses patented technology from The Wireless Registry to enable polling of a room, building, store, conference, trade show, festival, arena, stadium or even a neighborhood. 

2) Invite Friends: Users are now presented the opportunity to invite friends to Yopine (through Facebook, Twitter, email, text, or link) upon logging in for the first time and after every 10 bits of content they create. Users can also always invite friends from the Settings menu, or from the 'gear' icon in the upper right corner of the Explore page. This will facilitate the growth of the number of Yopine users in a way that benefits the individual user's social experience. 

3) #Hashtag search: Now hashtags can be added to content to indicate the subject of the poll or brainstorm. Much like Twitter and Instagram, these hashtags enable users to search content by category and to be aware of trending topics. Hashtags can be added to a poll or brainstorm at the time of creation, and can be searched by tapping the 'gear' icon on the Explore page. 

4) User search: Now we can search for individual Yopine users and view the public content they've created, by tapping the 'gear' icon on the Explore page. Soon users will have the ability to "follow" one another, allowing for a more customized content feed and enhancing the social experience of Yopine. 

5) Comment deletion/report: Comments on polls or brainstorms are easily deleted by the author of the comment, by swiping left on the comment. Others can use the same method to report questionable comments to Yopine. This grants the user more control over the content of his or her own interaction with others. 


Yopine Polling & Brainstorming for iPhone & Android - Version 2.0

Version 2.0 launched March 25, 2014 with the following:

  • Images & Photos - Web, Camera, Gallery - Add images for each poll option or a background 'theme' image for Brainstorms and Polls.
     

  • Swipe left to see additional Poll option images.
     

  • 'Near Me' Polling & Brainstorming - Yopine is hyper local...you can answer questions and chime in on Polls & Brainstorms created by people in your immediate vicinity.
     

  • Swipe left to delete your content in 'My Questions'.
     

  • 'Close Poll' via the gear on-screen to end your Brainstorms & Polls.
     

  • Long tap anywhere on any Brainstorm or Poll to share to Facebook, Twitter, Email or via Link.
     

  • All new user interface (UI) and user experience (UX)

Yopine Opines: Blackboard, ask.fm, & Crazy Rich Guys

Maryann Chan - Yopine

Introducing xpLor, Blackboard’s Newest Platform

Blackboard Inc. is an international enterprise technology company and leader in education technology (ed tech), headquartered in Washington D.C. Lately, it has felt growing pressure to keep up with new, innovative competitors like Instructure which is quickly gaining ground in the domain of educational software. A few weeks ago, Blackboard Inc. announced the release of their newest content platform, xpLor. Following suit with the movement toward cloud computing, xpLor allows for content creating and sharing like no other tool for learning management systems (LMS). The platform brings with it the ease of searching for, subscribing to, and following content. Moreover and most importantly, it places tools in the hands of educators to be more effective in teaching our youth.

A few weeks ago, we described the benefits of Yopine in academia. There are many opportunities for Yopine*edu whether they be in-class polling and opinion gathering, course evaluations, or rating content through xpLor. As educational enterprises are going through so many transformations, integration with learning management systems will be a key business initiative for Yopine.

 

Ask.fm: Curiosity that Killed the Kids?

Successful Latvian startup ask.fm has been facing criticism about its contribution to cyber-bullying. While startups often have troubles with issues such as sufficient funding or lack of customers, ask.fm has been experiencing an overwhelming amount of misuse of the website and mobile app. Since its predominantly young users can respond to questions anonymously, many askers have received offensive and explicit answers. Some people are even focusing on obtaining scandalous submissions. One ask.fm account, Hudson Confessions, has stirred up quite a commotion in a Hudson, Ohio high school. Unknown moderators share the posts sent in by anonymous students on Twitter. Although students have been advised to refrain from reading the tweets that include insults, gossip, and secrets, the amount of continued activity is telling of the site’s dangerously addictive nature. Some reports have even charged ask.fm of contributing to acts of suicide.

