Friday, 9 September 2011

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “HOW TO: Get Notified When Your Favorite Runway Looks Arrive in Stores”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “HOW TO: Get Notified When Your Favorite Runway Looks Arrive in Stores”

HOW TO: Get Notified When Your Favorite Runway Looks Arrive in Stores

Posted: 09 Sep 2011 04:03 AM PDT

It’s New York Fashion Week, which means designers are unveiling collections that might not hit stores for up to six months. Chances are, come late winter many of us will forget our favorite skirt or handbag we promised we’d pick up as soon as it arrived at a nearby retailer.

Enter Runway Tracking, a new tool from a startup we recently profiled called Lyst, which lets you subscribe to updates from different brands, retailers and individuals in a Twitter-like news feed, or “lyst.” The tool lets you tag your favorite items from the runway and sign up for notifications as soon as they arrive in one of Lyst’s hundreds of partner stores worldwide.

"Runway shows are increasingly becoming consumer-facing events," says Lyst founder and CEO Chris Morton. Runway Tracking, he says, will allow consumers to "act upon that desire immediately, instead of waiting months for items to come in stock,” and give brands and retailers another opportunity to hook potential customers ahead of purchase.

Photographs from runway shows will appear on Lyst immediately after they conclude, the company promises. A spokesperson says the tool launched with “most major designers,” including Oscar de la Renta, Proenza Schouler, Tibi and Isabel Marant.

SEE ALSO: HOW TO: Follow New York Fashion Week Online

We’ll be interested to see how this product develops. Should it gain enough traction, Lyst’s data could help designers and buyers better predict what runway items will prove most popular in stores, a challenge that other startups such as Polyvore have already begun pursuing.

More About: fashion, lyst, runway tracking, shopping

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Google Maps for Android Now Lets You Add Photos to Reviews

Posted: 09 Sep 2011 01:56 AM PDT

Google Maps for Android has been updated to version 5.10.0, which brings two new nifty features: the ability to attach photos to Place reviews, and the option to see Places you’ve rated with 4 or 5 stars in your map view.

The first option is self explanatory – it just lets you add a little more flavor to your reviews with a photo. The second option is a great incentive to use ratings more often, as the most places most important to you will show up on your map every time you fire it up.

The new version of Google Maps is available now in the Android Market.

[via Android Central]

More About: android, Google, Google Maps, Map, smartphone

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MileWise Factors in Miles & Points to Help You Find the Cheapest Flight

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 08:54 PM PDT

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

Name: MileWise

Quick Pitch: Calculates your miles and points to help you find the best flight.

Genius Idea: MileWise is a search engine designed for the frequent flier in mind. Unlike most flight search engines however, which only let you rank flights by price, duration or number of stops, MileWise factors in airline miles as well as hotel and credit card points to help you find the flight that offers the most value.

The site keeps track of your rewards programs in one place, and then uses that information when conducting flight searches. Flight information is pulled from several sources, including Orbitz, Everbread and directly from airlines. 350 rewards programs are supported at this time.

MileWise was co-founded by Vinay Pulim, a former senior software engineer at Hunch, and Sanjay Kothari, previously of Boston Consulting Group. Kothari says he used to spend hours calculating the value of frequent flier miles and hotel and credit card points before booking a flight, which inspired him to pair up with Pulim. The two founders, who launched MileWise publicly in August, raised $1.5 million in debt funding in 2010.

Kothari says the team is currently working to enhancing its current search product by adding flexible date search and support for more airlines and credit card programs, among other things. The startup also plans to release apps for the iPhone, iPad and Android in the near future.

Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark

Microsoft BizSpark

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.

More About: bizspark, milewise, spark-of-genius, travel

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Facebook Begins Testing Friend Filters in News Feed [PICS]

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 08:43 PM PDT

Facebook has begun testing a slew of changes to the News Feed, including friend list filters and smart lists that automatically categorize your friends.

The changes seem to be aimed at making the content within the News Feed more relevant. These changes, as far as we can ascertain from screenshots sent to us, show that Facebook is dividing the News Feed into lists, much like Google+ has done with Circles. “Feed filters make it easy to see a selected set of friend’s updates in one place and share exclusive with them,” Facebook’s guide to the new feature states.

A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on this story.

One of the most interesting aspects of the revamped News Feed is the addition of Smart Lists. Smart Lists automatically sort your friends into a work list, a list for classmates and a list for friends who live within 50 miles of your current city. This makes it easy to post updates just to your college friends or to talk about a local party with just your nearby friends.

The changes are likely to be construed as a response to the rise of Google+, whose Circles feature makes it easy to share content with smaller groups. Facebook has always had Friend Lists as a feature, but less than 5% of users utilize them in any meaningful way. These changes are designed to fix that.

Check out the screenshots below, and let us know what you think of the revamped Facebook News Feed.

Facebook List Feed Filters

Facebook's List Feed Filters let you filter your news feed by specific groups of friends, much like Google+ Circles.

Friend List Explanation

Facebook explains Friend Lists.

Facebook Smart Lists

Facebook automatically organizes your work friends, school friends and nearby friends into lists.

Facebook Sharing

Facebook explains how users can share posts with just close friends or other friend lists.

News Feed Organization

Facebook explains how to organize your News Feed.

Hat tip to Nick Starr.

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Blogger Finally Releases an iPhone App

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 07:58 PM PDT

Google has finally launched an iOS app for Blogger, giving the blog network’s millions of users a simple way to write, manage and publish posts from their iPhones.

The app, available for iOS users 3.2 and up, is rather straightforward. It allows users to compose and publish blog posts complete with photos and geotagging. It also lets users view and edit their published and draft blog posts. It mimics the simplicity of the Blogger for Android interface, though. Users can also manage multiple blogs from the interface.

While the app works for the iPad, it only works in compatibility mode. Hopefully an iPad app is in the near future.

This is the first official Blogger app for the iPhone. BlogPress created an unofficial app that Blogger endorsed, but an official app has been long overdue. The blogging service, once the world’s largest blogging service, has been overshadowed by WordPress, Tumblr and more lightweight competition. Google recently started investing in an overhaul of the service in an attempt to make Blogger relevant once again.

What do you think of Blogger and its new iOS app? Let us know in the comments.

More About: blogger, Google, iOS app

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Ben & Jerry’s Schweddy Balls: Big on Twitter

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 06:43 PM PDT

“Wow, you have some beautiful balls,” Terry Rialto (Molly Shannon) tells Pete Schweddy (Alec Baldwin) in a classic NPR spoof sketch Delicious Dish on Saturday Night Live.

Now, Mr. Schweddy’s mouth-watering balls have found their way into Ben & Jerry’s latest ice cream flavor: “Schweddy Balls.” The news has sent Twitter users into a frenzy; the ice cream was a trending topic on the service Thursday.

The new flavor name may seem a risky one for any company. But Twitter users’ response was mostly positive and light-hearted, according to sentiment data Topsy, a social search startup, shared with Mashable.

More than 44% of the first 27,508 tweets about the new flavor either expressed amusement, included exclamations of an intent to buy the flavor or offered a jovial double entendre. Forty-six percent of tweets were neutral, and just under 10% tweets were of the negative variety.

Even then, a majority of those negative tweets merely expressed disbelief at the name choice and were not overly critical in tone, according to Topsy’s data.

“We’ve always been a company that has had a sense of humor,” Ben & Jerry’s spokesperson Sen Greenwood told NPR. “This is just plain silly.” Twitterers seem to agree.

The eyebrow-raising flavor wouldn’t be complete without its own accompanying social media promotion. Facebook users, should they “Like” Ben & Jerry’s Page, can opt to send Schweddy Balls-themed greeting cards — “Favorite Holiday Treat”, “Mouth-Watering”, “Secret Recipe” and “Bigger than Expected” Delicious Dish clips included — to any of their friends and family members on the social network.

The Schweddy Balls flavor is a mix of vanilla ice cream, rum and fudge-covered rum and milk chocolate malt balls. The limited-batch, U.S.-only pints will be available at select Ben & Jerry stores. Should the initial reaction from Twitter be any indication, you might have to fight to get your hands on them.

More About: Social Media, twitter

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8 Star Trek Gadgets That Are No Longer Fiction

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 05:17 PM PDT

Forty-five years ago, the first episode of Star Trek aired on NBC. It was five years after the Soviet Union launched the first human into space, and the franchise explored a fictional 23rd century “United Federation of Planets” through a crew based on the starship Enterprise.

Six television series and 11 movies later, some aspects of Star Trek no longer seem futuristic (people still don’t live in space, but they are working on vacationing there).

To celebrate Star Trek’s anniversary and lasting impact, we enlisted help from the “Commander” of international Star Trek fan association Starfleet, Dave Blaser.

He and a handful of other Trekkies helped us point out these eight Star Trek technologies that have shifted from future fantasy to present reality.

