Posts Tagged ‘iphone’


February 26, 2014

Lulu, the new app that allows women to anonymously rank their Facebook beaus, Luluhas quickly risen to smartphone fame. In a single year, it has attracted a user-base of well over one million with more than 200 million profile views and countless praise from esteemed media outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Journal, Business Insider and NPR. With backing from acclaimed financiers such as Yuri Milner, an early investor of Facebook, Lulu is poised to reign the dating app world.

Beyond just a simple ratings scale of 1 to 10, women can give detailed, yet pointed descriptions of their exes, flings, and male friends using hashtags (e.g. #SilverFox, #CheaperThanABigMac), hence easing the dating woes (or boosting desirability) for subsequent unsuspecting women.

Co-founder and CEO Alexandra Chong explains, “[W]e get references for jobs… or renting an apt…. Why not get references from women on the guys that they may end up in bed with.” After a six-hour brunch with her girlfriends chatting up everything from careers to guys, Chong saw opportunity to tap into “girl talk” by creating a private space where they can share past experiences to “empower girls to make smarter decisions….”, marketing was geared towards sororities. One in four college women have the app, and average about 8 visits per week. This sparked a blaze that’s spread like wildfire among women in their 20s. But what’s really excited Chong has been the dynamic contributions of Lulu’s members. “… fifty-two percent of users create content. As you know in the social space that’s often unheard of. Typically the rule is 9-10%,” she tells Bloomberg TV’s Cory Johnson.

More than just piquing interest, user-generated content gives Lulu (and prince charmings) a huge advantage—credibility. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers worldwide rely on recommendations from friends and family, and 70% trust online reviews. Word-of-mouth is a tremendous driver for Lulu.

Lulu makes it easy for ladies to add their own two cents by inciting them to in with the app through Cosmopolitan-style quizzes and content. Chong tells Johnson, “For our users, it doesn’t feel like they’re doing much to give information.” She likens Lulu to a Wiki for girls. “The idea for us is to move beyond relationships and into health and to beauty and to all the things women care about. That has endless opportunities.”

Surprisingly, men are responding, well… favorably. In an article last November, The New York Times reported that Lulu had received over half a million requests from dudes who welcomed (read: braved) #feedback. One poor soul who had received a 6.5 score was a good sport, tweeting, “I can only assume this is on a scale of 1 to 5.” Um, sure.


Open vs. Closed Innovation: How Much Evil Is Just Right?

August 12, 2010

I had a great time running an executive program last week for Aalto University (formerly Helsinki School of Economics).

One of our liveliest discussions was on the subject of open vs. closed models of innovation. We examined the contrasting approaches of Google vs. Apple.

Google (“don’t be evil”) represented an open innovation culture, with its flat organizational structure, employee autonomy, fairly transparent communications, iterative approach to products (“beta, beta, beta”), and embrace of open platforms like Chrome and Android.

Apple (“be a little evil, and they’ll love you for it”) represented a contrast to that Silicon Valley conventional wisdom, with its hierarchical organization, charismatic hands-on leader, radical secrecy, disavowal of customer input, and embrace of proprietary platforms like iTunes and the iPhone App Store.

While partisans often take a strong position on “open” vs. “closed,” both companies have shown the potential benefits of their own approach to innovation. Google has grown thanks to the platform of the open Web, and proven incredibly innovative with a freewheeling, iterative, and decentralized approach (including its famous “20% time” for employees to initiate their own projects). Yet, Apple has likewise thrived under Steve Jobs, proving the power of vertically integrated innovation—linking web apps, installed software, and hardware—to create a transformative product like the iPhone.

With the recent news that Android phone sales have overtaken the iPhone in the U.S., Google’s open approach may be emerging as a winner in the smartphone space. After all, the Android operating system has managed to duplicate much of the magic of the iPhone, while allowing for more customization, greater product variety, availability on every network (not just AT&T), as well as an app store that doesn’t block submissions on sometimes mystifying grounds.

Of course, “open” and “closed” are really just extremes on a spectrum. The whole success of the iPhone came when Apple shifted, in its second model, from a fully closed system to a much more open platform for independent app developers. And, as a recent post by Nik Bhattacharya indicates, Android is not as purely open source as we may assume.

In an age of tight margins and competitive markets, open approaches to innovation are being adopted not just by Silicon Valley companies, but by governments, nonprofits, and traditional corporations like Procter & Gamble. The possibilities for reduced cost and broader sourcing of ideas often outweigh the risks to competitive surprise and exclusivity. It may be that the more traditional “closed” innovation is becoming a luxury that only a high-margin market leader like Apple will be able to afford in the future.


This post originally posted by David on the blog at:

Image credit: Wired magazine

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