Sunday, 30 October 2011

Mashable: Latest 8 News Updates - including “3 Startups Bring New Angles to Social Buying”

Mashable: Latest 8 News Updates - including “3 Startups Bring New Angles to Social Buying”

3 Startups Bring New Angles to Social Buying

Posted: 29 Oct 2011 01:44 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.

Each weekend, Mashable selects startups we think are building interesting, unique or niche products.

This week we’ve focused on three startups with innovative takes on social buying.

OpenSky is a Twitter-style personalized shopping site. LikeBids motivates users to distribute coupons for brands, and MyTab helps users fund trips through their social networks.

OpenSky: Twitter for Curated Shopping

Quick Pitch: OpenSky is a shopping site that is curated by the tastemakers that individual users “follow.”

Genius Idea: A customizable online shopping experience.

Mashable’s Take: OpenSky has cleverly blended recommendations, editorial endorsements and flash sales.

When users sign up, they can chose from a list of about 60 tastemakers to “follow,” including celebrities such as Molly Sims, Padma Lakshmi, Kristin Cavallari, Bobby Flay and Tom Colicchio. Each tastemaker chooses products to recommend to followers and writes a short explanation of why each item was chosen. He or she runs a special on about one item a week that gives followers a 20% to 60% discount on the item.

Since launching in April, OpenSky says that it has grown 50% month over month. The site has about 600,000 users, and its CEO John Caplan, the former president of, seems to be thinking big.

The startup announced a $30 million round of funding this week, bringing its total amount to $49 million.

LikeBids: Group Buying Unlocked by Facebook “Likes”

Quick Pitch: LikeBids distributes coupons through Facebook.

Genius Idea: A built-in motivation for word-of-mouth marketing.

Mashable’s Take: LikeBids users win coupons by Liking them and encouraging others to do so. When a threshold number of Likes are reached, a coupon is emailed to everyone who clicked.

The advantage of distributing coupons this way is that even participants who aren’t particularly excited to spread the word about a discount end up doing so anyway. When they Like the coupon, it’s automatically posted on their wall and friends’ feeds.

LikeBids has also built in a motivation for users who are excited to spread the word. Each coupon has a price attached to it for the person who motivates the most people to Like it by sharing a unique URL.

Right now LikeBids’ offerings are pretty sparse (there are exactly three coupons available: Papa John’s, Kohl’s and Sephora), but the startup has set up a situation that encourages users to promote brands to their friends. If those users indeed appear, that’s an appealing proposition.

myTab: a Social Travel Gift Card

Quick Pitch: myTab aims to make group gifting travel easier.

Genius Idea: A travel search engine that automatically takes into account your budget.

Mashable’s Take: Let’s say you want to go on a trip and it’s your birthday. MyTab hopes you’ll set up an account on its site, and share a link that allows your friends to chip in to its cost by purchasing a virtual currency it refers to as “myCash.”

You can then use a Kayak-like interface to book a flight and hotel based on how much “myCash” you have. If there are leftovers, you can re-gift them to friends.

Although we understand where myTab is coming from — group gift buying is a problem pervasive enough that several startups (and eBay) have developed solutions that make it easier. We fear, however, that this travel-focused solution only makes the process more complicated.

Image courtesy of istockphoto, barisonal

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, bizspark weekend roundup, LikeBids, myTab, OpenSky

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57 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed

Posted: 29 Oct 2011 01:10 PM PDT

icon heads image

Since Halloween weekend is currently in full swing (despite the snowy weather in the U.S. Northeast), we know many of you are probably busy modeling your costumes in front of your mirror in preparation for tonight’s festivities. Before you put your masks and wigs on, Mashable wants to share a roundup of the week’s special features with you.

From the Netflix downturn to the spooky Halloween tech-inspired pumpkins, this list has it all.

Editor’s Picks

Why Job Performance Reviews Are Going to Get Social [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 29 Oct 2011 12:43 PM PDT

Annual performance reviews: you either love ‘em or hate ‘em. Some companies get the formula right, developing a constructive review process that helps employees grow — to these employers, we say, “kudos.”

On the other side of the coin, though, there are many companies that simply miss the mark, creating repetitive review processes that seem to only serve as time-wasting disciplinary tools.

In the past decade, we’ve seen performance reviews move to the online space, making it easier for employees and employers to complete and share them.

While we’ve come a long way, performance reviews are still the bane of many employees — 78% of U.S. workers would like to change some aspect of the review process, according to one 2009 study.

The infographic below, compiled by the creators of social goal management tool WorkSimple, looks at the brief history of performance reviews and predicts a future where reviews go social.

Does your business use social work tools that gauge employee success? If so, let us know about them in the comments below.

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!

Infographic courtesy of WorkSimple

More About: features, infographic, job search series

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Steve Jobs Book Quotes: Genius or Insanity?

Posted: 29 Oct 2011 12:01 PM PDT

Steve Jobs was a man of contradictions. In Steve Jobs, a biography by Walter Isaacson, his groundbreaking ideas and spectacular technological breakthroughs run like a torrent through the book.

But at the same time, on almost every page are examples of his spectacular arrogance, odd habits, belligerent interactions and emotional breakdowns.

After reading the book, we gathered some of the memorable quotes from its author, Steve Jobs and those around him that illustrate his complex personality.

Let’s use these quotes as a jumping-off point to a discussion: What do you think? Was Steve Jobs a genius or was he insane? Or both? Or neither?

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Click here to view this gallery.

