My must have apps for iPad

Ask me which apps I recommend for the iPad and I’ll talk passionately for hours (well at least 20 minutes) about the apps you simply cannot live without. I’m willing to listen too. As a matter of fact, the majority of my apps have come by way of recommendation from friends.

So, here’s the deal. I’ll share then you’ll share. Please leave a comment at the end and let me know what your favorite apps are.

The select few

Although I have filled all my 11 screens with apps (I don’t really like putting my apps in folders), I always come back to a select few. The same does my 3-year-old son, Viggo. The apps I use the most are clustered on a couple of screens and his are collected in another area. Let’s explore my favorite apps in this post. Then, for all the parents out there, Viggo will follow up with his favorite apps next week (read here). Check out links and descriptions below the image.

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What is Next Issue all about?

Haven’t really talked about my day-time job at Next Issue too much on this blog, but here’s an opportunity to share. In a nutshell, we offer enhanced editions of the world’s most popular magazines, optimized for tablets.

At CES last week, I had the pleasure to be interviewed by Ian Hamilton, my former colleague from OC Register and writer for the OC Unwired blog. In the interview we discuss where Next Issue fits in the digital publishing space. Specifically, Ian asks why we are focusing on Android tablets. Check out my answer to that and my pointers on what makes Next Issue unique. We are just getting started and 2012 will be an exciting year for us. Stay tuned for more news.

Let me know what you think of the video.

Check out Ian’s blog post here.

Four digital strategies publishers should pursue in 2012

It’s that time of the year. The time for top ten lists and predictions about the future. I’ll settle for four digital tips to help guide publishers’ digital strategies for 2012. One for each category: Revenue, Content, Design and Platform.

Revenue: Get serious about e-commerce

I’ve been advocating for quite some time that publishers should get serious about e-commerce, and with the rise of tablets, the opportunity is just getting bigger and bigger. E-commerce on mobile devices alone will top $6 billion in 2011 and is expected to reach $31 billion in 2016.

In particular, tablet owners seem excited about shopping directly from their devices. Even better, they want to shop from within publications. In “The Magazine Mobile Reader” report released by MPA a couple of months ago, 59% of respondents said they would like to buy directly from adverts in digital magazines and 79% said they want to be able to purchase products and services directly from editorial features.

eMediaVitals’ Rob O’Regan sees three ways for publishers to pursue e-commerce:

  1. Sell your own stuff
  2. Sell other brands’ stuff
  3. Recommend other brands’ stuff

Whatever the path, it’s time to take advantage of the relationship publishers have with readers and start selling. Continue reading

Content design for tablets: swipe versus scroll

A while ago, Mario Garcia, renowned newspaper and magazine design consultant, asked me to comment on tablet design for an article he was writing for the Austrian marketing and media magazine Horizont. His question came through Twitter: “What is your take on swipe vs. scrolling?”

I sent him an email back, and while we wait for the Austrian to English translation of the Horizont article, I thought I would share my response here.

What’s the difference?

“Swiping” happens between two distinct pages, whether they move vertically or horizontally, whereas scrolling is a continuous movement. We are familiar with vertical scrolling from web pages, but horizontal scrolling also occurs with the introduction of “carousels” or “sliders”.

The curated experience – print reinvented

Before getting into the differences, let’s talk about an over arching trend in tablet content apps. Whether they are static (updated periodically) or dynamic (web based, connected to an RSS feed or similar), many apps try to create the sense of an edition based, finite and curated experience. This is true both for newspaper and magazine apps as well as aggregator apps like Flipboard or Editions by AOL.

It can be argued that we are entering the era of “Curated Computing“, a term coined by Sarah Rotman Epps from Forrester. It basically means that people are looking for less but more relevant content, packaged for easy consumption.

This trend is important to note when discussing swiping versus scrolling.

 Swipe signals a start and an end

For publishers attempting to create an “edition based” experience similar to print, swiping from page to page gives readers a sense of familiarity. They’ve done this before. Progressing from one page to another, they use a gesture very similar to what they would have used in the good old print days. Because of that they sense there is a start and an end.

I believe a big group of users are looking for that familiarity and experience. Even apps not founded in legacy newspapers/magazines are attempting to create that sense of familiarity: The Daily, Project Magazine, and all the aggregator apps as I mentioned before, such as Flipboard, Zite, Editions by AOL and the latest, Livestand from Yahoo!. (For more reading on the rise of aggregator apps, check out these articles from Nieman Journalism Lab and Hoosier40.com). Continue reading

Social Commerce – what we can learn from Kobo, aNobii and Foursquare

Earlier this week PaidContent wrote about social reading site aNobii (means bookworm in Latin). The goal of aNobii, according to CEO Matteo Berlucchi is

“… to create a social commerce platform that will allow people to find, share and buy books beyond the bestseller lists with an emphasis on creating an environment where people can talk about the books they love.”

