Of late, availability of mobile apps has become a key requirement when I evaluate whether to use a particular service. But, even in the camp of SAAS folks who get the need to have a mobile product, I’m still surprised when I see them comfortable with a mobile-web-embedded-in-native app strategy. I recently evaluated 2 services — a CRM and a project management SAAS service — and walked away since their “native” apps weren’t really so.

The key to this is that performance & fluidity matters. Small screen sizes, vagaries of cellular connectivity (speed, response times) and an on-the-go nature of the mobile device means I don’t have the patience to deal with web apps delivered packaged in a native container.

tldr : As Uber and Lyft both reach the ‘good enough’ threshold, Personalized experiences built on top of the services will be key to acquiring, retaining and monetizing users. These could include loyalty programs, differentiated experiences and alternative monetization models. A few ideas in the 2nd half of the post.

Those who know me (well), usually know how much I love to drive. …

So I’ve been using Amazon Echo for the past 2 days. And I’m convinced that voice will trump screens for in-home actions and control.

Here’s why —

Echo = always listening + super responsive

Consider the effort you put into walking up to a switch and flipping it to turn on the bedroom lights.

Now consider the effort required to pull out a phone, navigate to the correct app, wait for it to launch, find the button to turn on that light, and click.

And finally, think about this —

Alexa, turn on the bedroom light

Or

Alexa, turn off…

Messaging is increasingly becoming popular (FB Messenger just crossed 1B downloads just on Android) and a bunch has been written about reimagining services for the ‘chat’ paradigm. I believe the underlying current is really around natural interfaces for existing services — ones that go beyond the ‘app’ interaction model. Here are some thoughts on why, and opportunities, ingredients and players in the space.

Thesis — ‘chat’ is just one instance of ‘natural’ interfaces for services

Text : Chat has been easily adopted and is fast growing:

  • It’s easy to use — natural language is the way we communicate since birth.
  • We have an increasingly busy life — effortless, on the go interactions…

Over the last few years, Notifications have pretty much taken over our mobile device interactions. Users we’ve spoken with have told us about the constant barrage they deal with, simply so that they don’t miss the few that really matter. Here are a few thoughts around the landscape Notifications operate in and how their experience can be improved, both at OS and app levels.

State of the union re Notifications

  • Too many (with the growing number of apps/services that we use via phones)
  • Untimely. They are ‘app centric’ vs being ‘user centric’, and usually appear without knowing your context — do you really need that update…

Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Snapchat, Whatsapp — all consumer focused products. Great when you want to connect with your buddies or family, but feel inappropriate when you want to ask a quick question or setup a meeting with a peer at this company you are working on a partnership with. You default to email.

Given what Messaging apps have done to encourage quick, inbox-freeing conversations, sharing and decision making with buddies or teams (Slack), it feels like there’s an opportunity for a messaging product that caters to professional chats & replaces email.

Today, Facebook will announce Messenger as a platform. And shortly thereafter, Google will likely follow suit. A few quick thoughts around what a platform built upon messaging could look like…

  1. Foundation : 1:1 and group chats. Everyone in the space has this covered.

2. Strengthen the base : Make the core experience better. Done in-house, and involves —

(a) seamless sync across multi devices : mobile, desktop, smartwatches. Let me switch devices and continue where I left off.

(b) device appropriate experiences : glanceable + voice driven on the smart watch, natively on the desktop

(c) parse the conversations to…

I’ve previously written about 2015 being the year of smartwatch wars. Irrespective of who wins and how it all plays out, I am confident that in the next few years, we will see a wide adoption of a new device in the consumer’s daily life. Mike Maples Jr. of Floodgate penned an awesome post 3 years back involving Technology Waves that’s still a great way to think about how to identify & ride those. As with any enabling tech/platform, new apps will flourish, and we are already getting excited about the possibilities.

So, where do the opportunities lie ?

Today…

The real potential of connected devices lies in in the service they are attached to & the data they collect. As fitness tracking hardware gets commoditized (with Chinese knockoffs at rock bottom prices), or absorbed (by multi-function competition such as the Apple watch), services built upon data let those businesses keep making money. Partnerships offer an interesting avenue for tapping new segments & growth in the category. Here are some thoughts around how to make it happen.

Why

With new health and fitness tracking wearables launching by the day, the established Fitness trackers —Fitbit, Misfit and Jawbone have an opportunity to…

Smartwatch wars are coming. With recent launches by Pebble, LG, Huawei, the Apple watch set to debut next week, and mainstream fashion brands expected to launch their variants this holiday season, the smartwatch wars will be in full force before 2016. Here are my thoughts on some trends we are seeing, how they stack up and how they (might) play out..

Weapons of war

Unlike phones, smartwatches are a part of a slightly different segment with existing prior products, expectations, and makers. I believe that consumer purchases will be influenced by 4 major factors —

1. Fashion fit

Given that smartwatches are a…

devarshi

Now: NewCo. Prev Product @Twilio, Co-founder/CEO @imbuewear , Co-founder @UrbanPiper, Intrapreneur @Qualcomm. #entrepreneur

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