SEE ALSO: 45 Years of Star Trek [INFOGRAPHIC]

1. The Flip Phone

While on away missions, the Star Trek crew often speaks through hand-held “communicators” that look like walkie talkies with a flip top — in other words, much like a clamshell mobile phone.

The likeness inspired Motorola in 1996 to name the first flip phone “StarTAC.”

It also caused some strife for Trekie Ted Anthony, who wrote in a 2006 article for the AP: “Once, when I was 6, the teenage son of one of my father’s colleagues fashioned me a handmade communicator out of a wood block, paint and chickenwire. A few months later, I left it in an airplane bathroom as we flew to Asia and caused something of a bomb scare.”

2. The iPad

Throughout Star Trek: The Next Generation, touch-based control panels called PADDs (personal access display devices) were frequently used by crew members. They resemble the tablet-like computers of today.

According to Ars Technica, PADDs were partly a reflection of a constricted budget. The flat surface of the devices meant that no knobs or dials needed to be constructed, and the idea of that its software could be reconfigured to complete any task made it a flexible prop.

No actual code was written for the devices in Star Trek, but CBS Interactive created an iPad app that mimicks its interface.

3. Bluetooth Headsets

Photo source: Wikipedia

Uhura, for a time the Enterprise’s Communications officer, wears a giant silver earpiece while sitting at the communications station. This reminds Blaser and others of the bluetooth headpieces of today.

“Look at anyone walking down the street looking like they’ve gone insane and are talking to themselves and you’re likely to see a blue light flashing next to their ear and, looking closer, you’ll see the Bluetooth earpiece.”

4. Tricorders

In Star Trek, “tricorders” are handheld devices used for sensor scanning, data analysis and recording data.

A company called Vital Technologies intentionally replicated it in the mid-90s with a device that it called the TR-107 Mark 1. Like its fictional counterpart, the device included several scientific functions such as an electromagnetic field meter, thermometer, barometer and light meter.

According to Blaser, the company sold about 10,000 of these units before it went out of business.

More recent efforts at replicating the device include a Tricoder Android app that was taken down earlier this month after CBS cried infringement and a $10 million contest by the X-Prize foundation for a Tricorder-like medical diagnostic device.

5. The Floppy Disk and USB Drives

Star Trek foresaw the convenience of portable digital storage.

“On Star Trek, they were the small square coloured pieces of plastic that they inserted into various computer consoles, but in the 80s and 90s we had the 3.5-inch floppy disk that was remarkably close to the same size as those pieces of plastic that they had on Star Trek,” Blaser says.

“Later, in Star Trek: The Next Generation, they had isolinear chips that could hold gigabytes upon gigabytes of data. These days, you don’t see floppy disks being used but USB flash drives which are, incidentally, pretty close to the same size that Star Trek TNG showed the isolinear chips were.”

6. Voice Activation

When Scotty meets an at-the-time-of-filming modern computer, he’s confused when it doesn’t respond to his voice as the Enterprise computers do. Today, he might have had more luck. Many computer softwares, smartphones, cars and other electronics now have voice activation options.

7. GPS

While the transporter above is from the 2009 Star Trek movie, well after GPS was invented, its predecessors were also able to locate crew members with precision before beaming them up. The U.S. government declared GPS functional in 1995 after launching 27 Earth-orbiting satellites — about 30 years after the concept appeared in Star Trek for the first time.

8. Diagnostic Bed

Dr. McCoy’s medical diagnostic bed inspired a team of scientists at the University of Leicester to create a sickbay that observes patients for early signs of diseases using monitoring equipment such as thermal imaging technology and analysis of the patient’s breath.

A scientist who worked on the project called a “first step” to achieving the sci-fi technology.

Obviously, some of the gadgets in Star Trek were based on science fiction staples established long before 1966 (If you’re interested in the original origins of some of these gadgets, click here). But Star Trek is somewhat of a gold mine of once-futuristic technology and inspiration.

“The list can go on and on and on about various things that have been inspired by Star Trek,” Blaser says. “Even people have been inspired by Star Trek and have gone on to do great things. Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield and American Astronaut Mae Jamieson were both Star Trek fans.”

Let us know about some of your favorite Star Trek gadgets in the comments below.

More About: Sci-Fi, science fiction, Star Trek

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Twitter’s Status Update: More Promoted Tweets, More Engagement

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 04:19 PM PDT

Give Twitter CEO Dick Costolo credit: He’s a smooth operator. In a chat with tech press Thursday morning, he offered a list of eye-popping engagement statistics — then, in the most casual way possible, slipped in this little piece of news: “You’ll start to see promoted tweets from companies you don’t follow.”

Twitter started putting promoted tweets in users’ timelines this summer, but was careful to note at you would only see them if you followed the brand. Since you’d be seeing those brands’ tweets anyway, the only difference you’d notice was that some of those tweets were “sticky,” meaning they would stay at the top of your timeline until you read them.

The arrival of promoted tweets from companies that are similar to the companies you already follow is hardly unexpected. AllThingsD predicted it a couple weeks ago.

But what Costolo revealed today was that everyone would start to see promoted tweets in their timeline, regardless of how they’re accessing Twitter. Doesn’t matter whether you’re on the company’s mobile client,, or a third-party service like TweetDeck. Ads are coming to everyone.

This was inevitable; Twitter decided long ago advertising would be its main source of revenue. What matters is how the rollout of promoted tweets is handled. And Costolo seems to be erring on the side of caution. Promoted Tweets, when you see them, “will be based on the interest graph of the accounts you follow,” he says. “So you should be seeing the kind of content you're already interested in."

SEE ALSO: Explore Twitter's Evolution: 2006 to Present

We’ll wait to see the actual rollout before passing judgment. But from today’s evidence, it seems Costolo is handling this crucial transition in the best way possible. He cares deeply about the product, and knows that its health comes first. (Revenue, Costolo says, is like breathing: it’s vital to life, but it’s not the purpose of life.)

Hence those eye-popping engagement stats. Costolo had to prove that Twitter is thriving under his management, and so it is. Compared to the beginning of 2011, 110% more tweets are being sent every day now; the number of active users the service expects to add by the end of the year — that is, in the next four months — outranks the total number of users it added between 2006 and 2009.

Clearly, Costolo has no intention of slowing that growth. If a form of advertising proves unpopular with users, such as the much-mocked “Quick Bar”, he’s more than likely to remove it. Indeed, at a time where some tech CEOs seem intent on creating as much drama as they can, it’s refreshing to see one carry out a difficult task with relaxed, understated aplomb.

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Watch Live: Obama’s Address to Congress on Jobs

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 03:59 PM PDT

President Barack Obama is set to deliver a highly-anticipated speech to a joint session of Congress on his plan to create jobs.

The speech, which will begin at 7 PM ET, will be Obama’s moment to lay out his plan to kickstart a stagnating economy before the 2012 election cycle kicks into high gear. Obama’s poll numbers have suffered with the economy’s recent volatility.

SEE ALSO: 51+ Essential Resources for the Digitally Savvy Job Hunter

“The people of this country work hard to meet their responsibilities. The question tonight is whether we’ll meet ours,” Obama will say in his speech. “The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy; whether we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning.”

We’ve embedded a live stream of his speech so you can watch via the web, courtesy of the White House.

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Exclusive: NBC iPad App Now Broadcasts Full Episodes

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 03:18 PM PDT

NBC upgraded its iPad app Thursday so users can watch entire shows on their tablets. The network held off on featuring full episodes when the app was first released in June.

Starting Thursday evening, fans can watch all the content available on on their NBC iPad app. That includes “pretty much everything” on the network, though the standard is to offer the five most recently aired shows, says Vivi Zigler, president of NBC Universal Digital Entertainment.

Though other networks, notably ABC and CBS, have offered full shows on their iPad apps for more than a year, Zigler says NBC “wanted to understand the business model mechanism” of the iPad before it moved forward.

Before Thursday’s upgrade, the app featured short clips from the network, but not full episodes. The new app also offers customization features that let you follow a show and have it automatically update in the app, rather than having to search for a new episode.

The network also upgraded its NBC Live co-viewing app Thursday, to offer fans the ability to check in on Facebook and Twiter. Zigler says NBC will be offering NBC Live content from The Biggest Loser, The Office, Chuck and The Sing-Off during the upcoming season.

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Neil Gaiman & Amanda Palmer Fund Fall Tour With Kickstarter

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 02:29 PM PDT

In just 48 hours, Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman have raised over $65,000 to fund their upcoming West Coast tour using Kickstarter.

The pair far surpassed their $20,000 goal and their campaign still has 24 days to go.

Though the minimum donation is a mere dollar — which gets you a digital download — the big buy-ins may be the most remarkable part of their success. For example, pledging $2,500 gets you VIP access to all five nights of the tour as well as a slew of other exclusive goods. Three people have already bought in and two spots remain. In addition, several of the $500 VIP packages for individual shows are sold out.

Of course, it helps the duo is already famous in its own right: Palmer is a renowned musician who, among other things, cofounded the Dresden Dolls. Gaiman is the author of books like the acclaimed graphic novel series The Sandman and Coraline.

