Growing up I used to love putting stickers all over my snowboard. Here is a picture of Torstein Horgmo (Scandinavian rider) representing some of his sponsors.
It seems the sticker craze has moved to the world of tech as well. Here is a picture of my laptop. A bunch of Dreamit companies on there as well as some of the NYC startups I support and use.
We’d love to see the stickers you are sporting on your laptop! Please add them in our comments section using the feature below! We will post the best ones on our Facebook Fan page!
This post was written by Tripl’s CEO Peter Sullivan. Tripl is a social service that allows you to discover where all your friends are traveling through stories created by the geo content they are sharing on their social networks like Foursquare, Instagram, and Facebook. Find our new iOS app here.
I will say it….we are location whores over at Tripl. Geo tags are the life line of our service and therefore we know the ins and outs of nearly every social platform API’s and the way they handle location. Over the last few months we have seen that the rise of the smart has lead to more content creation. This content creation is creating tons of noise in the social networks, but behind all that noise are millions and millions of geo tags. For the first time ever, all of these platforms are now serving the geo tags of the content being produced through their APIs’. That being said, all these services are still dropping the ball on maybe the most critical geo reference, the users Current Location. Well all except for Facebook at least!
Users’ current location is a great way to gather proper metrics, segment advertisement, and A/B test on different regions, however most of these services aren’t connecting the user’s location to an object or indexing it with structure. Its something that sounds so simple but isn’t being done. Instead, most of these services are using “free text” fields to capture a user’s current city location and then passing that text string through the API. This makes it very difficult to parse the location to get a proper geo latitude and longitude which should now be the standard for indexing location. It makes it even more difficult for developers to build compelling services off their APIs because properly indexing users’ locations can be critical. For Tripl, we need to know the current location of all the users’ friends in order to determine when they are traveling through the geo tagged content they share.
I’ll take a dive into what Facebook does right, and then demonstrate what the other services are doing wrong. When a user selects their current location and their hometown in the user’s profile setting, they are greeted with a drop down menu that contains city listings.
The best part is that each of these locations is linked specifically to a single object. If you were to visit the object, they have their own page with a ton of additional information. The public object pages look like this:
When you pull that object through the API, you get a ton of great information including Wikipedia text, along with images and most importantly GEO TAGS!
Facebook is really doing a great job about this and is making these objects as part of passive location tagging as well. If you have ever checked your newsfeed and saw that within a status update the text “near New York”, well that has an object attached to it. That object currently isn’t being passed through the API but I think in due time it will be given Facebook a huge advantage over other services in indexing location better. They currently do serve that object if the user actively attaches the city to their status. On a sour note, we have analyzed 15 million connected friends through Tripl and we are finding only 60% of users have actually selected a current city :(
Now lets look at the other services and see how they look. Both Foursquare and Twitter are using free text fields to record the users location. Foursquare is in the business of location, so I am really shocked how they are not indexing these better. One of the best parts of the new app’s explore feature is the ability to dive down into specific neighborhoods which must be indexed properly. They need to start doing the same with users’ city locations. As you can see in Twitter’s and Foursquare’s field, I can address Brooklyn as BK, or The Brook, or BRKLYN, or NYC. There is no way to determine a standardized location and remember this string is whats being served to developers through the API.
Finally I will take a look at G+. They are halfway there. What Google does well for themselves is index the location to a map, although I think a drop down menue would make this a lot easier. They actually do a Google map search to locate the free text that a user has added.
What G+ is doing wrong is the way they are serving this to their developers through the API. Rather than providing the longitude and latitude (which is obvious that they have) they are serving a string of the location name. Granted, it does have some structure so less parsing is needed to start indexing it developers’ databases.
I am very very bullish on the Facebook location team. First the first time ever I am seeing Mom’s geo tag their Facebook statuses which is proof that geo is now becoming mainstream.
During the spring we, like one might expect from a startup, an entire team of interns who temporarily joined our team. Two very talented Motion Graphic Designers have spend a lot of time in directing and creating a beautiful introduction video.
