Twitter Launches Mobile Payments Before Facebook (but Apple May Have the Last Laugh)

Twitter may be much smaller than Facebook, but its ability to innovate in payments is allowing it to outgun its much larger competitor, at least for the time being.

Both Twitter and Facebook are competing with other tech giants, including Apple, Google, PayPal and the leading credit card companies to own the emerging mobile payment sector, which is immensely popular with consumers and has proven fertile territory for startups. More specifically, the leading technology companies are seeking an advantage in so-called peer-to-peer payments, which are typically smaller payments sent from one person to another. Individuals could use such payments, for example, when they are splitting a bill or to wire money.

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How to make Facebook work better for you: Quit the ‘Like’

How to make Facebook work better for you: Quit the ‘Like’

The “Like” button on Facebook seems harmless enough: It’s an easy way to express your appreciation of something.

But as some people are discovering, that innocuous little like has some unintended consequences.

Wired writer Mat Honan found out what happens when you like every single thing that shows up in your Facebook feed. The results were dramatic: Instead of his friends’ updates, he saw more and more updates from brands and publishers. And, based on what he had liked most recently, Facebook’s algorithm made striking judgements about his political leanings, giving him huge numbers extremely right-wing or extremely left-wing posts. What’s more, all that liking made Honan’s own posts show up far more in his friends’ feeds — distorting their view of the world, too.

But Medium writer Elan Morgan tried the opposite experiment: Not liking anything on Facebook. Instead of pressing like, she wrote a few thoughtful words whenever she felt the need to express appreciation: “What a gorgeous shock of hair” or “Remember how we hid from your grandmother in the gazebo and smoked cigarettes?” The result, as you might guess, is just the opposite of Honan’s experience: Brand messages dwindled away and Facebook became a more relaxed, conversational place for Morgan.

While far from conclusive, these two personal experiments are highly suggestive. Facebook’s algorithm is tuned in a way that makes it respond to likes by giving you more of what it thinks is related — and those suggestions are usually driven by brand marketing. Stop liking things, and Facebook eases off the marketing messages, letting your friends’ updates come to the fore.

“Once I removed the Like function from my own behavior, I almost started to like using Facebook,” Morgan wrote, concluding:

Give the Like a rest and see what happens. Choose to comment with words. Watch how your feed changes. I haven’t used the Like on Facebook since August 1st, and the changes in my feed have been so notably positive that I won’t be liking anything in the foreseeable future.

Not so secretly, I think the humanity and love, the kinder middle grounds not begging for extremes, that many of us have come to believe are diminishing in the world at large are simply being drowned out by an inhuman algorithm, and I think we can bring those socially vital experiences back out into the light.

 

-Courtesy: Venturebeat

Facebook’s VP Of product management Sam Lessin is leaving the company

Facebook’s VP Of product management Sam Lessin is leaving the company

Lessin was considered a very high-profile acquihire by Facebook at the time. In his announcement, Lessin didn’t say what he’d be doing next other than taking some time off and helping his wife, journalist Jessica Lessin, with her tech news site The Information. Here’s Sam Lessin’s full announcement:

Esteemed colleagues, it is with quite mixed emotions that I write to say that August 29th will be my last day at Facebook. I am tempted to stay in character and dash off a cool 10,000 word as a parting salvo, but I will spare you all and keep it to a few relatively short — though not Emoji short — thoughts.

First, thank you. Being part of this community over the last few years has been an unbelievable privilege and honor. I won’t do the traditional parting ‘colleague-tagging’ exercise both because there are far too many people to mention, and because it would be besides the point to call out individuals. But suffice it to say that you collectively as a community have pushed me to my best, and taught me to be better. The fond memories are countless, but I find myself thinking back to the late nights and hard debates as the moments which I most cherish. I am extremely proud and thankful to have had the opportunity to play a small role in a chapter or two of the grand adventure that is Facebook.

Second, keep playing your heart out, as you always do. This company is a very important part of the future. I sincerely believe that it has every ability to be the most important company of our generation and carries with it the power to do unbelievable good in our world. Even today, I am a firm believer that ‘we are 1% done’. That said, Facebook is what it is today only because of a succession of amazing people who have breathed into the company not only amazing intellect and drive, but an amazing amount of heart. The intellect and drive of the Facebook community is unparalleled, but in the end it is the unique spirit of the company that sets it apart and gives it the truly stunning potential to be all that we dream it can be. As the company continues to grow, keep leading heart first.

As for me… My immediate plan is to take some time for kite-surfing, skiing, and general adventuring / possibly some trouble making. This is the first time I can think of since middle school where I didn’t have a very concrete next step to take in life, and I intend to not squander the opportunity. That said, you can only kite-surf when the wind is up, so I hope to also have the chance to pay down some balked at New Year’s resolutions, like learning to play the guitar, and help out Jessica at The Information where I can and when she wants it.

If past performance is any indication, I will be starting something soon enough… What, I don’t know, but generally volume of ideas has never been much of an issue for me. I make the promise to all of you here and now that it will not be boring. With any luck most of you will think whatever I choose to build next is crazy, but maybe not.

In the closing words of Hook “That Was A Great Game”. Hurray!

-Courtesy: Venturebeat.com

Facebook Launches Slingshot, Its Snapchat Competitor

Poke, Facebook’s first attempt at building a Snapchat competitor, belly flopped. But that hasn’t stopped the social network from taking another jump.