During the tour, which is being billed as “An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer,” the married couple will take stage with a ukulele, a keyboard and some microphones. Each show will be recorded and released as a digital download to everyone who helped fund the project.

It’s no secret that Kickstarter is an excellent platform for artists to fund their work. In fact, Gaiman was involved in a Kickstarter project before, when filmmaker Chistopher Salmon turned his short story “The Price” into an animated movie.

Palmer’s use of the platform is not surprising, as well. She’s embraced alternative distribution means in the past such as Bandcamp, and has a tremendous following on social sites, including over 500,000 Twitter followers.

Both artists were involved in an innovative songwriting project earlier this year designed to illustrate the changes in music distribution on the web.

Do you think Kickstarter is a good way to fund music tours? Let us know in the comments.

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5 Small Business Tips for an Uncertain Economic Climate

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 02:23 PM PDT

Jeff Stibel is CEO of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. He was previously president and CEO of and general manager of web services at United Online. He currently serves on the board of directors for The Search Agency, EdgeCast and Autobytel, as well as on academic boards for Tufts University and Brown University.

When looking at the U.S. economy, the only thing that can be said with certainty is that we are in a period of extreme uncertainty. Consumer confidence hit a 30-year low as consumer spending hit a record high for the year. Wall Street is announcing record corporate profits while main street is suffering. And corporate CEOs are receiving massive incomes at a time when the country has unacceptably high unemployment rates.

We have entered the Bermuda Triangle of economic indicators, where our economic compass has gone haywire. The U.S. stock market has entered a period of extreme volatility. Stock indexes lost over 5% of their value the day after S&P's debt downgrade, only to fully bounce back a few days later.

Eventually, these extreme market fluctuations will subside. Until that occurs, however, the market's volatility will ripple through the economy with very real, albeit uneven, force.

These wild fluctuations in the stock market are causing consumers to tighten their spending, thus causing increased pressure on small businesses. While large companies can weather the storm by dipping into cash reserves or discounting prices, the neighborhood business has no such buffer.

Small businesses, already squeezed for operating capital by vendors and lenders, will need to adopt methods to bring stability to an otherwise unstable and uncertain landscape.

Here are five such tips for doing so.

1. Request Better Payment Terms

Although banks are hesitant to provide small businesses with access to capital, there is an alternative form of financing available — trade credit. By asking for longer payment terms such as 60, 90 or even 120 days, a small business can turn their receivables into a form of operating capital.

2. Social Networking

Facebook and Twitter are not just for fun; they are also immensely powerful business tools for marketing and customer outreach. Even better, they are free. Chances are, your customers are already on these networks, which is why you need to be there too. Heed Seth Godin's comment that "five thousand people who want to hear your message are more valuable than five million who don’t." Rather than cast a wide and perhaps ineffective marketing net, employ Facebook and Twitter to target your audience directly and inexpensively.

3. Improve Customer Service

Economic uncertainty often compels companies to reduce all expenses, but some cuts will prove more expensive in the long run. For example, as a cost savings, your competitors may be skimming on customer service. You should resist the impulse to do the same. Remember, it's generally more expensive to acquire new customers than to keep existing ones. Furthermore, when others are cutting the quality of customer care, improvements to your service will get your company noticed.

4. Use Online Directories

In order increase traffic to your business (both online and off), seek out web directories that are free or where registration is relatively inexpensive. Google Places offers a free and useful directory of businesses. Bing, CityGrid and other business directories offer similar services through which consumers can learn about your company.

5. Separate Your Personal from Your Business Credit

Apply for a credit card under the name of your business as opposed to your own name. Building a business credit history distinct from your personal credit will enable your business to qualify for better payment terms, credit lines, loans and other forms of capital.

Keep in mind that banks and other lenders will not loan to a business if lacks sufficient credit history, so if you haven't established credit card and checking accounts under your business' name, now is the time. Over time, the switch will provide the double benefit of building up your business credit while protecting you from having to give personal guarantees.

Image courtesy of Flickr, mikeleeorg

More About: business, economy, finance

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51+ Essential Resources for the Digitally Savvy Job Hunter

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 01:58 PM PDT

Desperate times or not, everyone could use a refresher course on the state of the job market these days. And when it comes to the tech industry, employers expect the cutting edge. That’s why we’ve brought you a hearty roundup of over 50 job resources targeted for the digital pro.

Discover how social media can benefit your job hunt, or even hinder it. Study up on how to score jobs at top tech companies from the sources themselves. Learn what it takes to digitize your resume, cover letter and portfolio.

Please share tips from your own tech job experiences in the comments below. Happy hunting!

Tips & Resources

Job Tips by Company/Industry

Social Media Tips

Resume Inspiration

1. Be Multidimensional

Meghan Molino's resume pops out for many reasons: Not only does it have a 3D feel but it also reveals the multiple dimensions of her personality.

"I'm a very visual person, and I wanted a resume that honed in on how I prefer to digest data and that also showcased my own creativity. I'm an out-of-the-box thinker. I didn't want a standard resume that on first glance makes you look like everyone else," said Molino, who is a product launch specialist.

Molino had Hagan Blount (whose resume is slide seven in this gallery) redesign her resume to further establish her online identity as a creative professional. "I love my current job, so I'm not necessarily on the market for something new."

Despite not actively looking for a new employer, Molino has created buzz around her skills. "What's been fascinating is to see who has approached me since publicizing this resume. It's a sort of vetting document. Corporate America may not 'get it,' but companies that embrace individuality and want their employees to be impactful, curious and take risks — they've loved it."

2. There's an App for That (Resume)

João Dornellas, a designer for YDreams, created this iPad app resume to show off his portfolio. It has been downloaded more than 2,200 times.

3. Make the Most of Facebook

In need of a job, Claudio Nader turned his Facebook profile into what he dubs the first "FacebookCV," a curriculum vitae on his profile.

The FacebookCV landed him a gig as social media assistant and content editor for a web marketing agency in Milan, he said in a blog post.

If you'd like to mimic his efforts, check out the FacebookCV tutorial he wrote.

4. Match the Design With Your Style

Jonathan Cropper has always felt that the standard text-driven resume needed a refresh.

"Resume design is a classic branding error. Institutional conformity in a design-driven world is a recipe for failure," said Cropper, a communications and branding expert.

Cropper wanted to give his resume a "futuristic, militaristic precision tone" to match his work style. (Hagan Blount, whose resume is slide seven in this gallery, designed the resume.)

"The map and SMS and QR codes on that document also communicate that I have a global and digital mindset," he added.

5. Get Inspired

This Twitter-inspired resume comes to us from Rouyer Arnaud of France.

Although the design of the site resembles Twitter, Arnaud said all of the code was rewritten from scratch. When you click on a tweet, more information pops up on the right panel. Give it a go here.

"Who said resumes and CVs all have to be boring and official and unfunny? I'm too creative for that! I'll make a resume that looks like a Twitter account," Arnaud wrote in a tweet on his resume website.

6. Add Subtle Flair

Saidur Hossain added tags to his resume [PDF link].

It's a subtle, fun addition for a web designer's resume.

7. Visualize Everything

Hagan Blount's infographic resume is packed with visuals: a map, a chart, QR codes and logos.

"Jon (from slide four in this gallery) actually inspired me to create the resume," Blount said. "I'd seen the 'creative resume' posts from graphic designers but not from people looking for jobs outside that field.

"Jon showed me some of those resumes and postulated that they would become the de facto standard. I agreed and made one over the course of the next few days, and Jon was my first client. I sent it to a few friends on Facebook, and when I saw the massive amount of hits I had [on] my site the next day, I started pushing it harder and it ended up being published all over the world."

Social Media Job Listings

Every week we post a list of social media and web job opportunities. While we publish a huge range of job listings, we’ve selected some of the top social media job opportunities from the past two weeks to get you started. Happy hunting!

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, fotosipsak

More About: job search series, jobs, roundup

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Droid Bionic Ad Shows Phone’s Sci-Fi Origins [VIDEO]

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 01:18 PM PDT

If you were wondering how Motorola came up with the Droid Bionic phone, this Verizon Wireless ad offers a Matrix-style creation myth.

In the 60-second ad, a leather-clad woman fights four droids, each bigger than the last, and picks off parts from each, including a camera, a processor and a tube reading “4G LTE,” which she then implants into a table.

Bionic became available in Verizon stores Thursday, later than its originally planned Q2 2011 release date.

Verizon’s futuristic approach is in keeping with another ad it released earlier this year for Motorola’s Xoom tablet.

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Online Video at Work: Here’s What You’re Watching [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 12:42 PM PDT

Is “Hey, it’s for work!” the new “I read it for the articles”?

According to this infographic, based on data from Harris Interactive, lots of us are watching online videos at work — and a good deal of them aren’t work-related.

The 3% who are watching porn probably isn’t surprising (and is most likely under-reported), but 4% are watching feature films? As Jerry Seinfeld might ask, “Who are these people?”