Unfortunately we have slightly changed course and focus over the months that followed. This means that the video is no longer relavant and that we are in need of a new video. Fortunately the guys at Vooza created a campaign together with Switch Video in which they are giving away an amazing price …. a brand new professional introduction video!
How do we win? We simply need to gather the most likes and tweets by next Wednesday. So id you want to help, and we sure hope you do, please follow this link and cast your vote by a simple ‘like’ or ‘tweet’ …. both works fine as well ;-)!’
Thanks in advance.
The world is getting smaller and smaller, and the competitive traveling industry makes it therefor more affordable to visit different places. All of us here have seen many amazing destinations in the world, both with the team and as individuals.
We thought it would therefor be a good idea to provide our followers with a weekly dosis of city trip inspiration. We are not going to write essays or guided tours for you, we are just providing you with a picture which in our eyes really sums up what this place is all about.
For us Stockholm is of course an obvious choice. Although I am pretty sure that this journalist got his martini in one of Stockholms expensive hotels I thought it was an interesting read that provides a good impression how visitors see Stockholm.
Feel free to provide us with tips which we can share with our followers again.
It has been quiet an exciting time ever since we started our first iteration in February this year. We have been covered in global press, got selected into one of the most prestigious tech accelerators, moved our office to NY, launched a brand new service (both on the web and iOS) and connected with the leaders in technology to just name a few. Apart from that we have been attending many conferences, of which TheNextWeb Conference and Techcrunch Disrupt are the biggest names.
Conferences are expensive, far away, the outcomes are hard to predict and often you can follow everything live through a stream online.
Is it therefor really worth your time, and money, to attend these events? I am sure many people will feel like a couple of thousands of dollars is slightly over-prized for 3 days of partying and collecting swag with fellow tech entrepreneurs.
This May we attended Techcrunch Disrupt in NY, an event which traditionally is recognized as one of the most important anual tech events. As a co-sponsor our investors had the possibility to let us have a table for the entire three day event, right next to the entrance to the main speaker room. Convinced that this was a golden spot we started out by addressing everybody who was passing by. Even though the response from the people we actually spoke with was good we came to find out that there weren’t many people interested in a chat. There weren’t actually so many people moving around at all.
Techcrunch Disrupt was packed with vendors, and therefor the amount of attendees was limited. Vendors felt obliged to continue hosting their own table and therefor the event (in my eyes) was lacking the necessary amount of interaction. Without taking action this would influence the outcomes of this conference in a very bad way. So how do you make the best out of an event like this?
- First of all, depending on the available wifi, it allows you to get some work done.
- Second of all, if you are with more, it is a great opportunity to go and find out what else is happening in the industry. Wander around and start conversations with likeminded people.
- Attend relevant lectures and ask as much intelligent questions as possible while mentioning your company name clearly. As many people watch the live streams and the room is filled with journalists this is a great way to get their attention.
- Have open discussions with fellow vendors in order to find partnerships or introductions.
- Try to, somehow, get your hands on the attendee and press list of the event.
- Get feedback. Many of the people who are there know the industry and the problems you are facing, make them believe in your product and let them help you make it better. Many of the people we have met are still talking about us, these are valuable ambassadors of your brand.
But not every event is like this, for a conference organizer the hard task is to find a perfect mix between vendors, attendees, press and investors to attend the event. TheNextWeb Conference in Amsterdam earlier this year really succeeded in that. We have been able to do all of the above and apart from that demo our product to many attendees, talk with investors who came to our table and as an additional bonus the press knew where to find us.
Attending conferences is good for many reasons, it allows you to stay up to date, get your name out there and if you can present or have a table it’ll help your enormously with building credibility and exposure. However make sure that you have done your homework, know who is coming and who you want to meet, who you want to listen to and what you will do when not many people will come to see you. Connect with people through Twitter before going and follow closely what is going on during the event.
In the end the success is often determined by how engaged, curious and interesting the crowd is!
And of course, after a long day of work, a beer is always a good idea …. we sure enjoyed it!
