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February 10 2014

19:57
eBay Founder’s News Site, The Intercept, Launches With NSA Revelations
89-32580a22449ef2e5b12f1e5a794cc0f90f1f1463fd15036f2b00ed67_w-1024_pxeBay founder Pierre Omidyar revealed the first publication in his new media organization, First Look Media. "The Intercept" launched last night with revelations about the National Security Agency which had apparently been using the bulk collection of phone records to target terrorists with drones.

January 13 2014

16:23
Jelly Has Its Breaking News Moment, Is First To Report Facebook’s Acquisition Of Branch
jelly-greenJelly, the new Q&A app from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, may have a secondary purpose beyond becoming the living embodiment of the Lazyweb - it's now breaking news, too, it seems. This morning, tech news outlets covered the acquisition of Branch Media by Facebook, following an official announcement by company co-founder Josh Miller, posted to Facebook around 9 AM EST. But Jelly had the news last night, it turns out.

December 17 2013

16:55
Uncoverage Hopes To Crowdfund Investigative Journalism, Because Newspapers
6277209256_934f20da10Israel Mirsky likes to give the following analogy about the role of journalism in a democracy: a free society can only function if it has a strong immune system. Investigative journalists serve as the helper T cells that find and fight infection, by directing the attention of prosecutors, lawmakers, and public opinion toward corruption. But because the Internet changed the news business model, resulting in outlets struggling to pay their reporters sufficiently, that immune system has become weak. Earlier this month, Mirsky opened an Indiegogo campaign to raise the capital to launch another crowdfunding platform, Uncoverage. The aim is for people to back investigative journalism projects, relieving newspapers and magazines’ financial burden and allowing reporters to do their thing. If a pitch gets funded, Uncoverage can try to help it get placement in a national publication. “As someone who’s a total news addict it was scary watching the money bleed out of investigative content,” Mirsky said. Crowdfunding journalism isn’t a new idea. Spot.us, which was acquired by American Public Media in 2011, was founded in 2008 with a focus on local news. Beacon Reader launched in September as a subscription service in the vein of Netflix that gives users access to writers’ stories for $5 a month, divorcing journalists’ work from ad sales. Uncoverage isn’t for citizen journalism. In order to get his or her pitch on the site, a reporter needs to have been published in existing outlets. It’s not solving hyper-local news, either, Mirsky said: Uncoverage pitches should have a global, national, or regional scope, appealing to wide audiences. Nor will it help with the state of photojournalism, although he does hope that photographers will pair with journalists on their stories. With 17 days to go, Uncoverage has raised a little over $11,820 of its $55,000 goal. Backers will be able to fund both specific pitches and broader topics, each of which will have an editor. Sharona Coutts, the startup’s financial corruption editor, said she will be working with journalists to assess and sculpt their pitches, although her role could change over time. Similarly, the topics available for funding aren’t set in stone yet. Mirsky gave financial corruption and the business of prisons as examples. Others will depend in part on which editors and partners come on board first, and also on public interest. Mirsky expects that Uncoverage writers who receive funding will pitch stories to editors in

December 11 2013

16:14
Bloomberg Brings 24-Hour Live News To Apple TV; Crackle, KOR TV And Watch ABC Also Added
tech-apple-tv-vevo-appApple continues adding new channel partners to its Apple TV hardware, and now it's rolling out four new ones today (via 9to5Mac), including Watch ABC for streaming local ABC affiliate content, Crackle for movies and TV, and KOR TV, a Korean language channel. There's also Bloomberg, which is is going to be streaming a live 24-hour news channel that provides content seven days a week.

November 23 2013

16:28
Couric Get Would Mean Yet Another Chase Of The Online Video Carrot For Yahoo
Yahoo is reportedly going to make its Katie Couric-hosted talk show on Monday, according to a new report from AllThingsD's Kara Swisher, supported by an earlier article from the NYT. Swisher is known for having an inside track on Yahoo information, and previously reported that a partnership between the two was in the works. This would mark the second high-profile news media talent get for Yahoo, after it picked up longtime NYT tech columnist David Pogue in October.

November 21 2013

16:59
Link-Sharing Service Potluck's New App Combining Messaging And News, Including Original Content
Everything's a messaging app now! Potluck, the link-sharing service from the team behind the social conversation service Branch, began as a simple tool allowing users to share their interesting findings from around web with a community where the focus was not on the people doing the sharing, but rather on the content. Today, with the release of Potluck version 2.0, the app is transforming itself into a hybrid messaging and news service, where people comment around topics they want to discuss.

November 08 2013

00:56
Newsle Lands $1.8M From Media Giant Advance Publications, Bloomberg Beta & More To Be The News Reader For People You Care About
Axel Hansen and Jonah Varon began building Newsle as undergraduates at Harvard to fill a nagging gap among today's news aggregators. The idea being that, as popular as Google Alerts may be, people want to read news based on who their friends and colleagues are and who they want to know more about. But, from Varon and Hansen's vantage point, the existing options didn't go far enough, so they decided to build one that would.

August 13 2013

19:08
Now With 7 Million Installs, Drippler's Personalized Mobile News App Gets An Upgrade
Drippler, the makers of mobile apps for iOS and Android which serve as a hub for personalized news about your device, its features, as well as new mobile applications, is launching a revamped version of its service for Android, now optimized for Android tablets. The Drippler app has been installed over 7 million times to date, and this release is aimed at expanding that footprint even further. It also delivers a set of new features, including support for categories, search, favorites and improvements to its personalization technology.

June 15 2013

13:00
Can BuzzFeed Be Stopped?
It's been a good week for old media. The Guardian, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal have all done a superb job of reporting on the NSA/PRISM revelations. Unfortunately it has also been a terrible decade for them. Newspaper advertising revenue has fallen by more than half since 2007, and paywalls aren't even coming close to covering that loss. Worse yet, nimbler competitors are doing their breakneck best to steal the audience...and they seem to be doing it well.

April 17 2012

18:00
Curation Service Storify Partners With Pulse In First-Ever Syndication Deal
storify-pulse-Photo 1
Storify, the startup that lets anyone "curate" stories from around the web by collecting posts from social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, is today announcing its first-ever syndication deal. Through a new partnership with popular news reader Pulse, Storify's curated feeds will now appear within Pulse's app, allowing readers to subscribe to curated stories from a number of sources across tech, politics, social media and more.

April 05 2012

15:15
FLUD 2.0 Rolls Out To Android & Windows Phone, As Startup Readies Its Series A
FludAndroid_2
FLUD, the scrappy news reader backed by $1 million in seed funding, is today introducing FLUD 2.0 for Android and Windows Phone. FLUD 2.0, for those who don't recall, was the big redesign that turned FLUD from being just another news reader into a true social news experience. Although participating in a crowded space, where it goes up against better-known brands like Flipboard, Zite, and Pulse, FLUD founder Bobby Ghoshal believes his company has what it takes to stand out from the crowd. Not only is the startup building its own social network - as opposed to one built on top of Facebook or Twitter - it's now also doing so cross-platform.

November 01 2011

17:57
Personalized News Reader News360 2.0 Arrives On iPhone
05b.-Personalize
News360, the cross-platform news reader, is arriving on the iPhone today in version 2.0, after having been previously available on virtually all other platforms, including Android, the iPad, Windows Phone, the Web and even the BlackBerry PlayBook. With today's launch, News360 is also adding support for logins, allowing you to sync your reading trends and behavior, (aka your "interest graph") across devices. Support for Google+ has been added as well.