The tragic news is, unfortunately, not surprising as I browse other Q&A platforms. Instead of looking for answers and advice, there is a large amount of “rate me”, “smash or pass”, and statements with question marks attached to the end. Shallow questions often lead to shallow responses and can take over any opinion-gathering app or website. Moreover, commenting capabilities contain, more often than not, sexual content and hurtful opinions, which can be particularly damaging to young users. The rise of the Internet and advancements in technology have created several conveniences in our lives, including hiding behind masks of anonymity. Even with censors and banned words, it is easy to get around the parameters. With photo capabilities coming to Yopine, we understand the need for posts to be monitored so that they do not compromise the integrity of the app. It will be an interesting challenge to stay on track of not becoming a “hot or not” app when the photo features of so many polling apps are being abused.

 

A Plebian’s Take on Apps for the 1%

TechCrunch recently released a list of “Apps for the 1%” which featured apps that only the wealthy would find use for in their lives. At first I was relieved that they, at least, had more purpose than the I Am Rich app that (also known as the I Am A Pompous Jerk app), but most of them are still a little too pretentious for me. I have the same feelings about this list as I do with shopping filters that let you arrange search results by price, highest to lowest: Why?

Tiffany & Co. Engagement Ring Finder and Sotheby’s Catalogue
Do you really need an app to make a once (or twice or maybe even thrice) in a lifetime purchase? Similarly, how often does a house need to be redecorated and filled with expensive artwork?

Onefinestay
This app allows spontaneous rich people to stay in other rich people’s houses while they are gone from home (probably at some other rich person’s house). I would question how this service is sustainable when theft, security, and maintenance and replenishment of a household are taken into consideration.

VIP Black
This is a $1000 app that provides discounts and offers into VIP areas. If you can spend $1000 on an app, are you really concerned about discounts?

Okay, it’s really not up to me to say that there’s not some rich guy that makes multiple proposals, shops for artwork as often as the 99% shop for shoes, and needs to save a buck for every hundred spent. Maybe I just can’t relate to the needs of that fraction of society. I can only hope that the people who use these apps aren’t like this kid .

A Sneak Peek at Yopine’s Upcoming Features

Maryann Chan - Yopine

After releasing v1.0, Yopine has received much praise for its design, usability, and universality, among other things, but the Yopine team is always looking to improve the product. Be sure to check out these new features in the near future:

Photos

Photo capabilities will allow you to take a picture, choose from your existing gallery, or find one from the web to accompany your poll or brainstorm. The new version will also include photo-filtering options for you to transform your pictures. Not sure which dress you should wear to that wedding this weekend or which tie is more appropriate for your upcoming presentation? Snap a quick picture, add a cool filter, and send it to your friends or the Yopine community to help you decide!

Groups

groups2.png

Sometimes you need to gather a lot of input without simply asking the public, but sending similar polls to the same groups of people can be tedious. Yopine is intended to be a quick and fun way to gather opinions, so you can look forward to grouping capabilities in the next versions. You can plan the next reunion by calling a poll to your “Family” group and get ideas about next semester’s classes or work advice from your “PSYC101” or “Coworkers” groups by calling a brainstorm. Now you can easily communicate with the same groups of frequently contacted people at once without having to individually select them from a lengthy list. Along the same lines, the current contact selection process will be redesigned.

Social Media Integration

By allowing users to integrate with popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, getting ideas from your online friends becomes even easier! This creates an outlet of interaction outside of your phone’s contacts list. Post questions directly from the app to your newsfeeds for your friends and followers to participate in. 

social integration.png

Comments

comment.png

Have something on your mind you want to share about the poll, the brainstorm, or others’ responses? The commenting feature will let you give input in more ways that one.

Yopine Opines: Polling Apps, App Store Top 10, & Graph Search

Maryann Chan - Yopine

The Best of 5 Worlds

The LA Times recently put out a list of “feedback” apps to look to help with decision-making. In our opinion, Yopine would become an excellent addition to the group as it matures.

While some apps offer the classic “hot or not” or the option to rate, Yopine does not. Many of these apps depend on the use of images as an integral aspect of the user experience. And even though Yopine foresees photo capabilities in upcoming versions, not every social media tool should rely on pretty pictures. Yopine exists to generate meaningful data that result in real world decisions and actions.