If you look at what the biggest social media missteps were in 2011 you will see that amongst the highest rankings you can find cases in which companies tried to erase negative mentions concerning their brand on different online platforms. This is very much in line with how most people think about negative feedback, it simple shouldn’t be there. When I speak with friends and other people who work in the same industry I often feel that they are convinced all feedback regarding their company should be positive, it indicates that they are doing things right. This is however not how we see it.
It might sound strange, but we are convinced that negative, or critical, feedback is of big importance and has a positive influence on brands and their products. Of course this doesn’t mean we would only want to receive negative messages from our users, that would in fact be very depressing and I hardly doubt that would benefit our user experience on the long term. But look at it from this perspective; what is there to improve, add or leave out if all the messages received praise your product? Exactly, nothing.
It is hard to look at it like that but a good way of looking at it is always from your own perspective. Let me ask you this: if you have a negative experience on a site, or app if you’d like, would you take the trouble to write feedback about that? And if you do, I want you to think back and remember the situations in which you did. It is not very likely that you took the time and liberty to write feedback on all the negative experiences you have had online over the past few years, that could be a part-time job. People tend to take the time to comment when they care, meaning that if people have negative feedback on what you are providing and take the time to let you know there must be something they like about what you are doing and they want you to work on that.
At Tripl we have really embraced all of the feedback we have received over the past months and treated positive and negative comments with the exact same care. My professor always used to tell us “a complaint is an opportunity”. He meant that if you could turn peoples negative experiences into a positive experiences the impact would be much higher, being the likelihood of your users talking about whatever it is you are providing in a positive way. Even higher than if people would have a positive experience from the start. You exceed someone’s expectations.
There is no such thing as a ‘perfect startup’ there is always work to be done and things to improve, a company who acknowledges that and tries to get its users involved in the product development only shows that it is run by human beings and cares about user satisfaction.
We sure hope we make you feel like your opinion matters. Keep mailing us as we hope to keep improving Tripl with your help.
It is 6.00 AM on London’s Heathrow Airport, and unlike one might expect during the Olympics the terminal in which I am waiting for my connecting flight is empty. I just came in from New York and am waiting to be connected to Amsterdam. Just like most of our team I am going to spend some time with my friends and family there before returning to the office in Sweden. I however doubt my family will actually notice that I am back as we have had limited sleep in the past few days.
I just realized that while crossing the Atlantic, though being surrounded by hundreds of fellow travelers, this was the first time that I was actually ‘alone’ in the last four months. In New York the biggest part of our team had been living together in an apartment conveniently located in the Upper West Side, and apart from sleeping there we have spend most of our time at the office … and in bars probably. A situation like this demands a lot from a team and I guess this situation is the ultimate test for any group which is being relocated for a certain amount of time. I am pretty sure many of my friends would confirm that they would never been able to spend so much time with their direct colleagues as we did over the course of the past 3 months. We have surely passed this test with a straight A.
As mentioned earlier our last 48 hours in NYC have been intense, with a great presentation at the New York Tech Meetup and the Dreamit Ventures’ Demo Day, which marks the end of this summers’ accelerator program, we have left the city in style and are looking forward to all that is coming next. We have learned a great deal about ourselves, the market that we are trying to disrupt and the industry we are working in over the course of the last moths. Apart from that we have tried to do as much as possible with the feedback that we have received. These two factors combined have made the app as we know it today. As we as a team already know a bit more about the future of Tripl than you do I can tell you this…. it will exciting, very exciting.
PS: We are back to being a bi-continental company and are now up for coffees in Stockholm again ;-). Looking forward to catch up with everyone here very soon.
For the past 3 months we have been locked up in the Dreamit Ventures offices in Midtown Manhattan, a place where 15 companies have been working on great things in order to get a serious round of funding.
Demo Day marks the end of our 3 month stay in this year’s Dreamit Ventures Accelerator Program. This is the day on which we, along with all the other involved companies, will be exposed to an auditorium packed with 200+ investors looking for the next big thing.
Ever since 3 weeks ago we saw the tension build up with all the other companies around us and to be honest, we are feeling it as well. Having spend 7 months in crunch time makes us however more than ready. We have presented on the biggest tech conferences, attended the best tech meetups, been featured by the biggest tech blogs globally and have met with the leaders in tech development in New York… but most of all we have built amazing products with an amazing team.
