Author Archives: SimonOwens

I spent several weeks using chatbots for news and they suck

With the growth chat apps like Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, and Snapchat, we started to hear a lot of buzz last year about the rise of chatbots, which are accounts you can subscribe to within Facebook Messenger and chat with an AI that’s geared toward a specific task. Several news organizations launched their own chatbots, so a few weeks ago I subscribed to bots from the Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, and Complex Magazine. They all sucked. I explain why in the video below.

 

There will never be a mainstream social media app for podcasts

Podcast industry watchers love to decry the lack of social media features in most major podcast apps, but there’s actually no market for such a tool. In the below video, I explain why podcasting is a longform medium and should be compared to mediums like books, TV, and movies — all of which don’t have mainstream social apps attached to them.

Snapchat’s UI is keeping it from catching up to Instagram

Recently, Instagram announced that Instagram Stories, its tool it cloned from Snapchat, has over 200 million daily active users, which is more DAUs than Snapchat has for its entire app (roughly 166 million). Meanwhile, in its most recent quarterly filing, Snapchat announced its user growth has slowed; it only added 8 million users at a 5 percent growth rate. Why is Snapchat stalling out, and why is Instagram running away with all its best features?

To answer these questions, I interviewed David Lee, CEO of video marketing creation tool Shakr. He talked about Snapchat’s UI problems and how its future lies in the growth of its augmented reality technology.

Has Medium lost its way?

If you’re a longtime Medium user like I am, you’ve likely noticed a number of drastic changes to the platform in recent years. At first, the site put significant resources toward producing original journalism on the platform. Then it spun off its homegrown publications and started focusing on luring established media companies to adopt its CMS. It also launched a native advertising program, only to abruptly shutter it and lay off a third of the company’s workforce. Just recently it launched a paid subscription service and drastically revamped its homepage feed. So what is with all these changes? Has the company figured out where it fits in the marketplace, or is it flailing about, still looking for a sustainable business model? To answer this question, I interviewed Renan Borelli, director of audience development at MTV News. Enjoy.

Was the iPad doomed from the start?

As many tech analysts have pointed out, the iPhone is possibly the most successful product in the history of consumer products. But then that leaves us wondering what Apple has planned for when iPhone sales plateau and then fall — something we’ve seen happening recently. The iPad, when it launched in 2010, was supposed to be that next big thing, but after some blockbuster sales right of the gate, the device has experienced steady declines. Why? Was it a product doomed from the start? Or was it never supposed to be the next iPhone, but rather just another product in Apple’s arsenal? To discuss this topic I brought on Beutler Ink president and Apple fanboy Bill Beutler. Check out our video below.