Posts from mobile

Twitter Moments

So the thing I blogged about last week launched yesterday. Twitter is calling it Moments.

I think this is a big deal for first time and casual users of Twitter. It’s an easier way to consume the content in Twitter for people who don’t have the time or inclination to customize Twitter to work for them the way many of us have.

Since the AVC community was fairly negative on this in concept, I’m wondering how all of you are thinking about it now that it is out. Let the conversation commence.

Mobile Web Is Top Of Funnel, Mobile App Is Bottom Of Funnel

comScore released a mobile web/app report last week that is very insightful. The data is US only so it is skewed in that respect and many interesting things are happening outside of the US and the report misses them. But regardless, there are some important conclusions from the report and the title of this blog post is the biggest of them. You can download the comScore report here if you are willing to give them some of your personal info.

First things first. Mobile web unique visitor growth is faster than mobile app visitor growth and the lines are diverging.

mobile web growing faster

This is because your mobile website is the top of the funnel for your user acquisition on mobile. It is where people land when coming from search, email, social media, text links, etc, etc.

The mobile web scales much better. You can build a large audience on mobile web much more easily than via mobile apps.

mobile web scales better

The things that worked in the desktop world tend to work well in the mobile web world, but don’t work in the mobile app world. So you have to use a two step process in mobile. Mobile web is top of funnel and mobile app is bottom of funnel.

But if you want users to stick around for long periods of time and come back regularly, you must get them to your mobile app. Here’s why:

app dominate time spent

I like to think of this way. The mobile web is the window of your store. Users window shop on your mobile website. Getting them to download and install and use your mobile app is like getting them to come into the store. And that’s where the action is long term.

Disclosure: I was a seed investor in comScore in the late 90s, served on their board for something like eight years, and I still own some comScore stock.

Feature Friday: Slash

I’ve been using this third party keyboard on my iPhone called Slash. I met the company at Techstars NYC this week. They are part of the current crop of companies.

It turns any text input field on your phone (messenger, email, twitter, etc) into a command line interface.

This short video from Dennis Crowley’s tweet shows how it works in iMessage.

You can slash foursquare, soundcloud, youtube, spotify, and many other resources to help you quickly send web content and other stuff around.

It’s yet another example of the return of the command line interface.

The Return Of The Command Line Interface

I learned to use computers in the era of the “command line interface”. It looked like this:

I started using computers in the era of mainframes and mini-computers and my first desktop ran MS-DOS which was a command line driven operating system. When Mac and Windows arrived, the command line more or less left my life, other than the occasional need to muck around in the internals of the computer and/or network.

But I feel the command line interface coming back, largely driven by text messaging and the increasing ability to leverage bots inside messengers. Check out this list of telegram bots that have been written since the Telegram bot platform launched a few weeks ago. I’m preparing myself for the moment when I can order coffee this way:

@bluebottle /cortado /tostay

You also see this in the 140 character constraint on Twitter. This tweet is closer to coding syntax than english language:

And I used this string of code on duckduckgo just now to get the photo I put at the start of this post:

commmand line interface !gi

We are relearning how to code and send instructions in short bursts of information that is most certainly not conversational in nature. But now this sort of thing is done as much by teenagers weeks after getting their first smartphone as it is by engineers who live in command line interfaces all day long.

That’s a shift, maybe temporary while we wait for AI and speech recognition to improve, but an important one for now.

Feature Friday: The Back Button

So iOS9 has a back button. I’ve not seen it in action but I read about it when iOS9 was announced. And now iOS9 is out.

This is one of the things that Android has had and iOS has not. I’m not sure why Apple held out so long.

I’m going to try out the new iOS at some point in the near future. I’ll probably buy a 6S in a few weeks after it hits the stores.

I’ll be very happy to have a back button in iOS. It’s muscle memory to want to back.

I’d like to hear from those of you who have upgraded to iOS9 about the back button. Is it as big of a deal as I think it is?

Question: Can You Get T-Mo Wifi Calling On Stock Android

So last week I ditched my Nexus 6 for a Samsung Galaxy Edge 6 from T-Mo so I could get Wifi Calling on my android phone.

A week later I am back to the Nexus 6. I just couldn’t take all the stuff that comes with the T-Mo phone. The autocomplete was driving me crazy. There are apps on the phone I don’t want and don’t have the time to figure out how to delete. Plus I like the form factor of the Nexus 6 a lot better. It just feels right in my hand and the Galaxy Edge 6 did not.

But I’m really missing the T-Mo Wifi Calling feature that drove to to the T-Mo store to buy the Samsung phone in the first place.

So a question for the AVC community – can I somehow get T-Mo Wifi Calling on a stock android phone?

If you know how to do this, please let me know in the comments.

Android Tap & Go

I have not moved from one android phone to another in a few years. I’ve been going back and forth between the latest iPhone and the latest Android. I recently went through a period where I was carrying both.

But about a month ago, I went back to my Nexus 6 with a TMo sim as my sole phone. I really missed TMo’s wifi calling (and Google Fi’s wifi calling) so I bit the bullet yesterday and bought a TMo Android, the Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge.

So while I watched the Mets Nationals game yesterday (a super fun game with a happy outcome for Mets fans), I transferred over my content and apps from the Nexus 6 to the Galaxy 6 Edge. I was prepared for a lengthy go of it.

But to my amazement, the whole thing took almost no time because of a newish android feature called Tap & Go. As you go through the setup of your new android phone, you are asked if you want to restore from another device. If you say yes, you are asked to tap the two devices together, you hear a beep, and the new device copies everything over from the old device.

Well almost everything. You still need to manually launch and sign into each and every app. For me that’s a time consuming process because I use unique strong passwords. I imagine its a security hole to allow tap & go to restore logins as well. Convenience is the enemy of security.

But in any case, this Tap & Go is a really nice feature. It makes moving android phones a lot less painful. Which means I may do it more frequently. If Apple announces anything game changing on the iPhone tomorrow, I may move back to iOS for a bit. But if not, I am going to stick with android and possibly start trying out all sorts of different devices. Tap & G0 makes it super easy to do that.

Feature Friday: Twitter Highlights

I found out about this feature here at AVC a few weeks ago so it is fitting that I’m telling you all how much I like it. I believe it is only available on Android right now. I could be wrong about that, but I think that is the case.

This morning I had this notification on my phone:


When I clicked on that notification, I got this:


As I swiped through these cards, I got these in sequence:







These highlights are personalized for me based on who I’m following and likely a bunch of other things. So not all of them will matter to you. But I can tell you that this is a damn good personalized set of highlights for me.

If you want this on your Android, go to your mobile notification settings:


And select the Highlights checkbox:


When you follow almost 1,000 people on Twitter, you need something like this to make sure you don’t miss the good stuff. I really like it.

Signing My Name

I sign my name a lot. When we close deals, I sign the documents. When things change in our companies and they need consents, I sign them. I sign tax returns, filings, permits, and a host of other documents all the time.

As I have written here before, I have a hard time with what they used to call “penmanship” in school. It’s something about my dexterity (or lack thereof) in my hands. My hands get tired quickly and my handwriting gets illegible just as quickly.

Technology has been a godsend for me in this regard. Computers (and word processors before them) saved me from having to write by hand before I got out of high school. Phew.

The same has been true over the past few years when it comes to signing documents. I still do it by hand way more than I’d like but services like Docusign are being adopted by more and more companies and it seems like I Docusign now as much or possibly more than I physically sign.

My colleague Nick needed me to sign something last week. I said “please docusign it.” He did and within a few minutes the documents were signed. I sent him an email saying “that was so great, i wish everyone did it that way.” So this is a plea to everyone out there to skip the paper and go electronic when signatures are needed.

But as good as Docusign is, and it is really good, my all time favorite signing experience is on the Square checkout app. I’m not sure what it is, maybe its the angle (vertical but with a slight slope), or maybe it is the size of the signature box, or maybe it is the iPad’s screen, but whatever it is, I absolutely love signing my name on a Square checkout. If every signing experience was like that, I’d be a very happy man.

Feature Friday: Mayorships

I love the new version of the Swarm app from our portfolio company Foursquare so much that I fired off a tweetstorm about it earlier this week.

Among the many great replies I got was this one:

To which I replied:

I know gamification has been overdone and many are tired of it. But there is something about playing the mayorship game that never gets old for me.

Just today I checked in at my favorite coffee shop in Amagansett and got this notification:


Somehow Brian slipped in and grabbed that mayorship away from me a few weeks ago and I’m trying like hell to get it back. That drives business for Jack and brings a little more fun and playfulness to my life each day.

And its not just Jack’s where I’m on the cusp. Here are all the places I’m close.


That’s a list of places I’m likely to go to as I make my plans each day.

When Foursquare separated the core Foursquare app into two apps, Foursquare for venue search, recommendations, and tips, and Swarm for the social checkin and game play, they left mayorships and the leaderboard out of Swarm. That was a big mistake. It’s back and better than ever and I’m loving it.