About four months ago I bought an item online from an online store and had it delivered to me by courier. It was my first time and it felt really nice. The feeling of acquiring something new with no stress at all, and having it brought to your doorstep without lifting a finger, but for to click on a mouse or a tab. The feeling is one of poise and peace and fulfillment, and just "knowing" that you've got the best deal there is, or in more rational terms, "feeling" that you've got the best deal there is. Does this mean I could be a potential shopaholic in future? I doubt it! Shopping online is just exciting and is really gaining ground in these parts. But for certain other things like autos, it's rather a more delicate, stressful, intricate and haggle-full process to handle in the Online Marketplace. Drive Motors helps you do this without stress. Now this is a technology-based company located in, you know where, - the tech Hub - San Francisco, California, US of A. They are into Automotive and payment Technologies and are backed by some of the most prestigious technology investors in the world including Y combinator and khosla Ventures. How do they do what they do? They make software for car dealerships to offer their entire buying process directly online. In other words, if I were a dealer, (and I am considering it because of them) and want to sell online, Drive Motors enables me to offer my entire process of buying directly online to customers looking to buy a car. E-commerce just got cooler. Hey someone here in Naija better start this kinda thing, or some big well-known dealer in autos should make use of such auto payment processing method *just saying*. Certain other sites like TrueCar and Cars.com had come up with something similar but some only help you search for cars and car deals, and still require a consumer to fill out a contact form and talk to a broker. In Nigeria, we know jiji.com and the likes, nice, great work, but they only are like mediators or something like that for the purchase of cars and don't necessarily sell new cars, l mean tear-rubber as we know it. But Drive Motors lets you buy brand new cars from dealerships, from the comfort of your living room sofa and have it delivered to you at home or office for free without wasting time. Amazing! You can even trade in your old car and get the fair market value applied to your new car order, and have the dealership prepare all the paperwork for you. Drive Motors is really a plug-in for car dealer websites. You pick a call you like, and Drive lets you configure options, set up a financing plan and you pay the dealer right there then all you do is pick up your new car. Come to think of it, the Tesla brand has a similar service. Drive Motors simply brings the Tesla experience to every other car brand. Score! Now a little bit about the founder. Drive Motors was founded by Aaron Krane. For him, crashing into the idea for Drive Motors was a total accident. He had always had a penchant for cars and even fetishized cars as a young boy. "I grew up in a culture where we fetishized cars" he said "I had the car calendars. Anywhere I went that had magazines, I'd run right to the DuPont Registry and look for photos of Lamborghinis" Krane lived in San Francisco but was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Khosla Ventures in Palo Alto. The bumming rides soon became a concern and so he decided to buy a new car online, but found the experience confusing and obvious that e-commerce had not reached new cars, so voila he decided to do something about it. Just like that and today we can think of buying cars online. I think there's a lesson to be learned here. Find a problem around you and search for a solution to it. You'd be amazed at what you find *winks*.