For some jobs, like midnight shift toll collector, this may be fine, but in most cases, it appears that people are hiding their work-time viewing. If you’re in the same boat, you might find some good tips here, like pretending to tie your shoe, putting your smartphone under the table and that old standby, going to the bathroom. Come to think of it, the latter might explain these recent stats.

Infographic courtesy of Wistia

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GetGlue Gets Slick New Dashboard for TV Marketers

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 11:41 AM PDT

Social checkin and recommendation service GetGlue launched a new business tool Thursday that’s dedicated to helping GetGlue partners and marketers get the most out of the service.

Dubbed GetGlue Business, the company describes the new tool as a “one-stop self-service marketing dashboard.” Similar to Foursquare’s business dashboard, GetGlue Business will let marketers manage GetGlue accounts for their various properties, create rewards and track stats.

GetGlue Business is currently in beta and is already being used by TV networks like USA, HBO and Discovery. Brands can request access to the beta by emailing GetGlue.

Here are some of the features in the first version of the dashboard:

  • Official Profile Creation — Users can now edit and manage various profiles, change the official picture (like updating the season artwork), add Twitter and Facebook pages and include specific hashtags.
  • Analytics — Users will get access to real-time analytics, as well as daily, weekly and monthly checkin breakdowns, social media reach and unlocked sticker counts.
  • Sticker Management — Brands can edit sticker descriptions, set availability and schedule unlock dates.
  • Create Specials — Brands can create their own specials, discounts and content offers aimed at reaching their biggest fans. Brands can use pre-selected special types or create their own unique specials.

GetGlue’s founder and CEO Alex Iskold told us brands have been clamoring for GetGlue Business’s features for a long time. By allowing brands to access and manage their own data, it will be easier for GetGlue to build new partnerships and open its partnership ecosystem to smaller networks or more niche channels.

The analytics side is particularly exciting because it will show brands just how much engagement certain promotions, shows or sticker campaigns generate. This will also give brands the opportunity to adjust their offerings and roll-out schedules based on what they find most successful.

In the future, GetGlue will also provide access to GetGlue’s analytics as part of its API, which will be especially useful for brands that have their own social management systems.

Making the Investment in Checkins

GetGlue’s successful pivot from social recommendation service to entertainment checkin tool is one of more remarkable startup stories that we’ve seen in the last few years. The entertainment checkin space isn’t lacking in competition — Miso, SocialGuide and a host of other services exist.

What GetGlue has going for it, however, is that the service has been embraced by a number of major brands. Users are also sticking with the service.

With its new business dashboard, GetGlue is one step closer to really being the ultimate Foursquare for entertainment.

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10 Free Mobile Apps to Kick Off the Football Season

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 10:52 AM PDT

football image

It seems odd to turn on the TV and already see large, heavily-padded men running around a well-manicured field with pigskin, but NFL opening day is already upon us. It's hard to believe that the summer has passed so quickly and we'll soon we watching football games with autumn chill in the air and hot chili on the stove.

The 2011-2012 football season, like every other, will be rife with excitement, drama and some damn good plays. In preparation for what's sure to be another great five months of pro football, the following 10 mobile apps will keep you informed and prepared to savor everything the upcoming season has to offer.

1. Yahoo Fantasy Football

Ah, Fantasy Football. The relentless (and time sucking) hobby of many who aim to create the ultimate roster of players. There are a couple of Fantasy Football leagues out there, but Yahoo's is one of the most popular. This mobile app provides live scoring, roster management and the ability to add and drop players with a few clicks. Also available on Android.

2. ESPN Score Center

ESPN Score Center is an easy, go-to resource to get immediate access to scores in real-time from the NFL and any other league that tickles your fancy. You can personalize which teams you'd like to receive push scoring alerts on and keep track of breaking news and analysis. Also available on Android.

3. NFL Mobile

NFL Mobile provides iPhone-toting Verizon users with any and every NFL detail at their fingertips. This app offers live audio of every game, real-time stats and network coverage of the live Thursday and Sunday night games. NFL Mobile will also provide comprehensive draft coverage and alert users to when their prospects are selected. Also available on Android.

Note: NFL Mobile is only available to Verizon customers.

4. NFL Message Boards Huddle Up

You have plenty of opinions on the way your team is playing, but what are other fans thinking? This app gives you the opportunity to read up on more than 100 NFL message boards and see what kinds of predictions people are making for the season. The app even includes Twitter feeds from major national media and fantasy news outlets so you have full visibility on real-time comments.

5. NFL '11

NFL '11 is the official app of the league and gives you a full schedule of upcoming games and up-to-date developments of any team you want to follow. You can preview all teams' news or you can filter specific teams you are interested in. It also gives you full pre-season and regular season game schedules for every team in the league. Also available on Android.

6. Air Horn

There's no mistaking the blaring call of an air horn. This app simulates the sound pretty well, allowing you to cheer even louder when your team scores the winning touchdown. Just don't hold the phone too close to anyone's ear. Also available on Android.

7. Super Bowl Winners

It seems the entire season builds up to the Super Bowl. As huge as it is, can you really remember who won last year or the year before? How quickly we forget. For a quick and simple guide on past winners, check out the Super Bowl Winners app.

8. Sports Venue Finder

If you're getting tickets at a stadium you're not familiar with, Sports Venue Finder is a simple app that lays out the seating map for many venues and stadiums in the country. There aren't any super cool graphics, but a visual map of the section layout can be helpful when you're trying to figure out which section to buy or to find out where you're sitting.

9. Tailgating

Gearing up for the big game is so much better when you've got your tailgate on. Nothing says football more than an outdoor grill, a well-stocked cooler and lots of excited football fans nearby. This app provides you with a checklist of everything you need to have a successful tailgating party. There are predetermined lists of things you need and it also provides suggestions on what food you should bring.

10. Kluckr

If tailgating is too ambitious for you, use Kluckr to keep things easy and find the nearest chicken wings locale. This handy app is great to have, in season or out, and uses GPS to find the closest restaurant selling wings. There are categories you can sort by (atmosphere, heat, value, distance), as well as user ratings. The Kluckr database currently has about 20,000 locations and is continually growing.

Image courtesy of Flickr, MandaRose

More About: apps, football, Mobile 2.0, mobile apps, sports

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4 Million Microloans Visualized in 4 Minutes [VIDEO]

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 10:34 AM PDT

Kiva has released a data visualization video showing what happens when 620,000 lenders fund 615,000 people in need around the planet. The video starts out slow, with just a couple data points, but quickly bursts into a hive of activity.

Kiva is a non-profit that facilitates microloans to entrepreneurs, students and people in developing countries. The visualization above was created to celebrate five years of Kiva helping people through more than 4 million unique transactions.

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Twitter Has 100 Million Active Users

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 09:54 AM PDT

Twitter has 100 million active users logging in at least once a month and 50 million active users every day, CEO Dick Costolo revealed Thursday.

The microblogging service has a total of 200 million registered users, but how many of those are actually regulars has been open to debate for some time. Costolo, in an informal chat with tech reporters he called his “state of the union,” revealed that exactly half of them log in monthly — a number he says is up 82% since the beginning of the year.

The CEO offered a whole raft of statistics to prove that Twitter is healthy and growing like a weed — especially on mobile platforms. Some 55 million users log on to Twitter from their phone or tablet every month. Web-based users are on the rise, too: now sees 400 million visitors a month, up from 250 million at the beginning of the year, Costolo says.

Less than 40% of users have not tweeted in the last month, according to the CEO, preferring to simply follow the timelines of others. “We’re excited about that number,” Costolo says. “That’s super healthy.”

Twitter says it expects to add 26 million active users between now and the end of the year.

SEE ALSO: Explore Twitter's Evolution: 2006 to Present

Twitter now hosts roughly a billion tweets every five days, 230 million tweets every day, and has hit a new record for tweets per second: 8,900. That record was set the Sunday before last, when Hurricane Irene hit New York and Beyonce announced her pregnancy on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards.

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Kickstarter Project Aims to Finance Super Bowl Ad

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 09:47 AM PDT

A trio of ad industry executives in Kentucky are using Kickstarter to finance a Super Bowl ad promoting their home state.

So far, they’ve raised about $1,100. Spots are going for around $3 million.

Ad industry veterans and Kentuckians Whit Hiler, Kent Carmichael and Griffin VanMeter have formed a group called Kentucky for Kentucky, raising money for a spot that will show Kentucky is a “kick-ass state.”

As the group’s site explains: “We invented bourbon, bluegrass music, and the motherfreaking Kentucky Derby. We birthed cool with Clooney, Depp, and Hunter S. Thompson. We nurtured beauty with Loreta Lynn, all the Judds and Diane Sawyer.”

The group claims this would be the first crowd-financed Super Bowl ad. To carry out its mission, Kentucky for Kentucky has set a goal of raising $3.5 million by Nov. 7. If they don’t hit that figure, they will abandon their project.

