Google, Facebook, and Twitter invite Ahmed Mohamed in show of support

ahmed_mohamed

Tech companies are throwing their support behind Ahmed Mohamed, a U.S. student arrested on Monday for bringing a clock to school. The public relations frenzy blew up today as the details of the incident went viral.

Ahmed, a 14-year-old student in Texas, built a digital clock and brought it to his high school. He wanted to show his teacher, but instead of a compliment and praise, he was arrested. The school called the police, having mistaken the gadget for a fake bomb.

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was the first to show his support. He invited Ahmed to visit the company’s headquarters:


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Google was next in line, asking Ahmed to visits the company’s science fair this weekend. Timely message, although delivered on Twitter, not Google+:

Speaking of Twitter, the company probably made the best offer of the three so far. Ahmed was offered an internship:

The three tech giants weren’t the only ones to jump on the bandwagon.

Box CEO Aaron Levie think Ahmed is much more interested in enterprise software:

Autodesk CEO Carl Bass wants to build something with Ahmed too:

Ahmed’s story has resulted in a massive outpouring of outrage, praise, and sympathy. More and more people want to support the ninth grader, who was handcuffed, led out of his school, put on a three-day suspension, and interrogated by five police officers as to why he was trying to make a bomb. He was not charged.

Support is pouring out from everywhere you look.

Barack Obama, the president of the United States, wants Ahmed to visit the White House:

Hillary Clinton wants Ahmed to keep at it:

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield wants Ahmed to check out his science show in Toronto:

At what point does this PR frenzy turn into something more than just support for one boy? Ahmed did not deserve the way he was treated, but tech companies should use this as an opportunity to do more than simply extend invitations to Ahmed.

Maybe September 14, the day of Ahmed’s arrest, can be turned into an annual day of action to help students and people in general who are treated unfairly.

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Twitter And Square Partner To Create Another Way To Throw Money At Political Candidates

Bernie Sanders Donating money to a political candidate is now as simple as firing a 140-character joke about Donald Trump’s hair. Twitter on Tuesday announced it would partner with payments service Square to allow its users to donate to political candidates via tweets. Political candidates sign up for accounts through Square Cash, and then their campaigns can tweet a $Cashtag to request donations… Read More

Twitter taps Square to let U.S. voters donate cash to political candidates through a tweet

Twitter Donations

With the U.S. presidential elections a little more than a year away, Twitter has introduced a new way for candidates to solicit donations through a simple tweet.

Twitter: Donations

Above: Twitter: Donations

Partnering with Square for the initiative, Twitter is pitching this tool as the “fastest, easiest way to make an online donation, and the most effective way for campaigns to execute tailored digital fundraising.”

To enable the feature, candidates sign-up for a Square Cash account, and once Square has “verified” the campaign, the Twitter account holder (i.e. the candidate or representative) can then tweet a URL, or “$Cashtag,” to ask for donations.

When a supporter sees the message, they can then hit the “contribute” button and choose how much and through which payment card they would like to pay.

 


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Twitter taps Square to let U.S. voters donate cash to political candidates through a tweet

Twitter Donations

With the U.S. presidential elections a little more than a year away, Twitter has introduced a new way for candidates to solicit donations through a simple tweet.

Twitter: Donations

Above: Twitter: Donations

Partnering with Square for the initiative, Twitter is pitching this tool as the “fastest, easiest way to make an online donation, and the most effective way for campaigns to execute tailored digital fundraising.”

To enable the feature, candidates sign-up for a Square Cash account, and once Square has “verified” the campaign, the Twitter account holder (i.e. the candidate or representative) can then tweet a URL, or “$Cashtag,” to ask for donations.

When a supporter sees the message, they can then hit the “contribute” button and choose how much and through which payment card they would like to pay.

 


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Twitter for Web is down: ‘Something is Technically Wrong’

Twitter fail

It appears that Twitter is experiencing some technical difficulties.

The outage only seems to be affecting its web client. Its mobile app and TweetDeck app appear to be working.

So far the site has been down for approximately 10 minutes.

We’ll be live-tweeting updates Check back here for updates.