For some time now, rumors have swirled about Slingshot, Facebook’s sophomore take on the ephemeral messaging app. Mark Zuckerberg was reportedly “personally involved” in its development, and last week the app briefly appeared in some countries’ app stores before disappearing.

Today, all the speculation can be put to rest: Slingshot is here, for real this time.

Unlike Poke, Slingshot is not a direct Snapchat ripoff. “With Slingshot, we wanted to build something where everybody is a creator and nobody is just a spectator,” Facebook said in a blog post announcing the launch.

That’s right – lurkers aren’t welcome on the app.

As with Snapchat, users can send photos or videos — adorned with text or coloring, if desired — that last up to 15 seconds with Slingshot. Each message can be viewed exactly once by the recipient before disappearing for good.

Unlike Snapchat, however, opening a message on Slingshot requires that you send a message of your own back to its sender. “Here’s the deal: friends won’t be able to see your shot until they sling something back to you,” Facebook explained.

While it’s good news that Slingshot isn’t another straight-up Snapchat clone and while the intent is admirable, it’s fair to wonder whether Facebook has overestimated our collective desire to share versus our collective desire to consume. After all, plenty of people use social networks to “lurk,” spending most of their time checking up on other people’s posts instead of posting themselves. For those types, being forced to respond to a message on Slingshot might be a tough sell.

Still, Facebook is determined to try. “[Venture capitalist] Fred Wilson once said that the cardinal rule of social networks is that 1 percent of people create content and 90 percent of people consume it,” Slingshot designer Joey Flynn told the Verge, “and we want to flip that on its head.”

-Courtesy: Entrepreneur.com

 

As Mark Zuckerberg Turns 30, His 10 Best Quotes as CEO

In Silicon Valley years, Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is over the hill. Today is his 30th birthday.

In honor of Zuckerberg’s big day and to mark Facebook’s decade-long existence, we’ve compiled 10 of the tech entrepreneur’s most interesting quotes over the years.  

Here they are, in no particular order. Enjoy.

1. “Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.”
(Oct. 2009)

2. “If I were starting now I would do things very differently. I didn’t know anything. In Silicon Valley, you get this feeling that you have to be out here. But it’s not the only place to be. If I were starting now, I would have stayed in Boston. [Silicon Valley] is a little short-term focused and that bothers me.” (Oct. 2011)

3. “I remember really vividly, you know, having pizza with my friends a day or two after — I opened up the first version of Facebook at the time I thought, ‘You know, someone needs to build a service like this for the world. But I just never thought that we’d be the ones to help do it. And I think a lot of what it comes down to is we just cared more.” (Jan. 2014)

4. “The question isn’t, ‘What do we want to know about people?’, It’s, ‘What do people want to tell about themselves?'” (Nov. 2011)

5. “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” (Oct. 2011) 

6. “Building a mission and building a business go hand-in-hand. It is true that the primary thing that makes me excited about what we’re doing is the mission, but I also think, from the very beginning, we’ve had this healthy understanding which is that we need to do both.” (Sept. 2012)

7. “The Hacker Way is an approach to building that involves continuous improvement and iteration. Hackers believe that something can always be better, and that nothing is ever complete.” (Feb. 2012)

8. “People can be really smart or have skills that are directly applicable, but if they don’t really believe in it, then they are not going to really work hard.” (Oct. 2005)

9. “I don’t want Facebook to be an American company. I don’t want it to be this company that just spreads American values all across the world. …My view on this is that you want to be really culturally sensitive and understand the way that people actually think.” (June 2011)

10. “My goal was never to just create a company. A lot of people misinterpret that, as if I don’t care about revenue or profit or any of those things. But what not being ‘just’ a company means to me is building something that actually makes a really big change in the world.” (Feb. 2011)

-Courtesy: Entrepreneur.com

Facebook still unstoppable as it grows to 390 million active users in Asia

The Zuck doesn’t come unstuck. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is continuing its march across Asia, as seen in the Q1 2014 earnings report for Mark Zuckerberg’s social network.

Facebook now has 390 million monthly active users (MAUs) in Asia, from a grand total of 1.276 billion around the world. That Asia tally is up from 368 million MAUs at the end of last year – and way up from 319 million in Q1 2013.

Note that when Facebook issues its Q2 figures, Asia will be the bigger than the ‘rest of the world’ segment. Here’s the MAUs chart for Q1:

Facebook still unstoppable as it grows to 390 million active users in Asia

Allied with Facebook-owned WhatsApp and its 500 million monthly active users, the social network has an extraordinary global army of engaged users.

Here’s are Facebook’s Q1 figures for daily active users. There are now 216 million of them in Asia:

Facebook still unstoppable as it grows to 390 million active users in Asia

Revenue from Asia

The ‘Asia’ chunk of the charts gets a lot slimmer when it comes to revenue. Facebook made $354 million in revenue from Asia out of its total of $2.5 billion in Q1, which is 14.14 percent. Facebook’s revenue dipped from Q4 last year to the most recent Q1, and Asia managed to bring in the only regional revenue rise in that time period.

Facebook still unstoppable as it grows to 390 million active users in Asia

Facebook makes $0.93 per user in Asia – that’s its ARPU – but that’s below the global average of $2 per user.

-Courtesy: Techinasia

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