The 2012 Super Bowl will air on Feb. 5. NBC, the network airing the game, has already sold the bulk of its ad inventory.

Image courtesy of Flickr, way opening

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Fashion’s Night Out: A Digital Field Guide

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 09:42 AM PDT

Macala Wright is the publisher of FashionablyMarketing.Me, one of the leading fashion and retail industry business websites. She is a retail consultant and business strategist who specializes in marketing consulting for fashion, luxury and lifestyle brands. You can follower her on Twitter at @InsideFMM or @Macala.

Digital media has become an integral part one of the fashion industry’s most celebrated event, Fashion's Night Out, which will be held across the globe for its third year Thursday.

This year, we've compiled a best-of guide to the brands and retailers leveraging digital technologies to create interactive events for shoppers in New York, Los Angeles and online.

Know of a great event we missed? Please share it in the comments section below.

New York

Various locations, 6 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Join Barbie and her favorite designers on a city-wide mobile scavenger hunt through a series of QR code clues and free rides aboard the official double-decker Barbie bus. Locate doll-size fashions and accessories from Rogan, Tracy Reese, Alice + Olivia and Alexis Bittar at the designers’ stores and be entered to win life-sized versions. For more information see

Various locations, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Bloomingdale's kicks off its nation-wide partnership with NBC beginning 6 p.m. Thursday. At each Bloomingdale's store across the country, customers are invited to walk the red carpet via AR application Goldrun. Customers will be able to download characters from NBC shows to their iPad 2, iPhone 3G and iPhone 4 and snap a photo with them for a chance at various prizes.

Calvin Klein
654 Madison Avenue, 6 to 10 p.m.
New York's own Amar'e Stoudemire will also make a special appearance on the men's floor between 6 and 10 p.m. where Calvin Klein Collection's Italo Zucchelli will be on hand to assist the evening's guests with their selections. Shoppers will get the chance to have their photo taken with either Amar'e or model Lara Stone with purchase. Photos will be posted to Calvin Klein's Facebook Page, where users can tag themselves.

374 Bleecker Street and 595 Madison Avenue, 7 to 9 p.m.
Coach is hosting in-store and online events at its Bleecker Street and Madison Avenue Stores to relaunch the company's classic Duffle Sac. As part of its style blogger collaboration, seven well-known bloggers will meet guests and photograph themselves sporting the Duffle to appear on the broadsheet and Online customers will be able to purchase the limited edition duffle at the company’s website, as well as listen to a party playlist and follow along on Twitter.

Color Club Mobile Ice Cream Truck
Meatpacking district at 13th Avenue and 9th Street, 6 to 11 p.m.
The beauty brand has taken its polish brushes to a vintage Good Humor Ice Cream Truck where they be serving up nail polish in every color of the rainbow, including a special limited edition FNO Red. Follow the Mobile Color Bar on Twitter for updates.

Diane von Furstenberg
‪874 Washington Street‬, 6 to 11 p.m.
Although Diane von Furstenberg is holding events at stores across the country and abroad, the designer’s greatest event will be online. In addition to a series of Promoted Tweets and Trends, the company will be sending direct messages to users who are out and about during Fashion's Night Out, surprising them with one of the first bottles of the house’s new fragrance, which they can pick up at DVF’s Meatpacking location.

655 Madison Avenue, 6 to 11p.m.
DKNY has hired street style photographers to snap photos of guests using the mobile app Pose, which will then be projected onto store windows and uploaded to Facebook. Twitter and Tumblr personality DKNY PR Girl is also virtually hosting an event in London, where the company has built a set that imagines DKNY PR Girl’s Manhattan apartment, bedroom and closet. Tweets will be projected onto a giant Blackberry in DKNY’s London store so she can interact with customers from New York.

Helmut Lang
93 Mercer Street, 6 to 11 p.m.
An interactive digital photo booth curated by creative directors Nicole and Michael Colovos will livestream images from the Mercer Street store party on and its Tumblr. Online fans and followers can download the photos from Facebook and add them to their Twitter or Tumblr.

Kirna Zabete
96 Greene Street, 6 to 11 p.m.
Retailer Kirna Zabete will be hosting and interviewing a number of its designing, including Proenza Schouler, Thakoon, Altuzarra, Prabal Gurung, Peter Som and Reece Hudson, which will stream live on its website.

Lord & Taylor
‪424 5th Ave‬nue, 6 to 11 p.m.
Shoppers have the opportunity to submit their favorite New York City-inspired photo to be displayed in the store's Fifth Avenue windows curated by Candy Pratts Price, creative director of Photos can be submitted between now and the end of FNO via a special application on the store's Facebook Page. In addition, online shoppers can enjoy free gifts with purchase, interactive how-to videos and participate in a live online chat with the Jones New York’s resident style expert Lloyd Boston.

123 Mercer Street, 6 to 10 p.m.
Fashion-forward shoppers can join celebrated fashion blogger Kelly Framel of The Glamourai at Mackage's Soho store for a night of styling. Visitors can listen to the beats of DJ Evalicious as they pose in the Mackage-style booth and upload their photos directly to Facebook.

151 West 34th Street, 6 to 11 p.m.
Tommy Hilfiger, Bobbi Brown, Rachel Roy and Anna Dello Russo will all be making guest appearances at Macy’s flagship in Herald Square, which will also be livestreamed on from 6 to 8 p.m.

Madison Ave BID
Madison Avenue between 57th and 86th Streets, 6pm
Madison Avenue BID is partnering with the blog Madison Avenue Spy to create the Madison Avenue Spy Fashion Hunt. Shoppers are invited to attend and tweet pictures to and from a list of events taking place in stores on Madison Avenue between 57th and 86th Streets. At 9 p.m., approximately 10 shoppers who tweet photographs from a specified number of Madison Avenue FNO events will be given instructions to a secret Madison Avenue location. Winners will toast their success and receive luxury prizes from assorted Madison Avenue boutiques. Bonus points will be given to those who spot Madison Avenue Spy‘s Lila Delilah and tweet her picture.

Marc Jacobs
403 Bleeker Street, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
In addition to games and goodie-filled totes at Marc Jacobs’s stores in New York and Los Angeles, shoppers who RSVP online at are entered to win a bottle of the brand’s Oh, Lola women’s fragrance, autographed by Dakota Fanning, or a bottle of men’s fragrance Bang Bang autographed by Jacobs himself.

155 Mercer Street, 6 to 10 p.m.
Using augmented reality technology powered by Aurasma, shoppers will be able to buy and win from Net-A-Porter after downloading a specially created “Window Shop” app available on iPhone, iPad and Android platforms. The app locates purchasable items surrounding the shopper without the need for bar codes or tags. Shoppers can then use the app to purchase or potentially win a number of specially selected goods.

Opening Ceremony + ShopBop
The Ace Hotel at 29th and Broadway, 6 p.m.
Opening Ceremony is teaming up with Tumblr and several of its notable bloggers to present a carnival-themed photo booth. Photos of guests, participating designers and more will be uploaded in real time on Opening Ceremony's newly launched Tumblr. At the same time, Shopbop will have a lounge in the Meatpacking District at 9th Avenue and 13th Street, where host and stylist Louise Roe will livestream interviews with designers, stylists and bloggers, and take questions via Twitter.

Saks Fifth Avenue DIY Events
611 5th Avenue, 6 to 11 p.m.
For Fashion’s Night Out, Saks has filled its windows with 64 iPad 2s and 18 27″ Apple Cinema Displays (pictured above) featuring live-streaming content from the newly redesigned, as well as tweets pulled in from across the web with the #StylelistAtSaks hashtag. Between 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. on the fifth floor, participants can join DIY bloggers Erica Domesek and Chris Lospalluto to create hair accessories and follow online on Twitter.

1095 6th Avenue, 6 to 9 p.m.
Angela Missoni and Margherita Maccapani Missoni will greet shoppers when the doors open at Target’s pop-up shop Thursday evening. The first 20 guests to spend more than $100 will have the chance to take a family-style portrait with the Missonis that is a fun, quirky take on the classic prom photo experience. All images will be uploaded to the Target Style Facebook Page for shoppers to view, tag and download.

Tiffany & Co.
727 Fifth Avenue, 6 to 9 p.m.
Around 11:30 a.m. Thursday morning, 16 Audrey Hepburn lookalikes will be handing out roughly 3,000 QR code-frosted cookies in Times Square (near 46th and Broadway), Rockefeller Center, NYU (across from Starbucks at Washington Square Park) and at the corner of 5th and 59th streets. Codes can be scanned to see an invitation for Tiffany’s event that evening, at which the company will unveil a new jewelry line and host a performance by Leighton Meester.

Van Cleef & Arpels
744 Fifth Avenue, 6 to 9 p.m.
Street style photographer Mr. Newton will be taking photos of shoppers who opt to be styled in Van Cleef & Arpel’s watches and jewels. Photos will appear on screens inside and outside the flagship store and on Facebook.

