These days there are no shortage of App Stores. iTunes, Android, Blackberry, Palm, OneForty, Boxee and there are many more still and many more coming.
My favorite app store model is the open one like Android and Boxee. You can install an app from their app store or from the open web.
Having said that, the app store model provides important value. For the users, the app store provides aggregation, search and reviews. For developers, the app store provides distribution and economics.
The key requirement for a successful app store is a vibrant developer community.
The best thing about Facebook’s platform for third party apps is that they are great for users and developers can make a real business from the platform. Good for users + economics for developers is great for Facebook.
I was in a cab with Fred and Andrew last week. We were talking about how some apps can generate huge velocity on Facebook. Fred mentioned the three things on Facebook, newsfeed, requests and inbox tied with the social graph, are the keys to that distribution network.
That is absolutely correct and other App Stores can learn a lot from this.
Imagine if you checked into iTunes and saw a your friends or folks you follow in a newsfeed or timeline:
Mo Koyfman just downloaded Tweetie2
Brad Feld just purchased MLB.com
Lauren Sabet likes Word Wrap
And with a single click you could install or buy that app.
It’s a simple example but those viral functions don’t really exist on any other app store that I’ve seen. But I suspect they will shortly.
I’ve been using the new Twitter List functionality over the past month and I’m already addicted. I’ve created a few lists for my benefit including some super close friends which I made private and a bunch of other lists that are public. It’s a simple way to filter my stream.
Now that more users have access to Twitter List, I took some time and created a new one called bijanisfollowing. This is a list of everyone I follow on Twitter.
I guess it’s my very own Suggested User List.
I love getting tweets from the folks on that list. Check it out and if you like what you see you can follow all of those people with a single click.
I’m still going to give the Droid a test run but I was hoping the keyboard was going to rock.
Yesterday I attended Jeff Pulver’s 140conf in Los Angeles.
(btw that’s me, ron conway and howard lindzon)
I ran into a bunch of friends and familiar faces. It was also plenty of fun meeting a number of new entrepreneurs.
Frankly, I didn’t know what to expect from the conference. But I have to say, I was really impressed. Jeff Pulver has organized a fantastic event and I’m really glad I was able to participate and attend many of the sessions yesterday.
The coolest thing about the sessions was the range of topics and ideas about the real time web, Twitter and where media is going.
To give you an idea of the diversity of topics, the speakers covered everything from venture capital, television, news, music , law enforcement, public diplomacy and mom communities. And that was just Day 1. Day 2 is today.
But the most powerful session yesterday was led by Mark Hovarth. Mark talked about his experience being homeless and his tireless work as an advocate for the homeless. He shared intimate photos and stories about specific individuals that were beyond moving. He uses his blog & Twitter to tell the world what is going on.
Mark brought a woman on stage that he met in Chicago that is homeless. She uses Twitter at public libraries and SMS (publish only) to share her experiences about her life (I missed her twitter username so I’ll have to ask Jeff to send it to me). A number of us in the audience gave Mark a standing ovation after his session. And for good reason.
Thanks Jeff for putting on such a great event. Thanks for inviting me. And thanks for your passion.
Update: I just got a tweet from Mark. The woman’s name is Ann and she tweets at @padschicago.
(found these 140conf pix on flickr from george dearing)
The very first time I used a DVR I was hooked. The DVR was more than just a glorified VCR. It was something completely new and refreshing. Beyond season events or one click recording, I could actually pause live tv. Or I could go back 30 seconds. Or I could record a show and then start watching the show 25 minutes later so I could catch up in real time by skipping all of the ads.
The DVR also came at the same time broadband was being deployed. As users we expected to have an always on connection to the web and everything on the web was unicast and on-demand by design. There was no such thing as an appointment web or Must See TV online. And the DVR brought that on-demand, time shifted experience to our big screen.
But it’s interesting to think that as television copied some of the web’s best behaviors, the web went real time. For some television shows, time shifting is far less interesting because we are now plugged into real time information networks like Twitter & Facebook. For example, I used to DVR football games but that’s harder to do nowadays.
The web now also has many more real time activies beyond Twitter & Facebook. Online games aren’t merely turn based but they are social and real time. CNN and others stream live online. MLB streams live. The other other day YouTube streamed the U2 concert live. The Presidential inauguration was steamed live. The list goes on and on.
But the real time web vs the real time broadcast television model in reality couldn’t be any different. The real time web is a two way network. It’s social. It’s a la carte. It’s comes with a permalink. It can be indexed, saved, copied, and blogged. It can be retweeted. It has super distribution built into it’s guts.
This morning Aviary announced a new round of funding from our firm, Spark Capital, along with Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO and existing angels.
Aviary’s mission is to make creation accessible to artists of all genres from graphic design to audio editing. They have built a free, online suite of rich tools.
Here’s a recent review of Aviary from the show G4.
My colleague Mo Koyfman led our investment in the company and wrote up his thoughts on his blog.
I am proud & delighted to be in business with Avi, Michael and the Aviary team. It’s amazing that such a small team could build something this powerful.
If you haven’t already tried, check out Aviary today and start creating.
Our family pays about $50/month for FIOS broadband service. We get 20/5 Mbps. It’s a beautiful thing and is only going to get faster.
We pay about $140/month for television which includes 3 HD DVRs.
What’s wrong with that picture?
Yes, CableTV is almost 3x the price
But there are other big differences.
-Hardware. cabletv has a closed set top box. The internet allows me to plug in any hardware I want.
-Software. cabletv comes with a UI that is broken and old. The internet allows me to use any software and UI I want.
-Content. cabletv has a few channels that we love (live sports and a few network shows and aren’t available online (yet). The web has a ton of content sources that I use all the time. CableTV has 1080p video. The web doesn’t stream 1080p. I’m not sure I care about that anymore.
At the end of the day, if we could only afford one of these things, cabletv or broadband, we would choose broadband all day long. That would be true if they jacked up our broadband price or if they dropped the cabletv price. I have a hunch many consumers would pick the web over cabletv as well.
For now, many of us can afford to pay for both services a month and we do just that. But this quick comparison shows the value proposition isn’t right.
Much has been said about the issues facing publishers and advertisers particularly when it comes to branded advertising.
My head always hurts when I hear people say that at least with television, brands can safely advertise their brands.
Yes, television has been a success story when it comes to branded advertising. The dollars are big. Forget big, they are enormous.
But I’m convinced that it’s a fragile business. First, it’s not growing. And our attention is shifting. Even if Nielsen says we are all watching 25 hours of TV per day we know it’s not true in our hearts and our brains. The second the TV commercial comes on we whip out our mobile phone or we turn our eyes to our laptops. Or we just click thru the ads on our DVRs.
Yet online branded advertising has real challenges. The current search business doesn’t deliver branded advertising. The classic banner ad if targeted works well for many things — except branding.
To make display advertising ads friendlier to brands, new formats are being introduced like this super sized banner ad I saw on Alley Insider today.
To give you an idea how big that Mercedes ad, that photo is my 15” MacBook Pro which has a 1440x900 display!
I’m not sure this format is the best for publishers, advertisers and consumers. I have a feeling it’s not.
But I am optimistic that there will be more compelling solutions for branded advertising. I’ve seen a number of creative ideas & technologies over the past few months and I’m sure we’ll see others too.