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future of web apps Archive
At the MTA developer conference last week, one of the attendees asked MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jay Walder what three types of applications he would like to see built. I’ve posted the video below which is very much worth watching if you are already building a mobile app or looking for an idea for a mobile app to build.
Walder discusses how the NYC transit system runs 24 hours a day 365 days a year – something only a few other transit systems employ. The challenge he explains is how to communicate when there are changes to the normal routine. He compares how here in NYC we typically don’t shut down full subway lines, but tweak them which makes the process of getting from point A to point B “enormously complicated.” He wants a combination of trip planning and current system changes into an app that tells you how to get where you need to go right now instead of right now plus you need to navigate signage at the platform.
The second app type Walder would like built is countdown clocks for buses. The really interesting part of the video even for non-developers is how the system works to be able to generate countdown clocks for buses. It all comes down to algorithms.
The third challenge is getting the data to people — and also realizing that there is no standardization of devices. And Walder explains that it’s not good enough to have great apps for the newest iPhone and Android device, but we need to be able to get the data and information out to devices that might be many years old.
He concludes by talking about smart card systems and how the change in payment type doesn’t change the actual act of paying for a transit fare.
I was very impressed with Mr. Walder and hope I get a chance to meet him one day. It’s important to note that he is holding his current position until I decide to take it – should be sometime in 2012.
Here’s the video from Mr. Walder:
Continue reading “MTA CEO Tells You What Apps To Build” »
One of the most practical talks at FOWA London came from the CEO of Freshbooks, an online invoicing app for individuals and small businesses. Mike McDerment reminded the audience of designers, developers and wannabe web 2.0 rock-stars that the excel number-crunchers of the corporate world can teach us a lot about how to measure business performance. When you’re trying to create the next widgetized social aggregation platform which is powered by supercharged virality it might not seem very sexy to fire up excel and start facing those cold white boxes. However, Mike urged everyone there to cook a monitoring system directly into their web-apps so that they know where their visitors are coming from, how many of them are signing up, and, crucially, how many of them are actually sticking around. Importantly, he urged everyone there not to assume that Google Analytics is the answer to all your measuring needs. Measuring is a business philosophy and Mike practices what he preaches. Freshbooks ads are all over the web and the ones that aren’t delivering ROI quickly are cut with the ruthlessness of a ninja swordsman.
This kind of obsession over the numbers is common among successfully bootstrapped companies. When you don’t have an enormous pile of green bills to cover in petrol and set alight, you don’t – simple as that. After spending the first two years in his parents’ basement, Mike has built Freshbooks into an extremely successful business with dozens of employees, thousands of paying users and, most importantly, extremely happy customers. Viral growth is a rare and elusive feat achieved by very few companies. Predictable growth is driven by regular measurement and informed improvement. In any case, if your app is growing like a weed, wouldn’t be nice to measure that?
Continue reading “Future of Web Apps Recap: Measure & Grow Your Startup” »
Last month we gave away five free passes to the Future of Web Apps conference in Miami at the end of February. It was the most popular holiday gift we gave away.
Now I am back with a discount code for our readers! Enter the code ‘FOWA_CenterNetworks’ without the quotes and you will receive 15% off your registration.
I think that this is one of the best conferences of the year. It’s very inexpensive compared to some others and the value is high. Check out our previous coverage of the FOWA conferences in San Francisco and London.
And don’t forget to let them know that you’d like the CN editor to be a speaker at the event! Lastly, if there are other conferences you want a discount for, let me know and I will work the organizers over.
The entries have been received and I am very happy to present the winners of the Future of Web Apps Conference in Miami at the end of February 2008. Thanks to everyone who entered.
If you didn’t win a pass, check out the early bird discount. If this conference is like the prior versions, it will be one of the best conferences of the year. Check out our previous conference coverage.
Here are the winners – congrats to each one:
- Nicole R
- Remy B
- Daniel T
- Kevin W
- Michael G
I will be in touch with the winners this evening with more details. I hope everyone enjoyed our Ten Days of Holiday Gifts.
UPDATE DEC 29 – You have a couple more days to enter to win a FOWA pass! Get your entries in!
Day #7 in the Ten Days of Holiday Gifts comes from Carson Systems. Carson Systems puts on some of the best conferences in my opinion and they have been kind enough to give us five (5) conference passes to give away for the Future of Web Apps in Miami on February 29th. Shameless plug – feel free to let the good people at Carson know that you’d like to see CN as a speaker at the conference!
Just for readers of CenterNetworks, Future of Web Apps is offering Five (5) Free Conference Passes. To enter for one of the passes, send in an entry using our contact form. We will select the winners on January 1st! Note: Please do not enter if you can’t make it to Miami!
(I’ve turned off comments on this post to avoid any entry confusion)
I’d like to thank each one of you for your loyalty and patronage over the past year. I’ve got a full recap coming but it’s simply amazing where CN has grown and of course it’s thanks to each of you. Like the Wine Man says, "It’s a lot of you and a little of me and together we are changing the tech industry." (I tweaked it a bit).
With that said, I’ve been working hard to line up a variety of exclusive Holiday Gifts for you. Over the next ten business days, there will be one gift each day. From service discounts, to premium beta access to free conference passes, we’ve got something you will like!
In the graphic below, you will note one slot with ??? in it. That’s because I have left one slot open. I’d like your feedback on who should fill that slot and I will go after them! Leave your ideas in the comments. And if you have a service to offer as a treat, contact us. It can’t be a free service is the only rule.
Here’s who’s participating — pretty impressive lineup!:
Compete – free credits towards the search analytics tool – get holiday gift
Clicky – two free pro accounts – get holiday gift
Future of Web Apps in Miami – 5 free conference passes – get holiday gift
CenterNetworks – 50% off job board posts – get holiday gift
Update: Please DO NOT signup for TapeFailure – the site will be closing at the end of this month :(
You won’t know which Holiday Gift will come which day nor what time – so be on the lookout! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to All!
Leah Culver from Pownce has posted her slides from the Future of Web Apps in London. I have embedded them below. I hope the Carson Systems gang posts her video as the slides alone lose the more important off-slide discussion. The discussion was titled, "Practical Lessons We Learned – Pownce".
- Developed in 4 months with only one developer (Leah) – wow.
- Lots of open source usage – Sometimes I find this could be as bad as it can be good.
- Amazon S3 – Leah notes it’s cheaper and has been reliable so far
- Only one MySQL DB – this was a bit shocking – even just for redundancy
- "Expect anything" she says – and this is so right – no matter how much you plan, something will change your course
- Use version control – rollbacks are a good thing :)
Here are her slides: