Posts tagged with ‘dropbox’
I thought several of the finalists for Techcrunch Disrupt 2014 SF had compelling value propositions, but I was expecting to see more oriented toward work.
PatternEQ is a clear business play: using data analysis and predictive insights to support better decision making without having to program anything. This is the tool I thought should win, since the market for better decisions is infinite.
Partpic is a service that allows users to identify parts — like the hose under your sink — in order to replace them. This has business application, but is more likely to be used by individuals. The argument against this service is the logistical complexities in getting the world’s billions of parts registered into the database.
Shipstr is a cloud service that streamlines the commercial shipping labyrinth, and that is a business issue, albeit a fairly tightly focused one.
Stack’s Alba is a smart lightbulb that adjusts itself based on ambient readings of its sensors. Might be used by businesses, I suppose.
Vinli provides technology to make almost any car smart. Vinli is a bluetooth device that connects to the car via the ODB II port — the data port on all cars made since 1996 — and a smartphone via bluetooth. Numerous apps are available, like a safe teen driving app and a OnStar clone. Could be used by businesses, in car fleets or trucks, but seems like it’s oriented toward the individual.
This Disrupt’s winner was Alfred, a consolidation service that coordinates a variety of on-demand and local services for house cleaning, food buying, and dry cleaning. The premise is that individuals would much rather have a single service managing all these personal services rather than dealing with each individually. I buy that reasoning, but it doesn’t seem very disruptive: it seems obvious, and nothing more that a baby step away from the various services themselves. I’m not even sure that a housecleaning service or dry cleaning delivery is disruptive, for that matter. At any rate, the winner is not work related.
There were only a handful of work-oriented companies at the show. I wrote about one — Rallyteam — in Can we consumerize everything inside businesses? saying this:
Imagine if everything in a company were managed as open marketplaces. First to get them funded, and second to make a marketplace to connect employees with projects, basically providing an internal platform that is something like what Elance-oDesk does for freelancers.
Strangely enough, yesterday at TechCrunch Disrupt I found a company that is trying to do that, called Rallyteam, although the financial side — payment for the services — isn’t taken to the logical conclusion. Rallyteam assumes that employees have a salary, and the work that flows through its platform doesn’t change that. But my vision is that in the future employees might have a base salary for a core job, but that other compensation could be dynamic, based on the internal work market. But obviously we have a transition before that comes to be.
I guess the flurry of interest in building work technologies is waning, and the consumer side is becoming 80% of the Techcrunch Disrupt companies.
Perhaps that shift is due to other factors rather than the attractiveness (or unattractiveness) of work technologies to the judges and crowd at Disrupt. Perhaps the initial selection weeds out work technologies, or work technology start-ups go elsewhere, like Y Combinator and other incubators, or directly to Vcs and angels.
But I have an alternative theory. The Dropboxes and Yammers of the near future are coming, but we need to get past the current state of the practice. My bet is that in the near term the traditional model of ‘collaboration’ and enterprise social networks will increasingly be viewed as out of step with the way work is actually being done. This will provide new incentives and new opportunities for established players and startups alike. We’ll see both market shake-ups — like the consolidation going on in the file sync-and-share market — and the mainstreaming of tools that the early adopters have glommed onto ahead of the majority, like contextual conversation tools like Slack.
So maybe next year’s Disrupt may have more grist for my mill, and the winner could be a breakthrough in work tech. Lord knows, we need more of them.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.
Walt Mossberg, iStick Is a USB Thumb Drive for the Latest iPhones and iPads
I’ve been testing an early, pre-production version of iStick and its companion app of the same name, and found that it does indeed work as advertised for file transfers. It still has a few bugs to work out before shipping, and the process isn’t quite as simple as it is between two computers, due to the unusual file system used by iOS. But the product works, and I suspect it will be welcomed by many iPhone and iPad users.
The iStick is a small, rectangular plastic device with a light-up slider button in the middle. You slide the button one way to expose a standard USB jack you can use in a Mac or PC, and slide it the other way to expose a Lightning connector you can plug into a late-model iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
It’s made by a company called Sanho, based in Fremont, Calif., whose mostly Apple-oriented hardware accessories go by the brand Hyper. And it’s much pricier than a simple, commodity USB thumb drive. It starts at $80 for an eight gigabyte model, and ranges up to $250 for 128GB of storage. The company says the higher prices are required to license the Lightning connector and to meet stringent Apple requirements.
Why do I need this, if I have Dropbox or iCloud Drive? The only use case that makes sense is wanting to carry around a bunch of videos or documents, and not wanting to use up a lot of storage on the devices.
My personal task management tool is Todoist: I like it’s flexibility and ease of tagging.
The company behind Todoist is Doist, and they’ve announced availability of Dropbox and Google Drive attachments on Todoist tasks.
Below you see a task, opened to see the ‘back’ where the notes and attachments are shown. You can see the file attachment box now supports more than the drag&drop method previously supported.
Below you see my Dropbox, and attaching the file works as you’d imagine.
The sharing works in the obvious way: once I share the file with a co-worker via Todoist, they will be able to see the file.
I must have been crazy.
At any rate, I thought I would try boil down the experience, and highlight the most interesting and indicative trends, themes, and memes.
When you are invited to a new dropbox folder, the icon folder is smiling
Stowe Boyd via
Ross Piper, former SVP of enterprise strategy and alliances at Salesforce, has joined Dropbox in a new position — VP of enterprise strategy — to move the company aggressively into the enterprise space.
Note that Dropbox has had a lot of success in the past year or so, since it provided management tools for IT departments to manage the cloud-based file sync-and-share capabilities it offers, but faces strong competition from established players like EMC and Box.
All this according to CIO Journal’s Michael Hickins, who comments on new tools released earlier this month at the Dropbox developer conference and Piper’s hiring
Short takes: eXo Cloud launches, Dispatch.io repositions, Mailbox adds Dropbox integration, Dropbox Datastore API out http://t.co/Q8AUDvqCVS— Stowe Boyd (@stoweboyd) July 11, 2013
check out today’s Short Takes at GigaOM Research
Dropbox is slowly taking over parts of my life that I had allotted to Google or Apple. Facebook may be the social layer at the moment, but when Dropbox owns the productivity layer — watch out. I’d totally buy shares in Dropbox if they were available.
It’s been a period of changes, and I am contemplating a few large ones.
A Three-Part Mind: GigaOM Research, stoweboyd.com and underpaidgenius.com
I stepped into the role of lead researcher (‘curator’) for GigaOM Research’s Social focus area back in early December, and as a result, I’ve been capturing a great deal of my thnking about social business, social tools in the business setting, and the future of work, over there. And there is a lot going on in that sector. [Note that GigaOM Pro has been renamed GigaOM Research, although the subdomain is still pro.gigaom.com.]
Probably because of that reorientation more of the writing that used to find its way to underpaidgenius.com is winding up here, on stoweboyd.com. There are a few reasons, but the most critical factor is this: I don’t think I can effectively and meaningfully discuss the impacts of technology on business, media, and society without including a great deal from other disciplines, especially cognitive science and psychology, economics, and even politics. By politics I don’t mean handicapping who will be voted in as dogcatcher, but I do mean the political issues that shape the contours of our increasingly webified world culture. This means more of my mutterings here will have a strong element of social criticism. So be it. I will be more gonzo here, from now on: there will be more of what I believe, here, and not just what I am observing.
One side effect is that underpaidgenius become a place to see what I am cooking, eating, watching, reading, and listening to, along with handicapping the dogcatcher election. However, everything else is now fair game for stoweboyd.com, so brace yourself.
[I am also writing at beaconstreets.com, but that is local activism for a more walkable Beacon NY, where I live. Nothing much is going to change there.]
A New Generation Of Gear
I am reaching the end of a gear generation. I currently write almost exclusively on a 2011-era 10” MacBook Air. It has been the best laptop I’ve had, following on in the tradition of four or five other macbooks that preceded it. I have an iPhone 4S, which is a good smartphone. I had a first generation iPad until recently, but found it really difficult to integrate into my world: it was not a good writing solution, was roughly the size and weight of my Air, and lacked a good keyboard. I had to lug around a bluetooth keyboard if I was traveling with it, and that made it less appealing than the Air. Lastly, I have a 2006 Apple Cinema display on my desk, and the Air can drive the monitor well, with great resolution. However, the monitor is so old that iTunes’s HDCP-encoded movies won’t play on it.