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You’ve Only Got One Shot At Building A Consumer Unicorn

unicorn-money Imagine if the founder of a very successful consumer technology company knocked on your door and offered to get you in on the ground floor of their new enterprise. Almost any VC would jump at the chance, as would most engineers and designers. But I wonder if they’re most often making a mistake? I can point to a number of founders who have had repeat success in B2B markets. Read More

The Nest Is Being Robbed

2495538130_9f01ab1a01_b Another day, another Tweetstorm by Chris Sacca about Twitter’s CEO situation. His tune is the same, with the volume turned up ever so slightly. Most importantly, the signal he’s sending out is very similar to an S.O.S. Since July 1st, Twitter’s interim CEO has been Jack Dorsey, and the chatter around who would be the next permanent CEO, succeeding Dick Costolo, has been nonstop. Read More

Twitter now lets 68M people in Indonesia buy data, minutes, and SMS packages via DM

Buying Indosat smartphone packages through Twitter DMs

Twitter announced a new partnership Monday that allows the 68 million subscribers of Indosat, one of Indonesia’s largest carriers, to top-up their phones through its direct messaging (DM) feature.

The company lifted the 140-character DM limit in June, seemingly paving the way for new business opportunities like this one.

Indonesia is known to be an emerging market that the microblogging platform has its eyes on. Last week, Twitter’s managing director for Southeast Asia, India, North Africa, and the Middle East, told The Wall Street Journal that the country of 250 million is “the next phase of our growth.”


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Meanwhile, Prashant Gokarn, Indosat’s chief of digital, said in a statement that the carrier is the first in Asia-Pacific to ink such a deal with Twitter. But a Twitter spokesperson was unable to immediately comment on where else such partnerships have been done. (i.e. Twitter isn’t claiming this as a “world-first.”)

“We’re excited to partner with Twitter… Indosat subscribers spend a lot of time on Twitter, one of the largest social media platforms in Indonesia, and they can now easily purchase our packages with a direct message,” he said. That includes data, voice, and SMS.

To take advantage of the new service, users will have to follow Indosat’s Twitter account, send a DM using the hashtag #TwitBuy, and then follow the authentication instructions that are sent back.

Twitter opened an Indonesia office in March, and just welcomed its new head of business for the country on Tuesday — that man, Roy Simangunsong, called Twitter the “social soundtrack to daily life in Indonesia.”

For now, an obvious bottleneck around the whole idea seems to be that users who are out of data and also away from Wi-Fi will need to resort to more traditional methods of topping up (i.e. by running a USSD code from the dial pad). In the end, they may just find the Twitter route more trouble than it’s worth. And we are all creatures of habit.

But if they’re at their desktop or laptop, for example, the convenience of Twitter is something that I could see as actually having more real-world use than a data-dry smartphone. It’s not immediately clear whether the platform will take a cut on packages bought through DMs.

“As Indonesia is one of the largest mobile and social media markets in the world, we are thrilled to partner with Indosat to use our social media platform to enhance their subscriber service and increase customer engagement,” said Arvinder Gujral, Twitter’s director of business development in Asia-Pacific.

“Twitter is an integral part of Indonesian society today, and #TwitBuy is another innovation to make our users’ lives easier and more convenient, while enjoying Indosat’s leading telecom services in Indonesia,” he added.

In any case, whether or not it ends up being a method adopted by more than a very niche user base, it certainly makes for an interesting case study in one of Twitter’s most important emerging markets.

Indosat #Twitbuy Process

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Twitter updates its iOS app for a ‘more unified’ experience across iPhone and iPad

image_1_3

Twitter said today that it’s intent on delivering a “more unified” experience across iOS devices, admitting that the experience of using the microblogging platform is still “very different” on iPhone and iPad.

The update comes the day before Apple’s big event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco Wednesday, where it’s expected to announce new iPhones, iPad Pros, Apple Watches, a revamped Apple TV, and a new home automation platform called HomeKit.

“Now, Twitter apps on these devices will be more consistent regardless of which one you’re using,” the company said in a blog posting. “Starting today, iPad users will be able to create and see revamped quote Tweets, explore trending topics in search, visit product and place pages, and more.”

The company has taken some flack for what some in the industry perceive as a slowness to change, and lack of innovation in key areas of its business as other services push ahead — though not everyone agrees.


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Twitter also shuffled its product team at the start of the month, after dropping back down to its 2013 IPO price on August 20. And on top of that the company is still looking for a new chief executive.

“Although they shared some code, Twitter for iPad and Twitter for iPhone were originally developed and designed separately,” the company said. “Each app was tailored to its platform — but required a lot of extra effort to develop. All too often, this meant that Twitter for iPad features lagged behind other updates. To fix this, we had to rethink our approach.”

It’s calling this new, responsive design framework “adaptive UI,” and it’s something that app developers have really been able to take advantage of since Apple rolled out more flexible size classes for apps in iOS 8.

While it won’t be of interest to the average user, the blog posting dives a bit deeper into some of the changes:

We think of it as a pyramid: most things simply respond automatically, like content width responding to text size changes; some things need to be modified like the Profile header, which would take up half the screen on a large device if we didn’t modify the layout; only a few things need to be rethought, like Direct Messages, where the list of conversations can sit side-by-side with the conversations when you have a wide enough screen.

Along with Apple’s new slew of devices, there will also be more light shed on iOS 9, the next major update to its mobile operating system. Twitter specifically touches on the update, which allows for multi-tasking (two apps running side by side), and how its new design framework will be better able to take advantage of such functionality.

Getting design and responsiveness nailed down is important to the user experience, but Twitter also knows it has to become more profitable as a business to please Wall Street. To that end, it expanded its self-service ads platform to more than 200 countries at the start of the month.

“Ultimately, it’s no longer Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for iPad: it’s Twitter for iOS,” the company concluded, “and it will now be optimized for different contexts. That’s a freedom which helps us to make Twitter the best experience it can be for everyone, regardless of device.”

This is a good (and overdue update) to the iOS app, but it’s only just the beginning. Twitter still has a lot of work to do across its business on a whole range of fronts this year and next — and it knows it.

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$1B in ad spend and 2.1B installs: How Singular helps Supercell, Kabam, Twitter

financial apps

The mobile enablers space is converging rapidly.

Localytics does analytics, sure, but also mobile marketing automation. Tune is known for attribution and owns a mobile ad network, but just added marketing. Tapjoy is an ad network, a mobile user acquisition specialist, does app marketing automation, and more.

Part of the reason?

People don’t want multiple SDKs in their apps, slowing them down.

But some consolidators don’t need their SDKs in your app. One of those is Singular, which bills itself as a unified mobile marketing platform. The goal: combine all the data you need to see from analytics, ad networks, demand-side platforms, business intelligence platforms, Facebook marketing partners, and attribution partners … and then make smart decisions about marketing your app.

Singular's mobile marketing dashboard

Above: Singular’s mobile marketing dashboard

In other words, it’s kind of a mobile version of Domo, or Beckon, or Origami: giving you one single picture of your marketing results.

“Our core vision is to unify mobile marketing in a single platform,” cofounder and COO Susan Kuo told me last week. “Our first step: unify the data in one place.”

Singular was founded by three ex-Onavo executives. Onavo, of course, was a data-saving utility that Facebook bought in 2013, giving it masses of data on mobile apps, data usage, and some cutting-edge data compression capabilities. While building that business, Kuo and the other cofounders worked with performance marketers regularly, and were frustrated by the same problem most mobile marketers face daily: too much data in too many platforms in too many dashboards.

Co-founders: Gadi Elishayov, Eran Friedman, Susan Kuo

Above: Cofounders Gadi Elishayov, Eran Friedman, and Susan Kuo

“It’s extremely frustrating … people are using over a dozen different networks and trying to integrate all their data manually,” said Kuo. “This is not the way.”

To solve that, the company’s first product is an integrated reporting tool that aggregates data from over 200 sources. Integrating the data in real time is critical, as it gives mobile marketers hard real-time data on ROI and effectiveness, allowing them to make much better-informed decisions about spend, priority, ad mix, and opportunities that would otherwise be lost in the weeds of big data.


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Top companies such as Twitter and HotelTonight are using it, as well as massive gaming titans such as Supercell, Glu, Kabam, Storm8, and Big Fish. With partners like that and others — including a company I cannot reveal but can guarantee you use every single day — Singular has managed over $1 billion in ad spend and tracked over 2.1 billion new user installs in just the past year.

But it’s not just the big boys Singular is built for.

“We have people who are spending $50M/month, but also people who are spending $5K/month,” Kuo said. “That’s exciting for me … it works for very early-stage publishers.”

Which is smart, of course.

Supercell once was tiny, as was Twitter and Kabam, and in the mobile space success can come very rapidly indeed. Early customers who are almost insignificant can become huge in months, which is why in the cloud space companies like Amazon and Microsoft offer startup companies huge free packages.

What’s next is under wraps for the moment, but Kuo offers a very big clue when she says that the company wants to unify mobile marketing in a single platform.

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