Saturday, 19 March 2016
As you may already know, in today's world, communication is very key to survival and staying relevant. Even in relationships, especially in relationships, and that applies to the Tech World too. More and more apps are adding features like messaging to keep their users locked in for longer and wanting more. Apps like Flipagram - an app that lets you merge pictures and video snippets with music to create your own beautiful stories - have added a direct messaging feature to make your creations more fun and interactive. It allows you to send your Flips through to specific friends or group of friends without leaving the app. Whew! Finally! It's something that used to be an "ish", where you had to leave the Flipagram app in order to send Flips to people directly. Not anymore! The DM (direct messaging) feature now has a prominent place directly to the right of the + at the bottom of the screen that you press to create a new Flip. It replaced the music button which now appears in the explore section. You find friends to message by following them and them following you back in the app. The messaging interface will appear on a different screen where you can exchange messages as well as Flips with friends. The app has over 40 million registered users and has consistently hovered in the top 10 photo and video apps in the key US Market. Messaging is in many ways the killer app on mobile at the moment with apps like WhatsApp and Messenger (both owned by Facebook) now used by billions of consumers. Just so you know, Farhad Mohit is the co-founder and CEO of Flipagram. The company has been around since 2013. I'm pretty sure some people still don't know about Flipagram and what it does... (look who's talking, *me* I only got to know about it in 2015). Well, it helps you stitch photos and video pieces into a slideshow that can be shared on internet platforms like Facebook or Twitter or Instagram... (like I haven't said that already) which brings us to another interesting feature to come to Flipagram, or more like a transition of the app from an editing app to a social network. A really bold step right? It says it wants to keep those precious moments inside its own app so that users will follow and like and share them with one another inside Flipagram just like it's done on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. Although the usual progression is from starting with the network to adding tools, Flipagram seems to be transitioning from a tool app to a social company. Mohit when asked in an interview about this reverse-order of progression had this to say (this has been edited for clarity and size) "The question you have to ask yourself as a starting company is how are you going to get a lot of users interested in your product? The answer for us and for some others was to make it as simple as possible with enough utility" he said "I actually think there are a lot of examples of folks that started out as a utility or tool and then kind of expanded that out into more of a network. Instagram is a good example of one of such. It really just started out making your photos prettier for Facebook" Mohit founded and sold Shopzilla and Bizrate for over $500 million as far back as 10 years ago. An enterprenuer Indeed! Despite the fact that lots of people still do not use or know what Flipagram is all about, it's really here to stay. What's not to love about this company. With Direct Messaging feature and the app's supposed transition into a social network platform, I say these guys are not thinking of bowing out anytime soon. And neither are we. One more reason why we love Life In A Jet Age. Happy Flipagramming! Adios!!!
So here's a quick Q&A session before we get down to dishing out on our scoop, munching, and digesting it as we always do: Do you know Whatsapp? Do you know Messenger?? Do you know how to use them??? I'm guessing you're about to knock me on the head with a huge cooking spoon or slap me for asking such a silly question. okay! But just before you do that, another quick question: How would you like to run your own messaging service? Aha I see I got your attention. Well, that is what Sendbird does for you. How? (me in pidgin) em! I go like stop the question and dish the food already before person beat me. Lols! 😁
Now, Sendbird is an SDK (software development kit) that lets you quickly build chat tools for your apps and services as an app developer. Cool right? And it's very easy to use as well as very affordable... (I think). This service was birthed out of a desire to incorporate a messaging feature into a community-based application called "Smile Mom" -which was designed to connect nearby mom's- but "they" couldn't find a straight-up ready-to-use solution that would suit the app, so they built one themselves. Now, I know you're wondering who "they" are. I'll tell you. It's John Kim and his team, that's who. The Sendbird company is launching out of Y Combinator's Winter 2016 class. In case you're wondering, Y Combinator is a start-up fund for startup companies. The company was formed in 2005 and is a major accelerator for start-ups. A powerful startup incubator for Tech Giants. Research shows that the average app looses 77% of its users in the first three days. That calls for some better way to keep your users around and Sendbird enables you as a developer add real-time chat functions to your app in a few minutes. I think it's awesome. Just think about it for a sec... You can incorporate messaging into your business and communicate with your customers one-on-one or as a game developer you can add chat functions to your games, so your users can play and connect with each other. Amazing! And just so you know, John Kim's background is in gaming and as you know communication is a real deal in that area. With the shift of games to mobile devices, there is greater need for communication across these games. Kim, originally a programmer, sold his last startup to GREE. In his own words he said, "We've been building this for a couple times when we were building our social game, we had to build this chat functionality every time. We felt like it was re-inventing the wheel every time. Even though chat is really important, as a start-up you have limited resources. You want your product guys and engineers focusing on what matters most. Sendbird operates on a paid subscription model, where the pricing varies based on the number of users who are using the chat services. Now this is not the first of its kind but is certainly one with a difference. *I think I'm just hyping right now* Layer is also a chat software development kit with similar operations as the Sendbird, but only allows a certain number of persons chatting in the same room. Sendbird has 15 employees and started in Korea but is now based out of San Francisco. It's live in 340 apps now and counting and has around 2 million monthly active users chatting through its platform. Great stuff! See why I asked those questions earlier? Hmmm! You can thank me later *winks*.