So, when are you ready to be exposed to this many investors? This is probably a question which would take me more than just 30 minutes to answer in full detail, and every entrepreneur probably has a different take on what elements should be in place before talking to investors. There are however a few elements which weigh heavy for many investors.
1. Your product or service clearly needs to solve a problem. Know how to communicate why people will use your product. Do you save them time, or money maybe?
2. Make sure that you have had traction, customers or users. If you have been able to build something which has been used by real life consumers you have a prove of concept. I am pretty sure I don’t have to explain why this is important for potential investors. VC’s love to see that entrepreneurs have the believe in their product and build things out of their own savings if they haven’t have received any funding before.
3. A working demo, this ties in with the previous element. But even if you have build something which is not tested on the market before it is important that you show your potential investors a working (bug free) demo of it.
4. Data is important, for more than one reason. Investors expect you to know your companies numbers by heart. Traffic data, costs, ROI, marketing. Other than that we have pointed out earlier in our blog how important it is to gather unique and enticing data nobody else can gather.
5. Your team. In this era’s competitive market it weighs very heavy if you can work with an experienced team. Know your team and how to sell their experience and skill sets.
6. A vision. As much as your potential investor are interested in your past and what you have accomplished so far.. he or she is investing in your future. Therefor it is important to have a waterproof plan in place on how your product will develop and expand, how you are going to grow your team and all the other things you intend to do with the money you are asking for.
I hope these few pointers help you if you are thinking about getting your ideas funded. We have been through a round before and if you feel like we could help you get ready feel free to drop us a line.
For the past 3 months we have been working out of the Dreamit Ventures offices in Midtown New York, an organized chaos which perfectly shows the priority of all the companies involved in this year’s class. It literally screams “who cares about where you build, care about what you build!” And we love that, this place really embodies the true nature of the tech startup industry.
Nevertheless I need to get myself out of the day to day routines at Dreamit every once in a while and get my shot of fresh energy at different places, good thing there are plenty of those in NYC.
It has been a while since I last was here but as I had been visiting my community colleagues at Tumblr, who are located right around the corner, I decided to spend some time in the lobby of the ACE Hotel again. Last time I was here me and Pete had been searching the place for two available seats after lunch; Mission Impossible 5!
We have been following this place ever since they first opened in 2010 and knew that this place would become the hotspot it currently is in no-time. For good reason, the trendy yet stylish decor in the lobby now houses young and starting entrepreneurs around the clock. Catered by live music, a raw oyster bar, curated DJ-sets and the in-house Stumptown coffee people here use every available spot they can possibly find to sit on as a place to have their meetings, throw around ideas and to get inspired. Since much has been happening in the past few months I almost forgot about how energetic this place is and was stoked to be back.
Unlike many other cities that I have visited and worked from, I have never experienced this much support and cooperation from likeminded people around me. This is one of the core reasons why places like the ACE Hotel lobby are so popular in this city, and very valuable to companies (like Tripl) who are building a product and are always after feedback. I naturally feels like you have a handful of consultants at your disposal.. for free! New York has a great tech community and mayor Bloomberg has done a great job in letting the local tech community flourish. He is a personal fan of places like this and therefor I will try to find as many of these places as possible before flying out to Europe again.
Get here early if you can though, because a good spot in the lobby of the ACE Hotel is considered a valuable piece of real estate these days. Even if you are not an early bird (almost nobody is in the tech community) it is worth it, the energy which you’ll get will keep you going guaranteed …. that and the coffee of course. I am surely coming back here in the next few days to get inspired and meet likeminded people.
What creates a good work environment for you? If you know a place similar to the ACE hotel in NYC we would love to hear about it.
Ever since we relaunched Tripl a few weeks ago we have been flooded by positive responses and feedback. All of your comments have been gathered, labelled, categorized, prioritized and finally discussed in one of our product meetings with the team. Truth be told, not all feedback was realistically possible but in the end close to 100% of the messages we have received were very important and helpful to us. Whether it was a feature or functionality we had completely overlooked or the confirmation we got when we saw that the features you were requesting were already in development.