In addition to garnering feedback from the general public, the app also enables yopiners to use it hyper-locally by gauging the opinions their personal circle of friends for more influential opinions. Yopine’s best feature is, perhaps, its universality in regard to its responders. Although some apps can share polls via their websites, some decisions need to be made quickly, effortlessly, and while on the go. With Yopine, users can send out polls and brainstorms to close networks regardless of whether or not those contacts have the app and regardless of their smartphone operating system, a downfall and inconvenience of many other feedback apps.

Quantity over Quality?

A new phone or just plain boredom commonly lead iPhone users to browse the Apple App Store for the next addictive, fun, or useful app. And because of the frequency of visits, it’s a pretty big deal for app companies and developers to grab a spot as a top downloaded app. Even being in the top 50 is a pretty significant bone to catch, but getting there is no easy task.

TechCrunch rounded up all the top apps in May 2013 and gave us the run down. To reach the top 10 free positions, apps had to see over 70,000 downloads and $47,000 revenue per day. Top 50 free apps saw figures around 20,000 and $10,000, respectively.

But how do these ranks affect the overall app marketplace? The discovery and use of new apps becomes more difficult as the most popular ones are easily presented to and trusted by users. Moreover, the focus on the number of downloads may encourage developers to work towards that instead of consistent app growth. What is an app if it is downloaded by millions and then deleted later on while its better-conceptualized competitors struggle to gain visibility in the app store?

Big Brother’s Graph Search

On July 8, 2013, Facebook went public with its newest innovation, Graph Search. To put it simply, Graph Search is to Facebook as Google is to the World Wide Web. With the feature, users can type queries into the site’s search bar and find very specific ways to filter through Facebook users and their actions. The difference, according to Mark Zuckerberg, is that Google and other search engines  suggest  sources from which to look for answers whereas Graph Search  provides  answers. Despite these fairly respectable motives, Facebook users have been more interested by the numerous awkward searches that can be made with the feature.

And I can’t say that I’m any different. As far as I can tell, Graph Search serves 2 purposes:

1. For Your Entertainment

There is already a Tumblr dedicated to the best Graph Search ideas, but here are a few more originals:

And yes, they all yield results.

2. The Ultimate Stalking Tool

Facebook was already useful if you ever wanted to check up on anyone, but Graph Search significantly simplifies creeping efforts. Watch out for those crazy girlfriends, gentlemen. Here are a few searches you may want to be careful of:

  • Single females followed by my boyfriend
  • Photos of women that my boyfriend liked
  • Places that my boyfriend and [insert name] have been

While it is true that Graph Search will force users to become more aware of their privacy settings and more cautious of their actions online, there could also be unintended reactions. It may, instead, prompt Facebook users to become more paranoid, more likely to lie, and more hesitant to integrate social media into their lives. Who knows, next we might see features that reveal who has been on your page and for how long or a tool that allows you to search for your name among comments and private messages. But that will probably be advertised as a useful marketing tool for businesses.

Yopine*edu: ed-Tech - Yopine in Academia and Beyond

by Maryann Chan - Yopine

When users turn to Yopine, they can choose from categories such as meeting, food, fun, and shopping, among other things to help them make quick decisions. It allows for opinion gathering on all aspects of the everyday life. Yopine caters much to its users’ social life, but it is also a useful tool in other areas. TechCocktail named 2013 the Year of the Open Educational Resource (OER)  after 2012’s Year of the Mass Open Online Course (MOOC). As students look for free materials and cost efficient methods to assist with the stress and burdening costs of higher education, Yopine will enter into academia as one of these resources.

Screen shot 2013-07-09 at 12.34.59 PM.png

Dr. Christopher Harrison, Assistant Professor of analytical and bioanalytical chemistry at San Diego State University, often tries to get feedback from his large lectures of often six hundreds + students. He has firsthand experience of the issues that come with a few of the common feedback tools that are currently used in the classroom, and describes how Yopine could be useful in the academic setting.

