Tag Archives: recap

Video Startups Present at NY Video

25 Nov

Four video startups presented at NY Video hosted by Steven Rosenbaum of Waywire at the AOL office on November 21, 2014.

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Videum uses videos and translation technology to make health and medical information universal. Videum has about 5,000 educational videos that are translated by humans and Google or Bing into 72 languages reaching 87 countries.

“There’s quite an appetite out there for health content,” said President and CEO Paul Dinsmore. “Health care content is bigger than celebrity news.”

The company plans to make revenue through a B2B and B2C and syndicate with advertising.

IMG_4093.JPGWith Magisto users can do something with the videos and photos sitting on their phones, a phenomenon the VP Marketing Communications calls a “national crisis.” The app uses artificial intelligence and algorithms to automatically select the best moments of footage to make a video with customized styles and music in a few minutes.

“We are passionate about the idea that people can be storytellers,” said Paula Batson, VP Marketing Communications. “You can take that data and turn it into movies that have emotion and can touch people you want to share with.”

More than 5,000 videos have been made with the app and shared on social media and through email. Magisto is working with brands to enable them to portray their message through users’ stories and also have a freemium model for the consumer.

Thrive uses video to eliminate the need to open 10 tabs to research one activity. The Thrive team creates premium movie content about four themes – travel, music, culture and fashion. One video features Breakneck, a hike in Cold Spring, NY, showing how to get there, what’s it’s like when you’re there and what other people have to say about it.

Their revenue model is to work with sponsors to support a certain amount of videos and eventually have e-commerce, like selling activities. They plan to launch the site in early February.

IMG_4091.JPGVideolicious makes it simple to create professional videos in minutes. Many clients are TV stations, newspapers and branding firms. With the app, users can create packages quickly by adding b-roll and sounds bites from videos they have already taken. Co-founder/CEO Matt Singer said Videolicious does not replace premium video, it creates more types of quality video in the middle of the spectrum.

Recaps: Two days of talks with Hooked author Nir Eyal

18 Nov

Nir Eyal, an entrepreneur, designer and author, has been on the event circuit since the release of his new book Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products. I recently heard him speak two days in a row at Alley Boost and StartupGrind events. Below is a post that combining what he said at both events. I guess the next step should be reading his book…it’s on my list!

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Nir speaks at Alley Boost event at Mercy College.

Did you know that 1 out of 3 Americans would rather give up sex than their smart phone? Technology has quickly become a pervasive – and intimate – part of our lives. If you’re a designer or an entrepreneur, then you probably are dying to know how technology becomes habit-forming. And if you’re just a consumer, knowing why we get hooked is the first step in breaking unhealthy attachments to tech.

Cue Nir Eyal, entrepreneur, designer and author of Hooked, which was recently released as a physical book that explores what entrepreneurs should build and why. Eyal has a background in gaming and advertising, which both involve some form of mind control. He had his own startup and he has consulted plenty of others.

“A lot of companies were using these [habit-forming] tactics and yet they didn’t really understand why these tactics work,” said Eyal. “They do it without understanding the deeper psychology on how and why these things change users’ behavior.”

Companies want to create products that customers won’t just love, but won’t be able to put down. These types of addictive technologies like our phones, email and apps have a hook so compelling, that we keep using them without anyone prompting us to come back. They become habit, which is a behavior done with little or no conscious thought. This accounts for what we do for about half our day.

There are four parts to the hook, Eyal said.

1. The trigger is something that tells the user what to do and cues the next action. It can be external or internal. Most of these internal triggers are negative – our pain points that we look to solve. We form habits with technologies that lift us out of these negative states, like loneliness or boredom.

When we are lonely we use Facebook. When we’re unsure we go to Google. When we’re bored there’s YouTube, Pinterest, ESPN, etc. Studies show that people suffering from depression check email more often.

2. The action is the simple behavior done in anticipation of a reward. Examples are scrolling, searching or hitting the play button. The formula, created by B.J. Fogg, for predicting the likelihood of these singular actions is behavior = motivation + ability + trigger.

6 factors that can increase motivation are seeking pleasure, avoiding pain, seeking hope, avoiding fear, seeking acceptance and avoiding rejection.  Every ad uses one or more of those levels of motivation.

6 factors that affect ability are  time, money, physical effort, brain cycles (how hard it is to understand correlates with likeliness of doing it), social deviance (see other people doing it), non-routine (you’re more likely to do it if you’ve done it before).

3. The reward: We like variability; the uncertainty makes returning to the technology exciting. An example is the newsfeed, it’s always different.

4. The investment: The product should have a return on the investment because users put something into it in anticipation of a future benefit. Investments increase the likelihood of passing through the hook. Example – if you send a message on WhatsApp, you’ll get one back. Habit-forming technology should improve or appreciate rather than depreciate over time. Another type of investment is building a reputation or a following, like on Task Rabbit, Ebay or AirBnB. It’s hard to leave that platform once you have value on it.

While all this information has value for designers, changing someone’s behavior to meet our own ends, is a form of manipulation, said Eyal. He believes companies should practice social responsibility and use the psychology of the hook to make products that are good for us.

At Startupgrind, Eyal answered my Twitter question and I had 5 seconds of fame…within the event:

He handled the cynicism well, and said the emotions we want to manage don’t change, the technology and interface do. He predicts n a few years wearable technology, like Google Glass and smart watches will be the next big thing.

At the same time he’s teaching the hook, Eyal calls himself an advocate for breaking hooks. You can use the information to break habits and build good ones, he said. In the future, being able to control our habits will be a competitive advantage, said Eyal.

Maybe he’s saying we swap the juice cleanses and do the digital detox to prep for 2015? Maybe I’ll wait til 2016…Eyal’s “future” has no deadline. 🙂

Disruptive Technologists: NYC is (pretty) good for startups

5 Nov

Disruptive Technologists hosted a panel, “NYC Social Infrastructure & Tech Ecosystem: Are we at an inflection point?” at the NY Institute of Technology on October 27, 2014. Panelists talked about how society has shifted from discouraging entrepreneurs to embracing them and what still needs to change to support this type of economy.

There are now more than 15,000 startups in NYC, making it the #1 ecosystem for entrepreneurs, said David Rose, CEO of Gust. With countless resources, a receptive city and a mix of enthusiastic entrepreneurs, it’s a good time to create a startup in New York.

Gone are the days when smart professionals dreamt of being Wall Street bankers, said moderator Bruce Bachenheimer, Director of Pace’s Entrepreneurship Lab. Hustling to start your own company is the new “sexy.” People want The Social Network-type success rather than Bonfire of the Vanities excess.

The city has a cross-pollination of ideas, free events, webinars, incubators, accelerators, encouragement from the government, and more students than the population of Boston, said Rose. These factors make starting a business here more desirable than joining one.

Rose has seen the landscape change firsthand. Having started NY Angels, one of the longest running angel groups, he remembers when people wanted to work at traditional Fortune 500 companies. Only 47 companies that made the original Fortune list have remained. Today, firms less than four years old and smaller than 100 employees have taken the others’ spots.

This is partly because large businesses that succeeded in the 20th century aren’t cut out for the 21st century, said Rose. They need to reinvent themselves. The airline industry is one example – several airlines have gone bankrupt in the past decade.

With entrepreneurs’ eager to disrupt, some industries have reason to worry. Uber is taking on ubiquitous yellow taxis. AirBnB is making a go at the multi-billion-dollar hotel industry by empowering regular people to dictate the market.

Read the rest at Office Lease Center’s blog: http://bit.ly/1rBqgeo