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Best Sources to Follow the Mobile Apps iPhone/Android/Blackberry

I want to follow more closely what’s happening in the crazy mobile apps space so I asked my friends on Twitter and Facebook what I should read. Now my turn to share back with all of you the list I got with the RSS feeds in case you are interested.

What are the other best sources missing?

148Apps148Apps – iPhone App and Game Reviews and News

http://www.148apps.com/feed/

Android Central

http://www.androidcentral.com/feed

Android Community

http://feeds2.feedburner.com/AndroidCommunity

AppCraver

http://www.appcraver.com/feed/

Berry Reporter

http://www.berryreporter.com/feed/

blog maverick

http://blogmaverick.com/feed/

Boy Genius Report

http://www.boygeniusreport.com/feed/

CrackBerry.com blogs

http://crackberry.com/feedburnerfeed

Engadget Mobile

http://www.engadgetmobile.com/rss.xml

Games Alfresco

http://gamesalfresco.com/feed/

MobileCrunch

http://feedproxy.google.com/Mobilecrunch

Mobilewhack.com

http://www.mobilewhack.com/feed/

PDAfrance News

http://feeds.feedburner.com/PdafranceNews

TechNews AM

http://feeds.feedburner.com/technewsam

The iPhone Blog

http://feeds.feedburner.com/theiphoneblog

The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)

http://www.tuaw.com/rss.xml

update, I am told I should also add:
http://www.last100.com/
blog.appsfire.com



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PR, Marketing and Advertising suck, now what?

200908272239.jpgI have given a few times in the recent months a presentation,how to launch a product with a community that starts as a first slide with “PR, Marketing and Advertising suck”, and I gave it a few times in front of PR and marketing professionals who obviously enjoyed the slide so much that the most recent versions of my slide deck had “matter less than word of mouth” instead of “suck”. Anyway, having a panel dedicated to it in front of PR and Marketing professionals and I am staying here today with Guy Kawasaki, Louis Gray, Renee Blodgett and Steve Patrizi from LinkedIn trying to summarize my thoughts.

Of course I like to catch the attention of audiences I get to speak to at the beginning of my presentations and I am on purpose pushing the envelope a little, but not only.

Why Marketing, PR and Advertising suck for me

-I do not trust any advertising message or press release, they are generally fake.They are all designed to tell a story about a product or a company which is one sided, it only has the good aspects and they are not neutral. They can be interesting at times when there is news obviously, but even then, much less than what your friends think about it or what the sources you trust, which includes the press and blogs, say about it.

-many bad practice examples that I experienced myself made me not trust many people working as so called PR experts
Only in the recent weeks there were plenty of examples of PR firms cheating by writing fake iphone apps reviews paying interns to leave them, or sending stupid pitches. Most of them are basically standard messages and one time I even got one where they sent an email to me instead of a Wired reporter, with the Dear <insert the name of the wired reporter here> instead of mine. I have stopped working with a PR agency and manage the relationships with the bloggers and the press myself. The last PR agency that worked for me ended in a very bad situation where thanks to their advise and “carefully” distributed embargo we ended up being in the broken embargoes section of valleywag with all the serious press and bloggers laughing at us. I never want to see this happen again.

-online if the product is good you simply do not need them
Have you ever seen an ad for Twitter, Facebook or Google? Actually that is inaccurate I recently saw a few ads about Google adsense and sure, Google does now lots of marketing in different forms but you get the point, during years those companies spread and got millions of users only based on the word of mouth they got. If people like your product, it spreads on its own in many cases, at least for anything on the Internets.

What is the alternative?

Social software and the web have made word of mouth global and extremely fast and efficient, in a positive or a negative way. If your product is good or bad, people will talk about it if it matters to them. My presentation is all around why brands (which can be personal brands) need to create a community around themselves rather than focus on that NY Times article or that Techcrunch post that will get them millions of users. The best PR in the World gets you a little bump during a few days but it dies very fast and very few users remain and keep using your products. Of course it looks good to have half a page in a national newspaper or featured on TV, but it has nowhere the effect of a real community of fans.

Find an empty space.
If the product is good it will find its users or customersMy conference LeWeb in Paris gathers every year 2,000 people from 35 countries and never got any PR, advertising or marketing. There was a need for it, an empty space, and we executed as best as we could. It became a little brand in the world of internet events and did not need any pushing or faking. Our Seesmic Desktop Twitter and Facebook application got 2.5 million downloads without any PR or advertising.

Ship as soon as you can
Online users are used to unfinished beta products and actually enjoy playing with them even though they are still being created. If they understand that you are building them and iterating fast a little community will rapidly gather around your brand, it happened very quickly for Seesmic.

Listen to every single piece of feedback you get
Brands used to have to make focus groups and expensive testing or even test markets launches before they could know anything people would think about the products. Just search your brand on Twitter and follow what people are saying, if they say nothing it means they do not care or that your brand is not born yet, or worse, it is already dead. React quickly, make your product evolve or launch another one as soon as you can until you get attention. Note that I have not said press attention, I am talking about getting the first fans of your products here.

Answer especially if it’s negative
We get feedback about our products every minute or so and of course there is negative feedback. I enjoy it too and rush answering that feedback, it means people care, even if sometimes they are very brutal in public. At Seesmic we have a full time community evangelist, John Yamasaki, answering with me sometimes as many tweets as he can. An angry user who gets a problem solved often becomes your best friend after that and will start telling your friends how cool you behaved because you helped instead of hiding in an office.

Use all the tools available to filter the feedback
I am making one of those tools, but a Twitter client is not enough, feedback comes in multiple forms, I really like Uservoice and Getsatisfaction who let the users vote on the features they would like the most.

Most important, create a long term community
Seth Godin in tribes that I really advise you to read, quotes “1,000 true fans” explaining that having 1,000 real fans around your product helping you and telling their friends is more important than any PR you can get because they are here with you for the long term. They do not come for free and in a few weeks, it may take years and constant attention to create that community around you and your brand, it will come at a cost of lots of sharing and generosity. Share first, help them first, do not ask anything, long term you will get real fans if you are honest and prove you deserve trust. My friend Chris Brogan has just written a great book about how to get Trust Agents. Go and read it.

Why traditional PR and marketing does not work to build a community
Generally the effort is short term, often done with a supplier that can change, on a few months mission or goal, for a product launch, and that does not build trust. Everybody in the company and the PR firm focus on how to get attention for that product launch and press release and do not care a few weeks or even a few days after. There is nobody after the “marketing push” available and in constant touch with the first real fans that could gather around the product. They feel unheard, not taken care of sometimes betrayed when the ad was so over promising compared to the reality of the quality of that product that they are lost forever for that brand. You can hang that NY Times article on your office wall but it did not help much in the long term

Where do we go from there?
I am not trying to insult marketing professionals here far from it, and many get what I am describing here very well and some even use Seesmic. But I feel there is a very long way to go and a deep reboot must happen for brands and people helping them to become more trusted, transparent and in constant touch. A friend at a PR agency recently told me that most brands that get it now usually got a deep online PR issue first that forced them to react. Many remember the Dell hell blog controversy years ago, well Dell is now quoted everywhere as one of the brands that gets it the best, in constant online a click a away in touch with you thanks to Richard Binhammer @RichardatDell and his team who constantly monitor online sources and of course answer actively on Twitter. Many brands read what is being said about them, very few actually answer even negative requests the way Dell does.

There are amazing teams behind brands and amazing PR professionals such as Brian Solis (even if we fight sometimes, I respect him and would work with him anytime), who really get it, but I do not have a feeling that it is a majority yet and I am confident it will change. It will take time though, judging by the crap I am still getting daily in my email boxes.

Oh and of course, there are brands people just do not care much about, such as your toothpaste brand (nothing against toothpaste brands, we just do not talk about them that much) in which case there aren’t many solutions left outside of mass advertising which, yes, has still lots of future.



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Twitter Run and Office Tour

The SF Tech Runners group started with Doug and Jessica a few weeks ago, starting from the Twitter office, a nice run on the embarcadero and finishing with an unexpected Twitter Office Tour with co-founder and friend Evan Williams greeting us all stinky at the end. Was great to see you all!

Everybody can join, follow @sftechruns for more.

I tracked the run with the RunKeeper iPhone app you can see our progress here. Oh and yeah, this was recorded on my iPhone 3GS then quickly edited on imovie. I had to remove a few parts while running as the iPhone microphone does not like any wind going around especially coming from the sides.

the video


the group pic

SafariScreenSnapz012.jpg

the run

SafariScreenSnapz011.jpg



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Meet Nick Halstead the Founder of Tweetmeme

I was very impressed by Nick Halstead’s explosive growth with Tweetmeme, he explains how he does it in this video.



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Launch of Seesmic Desktop 0.4 and in-browser Seesmic Web

We are thrilled to announce two new products today, Seesmic Desktop 0.4 (small screen realestate mode, memory and CPU optimized, resize columns) and Seesmic web based in preview mode. I could explain you in details what it is all about but I would rather point you to a few posts we already saw about it and two videos: an HQ video we created showing both apps as well as my demo at the #crunchup. Full release notes coming soon I will update this post.