So what’s new:
1. For starters we have plugged Instagram into Tripl, meaning that you by now can discover more trips through your Instagram account.. trips which will be very rich in imagery ;-)! Our development team has worked day and night to make this complicated feature work and the results are awesome. Go to your settings page and simply connect your Instagram account, we’ll do the magic for you!
2. We are now letting you now exactly know when we last updated your friends’ data from Facebook, Foursquare and the recently added Instagram. We are making it our goal to always keep you ‘up-to-date’.
3. I never realized how many of my friends were actually away from home, did you? Therefor we decided to let you know first thing when landing on your travel log how many of your friends we have found traveling the globe in the past month. Oh … and you can share it with your (traveling) friends as well ;-)!
Keep your suggestions coming and in the meanwhile we will continue to work on making Tripl an even better experience one step at the time. When we release new features or change current features you will be the first to know!
Have you ever read an article online and felt like you wanted to tweet about it? Since your time is limited you assume that the related companies Twitter handle is its actual name? I am sure we have all been there. But what happens when this is not the case? This can really effect the conversation around the topic of the company. Companies miss out on your tweet and the chance respond to complaints or to connect with their followers, while major bugs can go unreported.
This is exactly what was happening to us. After our struggle for the tripl.com domain we were unfortunate to grab the sexy @Tripl Twitter handle. Instead we were forced to register @Triplapp.
We have always been quiet happy with our @triplapp handle, people seemed to get it and knew where to find us. However, a month ago when it became very obvious (again) that we needed to take action into pursuing the @Tripl handle.
One month ago Tripl pivoted into the service as you know it today. With media coverage worldwide we were flooded with tweets, Facebook likes and other social shares. For us the perfect opportunity to hear what people are saying about Tripl and hear how they are liking the new focus. We however found out pretty soon that, although our current users knew that we were @triplapp, our new users who were reading about us automatically started drafting tweets addressing @tripl…. #FAIL!
Some articles generated close to 2000 tweets and at that point we decided to never miss out on an opportunity like that connect with our target audience again. If I want to tell the guys at Heineken how much I have enjoyed my cold beer last weekend I just want to assume that they are using @heineken as their Twitter address. It is very powerful when your handle is as frictionless to use as possible, ours obviously wasn’t. Since we were hitting a crucial phase in the growth of Tripl this was bad news.
To begin with, you should know that over the course of the last 12 months we have been attempting to reach out to the curator of @Tripl more than a dozen times. He was very inactive, had never send a single tweet in his life, had 8 followers (6 of which were Tripl team members) and wasn’t following more than 4 people himself. You can imagine the frustration knowing that all tweets addressed to you end up in someone’s inactive account.
Thrilled to see that Twitter has there NY office three blocks from here, I created a report on the virality of the articles in which we were featured along with the details of the @Tripl account. After completing the report I went, armed with the well known Swedish cinnamon buns, to the Twitter offices in New York. It might have been a bit naive thinking I could just walk in and talk with someone who could help us out but it was at least worth a try. As it seemed, I was indeed naive. I even tried bribing the security crew with the freshly baked Swedish cinnamon buns but even that wouldn’t make them call up and ask if anyone would want to see me, not even if it would take 2 minutes tops. They were very well trained in their responses and I can only imagine how many people share my naiveté.
Frustrated by this ‘defeat’, the cinnamon buns had done so well until now, I walked back to the office. In order to boost my self esteem I decided to blog about how much other companies in New York had meant to us during the summer. I also decided to return the favor by inviting anyone who was interested in the lessons we had learnt to come by and talk.
Somebody must have smelled our cinnamon buns high up in the Twitter offices because one of Twitter’s designers had been using Tripl for a little while and was a big fan of our design and simplicity. Not knowing we had a presence in New York she had read our post and was excited to come by and talk. After our meeting I couldn’t mind asking about who I should talk to at Twitter to get things sorted out regarding our Twitter handle. I handed over my report to her and she promised me to look into it. Not even 48 hours later Twitter had migrated our account to @tripl and we are now the proud curators of the only Twitter handle which suits us like a tailored suit.