Brilliant. Social commerce is the new e-commerce. For enthusiasts of any type of content (books, music, magazines, news), it’s not enough to be able to transact. They want to belong. They want to feel part of a community of like-minded people.  And that’s what aNobii is striving for.  I quickly got myself an aNobii profile and now have the ability to rate, review and join book discussions. Check it out here.

While aNobii is still building out their platform, in my mind, Kobo provides the gold standard for what social e-reading is all about. Kobo’s Reading Life has given them the edge over Amazon Kindle and Nook  by Barnes & Noble and is now my go-to app for e-reading on my iPad.

As I read, I earn rewards in the form of badges, similar to what you see from FourSquare.

All my reading activity is tracked and presented to me in a gorgeous infographic. Continue reading

Designing newspaper and magazine editions for tablets

I have been invited to speak at two conferences in St. Louis. Same topic, two different audiences. That’s what I call synergy. I am in good company. I will be sharing the stage both Thursday and Friday with Mike Schmidt, Art Director at The Daily, while Robert Newman, Creative Director of Reader’s Digest will join us Friday. Topic of discussion: Designing newspaper and magazine editions for tablets.

Below you will find links to the presentations and some other blog posts I have been writing about tablet design and strategies in general.

Thursday presentation: The Newspaper Is Dead, Long Live the NewstabletPresented at: Tablet/Mobile Strategies and Visions for News Organizations, sponsored by the Reynolds Journalism Institute, the Digital Publishing Alliance, the American Society of News Editions and the Mid-America Press Institute.

Friday presentation: Designing For Tablet – The New Breed: Storyteller/Designer/Programmer. Presented at SND STL (Society for News Design)

Posts about tablet design and strategies

A Publisher’s Guide to Tablet Innovation

One Week Into Launch of News iPad App: What’s the Feedback?

Tablet Strategies for Publishers: Framework for Content and Form

Tablet Product Strategy Revealed (VIDEO)

What The Launch Of The Daily Means For Local Publishers

Top 30 Sessions to Vote for at SXSW 2012

There are 3,273 panel ideas in the Panel Picker for SXSW 2012. Some of them are duds; others look pretty darn cool. But flipping through all those ideas to find your favorites is a chore. To help you along the way, here are my favorites in the genres of marketing, mobile, tablet, social media and emerging technologies. Also sprinkled in a couple of wacky ones that you don’t want to miss. Good session titles certainly helped lure me in!  The deadline for voting is Friday September 2.

I also included a shameless plug for my own submissions on behalf of Next Issue – they are all tablet related. Please leave a comment at the bottom and let me know which sessions you are excited about. Continue reading

New ad service promises to connect Twitter users with local advertisers

Three weeks into my new gig at Next Issue Media. So far, so good. The family is still down in So Cal, so I have been on my own for the past three weeks. Luckily, there is this fantastic Website called airbnb.com, which lets you “rent nightly from real people in 15,909 cities in 186 countries.” I highly recommend you check it out. It sure beats staying at a motel. Not only are the rates fair but the real value is in meeting people like Tim (my host) and Rohit (my co-tenant).

It is actually Rohit I am going to write about. Like many others coming to Silicon Valley, Rohit is an entrepreneur looking for a break for his startup company WisdomTap (they are still in beta, Website under construction).

The promise on WisdomTap’s Website is – well – promising:

“WisdomTap is building an advertising platform to help you reach the right customer at the right time.”

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How social media helped me get the job

Recently I was invited to speak at a career conference at my Alma Mater, CSU San Bernardino. The topic: Get The Job With Social Media. As luck would have it, less than one month later, I would be putting me own advice to the test. I will describe how that went at the end of this post.

You are a brand

It is simple really. In the good old days, you searched for a job, you applied for a job, and if you were lucky, you interviewed for a job. Social media has changed the dynamics. The process still applies, but social media adds a new layer. You now have the opportunity to manage your career. By being active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or even a blog, you are able to shape yourself as a brand.

Social media enables you to manage your brand and shape your career

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Wait a minute… Is this the year of mobile?

Yep, she's on a smartphone too. And she's thrilled!

Update 6/15/10: Check out the chart at the bottom.

Marketers, if you are asking this question, chances are you do not own a smartphone (or perhaps you own a Blackberry – the “semi” smartphone). If you are asking this question, chances are you have yet to develop a mobile strategy.

Chances are you are losing. Losing to competitors who have already realized the smartphone is the most intimate and direct route to consumers. Losing to competitors who have realized there is a dramatic shift happening in consumer behavior. Losing to competitors who have noticed that smartphones are with consumers 24/7, and they are being used for browsing, researching, comparison-shopping, purchasing products and much more. On the go, at home, in stores.

I attended Interactive Day down in San Diego earlier this month. Needless to say, the topic of almost all sessions evolved around mobile. I gathered some bullet points from a couple of the speakers (forgive me for not including their research sources). For those of you who get mobile, this is just a reminder. For the rest of you, this is a wake up call. Continue reading