TechCrunch: Seesmic’s Browser Client is like Gmail for Twitter
Mashable: Twitter Everywhere: Seesmic Launches Web App, Plans Mobile Version
ReadWriteWeb: Seesmic launches web-based Twitter client & new version of Seesmic Desktop



and here is my demo at the #crunchup


Here are the full release notes for 0.4

Single Column and Multi-Column Mode

You now have two additional options to view Seesmic Desktop. Our previous version provided a combined fixed column with the ability to detach the columns as a way to manage your stream. In single column mode, you can keep your stream compact and use the sidebar to toggle between accounts, userlists and searches. With the all columns detached mode, you can freely view and control all of your columns in one window. With all three options, you can conveniently navigate your stream any way you want.

Enabling and Setting Fixed Width for Columns

With both the combined fixed/detached column mode and the all columns detached mode, you can now control the width of the detached columns. By setting and controlling a fixed width, you control over your own experience when managing your columns.

Collapsing and Expanding the Sidebar

We’ve also added a button to collapse and expand the sidebar to improve the user experience of being able to view and manage your stream. With the sidebar in collapsed mode, you can still view minimized buttons with tooltips to toggle between accounts, userlists and searches. This function is available in all three column modes.

Updated API usage controls, Added Options for Timeline Limits and Improved Optimizations for Performance

We understand the resource-intensive nature of client desktop applications. As such, we’ve made significant internal and external performance improvements, as well as give you more control in the resource management for your stream. Along with internal improvements, we’ve modified the Twitter API usage per account to accommodate the recent changes from Twitter, and updated the usage control to percentages (%) of allowed requests. You can also set timeline limits in Seesmic Desktop to help control performance. These limits define the maximum number of messages kept in each of your timelines from your friends; replies, private and sent; and searches.

Continued UI modifications, enhancements and fixes include:
* A new search to open when clicking on a hashtag (#) link.
* Mobypicture.com added as add-on authenticated service
* Ensuring links with # appear in seesmic desktop  
* Send messages to twitter will now be as “Seesmic”
* Various logic improvements for account and messaging actions * and many other additional fixes



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Meet MrTweet’s co-founder Ming Yeow

Ming Yeow founded an interesting service, MrTweet that lets you discover people you should follow pretty much the way the Amazon recommendations work. Ming also managed to create a growing community around it.



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New Seesmic Desktop 0.3rc for Team Seesmic

We just sent a new version to our TeamSeesmic members (you need to add your name and email in the form at http://desktop.seesmic.com to get it)


Because this will be only be available to our TeamSeesmic friends, this version will not auto-update. Here are the features that are included in this version:

Multi-Account Posting with Smart Account Enabling:
We’ve upgraded the user interface to select which accounts to send posts to, saving you the time and effort it takes to post to each account separately. We’ve also added an option for Smart Account Enabling. With this feature turned on, this will allow Seesmic Desktop to change accounts when messaging your friends based on whom you are replying or direct messaging to. Seesmic will not change the accounts if you do not enable Smart Account.
Authenticated bit. ly Integration:
You can now use your own bit.ly account when using bit. ly as a shortener for Seesmic Desktop. By simply entering your bit. ly API key, you can now keep track of your URL clicks when sharing your links with your friends and followers.

New Services Panel:
Along with bit. ly, we have set a foundation for managing your accounts for sending images, and be able to set them in our new Services Panel. The Additional Integrated Account Services panel currently includes image services such as Pikchur (where you can set your own account), Posterous, TwitPic, Twitgoo & yfrog (which is currently using your twitter account). More importantly, this allows us to give you more options for integrated accounts with other services that will be coming soon.

Continued UI modifications, enhancements and fixes:
We’ve made continued modifications to the Seesmic Desktop user interface saving time when using Seesmic Desktop and space when reading your stream.
Some of the enhancements include:
Minimizing the message panel until you start entering messages to send
Enabling replies in your Facebook friends’ avatar to quickly add comments
Inline reminders of what account you are posting from
An added “Cancel” button to erase your messages in the message panel
Updated scrolling arrows for enhanced browsing
Ensuring all replies appear in your integrated timeline
and many other additional fixes
If you have any direct feedback on this version, the best way to send in the feedback is through our help site:http://help.seesmic.com/ (we are currently working on some posts for the new features).
If you have any feedback on new feature enhancements, please go to http://feedback.seesmic.com/ to review, vote or add any ideas for our upcoming versions.
And of course, you can contact @askseesmic on Twitter.

We look forward to hearing your feedback!



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How to Build a Product with Your Community Slidecast (slides+audio)

I gave this talk around how to build a product with your community a few times so I am now going to prepare another one on something else (please let me know if you have any cool talk idea you think I should prepare) but here is the slide-deck with a voice over (that slideshare calls a slidecast) of the presentation I gave yesterday at StartupSF. Thanks Denis Mojado for recording it. Merci Microsoft Bizspark and GoGrid for hosting me.