We are very thankful that Twitter has been so cooperative in this situation. We sure have found that their policy is all about stimulating the correct use of Twitter and they have surely handled it like that. Throughout the course of the summer our relationships with companies like Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare have surely helped us out a lot.. and if you guys are reading ‘Thanks so much’.
In the past few weeks Tripl has been featured on many different tech (and other media) platforms throughout the world wide web. What good has this done, and even more so; how important is it to be featured on the biggest tech blogs when you are trying to scale your business?
Last year we created an infographic which put us on the radar of a lot of tech blogs. With over 600.000 pageviews this was a success bigger than we would have ever hoped for. Why was this such a success? In this particular case it was the content which provided people a new view on ‘social travel’. Techcrunch headlined ‘More Americans are on Facebook than have a passport’, as this was a surprising fact too many people it got shared a lot. Unique content is important, and even more so the angle from which you present this content to your following. But is this the attention you want? It is great linking your name to new and interesting findings but how do you eventually define success in the media?
Two weeks ago we launched a second infographic, which was exclusively featured on Mashable at first hand. Within an hour we recorded over 1400 tweets, let alone the re-tweets. It sounds like a great success when you compare it with the amount of shares we recorded on all of the other media attention we got in the past month. But even though the infographics went viral it wasn’t our most important press, because it didn’t convert like the articles which specifically were targeting our new website and other developments.
We learned that over the course of a year we have had great benefits from all the different kinds of media attention, and we would recommend everybody to aim at creating different types of content and to share this with reporters. Data is everywhere around you, whether it is stats from your users, trends in behavior you record or the results of a survey which you conducted. Building a relationship with some of the bigger platforms is of the essence here, listen to what they want to write about, when a story becomes interesting and how you can deliver that story. They have a great reach and being featured on the big tech blogs is good for your credibility, apart from that many other blogs tend to follow them and use their content as inspiration.
If you are planning on releasing a new product, or are iterating, it always helps to back your story up with interesting facts and visuals but never forget that the story has to be about what you are providing and not only about the fun, humorous and interesting facts that you were able to provide in order to attract attention. Where the ‘press releases’ and ‘product updates’ bring us a lot of traffic when these articles get pushed the infographics remain to get attention throughout the entire year, it is visual, interesting, humorous, easy to share and pinable! Even though it seems that these articles reach more people it doesn’t necessarily have to be like that, just think about it; would you share a link after you have clicked on the link and got redirected to the website the article is about? No, most people will not go back and share it. But if people have a great data or an infographic in the article with the kind request to share this at the bottom of the page people will.
Regardless of how you decide to approach the press make sure to measure the impact. Every time you’ll get to understand better what works for you and your company. As always I am very interested to hear your opinions on the matter. And if you want to chat about it feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of you must remember, before re-branding to Tripl our social travel platform was called Vacation Relation. In January 2011 Peter and his Co-Founder David started drafting the plans for Tripl.
Not long after, in March and April, the search for the team started and after having assembled young talent in Sweden the build could start. By launching the first private beta in the Fall of 2011 Tripl was born. We went live in December with a product which had a stronger focus on design and had a high gamification level.
In february 2012, when the team grew, we had a product epiphany which made us shift focus. We decided to cut on features and gamification and work on the usability of our core features. The first design by our new designer Brian was very well recieved by press and users. We got to launch this iteration along with our API and iPhone application on stage during this year’s TheNextWeb Conference in Amsterdam late April.
Not long after TheNextWeb Conference we made the move to NYC and enrolled in this year’s Dreamit Ventures summer class. Amongst many other advantages we got to meet with many professionals who gave us valuable feedback on the product. Together with our user’s feedback this is what made us look for our ‘thin edge of the wedge’.
We are now focussing on one core feature with the possibility to reintroduce old features in the future again. With a strong focus on design this is what our current service looks like.
Stay tuned for what the future design of Tripl will look like, and if you are interested in what our designer Brian has done earlier have a look at his website here.
Liking the new Tripl? Then make sure to follow us on Facebook and you can start testing our native iPhone app before it hits the App Store.