Where did you hear about Yopine and what would you say was the 'value spark' i.e. its value in your field?

I came across a mention of the app on The Unofficial Apple Weblog’s review of some notable apps from the Disrupt NY 2013 conference. As an educator who uses classroom response systems to get feedback from my students the rapid group polling offered by Yopine sounded like an appealing alternative to the current technologies.

The iClicker is a widely used method of polling students in a large lecture. Where does Yopine come in to change what the iClickers are already doing?  What are you using now?  What specifically is it that has you looking for an improved solution?
Though iClickers and similar products are available and constantly evolving, they have the detriment of being an added item for the students (and often the instructor) to purchase and bring with them to a lecture. I prefer to give my lectures from an iPad for a number of reasons, but to my knowledge the clicker systems all require a local receiver to be plugged into a computer to obtain the results of the polls, something which isn’t feasible when using an iPad.

Currently I have been using Polleverywhere as the system is entirely web-based for the instructor and allows students to respond with their own devices, either cellphones or computers. The one drawback to Polleverywhere that I have encountered is the need to students to enter codes prior to submitting answers to the polls. A system where I could push the polls to the students would advantageous and help speed up the polling process.

It's becoming clear that real-time, live interaction between students and teachers isn't a luxury but, rather, a requirement. We believe that interaction has to be as near frictionless as possible. Would you agree, why?
Getting students to interact with the material as it is being presented, rather than having them wait until they need to do an assignment to see if they have grasped the concepts covered previously in the lecture is a key to aiding the students in mastering the materials. Given the size of some classes, and just the hesitance of some students to open respond to questions in class, a system that delivers the questions right into their hands, where they can answer questions immediately is very beneficial. Given that, the easier it is for a student to participate in the questions/polling the more likely they are to make use of the system. So removing barriers, such as purchasing additional devices, or entering numerous codes, can simplify the interactions greatly.

Question asked...                                                                                                                                Question answered.

Can you think of any other ways, outside of the classroom, that you see Yopine being used for academic purposes by students?
Having a tool that enables communication outside of your immediate circle of friends can be very advantageous when looking for opinions or information. Students could potentially use the app to identify worthwhile courses to take for their major, learn about study groups or other student resources. I’m certain that there are plenty of other uses that such a tool could provide.

On the opposite end of the feedback system are folks like Galya Laskar, a senior associate investment banker at GroupArgent and graduate of the Columbia Business School MBA program. She tells us how Yopine could intertwine within the educational environment to allow easier ways for students to learn more interactively and to efficiently navigate through the demands of educational decisions.

 

Where did you first meet the Yopine team? Who pitched it to you?
I first met the Yopine team when I was checking out Startup Alley at TechCrunch in NYC.  Gary and Kevin said something that made me laugh, and we started talking.  They both pitched the company and they were really fun to talk to, so I ended up learning more about Yopine than any other startup there.  I was really impressed by how much they had accomplished in a short time and quickly realized the greater potential of their model.

You have a unique perspective in that you were recently a member of the Columbia MBA program. What pains did you experience in that setting which you could see Yopine being useful?
From an MBA perspective, Yopine can help in a couple of ways.  First and foremost, Yopine is great for making coordination simple.  One of the hardest things at business school – especially early on – is to get everyone on the same page, even if it’s for something as casual as picking a bar to grab drinks.  With hundreds of highly motivated leaders trying to get from point A to Z everyday, there are many instances where a quick Yopine survey can help make group decisions fast and keep the ball rolling.  The second way Yopine can help is through data collection.  The B-school community is a natural incubator for new ideas, creative solutions, and market feedback.  With an app like Yopine, students can source this information with little effort on the part of their “yopiners” and apply the findings to class discussions, presentations, business models, etc.

 

Ed tech and social tech rarely mix successfully. Yopine is, at its heart, socially-oriented. How would you envision that gap bridged?
I think for any sector to realize the full social capacity of Yopine, they need to ask smart questions.  While technically there aren’t any dumb questions there are smart ways to phrase questions whereby meaningful information is uncovered.  People catch on to this and they respond well when they see a real dialogue is happening and their voice is contributing to tangible discourse.  Otherwise, they tend to fall off and lose interest.  Also, every now and again, ask funny questions.  Nothing works better than a sense of humor when it comes to learning.  Yopine is a great way to let people be creative, but still gather data at the end of the day. 

