A big congratulations is in order for our good friends at Double Encore and Xcellent Creations. The two mobile app shops have joined forces. As Double Encore and their peers drive growth to the mobile development community in Denver and Boulder, companies looking for a solid partnership and trustworthy app development have no farther to look than the Rocky Mountains.
Dan Burcaw says it himself. There is an influx of talent going on. People want to work in mobile and Denver is a “phenomenal place.”
This isn’t just great news because DE has contributed greatly to the mobile app space and I imagine they’ll keep churning out amazing work in the future, but most importantly, they are great friends of the Glassboard team and their strides make us proud.
I also have to say the announcement on their website really reminds me of Daft Punk. That’s some digital love right there!
As it turns out, this wasn’t a matter of wanting to assuage any fears consumers might have regarding their data, but because of increased governmental scrutiny. Another thing that probably caused a big spike in privacy policies is the very public missteps taken by Path and Hipster: apps that uploaded your address book into their system without your express permission. Although this eventually blew over, it turned consumers’ attention to whether or not the apps they were using handled their data properly.
What can we do, in the mobile app development community, to give people more confidence? Here is a dead-simple checklist:
2. Make it easy to find.
3. Make it easy to understand.
Could 2012 be the year private sharing networks come of age? This is what Eric Eldon asks in this piece on TechCrunch. With more and more people shunning Facebook because of their lackadaisical approach to privacy and their focus on targeting ads to you, it could happen. We very well may be witnessing the end of Web 2.0 and the beginning of the era of Mobile.
Your social networks in the palm of your hand
We wanted to focus on a great mobile experience when we created Glassboard. This is the same approach other small social networks are taking, like Pair and Path. Mobile could be Facebook’s downfall. The Facebook mobile experience is clunky. People want something streamlined and simple when they are on their phones, which is what we strive for in our app. Facebook may never be able to master the mobile experience because it’s too big, you have too many different groups of friends/family/colleagues on it and there are too many features. A gigantic social network doesn’t lend itself to mobile, the space is simply better occupied by apps like Glassboard and Path.
Too many social networks? What, like in real life?
There is some resistance to small social networks, and it’s keeping people attached to Facebook. It’s a common complaint that I’ve read in comments on blog posts about social networks. People fear that there are too many social networks that you have to participate in, that you’ll have accounts all over the place. So? Isn’t that how things are in real life? If Pair is for the bedroom and Path is for rec room, think of Glassboard as the boardroom. The most stand out use case for Glassboard is how we’ve used it as a company from the very beginning. It has provided a simple and private way for us as a group to communicate, and it is refreshingly separate from the other means of communication we use for our friends and loved ones.
Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg was lauded recently for proudly broadcasting that she leaves work at 5:30pm in order to have dinner with her children.
The idea of a 9 to 5 work day is heretofor unheard of in the startup world, and downright shocking to some. We at Sepia Labs are no strangers to putting in long hours, but with Glassboard we’ve been able to extend our work days in a less disruptive manner than other forms of communication (e.g., in person, email).
Glassboard with co-workers
This article from Time Healthland, in analyzing Sandberg’s stance, asks the question, “Do any of us ever really finish [working]?” The Sepia Labs team is perpetually plugged in but the mobile focus of Glassboard helps us stay engaged when we are physically with our family and friends. We are always checking in with each other throughout the day, and glancing at a notification is far easier than checking email all the time (which is a poor means of communication in a team such as ours).
Glassboard with our families
Every one of us on the team has used Glassboard is some form or another to share photos and videos with our loved ones. Most of the team members have a dedicated family board for this very reason.
Have you ever heard a saying that expresses that the little things in life actually turn out to be the big things? That resonates when I think of Glassboard and families. The simplicity of sharing photos and videos on private family boards have allowed people to see some of the smaller moments experienced by their loved ones.
Glassboard quiet hours: too bad kids don’t come with this feature!
We also understand that you need time to disconnect to truly engage with others. That’s why we included the quiet hours feature, so you can set periods of time for the app to leave you alone! Trust us, we would implement this feature for screaming children if we could.
In the spirit of Brent’s unrequited love for infographics, we bring you an informative infographic from a UK marketing company.
The interesting bits to call out about why messaging is great for companies:
- 98% open rate (vs 22% in email)
- 90% of messages are read within 3 min.
Have you used any “messaging” apps with your co-workers? (You won’t go back)
Source: Text Marketer Bulk SMS Services
The software community, particularly social software, has a spotty privacy record. Many developers have violated their users’ privacy to create their business model, or to create a cool feature, or even just by accident. We try very hard not to be one of those developers, or let Glassboard be one of those pieces of software. We maintain your privacy as much as we possibly can. That means a few things to us.