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The coolest way to buy creme brulee in San Fran: the Twitter food cart

FirefoxScreenSnapz127.jpg
Follow @cremebruleecart (2,725 followers for Creme Brulee, I mean seriously) and you can get Creme Brulee.

The foodcart movement was started by Korean BBQ @kogibbq and suddenly 100 people can show up where the cart appears. It’s the food smartmob.
Blake Engel who tweets under @urbanhiker explains what the food cart movement is all about. A few really smart food producers or chefs have gathered a community around themselves and they move around in the city or even in the US and they tweet where they are, the members of their communities just go get food when they are nearby. This is too cool.


here are a few Twitter accounts to follow (I hope I got them ok):
@kogibbq
@magiccurrykart
@leftcoastsmoke
@boccalone
@chezspencergo
@cookiewagsf
@umi
@kitchenettesf
@cremebruleecart
@missionstfood

Bonus: a cool article from SF Gate taking french food to the streets



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Cory Visits and the Social Networking Execs Line Up

Last Friday I got invited to join a brainstorming session to help Newark City mayor Cory Booker using social software. Why was this meeting different than yet another celebrity or politician tweetering and Facebooking? Most social networking executives were in the (packed) room to help (and pitch) Cory on how (and why) he should use these tools.

See the incredible gathering around Cory:

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Look on the other side of the room:

skitched-20090531-111517.jpg
next to Sean Parker is Joe Green of Causes, did not have the space on the pic

Cory Booker is very active on Twitter and explains very well how he uses it (video), Cory passed 100,000 followers yesterday. Cory Booker also has a Facebook Fans page and a vanity url http://www.facebook.com/corybooker with about 5,500 supporters on it. Cory blogs but we did not talk much about blogging.

Why did all the Social Networking execs show up? I hear Cory Booker is not only one of the leading voices in American politics today, he is seen as having the potential to become the next President in a few years. Former TechCrunch VP of communication Sarah Ross of Katalyst Films organized the meeting and everybody likes Sarah, even more since she is behind the impressive social software presence of Ashton Kutcher who became the most followed Twitter user of all times ahead of CNN with about 2 million followers in just a few months… The meeting was hosted by Reid Hoffman at LinkedIn, and Reid is the most connected entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, nobody refuses an invitation from Reid. That is a lot of reasons to help Cory.

Celebrities and politicians are very important for all social software tools, they are one of the best endorsement they can get and drove huge traffic to both Twitter and Facebook. Randi Zuckerberg is the personal contact of all the celebrities at Facebook and even created a dedicated page: Celebs on Facebook. Happy to hear that French President Nicolas Sarkozy has a very active page now with 113,000 supporters btw!

Mastering social software is now a necessity for any politician and it has become clear that it gave a clear advantage to Obama in the presidential campaign. Obama understands this so well that he just hired Andrew McLaughlin, Google’s Top Policy Executive to become the White House’s deputy CTO.

Here is the agenda we went through:

-opening remarks by Reid Hoffman and Cory Booker
-Reid Hoffman explains how LinkedIn can be useful and how to use his profile
-Gina Bianchini explained the power of communities with Ning and best use cases
-Randi Zuckerberg explained how Cory could use best his Facebook fans page twitt
-Biz Stone talked about the power of Twitter to Cory who is already completely addicted to it
-I gave a demo of Seesmic Desktop and how Cory could manage both Twitter and Facebook, later Cory asked me to set him up on his MacBook Air, we took a picture from his webcam

FirefoxScreenSnapz088.jpg
Cory Booker, me, Randi Zuckerberg

-John Ham gave an overview of ustream and how Cory could live broadcast in video with an iphone or a computer
-Sean Parker and Joe Green explained Causes and how Cory could use it
-Brittany Bohnet demoed how to best use iGoogle, Google maps, Latitude and other Google tools useful for politics

We then entered into an interesting brainstorming during which Gina Bianchini had a great point that the most important was to really engage in these tools and not use all of them in a mediocre way. Of course an empty blog, ning community or any other tool won’t help, all politicians should make sure they really listen and talk to their fans, not only broadcast stuff. That is clearly what Cory does already on Twitter: Cory answers personally all day long, way to go.

I was personally very impressed by Cory Booker (and I do not say this about all politicians I meet, some of my friends can confirm that :), his charisma and the way “he gets it”, I did not have much time to discuss with his team who also seemed to get and use social software very well. Cory asked me to set him up on Seesmic Desktop and started using it straight away which was an absolute pleasure for me to see. The “bloomberg of social software” all in one screen seems to work.

Cory, I was extremely happy to meet you and will be happy to help you anytime. Thank you Sarah and Reid for inviting me to this incredible meeting.



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