Ever watched one of those auction shows where the auctioneer talks a mile a minute, getting the audience worked up to bid on the featured product (art, car, cow, etc.)? Meanwhile, some of the people in the audience stealthily lift their paddles to place a bid while others simply enjoy the spectacle of being a part of the action.
Auctions are gaining a new audience. There are auctions for unclaimed storage spaces via A&E’s hugely popular show, Storage Wars, and auctions for lost luggage (don’t believe me, check out a preview of the upcoming show: Baggage Battles on The Travel Channel).
Well, for the rest of us, there is a brand new online auction service that combines all the thrills of the live auctions, with gamification features to keep things lively and social. Introducing Outbid.com.
Unlike online auction sites like eBay, or penny auction sites based on hidden tricks that have frustrated bargain hunters, Outbid is filled with real people, making real bids, on really cool things.
o Real-time transparency means bidders can chat with their competitors and see what they’re looking at or bidding on.
o Sellers can either talk (via audio) or chat with bidders, just like at a live event.
o Both sides earn rewards based on behaviors, like tabling a “Monster Bid’’ to leapfrog over the pack.
I could explain more, but here’s something more fun. Go to outbid.com and check out the next upcoming auction (as of this writing, the Spring Extravaganza Auction is at 5pm PDT, Wednesday, April 4th). Among the items up for bid is a brand new iPad 3 (okay, they’re really not called iPad 3, as Apple doesn’t use numbers on the iPad anymore, but anyway…).
Join in the auction – maybe I’ll see you there (and OUTBID you! hah! get it?!)
Eek. I just noticed that the last time I got around to blogging was January. Time flies when you’re having fun.
We’ve been extra busy here at Consort: new clients, new hires, and tons and tons of media engagement on behalf of our clients.
We’ve had some major coverage for some of our clients.
We’ve been so busy that this blog is like the cobbler’s children: the old story goes “the cobbler was so busy fixing everyone’s shoes, so he didn’t have time to fix his own kids’ shoes.” We’ve been writing, pitching, calling, and strategizing day and night, weekends and holidays, for our beloved clients. So this little blog has had to take a time out.
I’m slowly coming back up for air, so I’ll try to share some of the exposure our clients have been enjoying lately.
The deadline to submit your application to be a part of the next i/o ventures startup program is Monday, January, 16th.
San Francisco-based i/o ventures is an early stage startup program that focuses heavily on mentorship. They work closely with founders from product launch through the next stage of company development, sharing what has proven to work for product scaling, revenue growth and fund raising.
They’re a great team so we recommend you check them out.
It’s that time of the year when you might be thinking about losing a couple of inches, or eating a bit healthier, or making that date-night promise a reality. Well, sometimes a little peer pressure is the secret to accomplishing goals. NBC’s Los Angeles affiliate spotlighted Astrid, the best social productivity app you’ll find for your smartphone. Make a list of the things you want to do and invite your friends, colleagues, and/or family to give you props or smack downs. I like to use it as a friendly reminder for my peeps. Saves me from doing the dirty work and makes us all look good. Give it a spin at Astrid.com or follow them at @weloveastrid
It was clear that Charles Jolley, CEO and co-founder of Strobe was onto something big. His mission to create an HTML5 mobile app development platform that would enable developers to create apps instantly and easily accessible across multiple platforms and devices was hotly anticipated. When the company opened the doors to a limited beta and allowed a few to take an early peak inside, they were flooded with requests for broader access. Apparently, it wasn’t just developers who were eager to get their hands on Strobe.
Yesterday, Charles announced that the team had been acquired by Facebook to help the largest social network in the world create “innovative mobile experiences.” It was a great pleasure and honor for us to work together with Strobe and we’ll continue to keep an eye on their progress.
A few stories emerged about the acquisition, as shown below.
I’ve given props to King.com before in this blog, as they’ve been enjoying skyrocketing traffic with their new proprietary social games, like Bubble Witch Saga and Mahjong Saga, and that you can play on Facebook, the web, and on mobile devices. This week, they had a lot of great news to share.
Here’s the summary:
With more than 2.5 million downloads on Android, today Astrid brings its leading social productivity app to the iPhone. Astrid lets you update your To Do lists via email, text and voice as it provides you with statistics on the whether your tasks are active, completed, inspiring others to finish a job or simply something you’ve supported with comments.
I’m so excited, as I can now use Astrid to gently poke and prod my peeps with Astrid’s playful reminders that will make the team smile as they get things done (I’m sure they’ll enjoy it more than my barrage of emails at all hours of the day and night). You see, it’s one thing to set up your own to-do list. But it’s another thing when you also rely on others to get things done. Have you reviewed that press release yet? Queued it up on PR Newswire? Have you guys pitched the release to x, y, and z? Now I can set up my list of To Do’s for the team and see who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. Of course, the team can also see when I’ve been slacking off and falling behind on my list as well (hmmm, better make this post short as I gotta get back to my Astrid list…).