Los Angeles

South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa, 7 to 9 p.m.
The Assouline store at South Coast Plaza will be teaching Samba lessons, as well as snapping photos and uploading them Facebook and Twitter. Shoppers can find photos of themselves on Facebook to tag and download.

Diane von Furstenberg
8407 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, 6 to 11 p.m.
Join Katherine Schwarzenegger at DVF's Melrose Avenue location for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres and their "Trust Your Senses" fragrance launch. Shoppers will be able to create flipbook via an interactive photo booth.

Kenneth Cole
Beverly Center, 8500 Beverly Boulveard, 6 to 9 p.m.
Shoppers who check into the Beverly Center store via Foursquare will receive a Kenneth Cole FNO T-shirt.

Van Cleef & Arpels
300 North Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, 6 to 9 p.m.
A street style photographer from Streetgeist will be taking photos of shoppers as they’re styled in Van Cleef & Arpel’s watches and jewels. Photos will appear on screens inside and outside the boutique, on Facebook and on


Kyler By Joy O Eco Jewelry
Kyler Jewelry will host a Facebook Like Sale event between 6:30 and 8 p.m. PT. Sales that get the most Likes during this period will be valid on for one week beginning 8 p.m. Thursday.

Les Nouvelles
Les Nouvelles will be hosting a “style off” with the Polyvore Virtual Stylist Tool on Facebook. Shoppers will be asked to style a chic fall look using the FNO T-shirt. The look with the most Likes will receive an Les Nouvelles gift card and a styling session with the brand’s buyers.

Between 6 and 11 p.m., customers are invited to play Sofistafunk's Fashion Freeplay game on its website for a chance to win free swag. Shoppers can also follow Sofistafunk on Twitter to watch for the words "Skirt Alert.” Click the link and follow the instructions for a chance to win.

Starting at 8 p.m. watching live streaming coverage of New York’s FNO, hosted by stylist Louise Roebroadcast and broadcast from the Shopbop Lounge. Also visit Shopbop’s exclusive Fashion’s Night Out boutique online.

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How One Mobile Startup Plans to Connect Music & Location

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 09:24 AM PDT

The Extraordinary Entrepreneurs Series is supported by Diet Coke®. Now, the drink that helps you stay extraordinary brings you extraordinary people. Find Diet Coke® on Facebook for access to a whole lot of extraordinary.

As any music lover can tell you, tunes and location are often tied closely together — every landscape has its own musical mood. For the last six months or so, renaissance man Steve Jang has been tapping into the location-based craze, allowing any music fan with a phone and an inclination to share their musical journeys with SoundTracking.

For those still stuck in the dark ages — you know, sharing filtered snaps and pics of your food — SoundTracking is an iOS app that allows users to share songs (either via search, music recognition or what’s playing on one’s iTunes) with location and a photo attached.

Mashable spoke with Jang about how the app came to be, his inspiration and his myriad stitches — none of which were inflicted in the line of entrepreneurial duty.

Name: Steve Jang

Company: Schematic Labs

Year Founded: 2010

Fun Facts: I co-produced music videos for The Strokes and J Dilla, and have produced DJ battles and showcases for more than 10 years. I’ve been a skateboarder and surfer for more than 20 years and have had more than 150 stitches and 20 staples in my body. I learned how to program in PASCAL in 1987.

What inspires you?

I find a ton of inspiration in industrial design. I’ve always been fascinated with the emotional power of a great industrial design. I can tell you what my first Sony Walkman, my first surfboard, my Braun shaver, and my first iPod not only looked like, but how they felt in my hands for the first time and what kind of emotions I experienced as I used these imaginative, simple and man-made objects. For example, I collect vintage radios and recently refurbished a 1958 Clairtone wood stereo console, and it was that work that actually influenced some of the UI elements of the SoundTracking app.

What is your vision of success?

When I visualize success for our company, I see us working together, designing and building great products that make a lot of people very happy, including ourselves. I’ve seen teams of really smart, talented people get steered into building products that they don’t enjoy themselves and I think it’s important to not only enjoy what you do, but also love the product itself for what it does. For our first product, the SoundTracking app, we’re really excited about giving people a powerful and authentic emotional experience using their mobile phone, around sharing the music that moves them and connecting with the world via the songs and artists they love. If we can accomplish that, then we’ve done something really cool.

What about your startup idea was game-changing?

My co-founder and I started the company because we were excited about creating new social experiences using the mobile form factor, sensors and social software. With regard to SoundTracking, I think the innovative thing we did was to rethink, from the ground up, how to build a social music service designed specifically for mobile devices and combining pre-existing technology and features to do so. We combined search, music recognition, geo-location and photo capture to create a totally new way to share your music moments in the familiar form of a playable music postcard. We have some other mobile product ideas beyond music that we are excited about as well.

What was the pivotal point in your early startup days?

We're still in our early days, since we just launched six months ago, but I can think of two moments that really stand out. The day Matt Paul (my co-founder) and I had built the first functional prototype on an iPhone was an important day. When your first prototype performs that one basic function and you say “it f**king works!!!”, that is the most pivotal point in the early days of a startup. The second point was when we hit 250,000 users after just six weeks — it was clear that we had struck a nerve with our app idea and dropped all other prototype ideas.

What was the biggest challenge you faced with your startup?

I think the biggest challenge is always prioritizing the different steps you feel are all absolutely essential to building out your vision. It’s funny because everything seems crucially important when you’re looking ahead from step one in a young startup. Paradoxically, you have to be both wildly ambitious and steadily patient to a certain extent as you try to design, build and ship, often at the tip of an extremely huge iceberg of awesome and totally amazing things you’d like to build.

What are the biggest influences on your business model?

I think we’re squarely in the quadrant of products that are simply just trying to build a great service that people understand, love and use frequently. From a historical perspective, I think there are a lot of great learnings from the Google model. They built a singularly great search engine and developed a business model that allowed them to efficiently connect companies that provide products or services relevant to what people were actually searching for. It was not an obtrusive way of creating a business model, rather it was actually additive in terms of the quality of user experience.

We’d like to figure out a similar way of creating a business model that generates revenue in a way that our user community actually appreciates. In these early days, we have begun testing in-app payments in the form of a song purchase button at the peak of excitement when a user views a soundtrack post they love. We're seeing 10% conversion after someone taps that buy-a-download button, which is promising but still just early data.

How did your social network of peers influence your business?

It's been super helpful to have a group of product-knowledgeable and articulate peers to rap with about your vision and question your assumptions and ideas. For SoundTracking, we stand in a Venn diagram of mobile, social software and music, so I make sure to include friends from those fields in our beta test group and advisor list. I’m also an advisor and early investor/shareholder to some great startups developing mobile products, such as StackMob, Animoto, StumbleUpon and Uber, so I learn a great deal from those entrepreneurs as well.

How does your startup utilize social media?

For us, social media is not only important in terms of the typical word-of-mouth and user feedback benefits, but also for measuring actual user behavior data beyond the SoundTracking app's boundaries. One of the popular uses of SoundTracking is to share your music moments and opinions of songs to friends on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. We can see how they share these posts into their feeds, how their friends and followers react, and the traffic flow between our services. Currently, we are seeing great reach for SoundTracking on those three services, with more than 8 million daily impressions posted, and then we can compare that to the amount of measurable activity data that is happening within that social media platform and within our own service.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

Try to work with people that are extremely smart, talented and ambitious. If they are missing any of those three attributes, it will show immediately in a startup. If they have all three, they will make a huge, positive impact on not only product execution, but also your startup's vision. And absolutely don’t BS yourself — make sure you work on a product that you truly love, not that you just kind of like and think "makes a lot of sense.” Think of it as a long journey in a small boat with a few people across a wild ocean. You want to make sure you have the best sea-mates you can depend upon and a destination that is worth the fun, but tumultuous journey.

Series Supported by Diet Coke®

The Extraordinary Entrepreneurs Series is supported by Diet Coke®. Now, the drink that helps you stay extraordinary brings you extraordinary people. Find Diet Coke® on Facebook for access to a whole lot of extraordinary.

More About: Extraordinary Entrepreneurs Series, Mobile 2.0, music, soundtracking

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Carol Bartz: Yahoo’s Board “F***ed Me Over”

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 09:15 AM PDT

Carol Bartz says Yahoo‘s board of directors “f***ed me over” and intends to remain on the board after being fired as CEO.

Bartz made the statements during a passionate and blunt interview with Fortune. During the interview, she recalls how Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock read from a script when he fired her over the phone.

“I said, ‘Roy, I think that’s a script,’ ” Bartz says. “Why don’t you have the balls to tell me yourself?” She adds one more jab, claiming she told Bostock, “I thought you were classier.”

Bartz blamed the board’s impatience and incompetence for Yahoo’s steady decline, stemming from its decision to turn down Microsoft’s $40+ billion acquisition deal. “The board was so spooked by being cast as the worst board in the country,” Bartz says. “Now they’re trying to show that they’re not the doofuses that they are.”