What features in an app like Yopine are critical to adoption (top three)?

  • Ease of adding people to polls / getting started
  • The ability to create group lists that people can share
  • Photos

At More Than Money (MTM) Careers, co-founder Dr. Mrim Boutla focuses on helping to transition change makers from students to working professionals. Having worked with many university partners, she sees Yopine as a tool that would complement current career service resources used by both students and staff.

Tell me about your startup, More Than Money Careers.
More Than Money Careers, is a certified Benefit Corporation, that leverages e-learning and app technology to help college graduates and working professionals get clear, get connected, and get hired for internships and jobs that maximize impact and income.

We have been partnering with 31 universities (e.g. Harvard Kennedy, Ross/Michigan, Kenan-Flagler/UNC) to transform how their students and graduates translate their education into impact jobs.

Working professionals can also leverage our process and resources via our pay-per-view library of online impact coaching modules.

What is the ed tech link between Yopine and MTM Careers and UMD?
Most of our university partners have great curricular and experiential learning opportunities for their students to become highly competitive for impact internships and jobs. However, few students are aware of these opportunities because they are unclear about what internships and jobs are a better fit for them. MTM Careers will leverage Yopine to strengthen partnerships between students and their universities by enabling students and staff/faculty/peer students to interact and share resources and best practices related to impact career paths using the Yopine app. 

Essentially Yopine will help: 

  • Students get the information they need faster. 
  • Staff and faculty save time by addressing a question online once instead of having to repeat themselves multiple times when several students come to them with the same question. 

Can you narrate an actual MTMC/Yopine scenario?
Neil, a 1st year MBA student is interested in using his finance major to perform valuations and due diligence for impact investing deals.  He is unsure what courses and experiential learning opportunities are available at UMD to best prepare to compete for impact investing internships in the DC area. During MTMCareers Workshop #1, Neil posts the following question as a brainstorm for the SmithMBA group: How can I learn social ROI (SROI) Valuation methods at Smith and beyond?

Answers that Neil will receive from the Smith MBA Group:

Other students that have a similar questions can see these answers so that they get ideas about what to do next, given their career interests. During the second workshop, Neil can set up a poll based on the brainstorm answers above: "If I can only learn one, which one should I learn first?"

GIIRS or IRIS
The group (staff, faculty, alumni) will then vote between these two to help Neil focus his efforts better.

What about the data end -- would MTMC be interested in reports on the data gathered from your clients' usage of Yopine? Can you describe such a report?
MTMC would like to send each client the following report in a spreadsheet:

  • Question typed by group
  • Answers gathered by question
  • Polls inputted by group
  • Poll results (# of votes, and top result) per poll

Being able to remove all questions and polls per group after each semester would also be helpful.

 

DC Tech Incubator 1776: From the Inside Out

by Maryann Chan - Yopine

1776 DC opened its doors to tech entrepreneurs in early February 2013. Referencing a notable year in American history—the signing of the Declaration of Independence during the American Revolution—the name of the District’s new epicenter for start-up founders speaks to the, dare we say, revolutionizing projects that will be going on within its walls. But 1776 is not just shared workspace. Co-founders Evan Burfield and Donna Harris have created an accelerator program for start-ups to benefit from access to mentors, industry professionals, other start-ups, and assets that are unique to the nation’s capital. 

