Don’t be afraid to be a copy, but be a better copy!

I’ll be honest, when I did the first competitor analysis for jammr and found companies like ejamming and onlinejamsession I had my reservations. Ejamming had been around for a few years and even had backing from Gibson and Fender. On top of that they had worked with Intel and Smash Mouth at launch. I felt like they had all the advantages and there was no point in starting, as being first into a sector had all the advantages and the latecomers would not get a slice of the pie.

Then I stumbled across Everythingisaremix and I began to rethink my view on “copying”… I am all about adding value to the world, which I originally thought could only be done by creating something brand new. My concept of brand new being a totally new idea, not based on UX, design or slight feature changes. So I have always thought of the creator of an idea as the genius. But this video really opened up my eyes!

I began looking at the world a little different and started seeing that a “copy” is not necessarily a bad thing. That’s when I started seeing “copies” everywhere – cars, phones, tablets – only differentiating themselves through design and user experience. I began to wonder who actually originally came up with a brand new idea? Is that even possible? In its crudest form, the car is just a rethought horse cart. So Kirby was right – everything is a remix of something already created.

A very interesting recent example is Vine and Instagram video. Vine launched in January 2013 and Instagram video in June 2013. In short, they both allow users to share short videos. The main difference being the UX and time limit of the shared videos – with Vine you can share 6 second videos, whereas Instagram allows you to share up to 15 seconds.

My old mind would have expected Vine to have the clear advantage, as it was first to market and built up quite a good following. The day before Instagram launched its video feature, Vine users were sharing 2.5m videos according to Marketing Land. Since Instagram’s new feature rolled out though, Vine’s shared videos has fallen by 40% on the day after launch and to 919,000 videos shared on 26th June, while 1.49m videos were shared via Instagram that day.

Of course it has only been a short while since the launch and these are early figures, but these are still interesting nonetheless. I also want to emphasise that Instagram’s video sharing feature is an extension of a very successful app, which Facebook paid $1bn for. Where on the other hand Vine is a totally new app, although strongly linked, integrated and owned by Twitter.

I am very curious to see how this pans out: market first vs newcomer.

For me, this further confirms that you can still get a share of the pie, possibly even the major one, even if you were not first to market. Whether it’s a slight feature change, like the change in video length, or a UX change, or something else, if there is an audience out there for your new version, then you should try and launch it!

The next stage in big data: big, personal data!

Today’s businesses have already collected more data on their serves about their customers, their partners and themselves, than they know what to do with. As a result, innovative companies have created great products and services offering data analytics and visualisation giving businesses real-time insights and actions – the rise of Big Data!

This trend has mostly been used in describing a business trend, ignoring the slower and more subtle rise of the big, personal data.

A great example of big, personal data is the rise of data gathering devices such as the Basis watch, Nike FuelBand, Withings Wifi scales and the Moves app, with the aim of improving health through making the individual aware of their day-to-day actions.

Now, I’m a sucker for data and believe the more I know about myself the better, as this allows me to live a more efficient life (I’m a true German at heart). The issue I currently have is that I did not decide to stick to one manufacturer/ecosystem: I have a Nike FuelBand, Withings scales and just downloaded the Moves app, meaning I am collecting data with three different companies with no way to combine it.

This is still pretty early on in the big, personal data movement, but I believe that there is a real need for a company to work on getting access to the dispersed data and allow individuals to analyse and visualise their personal data themselves.

The main challenge here is getting access to the different data sources and then ensuring that the data can be combined to form a single data set.

A challenge, but an interesting one!

Why Google won’t integrate Quora deeply into its searches

I disagree with Narendra Reddy’s post “Google has a problem with “long-tail” searches, and it needs Quora to help fix it” in Gigaom.

I am a big fan of Quora myself. I think it is one of the best websites on the internet, so integrating it deeper into Google’s search would be very interesting, but I think it will never happen, as both Quora and Google will lose more than they will gain.

Quora’s current USP is the high quality of answers from very knowledgable people. The deeper integration into Google will lead to a surge in traffic and therefore questions. As the amount of overall questions increase, the amount of “weak” questions will rise and dilute Quora and turn it into Yahoo answers, leading Quora to move out of its niche. I think there is a place for both Quora and Yahoo answers, but they should should stick to their respective niche.

Google as the other loser will lose search revenue, as advertisers will no longer have the right-hand advertising space. Of course there are less people bidding for the long tail search terms here in discussion. However, even some of these terms have become highly attractive terms for advertisers. On top of this, Quora would no doubt charge Google for the deeper integration, thereby losing even more money.

Therefore, although beneficial for the consumer in reaching the respective goal quicker, I doubt that either Google nor Quora will agree to this.