August 10 2011

14:59
Personalized News Aggregation: News360 Launches Version 2.0
News360_logo
Cross-platform newsreader application News360 launched into version 2.0 today, a significant update that introduces its new personalization features. The news reader now learns from your activity on social Web services, including Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader and Evernote, in order to present you with stories that fit your interests. But unlike some of its competitors, which there are now many of, News360 uses semantic analysis to deliver the most relevant news of the day, including stories about your favorite topics from your favorite sources.

August 02 2011

01:36

“Open” Web Browsers Now Majority Of Web — WebKit Continues Rise

A month just ended, which means new stats. In the world of web browsers, there are two particularly interesting ones of significance. One points to “open” web browsers now in the majority amongst those that surf the web. Another points to WebKit browsers passing Firefox, to claim the number two position amongst web surfers.

As first noticed by Google’s Peter Beverloo this morning, StatCounter’s July numbers show that Firefox and Chrome, when combined, now account for over 50 percent of web browsing. Technically, Firefox now has a 27.95 percent share, while Chrome has 22.14 percent. Combined, their 50.09 percent easily beat IE’s 42.45 percent.

“According to StatCounter, open-source browsers now serve the majority of the Web!,” Beverloo wrote this morning. Technically, that’s sort of inaccurate since it’s Chromium and not Chrome itself that is open-source, but we’ll let it slide. Any way you slice it, the milestone is pretty amazing. Especially when you consider that as late as 2006 by some counts, IE still had over 90 percent market share.

StatCounter’s numbers also show something else: Chrome is rising so fast that it should surpass Firefox in the next few months. As the numbers above indicate, the two are now just under 6 percent apart — the closest they’ve ever been. And while Chrome continues to rise, Firefox has been falling for the past year. If that trend continues, Chrome should surpass Firefox before the end of this year.

Of course, that’s just one measurement tool. There are many out there. And another shows something else interesting for the month of July: WebKit browsers are now second to only IE, as AppleInsider pointed out earlier today.

NetMarketShare’s numbers point to this milestone. They have Chrome at 13.49 percent and Safari at 8.10 percent. Combined, that puts the WebKit-based browsers at 21.59 percent, just ahead of Firefox’s 21.47 percent. IE still has 52.71 percent share, by their count.

Why the discrepancy between the two sets of stats? One reason is that NetMarketShare’s numbers include all browsers on all platforms, while StatCounter’s numbers focus on computer-based browsing. In other words, mobile browsing is included in one, but not the other. That’s why Safari is much higher in NetMarketShare’s numbers (StatCounter has Safari at 5.17 percent — still an all-time high there).

Another reason for the differences are is that the two services rely on different ways of getting their numbers. Regardless, the trends are clear when you look at both sets of stats: IE continues to fall, Firefox continues to dwindle, Safari continues to rise slowly, while Chrome continues to skyrocket. This means good things for both “open” web browsers (Chrome + Firefox) and WebKit browsers (Chrome + Safari).

For what it’s worth, TechCrunch’s own numbers show the same basic trends: Chrome and Safari have been on the rise for some time now, while Firefox and IE have been falling. The difference is that Chrome is already the dominant browser on TechCrunch (and has been for some time) — in fact, it’s now nearly a full 10 percent past number two, (and long-time champ) Firefox. Chrome had a 32.64 percent browser share amongst TechCrunch readers in July, while Firefox had 23.59 percent.


Peter Beverloo
According to StatCounter, open-source browsers now serve the majority of the Web! goo.gl/DPcBq #Firefox #Chrome


Tags: News TC
01:17

CollegeBudget Brings Daily Deals And Group Buying To Campuses

I think it’s safe to say that Facebook is the leader when it comes to collegiate and high school social networking. I expect that won’t hurt anyone’s feelings. When it comes to meeting people at college, beer is always a good choice, or there’s Facebook, or some may now prefer LikeALittle.

While social networking is essential on any campus, there are also a few tools social networks can integrate to become a more useful resource for students. Take it from CampusBuddy, which offers college students a social platform where they can also access official grade records and view comprehensive reviews about professors, classes, departments, and campuses.