Bartz says their impatience stopped her from implementing a plan that would have started revenue growth in 2012. “They want revenue growth, even though they were told that we would not have revenue growth until 2012.”

Finally, Bartz intends to remain on the board of directors of Yahoo. She wants “to make sure that the employees don’t believe that I’ve abandoned them,” adding that she has “way too many purple clothes” to completely abandon the company.

Bartz, however, doesn’t get to decide whether she remains on Yahoo’s board. That’s up to the shareholders. She certainly isn’t likely to find many allies on Yahoo’s board of directors.

More About: carol bartz, Yahoo

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Ning Cofounder’s New Company Makes Step-By-Step Projects Shareable

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 09:00 AM PDT

Gina Bianchini, former CEO of Ning, is launching a new service called Mightybell Thursday that aims to translate experiences into step-by-step projects.

Bianchini, who stepped down from her position at Ning last March, says part of the motivation behind the new website and iPhone app is to take the lightweight connections on social networks and translate them into lightweight actions.

“We’ve spent the last five years defining success as how many friends, followers and fans you have,” she says. “As I was out talking to the people I know and am inspired by, almost across the board the same question was: What do I do with them?”

You can use Mightybell to break a big idea — anything from a recipe to a cross-country trip — into small, doable steps. Creating what Mightybell calls an “experience” is “as easy as writing ten tweets,” says Bianchini. After it’s finished, you can invite people to “join” and watch your progress as you work through the steps.

Mightybell provides detailed metrics like the progress of each participant, completion rate of individual steps and polls about how participants feel about each step (happy, excited, confused, bored, etc.).

The startup was built with a $2.1 million seed round led by Floodgate and First Round Capital. It hopes to become profitable by taking a 25% cut of premium experiences. You can set the price of each experience between $0 and $1,000.

It’s a similar business model to that of do-it-yourself online teaching platforms like Udemy and Learnable, which allow users to put together lesson plans that others can view.

But Bianchini says her intention isn’t to create an education or how-to platform. She can envision uses in education, activism, entertainment, food and shelter, but she’s looking to the limited beta website and iPhone app for more direction on how people will actually use the program.

“I could have never predicted how people would use products that I’ve developed in the past,” she says.

Sample Mightybell Experience Homepage

Step One of a Mightybell Experience

Step Two of a Mightybell Esperience

Mightybell Creator Dashboard

Mightybell iPhone App

Mightybell Experience Builder

Mightybell Participant Metrics

Mightybell Participant Metrics

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, TommL

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Google Acquires Zagat

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 08:48 AM PDT

Google has placed one of its biggest bets on location to date, acquiring local reviews giant Zagat.

Writing on the company's official blog, Marissa Mayer, Google‘s vice president of Local, Maps and Location Services, wrote, "Moving forward, Zagat will be a cornerstone of our local offering — delighting people with their impressive array of reviews, ratings and insights, while enabling people everywhere to find extraordinary (and ordinary) experiences around the corner and around the world."

Zagat is far cry from the startups typically mentioned in the location space. The company was founded 32 years ago and started as a printed guide to restaurants, with “Zagat Ratings” becoming an industry standard.

More recently, however, Zagat has reinvented itself on the web and with mobile apps, bringing it into competition with the likes of Foursquare and Yelp.

Location has been a tough nut for Google to crack. The company acquired early location-based social networking service Dodgeball in 2005, only to eventually shut it down and see founder Dennis Crowley leave to start Foursquare. More recent attempts include Latitude, a largely forgotten Foursquare competitor, and Hotpot, a recommendation engine that’s baked into Google Places. The company also appointed Mayer, one of its most prominent executives, to lead its location efforts in late 2010.

While we don’t have a price tag on the Zagat acquisition yet, it’s safe to call the buy one of Google’s biggest to date in the content business. Here’s a look at some of Google’s largest acquisitions through the years:

1. dMarc Broadcasting

In January 2006, Google acquired advertising company dMarc Broadcasting for $102 million. Google integrated dMarc into its AdSense app.

2. On2 Technologies

After negotiations between the two companies, Google acquired video compression company On2 in February 2010 for $133 million in Google stock. On2 designed video codec technology which Google used to optimize its WebM video format.


Google bought web 2.0 company in August 2010 for $182 million. Originally founded by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin was known as the largest third-party developer of Facebook applications until Google purchased it to "make Google services socially aware."

4. Admeld

Google purchased Admeld. in June 2011 for $400 million. The company specialized in optimizing online ad yield by simplifying ad display. Google integrated Admeld with its additional DoubleClick and Invite Media acquisitions.

5. Postini

In July 2007 Google acquired web security and archiving company Postini for $625 million. It provides the cloud computing services and spam filters that Google soon integrated into Gmail.

6. ITA Software

Google purchaed travel industry software company ITA Software for $700 million in July 2010. Google uses ITA's software to optimize its travel and flight search.

7. AdMob

In November 2009 Google acquired mobile ad company AdMob for $750 million. The company helped Google improve its mobile advertising solutions.

8. YouTube

Long ago in October 2006 Google bought YouTube for a shocking $1.65 billion. Although the company wasn't absorbed by Google Video, YouTube continues to function as a Google subsidiary.

9. DoubleClick

Google purchased DoubleClick for $3.1 billion in April 2007. The Google subsidiary provides ad service and support to AdSense.

10. Motorola Mobility

Google's most recent and expensive acquisition to date occurred August 15, 2011 with its purchase of Motorola Mobility. Motorola is one of 39 manufacturers of Android handsets. By purchasing the mobile hardware manufacturer, Google hopes "to supercharge the Android ecosystem."

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Mobli’s Social Broadcasting App Is the Closest You’ll Get to Being Batman

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 08:30 AM PDT

Remember that scene in Batman where he’s able to see the whole city through people’s cellphones, Mobli CEO and founder Moshiko Hogeg asks me on a visit to his office. “That’s our vision,” he says. “Anything worth seeing has someone there with a camera.”

Mobli, a social video and photo platform, is updating its platform and adding Android and BlackBerry apps to the service it launched on the iPhone in April.

Here’s how it works: Users take photos and videos; the app automatically tags each image with a location (courtesy of Foursquare’s API) and major events in the vicinity. Users can also write tags like “sports” or “football” or “New York Giants” as they see fit. The new version leverages this feature by creating contextually aware filters based on location, date or category. A musician, for instance, could work with the team to create a filter that adds the band logo on photos taken at concerts.

The tagging system enables you to follow specific users, locations and topics. You can also search images for any keyword or place.

“I don’t see it as a photo sharing app,” Hogeg says. “I try to think of it as a place that organizes visual information.”

One day, he hopes that you, like Batman, will be able to see any place where people have smartphones from any perspective using the application. Vice President of Strategy Gil Eyal points to the account of Paris Hilton, one of several celebrities who has set up a presence on the site, as an example.

“It’s not a photo of Paris Hilton,” he says. “It’s a video from Paris Hilton holding a phone at a party. You see what she sees.”

By grouping photos by location, Mobli also works for people who are at the same event in the way that Color intended. At his wedding, for instance, Hogeg had guests take photos using Mobli that everyone could easily access under its location tag.

Mobli isn’t the first startup to group photos with tags. An app called Badger is structured around a similar tagging system but lacks two things Mobli has: unlimited video and an option to respond with a photo or video.

Both of these contribute to an effect that’s something like an interactive visual diary. And what’s more compelling than someone else’s diary?

During a demonstration at Mobli’s offices, a photo that Eyal posted to his account was viewed more than 300 times and returned more than 20 comments in about 45 minutes. Granted, Eyal has more people following his count than the average user. But the startup’s Google Analytics page backs up the idea that it’s something people want to spend time with.

Mobli gets about 100,000 unique visitors every month. About half of those users are returning visitors, and that half spends more than an hour on the site per visit.

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Nike Unveils Self-Lacing “Marty McFly” Shoes [VIDEO]

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 08:02 AM PDT

Nike has introduced a self-lacing shoe known in sneakerhead circles as the “Marty McFly shoe” because it seems to be based on technology previously only seen in the Back to the Future movies set in 2015.

The introduction of Nike Air Mag was reported by sneakerhead blog Nice Kicks which displayed an invitation to a Los Angeles-based press event on Thursday along with the video above called “Marty McFly’s Closet,” which was posted Sept. 6 and already has more than 63,000 views on YouTube. Nike confirmed the launch on Thursday with an event featuring Back to the Future star Michael J. Fox. Nike announced that 1500 pairs of Air Mags will be auctioned on eBay, with all net proceeds going directly to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which is aimed at finding a cure for Parkinson’s Disease.

Nice Kicks has previously run the following document from the U.S. Patent Office explaining how the self-lacing system works.

What do you think? Would you wear this sneaker or do you think it should be sent back to 1985? Let us know in the comments.

