Tuesday, May 23, 2017
We Have Reached Peak Apps
Spare us your "killer apps." We don't need any more. What we do need is an app that kills all the underutilized or just plain useless apps that are taking up space on our phones.
I'm good. No mas. In fact, I'm up to here in unused apps and mystery buttons that, at best, are befuddling because I no longer have any idea of what they do or what they're for. It's great to have a cool-looking button for your app-- unless no one can remember or figure out what it means or does 3 or 4 days later. I'm sure that when I downloaded each and every one of these mission-critical apps, there was a very solid reason and a crucial need (hah!). Today I don't have a clue. It reminds me of the days when you'd automatically accept every LinkedIn or Facebook request to connect because-- after all-- who could have too many contacts or friends? Be the first on your block to download the newest app, need it or not.
I'm now pondering whether I can spare the space on my phone any longer for these rusty and remnant placeholders from the near and distant past. And it's a little depressing each week when the App Store reminds me that I have 87 updates to download as well. So, thanks, but no thanks. Please do me and my mobile a favor and don't bring me your newest app to add to the vast array of orphans already sitting unloved and long untouched on my phone. We have jumped the shark and reached peak apps. It's all downhill from here.
Even if I could find your new app among the 40,000+ new entries each month, I'm basically not interested because my plate is more than full. Of course, the very fact that it's so noisy, cluttered and expensive to try to launch a new app and get the word out to the marketplace and especially to the likely users is the second reason why it's pretty much a waste of breath to bring me your new breakthrough productivity product or umpteenth social media solution.
If I wasn't such a lousy housekeeper, 70% of these tired and tiresome things would be gone and no longer taking up the very precious parcels of real estate that are the screens on my phone. In fact, while some of the buttons are vaguely familiar, I'd say that I have no concept whatsoever of what 25 of these things are even supposed to do. Neither do you, dear reader. What's happening on your phone is no different from what I'm looking at. Whatever these things were supposed to be doing to us or for us, they're not doing squat today.
It seems that we're all digital hoarders for no good reason. I'd say that it's just another instance of the persistence of the path of least resistance. Honestly, it takes about two taps on an icon and a simple press on the little "x" to make these things disappear, but we can't bring ourselves to do it. Is it because we got them for free and we love hanging on to a bargain? Are we saving this stuff for a rainy day-- just in case there's a pressing need for some conference event app that you last used in 2012? Maybe. Too bad there's not a Task Rabbit to take care of this torture for me.
The real explanation for the problem is actually older than time. It's mostly about custom and utility. We are completely creatures of habit, loyal or lazy (you decide) and we get set in our ways, sheer inertia takes over, and we're reluctant to budge because what's working now is fine (or at least good enough) for us. (See .) The numbers we're seeing from ComScore and others don't lie and they are frighteningly consistent. We might "touch" a dozen or two dozen apps a month; that estimate seems way too high, but, even if it's accurate, it's a fleeting affair at best. We stick with the stuff that works and dance with the one(s) we brought to the party.
Right now, we are spending almost half of our phone time on a single app (usually our primary social network) and we spend 90% of the time on the 5 apps that we use the most. This doesn't leave much running room for any of the new kids on the block and when you see how quickly the Instagram knockoff of Snapchat Stories blew right by it, you can also understand that, even if we're willing to take a quick look at something new, we're suckers for the tried and true. There's a lot to be said for one-stop shopping. As I've said, the power of the ubiquitous platform (See .) is the heart of Facebook's continued dominance. Facebook remains the No. 1 app for anyone 25 and older. (See .)
Bottom line: No one's looking for new places to go. And we don't need a newfangled app to tell us that.
Monday, May 22, 2017
Saturday, May 20, 2017
By Matt Lee | Photo: Lucy Hewett | May 15, 2017
Visionary entrepreneur Howard Tullman takes tech incubator 1871 to uncharted heights as it reaches the five-year mark
One wonders if Howard Tullman ever sees anything but opportunity. Widely recognized as one of the most influential and connected men in Chicago, he famously reversed the fortunes of Kendall College in the mid-2000s and, several years later, co-founded the innovative Tribeca Flashpoint College. And while those were stunning accomplishments both, it’s safe to say that Tullman is truly leaving his mark on the city with tech incubator 1871.
Under the serial entrepreneur’s leadership, 1871 is, simply, on fire. Since taking the position of CEO in 2013, he’s transformed the Merchandise Mart-based org from a donation- and grant-fed venture to a booming nonprofit business. “If we hadn’t morphed the model, we’d be sharing just a fraction of what we have now,” he says, sitting behind a giant David Bowie portrait in his office.
More than 500 startups are now members; 1871 has graduated 200 companies that have raised $200 million and created 7,000 jobs—and it has repeatedly been rated the best tech incubator in the country. Just as impressively, it’s currently offering or developing a mind-boggling array of community outreach programs, educational initiatives and networking events.
“We’ll be doing about 1,000 events this year,” says Tullman. “That’s everyone from Sheryl Sandberg to the head of U.S. tech to the mayors of Paris and London. Because they’re trying to do this too.”
As Tullman points out, no single sector currently accounts for more than 13 percent of the enviably diverse Chicago economy. In coming years, though, tech is likely to play an increasingly large role. And 1871 and the man behind it are playing no small part.
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LINKS TO RELATED BUSINESSES
- 1871 - Where Digital Startups Get Their Start
- BCV Evolve
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- Options Away
- Packback Books
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