Calling all hustlers, hackers and entrepreneurs – you’re invited to the Fleetly Startup Challenge
While we all love working at a startup and enjoy trying to make a difference in the world, we know it’s challenging and sometimes all consuming. As Paul Graham said, “what a startup (bootstrapped or not) takes is 100% of your performance, not 100% of your time. And optimizing for performance means spending some time on maintenance.” So here’s our chance to get the startup community in shape, have a little competitive fun, and promote a good cause.
There are going to be a few extra prizes for the winners, as well as something for all the teams that pass a set threshold, (Fleetly is keeping that secret for now) so get out there do some push-ups and go for a run in the park before the snow starts falling.
Fleetly also would like to encourage everyone to help make that $500 donation turn into a $2,000 donation by adding to the prize money on our Right to Play fundraiser site, which you can link to through the challenge page. They know many startups are bootstrapped right now but this really is a great organization that is making a big difference in people’s lives.
Sign up your team now Fleetly Startup Challenge
Last week, Strobe lit up the social media airwaves when news broke they were giving away a limited number of access codes to their highly anticipated app delivery network, a one-stop shop that allows developers to create and manage HTML5-based web apps for smartphones, desktops and tablets from a single interface. The Twitter-sphere in particular was aglow with requests to @Strobe for the access code, as developers quickly recognized the benefit of using Strobe’s platform to regain control over the way apps are built, published, monetized and managed. Now the question of whether to go web app or native is dramatically simplified. Just go Strobe.
RelayRides also announced they are expanding throughout San Francisco and Boston proper, enabling more people to choose access over ownership.
One of the key differences in RelayRides neighbor-to-neighbor car sharing service is that it not only provides a $1 million per transaction insurance policy to car owners, but also provides security technology to give owners the assurance that their car won’t end up in the wrong hands.
Coverage highlights included:
Check it out at apps.facebook.com/gekko
Apparently, PR execs have the second most stressful job, right behind Commercial Airline Pilots (so much for my recent flying lessons) and right before Senior Corporate Execs. The reason for the stress in PR is:
Public relations executives are “completely at the mercy of their clients and buyers,” says Tony Lee, noting that their success or failure depends on the actions and decisions of clients, creating a stressful situation because their performance is in many ways out of their hands.
Well, I do agree there are elements that are beyond our control. For example, today President Obama is at Facebook for a Town Hall event and there are a lot of media in attendance. If we would have had a client announcement today, it would have been tough to compete with the President for attention. However, there are many other times when we usher a client announcement to the press and everything goes smoothly and spectacularly. I guess those are the days that compensate for the stressful days!
First it was the cold that I picked up while in Austin for SXSW. Then it was my iPhone that got corrupted during a software update that wiped out the marathon playlist that I had built over the past few months including 100 motivational songs, and of course, there was my shin splint in my left leg, and something that could be either serious or minor in my right knee that I’m supposed to have MRI’ed(haven’t done it yet). But that wasn’t going to stop me. No, no. I set my alarm for 3:50am, Dominic had room service deliver coffee at 4am, and I was off on the shuttle bus at the start line at 5:30am determined to finish and do my very best.
The weather forecast called for heavy rain on marathon Sunday, but as runners huddled in Dodger Stadium, only a light shower passed by before the horn went off at 7:44am to start the race. As we entered ChinaTown, full of adrenelin and enthusiasm, the first rains started to fall. Ahh, this feels good! Nice and refreshing! The rains stopped, then started, then, Noah decided to show up with his ark as I saw him float by in the roads that became rivers in LA. Holy floodzone, Batman! Runners stretched out their arms in submission to the rain gods that soaked us to the core over and over again. Then the winds showed up, bringing down the mile markers throughout the course so you didn’t know how far you’d run.
Although us runners felt a bit sorry for ourselves, looking like drowned rats scrambling for dry land, I really felt sorry for the volunteers who struggled with inside-out umbrellas as they stretched out their arm to offer us water, Gatorade, slices of oranges, bananas, Clif bars, and even Yakult! They were soaked and shivering, but were intrepid as they stood their ground to make sure we were supported.
I never realized that cold, wet, weather brings on cramps and hypothermia so quickly. At one point, I reached over to turn down my music so I could hear the crowds better and I was immediately struck by a massive cramp down my right side. I struggled with that cramp while another developed in my right shoulder. As I was happily enjoying a downhill section of the race around mile 24 or so, I was fighting several cramps in my thighs and shins. Geez! I’ve never had so many cramps at one time in my life. I kept telling myself to relax and just take it easy. They would subside, but if I tried to accelerate, they’d come back again, so I just kept my pace slow and steady.