It’s a great resource for high school students looking for a deeper dive into colleges they’re considering, as they can tap into admissions data and real student feedback about prospective schools. Or, because CampusBuddy has official grade records for classes (the platform currently has over 80 million grades from hundreds of institutions), students that are looking to get more information on how difficult certain classes are can view grade trending data with a few clicks. You can read our initial coverage of CampusBuddy here and follow-up coverage here.

And since its launch in 2008, CampusBuddy has been seeing some good traction on campuses across the U.S. The startup’s founder and CEO Mike Moradian tells me that, between its website and Facebook app, CampusBuddy is at over 200K monthly active users, with over 1.5 million total, and revenue has quadrupled over the last year. Thanks to this growth, CampusBuddy is launching a new initiative called CollegeBudget, which aims to bring daily deals and group buying to campuses across the country. With the exploding popularity of daily deals, Moradian says, this wasn’t an opportunity to miss. But, more importantly, he thinks that it’s a great way for students to lower the cost of their college experience.

In addition to student deals, CollegeBudget is looking to bring social buying to every level of the campus experience, including textbooks and student loans — and one day in the future, potentially tuition. The company is kicking off its public launch with “Back-to-School Palooza”, which will feature over 100 merchants offering deals at 50 percent (and higher) discounts.

There are deals on admissions books, posters, iPhone cases, etc. But it’s only for college students; you have to have a working “.edu” email address to sign up.

Since launching in private beta in March, CollegeBudget has already signed up 600K college students from the CampusBuddy platform, and has already saved college students over $1 million collectively. Moradian tells me that he thinks CollegeBudget will be appealing to brands looking to tap into the highly-coveted college-age demographic. The platform also offers brands social media marketing campaigns at no cost, so that merchants signing up to offer student deals receive a YouTube testimonial video made by a college student, as well as social media blasts to CollegeBudget’s 130K-plus Facebook fans and Twitter followers.

CollegeBudget also distinctively delivers a complete social media marketing campaign to merchants,
with no upfront cost. Merchants who sign up to offer student deals through CollegeBudget receive a
YouTube testimonial video made by a real college student, and social media blasts to CollegeBudget’s
over 130,000 Facebook Fans and 3,000 Twitter Followers. Here’s an example of the type of YouTube marketing that’s included in the platform.

It’s a great resource for college students looking for targeted discounts on the stuff they need while at school, and for brands, they have a built-in access to students, and for CampusBuddy, which was primarily making money through textbook sales, subscriptions and advertising, it will provide another source of revenue. In terms of the cut CollegeBudget will be taking from deals, Moradian tells me that the site is trying to make the experience as easy as possible on merchants and will be flexible on their cut in an attempt to accommodating different industries. But, on average, it will be offering merchants 60 percent.

CampusBuddy is fully bootstrapped at this point, the founder says, and isn’t in any hurry to raise, as they’re “big believers” in the bootstrapping method. Which is a breath of fresh air. Oh, and as an addendum: CollegeBudget mobile apps are coming soon.

Merchants can sign up to offer student discounts here.



August 01 2011

23:44

Not Only Do iCloud Web Apps Exist, They’re Beautiful

Perhaps you recall that back in June, there was some confusion as to whether or not there would be web apps for Apple’s upcoming iCloud suite of products. While we maintained from the beginning that we had heard that there would be, some were certain there wouldn’t be — something which we again refuted. Anyway, this eventually led Apple to clarify that yes, there would be web apps for iCloud. Still, it wasn’t clear just how robust they’d be, or when they’d be available beyond “this fall”. Today, we’re getting more answers.

iCloud.com has just gone live. That seems to be a pretty good sign that the web component will launch alongside iCloud itself at some point in the next few months. And if the log-in screen is any indication, the web apps are going to be beautiful.