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45 Years of Star Trek [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 07:36 AM PDT

On Sept. 8, 1966, the dream of producer Gene Roddenberry came true: The first regular episode of Star Trek aired, beginning one of the greatest sci-fi enterprises in history.

The series received mixed ratings throughout the first two seasons and was even temporarily pulled off the air after season three. During the next two decades, Star Trek bounced between animation, film and television, ultimately capturing the hearts and minds of millions of fans around the world.

If you’re a fan of the series, chances are you know most everything about it. Still, it’s always nice to get a refresher. Check out how the events in real-life space exploration influenced the popular series (and vice versa) in this nifty infographic below.

The entire history of Star Trek is in this timeline infographic.

Source: All about our solar system, outer space and exploration

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Google’s South Korea Office Raided

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 07:26 AM PDT

The Korean Fair Trade Commission raided Google‘s office in Seoul over concerns that the search engine giant was restricting access to its Android operating system, according to multiple reports.

The raid, which took place on Tuesday, concerned accusations by NHN and Daum Communications, two portal operators in South Korea, that Google was limiting their access to smartphones using Android. The two companies claim Google is preventing them from preloading their search portals on the smartphones, giving Google a competitive advantage.

Of course, Google’s major motivation to spread the Android OS is to provide more reach to its advertising platform. Google doesn’t make any licensing fees from Android.

Google’s South Korea office has been raided before. In August 2010, South Korean police raided the office over allegations that Google had illegally collected and stored personal data from wireless customers.

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Flying Social: How Virgin America’s First-Class Marketing Fuels Brand Awareness

Posted: 08 Sep 2011 06:35 AM PDT

The Social Brands Series is supported by Spredfast, a social media management platform provider helping organizations unlock social business potential. Start driving social business with the Social Media Pocket Guide.

For those of you who have flown Virgin America, you know that its interpretation of “coach” is very “uncoach.” The cabin is illuminated with purple lights, the safety video is actually entertaining (and informative), beverage and food service is non-invasive and you can chat with fellow fliers via your personal touchscreen TV. It’s a snazzy airline, but beyond that, it has fully embraced technology and social media, going so far as to name one of its planes a hashtag, the #nerdbird.

Mashable spoke with Abby Lundardini, Virgin America’s director of communications, and Jill Fletcher, the airline’s social media manager, about why the brand is so social, how social has contributed to the company’s success and what innovative social media campaigns made the biggest impression.

“Social’s In Our DNA”

Why is Virgin so social? Well, social is in its DNA. “We're the only airline based in Silicon Valley … and we launched the company in August 2007, when all of these channels were growing exponentially,” says Abby Lunardini.

Plus, in early 2007, when the airline was trying to get off the ground (literally), tech folks who were interested in seeing the Virgin America product — which focuses more on tech features and amenities than other airlines — and were eager to see it start flying.

In May 2009, Virgin America became the first airline to offer Wi-Fi fleetwide, in addition to outlets near every seat, so you can actually get work done on a cross-country flight without your laptop dying.

“A lot of our first support was from the tech community, and everything has stemmed from that,” Lunardini adds. In fact, the airline partnered with Klout last year to provide free flights to Twitter influencers, people who were bound to share their Virgin America experiences with their social networks.

Virgin’s proximity to tech giants like Google and Twitter has enabled the airline to forge strong partnerships within the tech space. These partnerships allowed the airline to team up with Google to offer free inflight Wi-Fi over the holidays, and to partner with Twitter for Promoted Tweets, as discussed below.

Aside from its location, though, part of the brand’s success is that, like other Virgin companies, the brand voice is cheeky, sassy and irreverent — a welcome change for passengers who are used to the grind of air travel. “In everything we do, we try to maintain that enthusiasm and tone,” says Jill Fletcher, who manages the content calendar and makes sure the brand is consistently active across all social media platforms.

And so, while Virgin fans and followers may not outrank those of the big boys like Delta and American Airlines just yet, the brand is seeing incredible growth and engagement. “We've grown tremendously in not only the revenue which we bring in, but also the number of fans,” says Fletcher. “We have one of the highest growth rates on Twitter and Facebook out of any domestic airline.”

While the brand is super social now, it wasn’t from the get-go — it took some time for that social DNA to really express itself. While the brand launched in 2007, its social accounts weren’t set up until 2008 and a dedicated team was not put in place until 2009. Since then, though, the social media campaigns have been fun, frequent and successful.

“We're willing to experiment, and we're kind of a little bit in the startup space having just launched four years ago,” says Lunardini. “We’ve seen a ton of promise on the guest care and consumer communications side, but also on the revenue side, and when we think something sounds interesting and might work with the business model, we're definitely willing to think differently and take a risk.”

Taking to Twitter

Of all the platforms, Twitter is where Virgin America shines the most, and admittedly, it’s where it allocates more resources. “We see a lot more engagement on Twitter than on some of the other platforms, because it’s quick, and it’s easy to engage,” says Lundardini. “Also, we were one of the launch partners with Twitter for Promoted Tweets, and our following really took off from there. We started working very closely with Twitter and have done a lot with them.”

For two years in a row, Virgin America has run hashtag sales, #FlyMoreGiveBack. Last year, Virgin America partnered with Twitter and announced the 24-hour sale, during which $5 per booking would be donated to an education charity. Lunardini says they raised $50,000, and the sale helped Virgin America nab its fourth highest sales day at that time. This year, the proceeds will benefit Stand Up To Cancer for collaborative cancer research. “Both years, we've used Promoted Trends and Promoted Tweets to amplify the message and really get the Twittersphere buzzing,” says Lunardini.

In honor of the company’s fourth anniversary, it hosted a Twitter scavenger hunt at a San Francisco Giants baseball game, tracked through the hashtag #FlyTheBeard, one of Virgin American’s aircraft. It was yet another fun way to celebrate a company milestone while rewarding the fans who helped them get there.

Embracing Daily Deals and Geolocation

When Virgin America announced last August that it would start flying to two new destinations in Mexico, it partnered with Loopt for a “2-for-1 Tacos and Tickets” promotion. Virgin America invited people to search for two branded taco trucks in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and if they checked in using Loopt, they received a digital promotional code for 2 for 1 tickets to Mexico and 2 for $1 tacos.

To “add a crazy, Virgin flair to the event,” proceeds from the tacos were donated to a chihuahua rescue center. “It was our first foray into the geolocation space, and it was a really successful sale,” says Fletcher. “It was our fifth highest sales day in 2010, and we had more than 1,300 checkins in San Francisco within four hours, so it did really well.”

Virgin America also broke ground in the daily deal space in February, when it was the first airline to do a Groupon. The deal was $77 worth of airfare for $7, and it was a natural fit since the promotion was celebrating its new service to Chicago, Groupon’s home base. The deal sold out in eight minutes, says Fletcher. “It was incredibly well-received, so we've repeated those types of campaigns since then,” she adds. When the Dallas route opened, Virgin America offered 20% off for a $5 donation.

“The deal space seems to be what everybody is talking about right now,” says Fletcher. “We've gone on to work with other partners as well, such as Loopt deals — we did a a user-generated deal. And very recently we did one with Gilt City where we sold 3, 5 and 10-packs of [roundtrip] Main Cabin Select tickets.” To get an idea on pricing, the 3-pack ran for $427.

In April, the airline started offering points that were redeemable for prizes to customers who checked in to Terminal 2 in the San Francisco Airport on Facebook Places or Foursquare.

“Fun Is Something That Guides The Whole Virgin Brand”

Sure Richard Branson is one of the wealthiest men in the world, but part of Virgin’s success is due to some old-fashioned bootstrapping. “One of the things we've found is that even though it’s Virgin, we're still a relatively small company, and our advertising budgets are not that big, so when we go into a new market, we like to do new and interesting things to amplify word of mouth buzz,” says Lunardini.

For example, when Virgin America announced service to Orlando, the team decide to play on the fact that Orlando is a destination for family vacations, since Disney world is there. So, the airline partnered with to create a photo contest for awkward family vacation photos. Pics were voted on, and the winners got to fly the inaugural route with Branson himself. The promotion was inspired by the Virgin team’s “weird sense of humor, but it was really well received, and it was the first time we had ever partnered with a social meme site,” says Fletcher. Branson is pictured above ready to board the inaugural flight and fully embracing traditional family vacation garb.

Virgin America Just Gets It

“70% of our bookings come from our web channels, so our fliers are really social media savvy and tech savvy, so when something new comes out in the deals space or a geolocation product or something along those lines that's innovative and interesting, we know that those types of campaigns resonate with our fliers,” Fletcher says. “We are relatively young and nimble, so we can try things very quickly and we really value innovating in the tech space.”

Talk about knowing your audience.

Series supported by Spredfast

The Social Brands Series is supported by Spredfast, which provides an enterprise-class social media management platform helping organizations unlock their social business potential. The Spredfast platform provides a unified system for managing, monitoring and measuring social media programs for better business results. Discover best practices & proven tactics for using social for business with the Social Media Pocket Guide.

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