Apple should have acquired Instagram

Big news today. Instagram was acquired by Facebook for $1B in cash and shares. Price was definitely driven by the amount of different bidders, Google probably was one of them. I’m a huge Instagram fan, at the moment I can’t see what would be the value this acquisition will bring to the end users, other than a stronger Facebook integration. I doubt I need it.

I would more likely wanted Apple to acquire Instagram. Apple actually needed Instagram much more than Facebook and Google. With a few Apple’s failed attempts to go social(remember Ping), that could actually worked. Instagram has 29M iPhone users. Most of them are very engaged with the application. The combination of Photo Stream + Instagram could be super powerful. I can see myself using it(a lot). Also, by purchasing Instagram Apple could have keept it iOS-only. That would be much appreciated by current iPhone users and for some people might be a reason to switch to iPhone. I know that might sound silly, but seeing the Android community response, that could be true.

Also think about the talent that might have joined Apple. @kevin and @mikeyk are visionary guys. I think Apple has missed a great opportunity. Now all we left is to wait for a native Facebook integration in iOS.  

Big teams on Startup Weekends

Last weekend I’ve participated in the Startup Weekend London EDU. Idea is to form a small team and to create a startup in 54 hours. This is a great working concept, many companies have emerged from these weekend events.

We had a team of 11 people, which I think is considered as Startup Weekend record. Not a usual startup capacity. This situation requires much more management as usual. What I’ve learned working in a such team:

  • Choose a leader. It doesn’t need to be person with original idea. It could be anyone with the vision for the business and the product. And this person should be good at managing people and keeping them busy.
  • Divide into smaller teams. Make teams of 2-3 people to solve different tasks. If you have many devs in a team, make two different MVP to test different assumptions.
  • Leader should participate in everything. In a big team you would have people doing market reach, monetization strategy, customer acquisition, branding, UX design, coding… Leader should have opinion about everything and make sure teams is on the right track.
  • Focus on a MVP. We had a lot of business people who were saying to a product team smth like “We need that page as this would be good for SEO”. Ignore. If you are a big team, that doesn’t mean you should built more than a MVP.
  • Different level of excitement. After some time in event, some people will lose interest in the project, while others would be still excited. However uninterested people will still produce some impact, as not to disappoint the rest of the team. If such people are spotted, I would assign excited people to work with them, to be aware of the quality of the work.
  • Big teams are slow. Many people have many opinions, that leads to longer discussions. Unless a team has a leader who can make bold decisions.

Conclusion is you don’t want to form a big teams of such events. And end up in a startup with 11 co-founders. 

Steve Jobs Videos

Did you caught yourself eagerly waiting for the next Apple WWDC or any other Apple presentations? I did. Not only to see Apple updates, but also to watch Steve Jobs. Those are rare events where we could saw Steve in action. Those presentations are art. It was incredible to see how Steve was selling his work to the worldwide audience.

After his death, I’ve started to re-watch those presentations. I urge everyone to see them. As well as some of his rare video apperencses. Here are some that I was able to find: 

But the most amazing presentation for me is the presentation of the first iPhone. Imagine the world before iPhone, and then watch this: 

[UPDATE] Apple has released a video of “A celebration of Steve’s life" ceremony held at Apple Campus for its employees. I love Jony Ive speech.

Devices and timezones

It might be a very specific problem, but I think some people did encounter this issue. I’ve been traveling a lot recently, going back and forth between four different timezones: UK (GMT 0), France/Swiss/Germany (GMT +1), Finland (GMT +2) and Russia (GMT +3). I have with me four sources of the time: iPhone, iPad, Macbook and hand watch. iPhone for me is a primary source. As the data roaming was switched on most of the time, iPhone supposes to change timezones automatically. However sometimes I just don’t know if iPhone has changed the timezone or not. Either because it might take some time to connect to 3G or EDGE, or I’ve just forgot to switch on the data roaming. iPad changes timezones only when it is connected to the wi-fi, so as Macbook but the latter fails most of the time. The hand watch doesn’t change automatically and I don’t remember in which country I did set the time.

At some point I’ve ended up with four different times on my devices. Something like: 

  • 11.10 - hand watch
  • 12.10 - iPhone
  • 13.10 - iPad
  • 14.10 - Macbook

Forget the world clock screen on the iPhone for a sec(as I did). How do I calculate the right time? In order to do that I need to take the Max time and deduct the GMT of the country I’m in. So if I’m in Finland it would be: 14:10 - 2hours = 12:10. Isn’t it stupid? Sometimes it gets that far.

I need an option in the settings to show the current timezone on the Home screen. It would be also good to get a notification when the device has change the time. Not only while switching timezones, but also for the summer/winter time change. This little change would be really handy. Open the world clock screen doesn’t work for me.

Do we need paper business cards?

Recently I’ve visited several networking events in London. The purpose was to get a few contacts in particular areas and to get to know other entrepreneurs. When it was time to exchange contacts, I was given lots of business cards. Are they really necessary today to exchange contact info? A few ways how can we do it:

  • Business Cards. I’m definitely not a fan of these small things. Usually business cards are ended up somewhere in my pocket, bag, office space and retrieving the contact’s info when I need one is very painful. Search on LinkedIn straight after a card is given doesn’t work most of the time.
  • Mobile apps to connect to social networks. I like the idea behind Bump or LinkedIn app for iPhone. When you are near each other you can “bump” your phones, and app automatically adds one another to your networks. The problem is that many people do not use those apps, or at least is not aware that the other person is using it. 
  • Mobile apps to distribute business cards. What I was using recently is online business card service - CardCloud(there are probably other services like this). You create your business card online and list there your LinkedIn, Twitter, or any other services that describe you as professional. When you meet your contact, you send email via CardCloud app. Your contact receives your business card with the time and location where you met. I believe this information helps you better identify person, when you’ve met many people in different places. As business cards are stored digitally in this case, retrieval of contact’s info is much faster. Now this person has access to your profiles, and can easily connect with you.  

I like to see more people using apps like these. As I don’t see a point why should we be using paper business cards nowadays. I don’t want to store these cards. I don’t want all these extra paper on me. All I want is to add a person to my LinkedIn or Twitter. I don’t need paper for this.

FaceTime + iMessage = Skype?

After WWDC 2011 many people were saying that iMessage is a great replacement for Blackberry messaging service, as well as group-messaging apps like GroupMe, Kik and WhatsApp. I think iMessage release could also partially replace Skype. Skype messages are quite dumb. Is impossible to attach pictures or videos. But the worst part, as Skype is based on a peer-to-peer technology, when you sending a message to a contact who is offline, he will get it only if you are also online. All existing group messaging apps and iMessage send you a push notification when you are not using the app. I’m sure you know how better it is.

Skype was always great for a video chat. It is still. Apple has FaceTime, which works at the moment only with wi-fi. With the release of iOS5, we probably will get 3G support, that will make it much more attractive. You see where it is going. Apple has two separate services(iMessage&FaceTime) that serve as Skype’s foundation. Apple has a potential to compete directly with Skype. As you know Skype is now owned by Microsoft, so we are back to basics: Apple vs. Microsoft.

Of course, at the moment Apple is nowhere near competition with Skype. What might be Apple’s next move? We could see a desktop client for iMessage, a group video chat for FaceTime, and later a merge of iMessage and FaceTime into one product. Isn’t it looks like a Skype for Apple ecosystem. I think that’s exactly what it is.

Still, Skype is a cross-platform app, and they have got a great service for calling international landline phones. So far it is irreplaceable. But remember that Steve Jobs was saying that he wants FaceTime to be an open standard. I think FaceTime apps on other platforms is just a matter of time.

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