Photos and text excerpts courtesy Simon & Schuster, Inc.

More About: Book Quotes, steve jobs, Walter Isaacson

Top 10 Tech This Week [PICS]

Posted: 29 Oct 2011 11:22 AM PDT

1. Samsung Flexible Screen

While Nokia teased us this week with a slightly flexible prototype device, Samsung steps up with an even more flexible screen the company says will grace the front of a smartphone or tablet by 2012. We saw one of these flexible AMOLED screens from Samsung at CES 2011, but the big news is this has gone beyond the prototype stage, where we'll allegedly be bending screens every which way by next year. We'll believe it when we see it. [via DVICE, photo by Evan Ackerman, used with permission]

Click here to view this gallery.

It was another terrific week for tech, and we scoured the world to find the best examples for you, right here. So buckle up and get ready for the shiniest, most futuristic, and in some cases, even the most bizarre tech the week had to offer.

Want more? Here’s last week’s Top 10 Tech:

1. Xbox 720 in 2013?

Insiders are saying they're working on Microsoft's next-generation gaming console, and it's said to be called the Xbox 720, perhaps unveiling at E3 in 2013. Although the box's processors and graphics chips are allegedly well underway and in the hands of multiple developers, the outside of the Xbox 720 is not quite so well-defined. Take a look at this design concept of the industrial design of the box -- we're wondering if it wasn't left on our planet by visiting aliens.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: android, Motorola Atrix 2, Top 10 Tech

Genius Turns iPad Into Amazing Halloween Magic [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO]

Posted: 29 Oct 2011 09:24 AM PDT

When master magician Simon Pierro gets his hands on an iPad, watch out. Now he’s created a special Halloween edition of his unique iPad magic, blending his special brand of prestidigitation with carefully constructed digital wizardry.

Simon tells us he spent 10 weeks putting together this Halloween iPad act, and “it was a hell of a lot of work,” he says. “Luckily my iOS programmer Masashi Beheim again joined the project. It took him more than 100 hours of programming this time, being as fanatical about details as I am,” he added.

Simon wasn’t satisfied with a rehash of his brilliant “Preview of iOS 5” we featured here on Mashable last summer. He says, “So I came up with the idea to tell a story about a killer and together with my magic colleague Thomas Fraps we decided to take the clown as the usual suspect.”

The result? Another entertaining — and this time scary — masterpiece.

Thanks, Simon Pierro.

More About: Halloween, ipad, Magic, Simon Pierro

Top 7 Mashable Comments This Week

Posted: 29 Oct 2011 09:20 AM PDT

One thing we love about the Mashable community is the quality comments we find on just about every article on the site.

That’s why we’re kicking off a new feature to showcase the most inspired responses to our stories.

Each week, we’ll select the top comments that have been posted on Mashable articles and display them in a roundup post. We hope to feature thoughtful comments that engage the community and drive more conversation as well as those that make us laugh. 

If you haven’t commented on a Mashable article before, check out Mashable Follow, our content curation and social tool, as well as our comment guidelines to learn more. We’d love for you to join the conversation.

Here are this week’s top comments on Mashable:

Netflix Advantages

CGregz added to the conversation by giving additional information relevant to the article. His comment drove others to express their opinions about Netflix and its recent changes.

Comment taken from "6 Great Alternatives to Netflix"

Click here to view this gallery.

We’ll be on the hunt for stand-out comments every week, so be creative and start commenting!

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, KathrynHatashitaLee

More About: comments, community, mashable, mashable follow, top comments

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Hilarious Spoof: Here’s How Headlines Are Created [VIRAL VIDEO]

Posted: 29 Oct 2011 07:17 AM PDT

NSFW Warning: Careful, this video’s spicy language might not be safe for some workplaces or delicate sensibilities.

The funny people at Jest have been paying close attention to the way news outlets cover stories, focusing on headlines in particular. Here’s their satirical interpretation of the “hard work” media mavens go through just to bring you their catchy headlines for one particularly controversial story: Occupy Wall Street.

Our fave: Fox News, which might be a little too close to an actual headline. Which one did you like the best?

[via Jest]

More About: Jest, Occupy Wall Street, ows, satire, viral video

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Top 7 Scary Video Games to Play This Halloween

Posted: 29 Oct 2011 06:23 AM PDT

1. Resident Evil

The whole survivor horror genre partially owes itself to Resident Evil, which when released in 1996, was possibly one of the most influential games, and kickstarted a "survival horror" golden age.

While the later iterations of Resident Evil have morphed into action shooters with zombies, the first was a true haunted house game. You are part of a team of elite police trapped in a mansion after a helicopter accident, and to solve the mystery behind some strange murders you have to survive zombies, vicious dogs that jump through windows, the traps of the house, and a traitor.

If all of this doesn't sound like enough to pique your interest, add survival horror staples like limited ammo and clues being left on maps. It also spawns one of the best evil corporations in game history: The Umbrella Corporation, which plays a role in all other Resident Evil games.

Note: this trailer is from the updated GameCube release in 2002.

Click here to view this gallery.

If Halloween elicits thoughts of scary movie marathons, haunted houses and things jumping out from behind the next corner, then maybe this year it’s time to try some of the best horror video games. We’ve compiled the best classics across all major platforms, with a focus on psychological thrillers over gory zombie tales.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 iPhone Apps for Halloween

For a scary Halloween, turn off the lights, grab a friend, and pick one of these. We promise you’ll need to leave the light on when you go to bed at night.

More About: contributor, features, Gaming, Halloween, video games

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