Harder

Even Walmart Is Snapping Up Social Media Companies (WMT)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/even-walmart-is-snapping-up-social-media-companies-2012-1


Walmart shoppers

Walmart wants to transform itself into a social media retail mega player and it’s backing that desire by investing millions of dollars into its young, little-known development lab, @WalmartLabs.

Born in April with the $300 million purchase of Kosmix, @WalmartLabs today announced  its fourth acquisition, a mobile app company called Small Society known for writing apps for clients like the Democratic National Committee and Starbucks.

@WalmartLabs had previously bought mobile point-of-sale app maker Grapple. It also snapped up location-aware mobile ad company OneRiot.

The co-founders of Kosmix, Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman, are the leaders of Walmart Labs. Each has been granted the title of senior vice president of Walmart Global eCommerce and head of @WalmartLabs.

Their goal is to have Walmart create the next great shopping experience by melding physical stores with online search and social media input.

“We are at an inflection point in the development of ecommerce. The first generation of ecommerce was about bringing the store to the web. The next generation will be about building integrated experiences that leverage the store, the web, and mobile, with social identity being the glue that binds the experience,” said Anand Rajaraman in a blog post when @WalmarLabs was launched.

Using what it calls its “Social Genome” applications, it scans Twitter and other social sites to seek out and analyze consumer trends. The team is also writing mobile apps for shoppers. 

What’s interesting is that Walmart would rather build its own than use some of the many social media tools for retailers already on the market, even from big IT companies like Oracle and IBM.

So far the group has launched a classic iPhone and iPad shopping app and one called ShopCat for Facebook users. ShopCat scans Facebook friends’ profiles to recommend gifts for them from Walmart, RedEnvelope, Barnes & Noble, and ThinkGeek.

But the team clearly has bigger plans for changing the way everyday people shop for everyday items. And it looks like @WalmartLabs has only just begun: it’s got a career section 25 jobs long.

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Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 news No Comments

Entrepreneurs Can See The Future, And Here’s What The Future Looks Like

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/ron-conway-startups-trends-future-2012-1


Ron Conway

SV Angel’s Ron Conway has been an investor since 1994.  In this month’s issue of The Economist, Conway writes his 2012 startup predictions.

First he says the social web has hardly reached maturity. We’ve only seen the beginning of what’s possible via Facebook. “Some 90% of the world’s data have been generated in the past two years,” he writes.

Conway thinks social interactions will be at the heart of most new products moving forward. They’ll influence everything from search results to how mom and pop shops conduct their businesses.

Conway also notes how quickly startups are seeing success at the local level. Groupon built a multi-billion-dollar business in three years. Conway wonders if we’ll see a startup become a true $1 billion business in 12 months in 2012.

The biggest trend Conway sees is something he calls “collaborative  consumption.”  By that he means people area willing to share or rent things instead of buy them. Airbnb and ZipCar are good examples of this.

Conway concludes by saying why he loves startups. “The answer is quite simple: these entrepreneurs share their vision of the future with me. And every so often, their vision becomes the future. What could be more interesting than that?”

To read the full article, head over to The Economist >>

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Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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