obscurity

HOW FADS START: One High School In California Is Responsible For A Mobile Craze 3.4 Million People Use

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-fads-start-one-high-school-in-california-is-responsible-for-a-mobile-craze-34-million-people-use-2013-2

raise hand student

When Evan Spiegel, 22, and Bobby Murphy, 24, launched Snapchat in September 2011, they shared it with 20 friends.

Snapchat is a mobile app that lets users take and send mobile photos to others. Messages can be drawn or typed on top of the photos and the images self-destruct moments after they are viewed.

Today Snapchat has about 3.4 million users and 60 million images are swapped daily. That’s one-tenth the volume Facebook sees.

It may be a fad like DrawSomething proved to be last year. But how do you go from obscurity to mobile virality?

For Snapchat, the answer was a high school in California.

According to The New York Times, the first traffic spike the founders saw occurred a few weeks after launch. There was a flurry of activity between 8 AM and 3 PM that originated in Orange County, California.

Spiegel’s mother had told Evan’s cousin about Snapchat, and he started using it with friends as a way to pass notes in class. Users grew quickly from there.

From NYT:

Snapchat has its origins at Stanford, where Mr. Spiegel and Mr. Murphy first met as fraternity brothers. Mr. Spiegel presented a prototype of Snapchat in spring 2011 to one of his classes, but it was greeted as impractical and silly by his classmates.

…A few weeks in, they started seeing an influx of new users, paired with unusu! al spike s in activity, peaking between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.

It turned out the activity was centered around a high school in Orange County. Mr. Spiegel’s mother had told his cousin, who was a student at the school, about the app, which then spread throughout the school.

Other high school students in Southern California picked it up, with the number of daily active users climbing from 3,000 to 30,000 in a month in early 2012. Mr. Spiegel took a leave from Stanford last June and Mr. Murphy quit his job and the pair raised a small round of financing and moved to Los Angeles to work on the application full time.

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Saturday, February 9th, 2013 news No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5920983/how-winamp-disappeared-into-obscurity

How Winamp Disappeared Into ObscurityThis year marks the 15th birthday of Winamp. During that time it went from being a must-have piece of software to languishing in complete obscurity. But where did it all go wrong?

Ars Technica has a wonderful feature which explores exactly that question. From the piece:

Prior to Winamp, there wasn’t much available beyond Windows Media Player or RealPlayer. But none of those players could, in the mid-1990s, do something as basic as playlists, much less visualizations and custom skins, nor were they as tightly and efficiently programmed as Winamp. Even today, the Mac version of the Winamp installer is only 4.2MB; by comparison, the iTunes Mac installer comes in at a whopping 170MB.

The Windows Advanced Multimedia Products (WinAMP) player was released to the world on April 21, 1997. The next year, when its parent company Nullsoft formally incorporated, Winamp became $10 shareware. But no one pays for shareware, right? Wrong.

“Nothing ever was broken [if you didn’t pay], there was no feature that was unlocked,” Rob Lord told Ars. “In that year before we were acquired, we were bringing in $100,000 a month from $10 checks-paper checks in the mail!”

In fact, Winamp proved to be a huge success, and in many ways was the piece of software that naturalized the use of MP3s, by making it easy to rip, store and manage them, all from one piece of software. So successful was it, in fact, that eventually AOL acquired the company in June 1999 for somewhere in the region of $80-$100 million.

What followed, however, isn’t a pretty story. Through horrendous mismanagement, AOL throttled the creativity of the Winamp team:

“There’s no reason that Winamp couldn’t be in the position that iTunes is in today if not for a few layers of mismanagement by AOL that started immediately upon acquisition,” Rob Lord, the first general manager of Winamp, and its first-ever hire, told Ars.

Justin Frankel, Winamp’s primary developer, seems to concur in an interview he gave to BetaNews. (He declined to be interviewed for this article.) “I’m always hoping that they will come around and realize that they’re killing [Winamp] and find a better way, but AOL always seems too bogged down with all of their internal politics to get anything done,” he said.

Later, of course, came iTunes, at a time when Winamp was already beginning to struggle, to further compound the problem. Over time, Winamp’s success dwindled, and its development staff left. Nowadays, Winamp still exists—it just has an incredibly small, stagnated user base.

Of course, the story is complex, and can’t be done justice here with simply a few quotes, so you should head over to Ars Technica and take a read for yourself. [Ars Technica]

Image by uzi978 under Creative Commons license

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Monday, June 25th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

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