To get an idea of how the incubator is progressing, we spoke with co-founder Donna Harris and a few start-up founders to hear about the experiences at 1776 from some insiders. Harris, former managing director at Startup America, starts us off:

What are the first 5 things that go into a startup for startups?
Everything we do is aligned around building value for the members – things that will help them grow.  1776 is not about real estate (aka, cheap desk, no lease).  While we do provide that as one of the benefits of membership, it’s much more about the community, the content and the connections we make.  So I’d say 1 through 5 are:

  1. Connections - having the right people willing to step up and help our members
  2. Content - excellent programming so we are helping our members grow every day
  3. Community - a sense of belonging/ability to get help from high caliber peer start-ups
  4. Atmosphere - creating an expectation that if you’re a member at 1776, you’re working aggressively on growing your company, but you’re also having a heck of a lot of fun doing it
  5. Team - we would not be able to do what we’re doing for our members without an incredible team at 1776

How do you determine who makes it onto the campus?
Every potential member must fill out an application.  We do a detailed review on all applications and select those companies that have the potential to become highly scalable businesses.

How big---member-wise---do you see 1776 becoming?
We have room to expand into up to 60,000 square feet of space, so we would see anywhere north of 250 companies.

Are there any big projects or endeavors that you hope or plan to see 1776 taking on in the next few years?
Many!  Make sure to follow us (@1776dc) and signup for the newsletter on our site (www.1776dc.com) to stay in touch!

Do you see 1776 establishing a fund and getting into venture capital?
Yes.

Does a startup for startups have an exit strategy?
No comment.  :-)

Next, we sat down with Josh Hurd, founder of NonprofitMetrics, to hear about his experiences as a startup. He founded his company as a solution to simplify data when his friends and colleagues complained about the cumbersome nature of looking through nonprofit information. As a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Chicago, former management consultant for Deloitte, and self-taught coder, Hurd shares his experiences with NonprofitMetrics at 1776 with us.

Tell me about NonprofitMetrics.
NonprofitMetrics provides business intelligence on the nonprofit sector. We help consultants, bankers, and small businesses find new nonprofit customers, make better decisions about their existing nonprofit customers, and better understand the overall nonprofit sector. For example, a web design firm is using NonprofitMetrics to strategically identify potential new customers. Similarly, a local bank is using NonprofitMetrics to help make better decisions about the loans they provide their nonprofit customers. We do this by providing detailed financial information on over 1.2M nonprofit organizations and easy-to-use tools that make this information accessible and useful.

How did you find out about 1776 and become a member of its campus?
I found out about 1776 through a mentor at Microsoft who helps NonprofitMetrics with engineering technical services and general support. He told me about 1776 back in March and said it would be a good fit considering where I was in the development of NonprofitMetrics. I ended up visiting 1776 for a couple events, talked with some folk who already work at 1776, and decided that it would be a good fit. In early April I applied, got in, and have been working here ever since.

How has 1776 fostered progress for your business?
The biggest way 1776 has helped NonprofitMetrics is through the community that exists here. I work around other startups who are in a similar situation as NonprofitMetrics, or who have already progressed and surmounted the hurdles we are currently facing and gone on to succeed. Everybody here is more than willing to grab coffee or beers and share insights on customers, provide technical expertise, or just provide an outside point of view. We help each other succeed. Colleagues here at 1776 have also put me in touch with potential customers. There are also formal mentorship opportunities at 1776, where experienced startup founders, technical experts, marketing gurus, investors, lawyers, and others come in and make themselves available through office hours and evening event. They share an incredible amount that’s incredibly insightful in developing NonprofitMetrics. For example, I had a great conversation last week with a user experience expert at LivingSocial. He took a good look at the NonprofitMetrics app and provided great recommendations on ways to improve the navigation and user experience, which I’m working to implement now.

What's it like sharing space with so many other startups? Are there advantages or disadvantages?
I just mentioned many of the advantages—there’s very much a great community where we help each other out, working to advance each other and gaining access to our collective network. As far as disadvantages go, sometimes it’s difficult to go into “heads-down” mode and get a lot of work done. It can fairly noisy with events going on, and with friends and colleagues around there’s always people you want to talk to them. It’s somewhat like a college library -- you get distracted. That’s why sometimes if I want to achieve a specific goal for the day I’ll just work from home or a coffee shop.

 

We also chatted with another startup founder Ron Cade to get his take on the 1776. The idea for his mobile app first surfaced when a broken printer required Cade to make a trip to FedEx in order to turn in a law school paper. He imagined how helpful it would be if someone could have done the task and delivered it for him. Enter, Urban Delivery.