But actually, we don’t have to rely on just the log-in screen, because while it may be meant for developers to test out (only they can use the iOS syncing features found in iOS 5), actually, anyone can log on and see what the iCloud.com apps look like. Again, beautiful.

Not that this should be surprising. One of Apple’s strengths has always been aesthetics. But what’s equally nice is just how slick the apps function. Both in Safari and Chrome, all the apps feel responsive and feature many subtle transitional touches presumably using HTML5.

In addition to iCloud.com going live, Apple has also posted more information about iCloud pricing. “5GB of free storage is plenty for most people. But if you need extra space, you can always buy additional storage,” Apple notes on the site. Those prices are:

  • 10 additional GB for $20 a year
  • 20 additional GB for $40 a year
  • 50 additional GB for $100 a year

Of note, your iCloud Photo Stream, iOS apps, music, and TV shows you buy from iTunes/the App Store do not count against your 5GB of free storage.



Tags: News TC
20:08

After TV Show Rentals Fizzle, Apple TV Pivots Back To Purchases

A quiet update this morning to the Apple TV, seems to indicate a pretty big change in strategy. Of course, Apple would never frame it this way, but with the emphasis now squarely back on purchases, it seems pretty safe to say that the television show rental model was a failure.

To be clear, there are still rentals available on the device. But it’s the same limited selection of shows that have been in place for months now — Glee, Bones, 24, etc. And Apple doesn’t even have a section anymore highlighting which shows you can actually rent.

This is a big departure. Previously, you could only rent TV shows on the device. This was a bit odd since Apple has much more TV content available to buy. But in order to get it, you had to buy it on your computer (or iPhone/iPad/iPod touch) and then stream it to the Apple TV. That’s no longer the case. The update to Apple TV today brings the ability to purchase any TV content available on iTunes. And you can also easily access content you’ve previously purchased via the cloud — though it looks like the shows are still in the process of rolling out, as John Gruber points out.

To be fair, perhaps Apple had this in mind for some time. Because the latest Apple TV model only comes with enough storage space for buffering, TV purchases previously did not make sense. But with iCloud, content can now be streamed directly from Apple’s servers to your Apple TV. This works beautifully. I just purchased a season of The Wire from the Apple TV and nothing actually needed to download. It was only when I clicked on an episode to watch it that the device began calling for it from the cloud.

One has to imagine that this model will come for movies as well. Though for right now, movies are still rental-only on Apple TV.

Interestingly enough, my purchase of The Wire didn’t download the entire season anywhere, not even iTunes on my computer (though I can download it there now if I choose). This also points to the future of iTunes. I’ve been saying for a while that it’s not music, but video that is an untenable model for the service. Because HD versions of movies and television shows take up gigabytes of storage, the more you download, the more likely you’re going to run out of room even on standard desktop computers.

Full seasons of HD TV shows can easily take up over 50 GB of storage. Again, that’s just one season of one show. At some point, the only way that works is in the cloud with an unlimited amount of storage. And when you need to pull something down to take it with you, you can do that. That’s the model Apple now has in place with the television change.

My colleague Matt Burns calls this a full assault on the cable box, and the first real move by Apple to take the Apple TV beyond a “hobby” device. I agree, this is step one in that direction. But in my view, this move is even more about transitioning iTunes to the right model to be able to fully utilize iCloud. Apple TV is coming along for the ride, and is the perfect front-end to show how this change will work.

And it shows just how much TV rentals did not work. It was a year ago that talk began to circulate about Apple attempting to convince the networks to do $0.99 TV episode rentals. It sounded great, but it ended up being far from great because only Fox and ABC got on board. Unlike music, books, movies, and even TV show purchases, where Apple has started with a few partners and gotten all the major partners on board eventually, that didn’t happen with TV show rentals. The overall selection was far too limited for the model to ever take off. Today’s Apple TV update seems to be a full admission of that.