Recently, I had a discussion with Per Håkansson about his set up, and I am tempted to experiment with something similar to his, which is fairly radical.
I don’t like phone calls. I mean, I am perfectly happy to have a synchronous audio-only conversation with someone if we’ve arranged to do so. But otherwise, I’d rather not. If you’re a pal, and it’s urgent, text me or tweet me. If necessary, I’ll call you back, but If it’s not urgent, use text, email, or twitter.
The iPhone is a convenient form factor since it’s small enough to put in my pocket, but it’s too small for almost everything, like writing, or reading anything more sophisticated than an email or a Kindlized text-only book. It’s ok for maps, I grant you.
So, I am contemplating eliminating my cell phone and Air, and transitioning to two devices:
- an iMac on my desktop (I have a very recent model in the living room, one with huge ram and hard drive), and
- an iPad mini with Logitech’s untrathin keyboard cover (coming this month) as my proximal device.
(I say ‘proximal’, because these are not primarily mobile devices: they are the devices we keep on our person. They are always with us, even in the home or office.) The Mini will be fully loaded, with wifi and cellular, and I plan to switch to using Google Voice as my only ‘phone number’.
I already use Google Voice as my voice mail, and as a way to make calls when I am sitting at my desk. The only oddball case will be walking down the street with my Mini in my jacket pocket or in my backpack when the ‘phone’ rings. I guess I will have to get used to keeping my Mini earphones plugged in. That’s the part we’ll have to see about. I can easily see myself walking along, texting on the Mini.
The biggest difference in this set up is that I won’t be walking around with two devices — iPhone and Air — when I leave my office for any length of time. I will just have the Mini. No adapter to connect the phone to the Air. No tethering the iPhone to provide data connection for the Air. Today, I am stuck with schlepping two devices whenever I travel.
One interesting wrinkle is that I will be able to use the same Logitech keyboard for both the Mini and the iMac, which would make going back and forth easier. And of course, with Dropbox, all my files are available on both devices, although I don’t keep much in my files except photos, and things to read, watch, or listen to.
So: I plan to buy the Mini early next week and move the iMac back to my office around the same time. I will keep the iPhone and the Air for a few months, just to see if it all works.
There is something almost seismic about making such a huge shift.
I’ve been motivated in part by the team at Hyper Island. I sat in on a master class led by the Hyper Island folks in NYC this week, and several (all?) of the teaching team used Minis when presenting, and the form factor looks perfect for that. Very liberating to walk around with the Mini in one hand, and not bound to a laptop on a lectern. That’s where I met Per, and learned about his similar gear switch.
I also think the Mini will be the perfect reading device, and not just for kindlized book, but anything.
I am certain I will have to invest effort into approximating the Chrome plugins I use on my Mac everyday — Asana, Buffer, and so on — but I am already certain that bookmarklets work as expected on the Mini.
One interesting side effect of this is that I would retire my Northern VA cell phone number, after two years in NY.
And this does not mean I am planning to wear an iWatch if one appears.
It will be a grand experiment. Wish me luck.
from my post at GigaOM:
Someone alerted me to Transporter, which is a just-about-to-end Kickstarter project, one that has raised $200,000 plus dollars. Transporter is a very different take on backup and sharing. As they say on the Kickstarter page,
Transporter is an online, but off-cloud storage solution for privately sharing, accessing and protecting all of your valuable files.
The premise is this: each user has a transporter — either with a built-in or attached hard drive — and these transporters can communicate. I could create a backup of my family photos on my sister’s transporter, and give her read access to the files. If my local hard drive crapped out I could simple buy a new one, and the family photos would reappear, copied back from my sister’s copy.
Note that in this scenario there is no necessity for the folks at transporter to act as a server-based intermediary, aside from verifying identities initially. And they certainly won’t be providing a back-up service.
Lastly, I could backup a copy of my personal tax records on my brother’s transporter, but in a private way. Yes, he’d have to agree to allow me to place that backup there, but I would do the same for him, and we both come out ahead.
The business model is again a sort of anti-Dropbox: no monthly fees, just the purchase price of the Transporter device, which was going for $149 at the Kickstarter, now sold out. It seems that you can still get it for $179 though, with no drive.
Go read the whole piece.