A very welcome surprise was the face of Joon appearing around mile 20. The last 6 miles were really hard for me, so having her cheer me on and run with me gave me an energy boost that left a smile on my face!
On Ocean Avenue, the home stretch, I could see the finish line in the distance, but I had to get through the driving race that stung my eyes and cheeks. Street blockades slid across the road with the force of the wind, almost clipping a few runners in front of me. Most spectators didn’t have umbrellas by then – why even try when Mother Nature was going to win anyway.
Crossing the finish line, I looked over and saw Dominic, Robert and Min cheering me on! As they took a picture, I tried to pose which caused my left butt cheek to cramp. I’ve never had a cramp there before, but let me tell you, it hurts!
I didn’t earn a PR or a BQ, but I gave it my best and survived brutal weather for 26.2 miles. And as you can see from this chart, I actually didn’t do so bad!
Thanks to everyone who supported me, my charity – Freedom Is Not Free, and sent me good vibes. I really needed every ounce of your energy to get through this one! My muscles are super sore but my heart is happy and full of gratitude. Thanks again.
Cooliris is sponsoring this year’s must-go party at SXSW, the Tech Cocktail Kickoff on Sunday, March 13th. I’m looking forward to kicking up my heels in Austin!
Don’t forget to download the LiveShare by Cooliris app. If you do and show it at the event, you may win prizes throughout the night and will have access to all the fabulous photos from the party.
The image above shows what happened to test subjects when they were exposed to a cell phone receiving a call for 50 minutes. A portion of their brain became more active; burning more energy. What does this mean to us?
“We have no idea what this means yet or how it works,” said neuroscientist Nora Volkow of the National Institutes of Health. “But this is the first reliable study showing the brain is activated by exposure to cellphone radio frequencies.”
Hmm, that doesn’t sound reassuring. A few weeks ago, I was commuting on the SF to Larkspur Ferry and sat across from a lawyer who was working on a class-action lawsuit against cell phone providers to require them to disclose the amount of radiation we were exposed to on each phone. He said the iPhone was particularly dangerous, as the antennae issue meant that the phone was struggling to receive a signal more often than not, which meant it was working harder, which meant our gray matter was ingesting more radiation.
Brain imaging physicist Dardo Tomasi of Brookhaven National Laboratory, who co-authored the new brain-scan-based work, to be published Feb. 23 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed radiation emitted from a cellphone’s antenna during a call makes nearby brain tissue use 7 percent more energy. Apparently, that’s several times less activity than visual brain regions show during an engaging movie, but Mr. Tomasi goes on to state:
“The effect is very small, but it’s still unnatural. Nature didn’t prepare our brains for this.”
Sounds like a very good reason to invest in a headset to keep those rays further away from your brain, and while you’re at it, maybe it’s a good idea to occasionally unplug and put that thing into “airplane mode” at night to ensure your insides aren’t swaying to the sounds of the “dit ditta dit ditta dit” that you hear when you’re phone is next to radio.
Live long and prosper.
So do you think the movers and shakers of Silicon Valley recommended Cooliris’ new LiveShare to the President? They could take fun snaps of each other and share them with one another in a private, invite-only photostream that the others could contribute to.
Bet you they did, and this is where they are congratulating each other on the smart move.
Originally uploaded by The White House
I was watching the TODAY Show recently and saw Marilu Henner of Taxi fame talk about a rare condition she has called “superior autobiographical memory,” which was first diagnosed by neurobiologist James McGaugh in 2006.
“I can rattle off almost every time I’ve seen you… It’s like putting in a DVD and it queues up to a certain place. I’m there again, so I’m looking out from my eyes and seeing things visually as I would have that day,” said Marilu.
Sometimes I forget where I parked, so I certainly am not afflicted with this condition…
Given that I suffer from “unsuperior autobiographical memory,” I’m very glad to see Viewdle is coming to my rescue. Viewdle already has a private beta version of its software available which instantly tags the photos and videos in my computer with the right names, and can also upload them directly to Facebook.
This week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the company demonstrated their facial recognition system for mobile phones, whereby the phone’s camera can pick out faces and tag them with names in real-time. You will then be able to associate the faces with people in your social networks.
“We are giving smartphones human eyes,” Viewdle co-founder and chief executive Laurent Gil told AFP.
Viewdle received $10 million in funding from mobile device makers Qualcomm and Blackberry, as well as US electronics retail chain Best Buy, and Anthem Venture Partners, in October 2010, and hopes their software will start showing up in products by mid 2011.
I’m so excited to report I’m already 50% to my goal of raising $1,000 for the Freedom is Not Free charity which helps Purple Heart recipients and their families, as well as the families of those fatally wounded.
I’d appreciate it so much if you could check out my CrowdRise donation page and consider supporting this cause that gives back to those who gave their all.