Preparing for TV’s mobile-first future

As other types of publishers have before them, the TV industry’s digital strategy increasingly will need to incorporate the mobile-first principle.

Linkedin posts loss and skittish investors punish the stock

Yet another sign of market angst about social networks and cloud companies: Linkedin posts a 46% rise in first-quarter revenue, to $473.2 million, but the loss of $13.3 million is what the markets seem to be fixated on. The stock has fallen over 5% at this point, added to the roughly 30% that it lost during the first quarter.
Linkedin associated the loss to costs associated with its China expansion, and the acquisition of Bright, a job matching service. Without those one-time expenses the company says it would have earned 38 cents per share, which would still have represented a drop from 45 cents per share from a year earlier.
With over 300 million users, Linkedin s clearly operating at scale, but like the poor reception of Amazon’s quarterly results recently, the market’s mood is skewing away from the ‘wait and watch our growth’ story of internet firms, even billion dollar monsters.
My question is about mobile: can Linkedin successfully transition to a mobile first world? The company has stated that it will pass its ‘mobile moment‘ sometime in 2014, but I don’t think that is the real question. My bet is that Linkedin will have to join the path that Facebook and now Foursquare are on, namely, building a set of smaller and more focused mobile apps intended to do specific things. For example, a Linkedin messaging app, one for reading Linkedin content, and so on. They have been making a serious investment in mobile, so I don’t doubt that they will get there in time.

Chasing the mobile context dream

We are now in the post-desktop, mobile-first world, and there’s a number of interesting efforts that are  pushing at creating an experience platform based on mobile context. Because the mobile experience is made up of a number of silos — calendars, emails, documents, contacts, tasks — there is a huge opportunity in pulling together bits from some or all of these information reservoirs into some intentioned context.
This area is closely linked to the concept of deep search (see Deep search is coming to mobile, and will change everything), because the siloing of information on mobile is the biggest impediment to the potential for personal and networked productivity that mobile offers.
A simple example is the meeting. I have meeting information on my calendar — including meeting attendees, meeting times and location, and perhaps other clues — and a context-oriented tool might take that information and pull up more information that is potentially pertinent to the meeting, such as contact information about the attendees — perhaps a dossier assembled from Linkedin and other sources — recent emails from the attendees, and files shared via email or file sharing services.
In just the past week, I looked at a few new entrants in this space Refresh and Cotap.
Refresh is a calendar-centric application — pulling its primary data from an iOS calendar, only, at the present time — but augmenting that with a great deal of  information on the attendees from social services like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Angelist, and Foursquare, as well as the contacts on the iPhone.
Here’s an example of the sort of presentation you see on the app of meeting attendees.
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Ms Davis, however, was not an attendee of the meeting on my calendar, is not a contact of mine, and was accompanied by another spurious profile. So, although the app is now in open beta, it seems to have some rough edges.
The app notifies you with info about attendees just prior to the meeting, and allows annotations — like notes about people, and follow-ups to be created. Strangely, these last two can’t be easily used, since they wind up being internally managed, and not integrated with other services. For example, I created a note and a follow-up after a recent meeting, but that info is trapped in the app. It would have been much better if I could have synced the note with a Dropbox textfile, and the follow-up could have better been tied to a Todoist task.
The notes can be categorized, which may be useful:
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I encountered some other glitches, as well. Here’s what happened when I created a single follow-up:
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I wound up with three. And they can’t be edited.
The Bottom Line
I really like the motivation behind Refresh. It’s a great deal like Tempo, which I use frequently (see Tempo smartens up the smart calendar), in that it is calendar-centric. It has a Rapportive character in that it pulls contact information into context. However, at the present moment I find that its a bit buggy and too closed into itself for me to actually start entering notes and follow-ups there. Maybe in a few revs, though.
Next week, I will write about Cotap, an application headed in a similar direction but from a different starting point: an enterprise messaging app that’s chasing the mobile context dream, too.

U.S. smartphone ownership eclipses feature phones

The U.S. is now a smartphone nation, with 53 percent of all adult cell phone owners claiming ownership of a smartphone, according to a new report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Smartphone ownership is most represented among college grads, younger and more affluent adults.