09:47

rome2rio Adds Carbon Neutral Travel Feature With Offset Options Partnership


rome2rio, a search engine headed by two ex-Microsoft engineers which lets you literally work out how to get from A to B (not unlike FromAtoB.com) via a Google Map with multi-modal travel options, has now added carbon neutral travel to its offering with a partnership with Offset Options.

This allows users to compare the carbon footprint of every travel option available, thus factoring in the impact on the planet as well as their wallet. They get a real-time calculation of their chosen route’s carbon footprint and a range ofcarbon offset project choices to pay for, and thus make their trip carbon neutral. And buy trees in the Amazon, or whatever these things do.

Read More



July 30 2011

02:03

360: TeliportMe Brings Its Killer Panorama App To Android (Oh, And It Works On Over 200 Phones)

Last November, TechCrunch’s own Sarah Lacy sat down with Vineet Devaiah from “social streetview” startup, Phototour.in, which, at the time, had just received term sheets from a number of high-profile U.S. investors and had recently been awarded the “Top Emerging Technology Company of 2010″ by Nvidia. The startup was the first international, non-funded, under-20-member company to win the award, according to Devaiah.

Since then, Phototour added Academy Award certificate-winner and entrepreneur Bala S. Manian as an advisor (who was honored for “technical achievement” for his contributions to optical technologies used in films, including Star Wars) and has gained more than 47,000 users for the alpha version of its image and panorama crowdsourcing app, “360″, on Android. Users have logged more than 75,000 panoramas in a relatively short period of time, so, considering the rumors that the iPhone 5 will have a native panorama app, sources tell us that 360 might be a candidate for a potential partnership with Android, so that it can remain neck-in-neck with Apple.

What’s more, Today the startup is officially announcing that it is rebranding as TeliportMe and is bringing 360 out of alpha and into the public sphere in ready-to-wear form. For free. Granted, 360-degree panorama apps for smartphones are nothing new. There are quite a few cool apps and gadgets that have these capabilities on the market, like “You Gotta See This!”, Occipital’s 360 Panorama, and Microsoft’s Photosynth, to name a few.

In light of this competition, TeliportMe wants to distinguish itself from the field by building a high quality Android app, that works across OEMs. According to Devaiah, panoramic apps tend to be very hardware centric because of their reliance on a smartphone’s camera, accelerometer, gyroscope, RAM, and so on. Because Android relies on so many different OEMs, it becomes a tricky proposition to build a good 360-degree app for Android and is the reason why most panorama apps are built on iOS (thanks to the vertical integration it has with its hardware).

Another obstacle for Android is that only about 20 percent of its smartphones have the processing capability of the iPhone, and as panoramic apps require a lot of image processing during photo stitching, many Android phones don’t have enough RAM to make this possible (at least at speed). Devaiah cited the example of a phone like the HTC wildfire, which has the processing capability lesser than that of an iPhone 2G.

This is where the technology that won the startup the “best emerging tech” award comes into play. TeliportMe brought its photo stitching technology to the Android phone, which to a large extent negates the issues caused due to multiple hardware configurations, allowing it to function smoothly over 200 models of android phones. (The startup has also built a version of its photostitching app that works on the browser, which it will be launching soon.)

So, 360 allows its users to quickly take high quality panoramas, which they can then view on the apps 3D viewer. Users can share panoramas via Facebook and Twitter, as well as view, comment, and “like” photos taken by people all over the world on 360′s public realtime feed. The app also taps into the phone’s location to allow users to discover other people using 360 in close proximity, using its “Around Me” option.