We keep all our data collection above board. That means we’re not collecting any private information about you that you don’t know about. We’re not uploading your phone book, downloading your email contacts or sending messages to your friends (unless you ask us to). We ask you about yourself and your friends, but we don’t snoop around trying to figure it out.
The information we do collect we try very hard to keep safe. We use quite a bit of encryption in Glassboard. We use encrypted communications for everything you send us, and much of the data we keep is stored in an encrypted format. That keeps it hidden from any potential hackers.
That also keeps your messages safe from us. Nobody here at SepiaLabs can read your messages any more than those hypothetical hackers*. We don’t let anyone else read your messages either – that’s why there are no ads in Glassboard.
Of course we do collect and keep some personal information about you. But we keep it to a bare minimum – here’s the entire list:
- An email address. This is the only thing we absolutely require and actually verify.
- Your name, but you can use a pseudonym if you want to. We don’t pull it from your phone or check it.
- Your phone number, if you like. We don’t pull it from your phone.
- Your profile picture, if you choose to upload one.
- What kind of device you’re using (iOS, Android, or WinPhone)
- What version of the Glassboard app you have
That’s it. We don’t store any other personally identifiable information about you. Of course we have information like your statuses and comments, but it’s all encrypted and not identifiable to you.
We do track some anonymized statistics. That means we know things like how many people used Glassboard yesterday, and how many messages they sent, and how many people who signed up last January are still using Glassboard. But we don’t know if you used Glassboard yesterday, or how many message you have sent.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that we want to provide a great group communication app. We collect the minimum amount of information we need to do that, don’t sneak around to try to get more and information, and carefully protect the information we do collect.
* – About that asterisk earlier: Of course it is technically possible for us to decrypt your data – otherwise nobody in your boards would be able to read your messages! If we are issued a legal order to surrender your data to the government, we’ll have to comply with it. But getting at your data is a multistep process involving several keys, not something we can casually or accidentally do. It’s a little like when you see them launching nuclear missiles in a movie – except without the flashing red lights at the beginning or the mushroom clouds at the end.
Like countless others, my family is large and dispersed across the country — and it’s nearly impossible to get everyone together for the holidays. This year was no different. There were a few factions who managed to organize some face time with each other, but no mass assembly. Given that we all have growing families of our own, it’s unfortunately not going to get easier either.
To help create more of a shared experience between family members, we created a single “board” in Glassboard and invited everyone to it. All told, it’s a board of 20 people with ages varying from 13 to 75. Since most of the tech-savvy folks in my family are my siblings, I expected most of the interaction on the board to come from us. We all have children now, and passing pictures around via email, while infrequent, was not foreign to us. But what actually happened over the holidays was entirely different. The grandkids and grandparents took over entirely. It didn’t matter that we were in three different time zones — there was chatter back and forth at all hours. It was as if they were in the same room.
What they’d talk about was all over the map. One of the more popular themes included pictures and the naming ideas for one family’s new dog, but there were also an awful lot of pictures shared from some app that lets you decorate virtual donuts. It was all great fun. The grandparents were always quick to respond with a ‘like’ or a comment, instantly and seamlessly connecting with their grandkids in a way they never had before.
As a parent I was more than happy to watch the conversation unfold. It was comforting that the kids (grandkids) had a safe place where they could share with their cousins, but more importantly they could build closer relationships with their grandparents who weren’t physically there. The best part of it all — the conversation hasn’t subsided since the holidays. Family members are still posting daily, and we’re staying in touch like never before.
This is a great infographic we found over on RRW, talking about mobile – a few takeaways from us…
- 48% surveyed use mobile apps more than 10x a day. (seems light to me)
- Apps get 667 minutes per month… that’s 11 hours, or 22 min/day. (again, seems light)
But more importantly, I find it interesting that mobile even has a chance to supplant the web for customer services. What’s better on mobile? They have smaller screens, limited data connections, and yet 73% used a mobile app as part of a buying decision?
To me, it points to one key differentiator between the web and mobile. Mobile apps (UX, usability, everything) are held to a higher standard than web.
There is no review process for web. You don’t have to make sure your pages aren’t to heavy or your apps are saturating the data connection. With mobile apps you do, or your app won’t make it into the app store/market/hub.
So I guess it should come as no surprise that people are using their mobile more and more for customer engagement. Perhaps the limitations of the device make it easier to get things done, or maybe the review process is keeping mobile devs honest. Either way, the trend is moving the right way