Things Urban Delivery does NOT deliver:  anything illegal and babies... 

Tell me about Urban Delivery.
Urban Delivery is a next-generation platform for getting things you want delivered. In the past you could get some things delivered like pizza, packages, or cable, but you couldn’t get everything delivered. Urban Delivery: You can get anything you want, brought to you, in and out. We’ve got a fleet of couriers who are equipped with pre-paid credit cards. They go to any store in the city, buy it, and bring it to you. They’re cashless payments, and you can track them on the app so that you know exactly where they’re at. You can get your free time back.

There is such a range of different businesses here. What have you gained from 1776 that is unique to a business like Urban Delivery?
We The entrepreneurs here have really amazing products. The network and resources are awesome. We have office hours with some of the best in the industry, Drink and Learns, and mentorships. The facility in which we work is great, and the collegiality of the environment is great too.

What's the best advice you've received during office hours?  With whom have you conducted office hours?
I have gotten a lot of insight about the more intricate parts of running a business like best practices, things that other companies did, or psychological behavior in terms of consumers. They are really valuable in terms of providing perspective or if you had a specific question about something.

Would you be interested in assuming the mentor role to new startups in the future?
Well I’m definitely not the person who needs to be mentoring anybody right now. Urban Delivery is still a new startup and we have a ton of learning to do. But, yeah! One day....

 

With expert experience in retail and merchandising and a passion for DIY and beautifully designed items, Sonali Bloom tells us how 1776 has helped her company, Curio Road. She shares her thoughts about the events, services, and decor at the campus. 

Tell me about Curio Road.
Curio Road is an e-commerce platform focused on the discovery of unique, handmade jewelry, accessories, and lifestyle products for creative women. We curate the best of the emerging design ecosystem in the USA, and help our small-scale brand partners grow their businesses by connecting them to an audience that feels as passionately about their enterprises as we do. We aspire to be the best one-stop-shop for eclectic, one-of-a-kind gifts, fashion, and wedding products.

What drew you to 1776? What prompted you to apply and accept?
I'd had my eye on 1776 ever since I heard it was launching! I was very excited about the idea of a co-working space with such great resources - access to key mentors and industry leaders, and the potential to receive advice on many fronts. Being a part of a community of startups focused on scalability was very important to us, and we've benefitted greatly from participating in 1776 startup events.

Many of the companies here are product-oriented. Who have you been able to work with and what advice have you gotten at 1776 for your retail business?
We've had some great opportunities to partner with other startups, including SNOBSWAB and ZuriWorks. SNOBSWAP graciously invited us to be part of their Swap in the City event and run a Curio Road pop-up shop, which was very successful. ZuriWorks is partnering with us to run a fundraiser that is product-driven and will hopefully bring attention to both of our organizations. Donna Harris has been immensely helpful, both in promoting Curio Road and supporting our business herself and in providing us with incredible advice and insight, and access to key industry contacts. 

What is your level of participation in 1776 events? Are you the kind of member that enjoys office hours, drink 'n learns, roundtables, or all of the above?
I absolutely enjoy the office hours - and have been taking advantage of them, for sure! - drink 'n learns, and roundtables. I've had the opportunity to participate in roundtable discussions with Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, and Congressmen Jared Polis and Darrel Issa - what a fantastic chance to share Curio Road with these leaders! I have also found that the 1776 affiliates who run office hours and drink 'n learns have amazing insights to share - I almost feel like I'm back in school, learning about things that continuously open my mind. 

You and Curio Road are into curated, beautiful products and things. How much do you appreciate the aesthetic of the campus decor?
It's fantastic. Maggie O'Neill did a beautiful job with the space - it feels unique and eclectic, and vintage-inspired, and yet modern enough to support the bourgeoning startup community. It's a great space to work on a day-to-day basis. My desk sits right in front of the circle of 13 stars (part of the American flag made of doors), so I feel like the president every day! Being in a brightly lit, airy, inspiring workspace makes it possible to work long hours and still feel inspired at the end of the night.