Check out 360 in the Android Marketplace here, and for the 360′s humorous take on “the Google+ guy” dissing other photo apps, check out this video. For more on 360, look out, video below:



01:30

Three Companies Chi-Hua Chien Of Kleiner Perkins Would Love To Invest In

Today at Aol West Headquarters, a number of entrepreneurs, VCs, and executives gathered to discuss the state of the mobile industry and mobile technology. After a series of individual panels, the day concluded with the crowd of panelists gathering together for a lively discussion about the future of mobile, current mobile trends gaining legs, as well as what’s missing. Chi-Hua Chien of Kleiner Perkins stepped in to give an example of what’s missing in the industry by sharing three particular business models that he’d like to see make their way into the space.

In a prior panel, Chen, Skype investor Howard Hartenbaum, and Tango founder Eric Setton, spoke about how closing the “redemption loop” is becoming one of the most important goals in the daily deals space, specifically on mobile. (Something TC’s Erick Schonfeld talked about in a post earlier this week.) Chen pointed out that one of the big goals is to forge a future where a customer can walk into a store, and the merchant will immediately know who they are and what they want — and that someday soon Twitter and Foursquare will be acting in a way akin to a CRM platform for businesses to help make that happen.

But, as to the three companies that Chen wants to see, and invest in, for starters, he envisions a killer mobile company offering a completely automated personal assistant — something he said really wasn’t “something you couldn’t do before mobile”. He cited the example of one having dinner reservations with a friend who lives, say, 30 minutes away. The user’s mobile device, thanks to location awareness, knows exactly where they are and how far away they are from the restaurant. What’s more, thanks to the fact they made their reservation on OpenTable, the automated assistant will know exactly what time they planned to meet.

But, based on the fact that you’re 30 minutes away from where you’re having dinner, and tapping into a traffic app, they know that there’s congestion on the way. It then might send out an alert to the person you’re having dinner with, or can, in an automated way, message both people to confirm that they’d like to push the reservation back by 30 minutes, make that change, and close that loop with no effort.

Part of what’s making that possible now, he says, is the very existence of mobile, but it’s also thanks to the maturity of the platforms that are now being accessed by maturing APIs. The automated personal assistant addresses a need set that couldn’t be solved in an asychronous environment on a desktop.

Secondly, education is a trillion dollar market “that’s completely screwed up”, because it involves millions of children going to sit in a classroom for 7 hours, and it combines three different businesses for the state: the real estate business, the union labor management business, and certification business.

When, in reality, education should be delivered in a realtime basis to students who are learning at their own pace, who don’t have to sit in a room full of 30 people in an antiquated environment — a realtime, mobile solution that’s learning based as opposed to curriculum based. This second idea is a bit more nebulous, but Chien is hitting on an important theme here: How badly American education is in need of disruption and innovation, especially as that would relate to mobile.

The third model Chien alluded to was health and fitness. “We all wish that we could lose ten pounds”, he said, and now there’s a device in your pocket that can seamlessly manage its owner (personal assistant theme again), encourage the user to exercise, eat healthier, whatever the case may be. It can truly manage the place at which you are paying attention to your health, your exercise regimen, and helping you to lead a healthier lifestyle.

There’s a huge need here, Chien said, something that never could have been tackled in a PC environment, simply because the overhead of checking a website every day (as opposed to a mobile device that’s portable and always with you) is just unsustainable. It knows what you’re eating, what the caloric intake of that food might be, can advise you against consuming that third ice cream cone, and can tell your heart rate after a 5 mile run. When one combines that with display information designs and notifications optimized for a mobile setting — well, it’s enough to make an entrepreneur water at the mouth.

Afterwards, Schonfeld asked Chien if these were actually three stealth startups that Kleiner Perkins had recently invested in, to which Chen laughed and said, no, but if there are companies out there making these products, Kleiner may very well be interested.

“And those aren’t just dinky features … those are companies”, Chen said. “Those are companies attacking trillion dollar markets.”

I also kept hearing a theme of automation in what Chien talked about, and clearly, at least in his mind, (though I think it’s in the minds of many others as well), that automated processes, whether they be customer service, healthy living, or retail processes, are going to be big not just because we’re lazy, but because they help us focus on doing the things we love.



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