We will be posting a complete wrap up post this week which will include links to audio and video recordings of the sessions in the Recital Hall, Room 1 and Room 2. In the meantime, we appreciate you for making MobiCamp San Antonio happen. Cheers!
On this Sponsor Spotlight post we focus in on Firecat Studio which is an interactive design company providing web design, email campaigns, social marketing strategies to their business clients. Founder and CEO, Susan Price explains the tools and apps they have found to be the most effective when working in a collaborative environment.
Where do you see the future of mobile technology headed?
“The U.S. has lagged behind other countries’ adoption of mobile technologies – so in some cases I’d say we can look to markets like Europe and Japan for “what’s next with mobile.” I want the U.S. and especially Texas/San Antonio to continue to innovate and create in this space.
Much more can be done with location-based advertising, and I’m very interested in the privacy implications of location-based services versus the benefits of getting relevant offers to folks.
With tablets, phones, apps – these will continue to proliferate, and it’s up to all of us in the industry to keep watch for the next emerging leaders in both devices and apps. I am still waiting for a thought-driven, fingernail Mac but we’re getting awfully close.”
How does Firecat Studio use mobile technology to communicate with clients and sub-contractors?
“We have used good old Yahoo Instant Messenger since 2005 for day-to-day quick conversations with our team, and still use that heavily, though we’re expanding use of Skype and Twitter DMs. We have team members in several different countries, some of whom shift their workdays to accommodate the U.S. schedule.
It’s really nice that apps have made it possible to Skype or use Basecamp from the phone or iPad. We keep getting more mobile. I remember when pagers first came out, the guys who monitored server performance and were required to use them thought of them as “electronic leashes” that could recall them from leisure or family time at a moment’s notice. Now we think of the mobile devices as giving freedom, not taking it away. They give us the freedom to work from anywhere, and to stay connected with our friends and family. We’re integrating those previously separate parts of our lives – it’s a fascinating process.“
Which sites/apps/tools have you found to be the most helpful when it comes to productivity?
“Yugma and WebEx are key for us, as we do a lot of presentations of ideas, visual treatments, options, different views. We’ve also been using the heck out of remote usability testing tools – low-cost, powerful tools like Silverback, which captures the user’s facial expressions, audio of what they’re saying as they use a “think aloud” protocol to describe their thought processes when using a site, and the screens and mouse movements, typing – integrating it all into a video that can be easily shared with the clients. Or Chalkmark, which makes heatmaps of our visual comps. Combine those with WebEx or Skype and you can do a great usability test for a fraction of the cost of the traditional lab-based tests – with the added benefit of testing people in their homes, or work environment, even out and about on an iPhone, Android or Blackberry.”
What would you say are the top three reasons a business should embrace the mobile web?
“1. To be “open for business” for significantly more people, a significantly larger portion of the time. Your web channel allows people to self-service, whether it’s a company intranet or B2B or B2C.
2. It costs no more to develop a smartphone-friendly site than it does any other – just takes careful coding by people who know what they’re doing and validate to standards, and test.
3. Simplifying your offers for mobile will help you sell more, more effectively. Thinking about your business offerings in a “channel agnostic” way, suitable for web and mobile, helps you essentialize your offerings. That little 3.5-inch screen forces you to prioritize and simplify what you’re saying, to whom, when. You think through your marketing, rather than just loading your website with a ton of information and expecting the prospects and customers to “find their way” through it. In today’s information-overloaded culture, targeting your offers to your prospects in that basic way is a fantastic way to sell more, not less.”
Why do you feel it is important to support camps, like MobiCamp SA, in the community?
“Camps are WAY better than conferences, which I believe they are eclipsing.
Conferences: Expensive, elaborate gatherings attended by a bunch of stiffs who pay thousands of dollars, fly to some city to listen to sales pitches and make industry contacts. They troll the aisles of a convention center filling a bag with plastic crapeau, whooping it up in the Marriott with lampshades on their heads. They come home with a few whitepapers they’ll never refer to again and a stack of business cards and brochures of products and people they don’t quite remember without the help of the spam and junk mail received afterward.
Enter the web and social media. We have the ability to quickly and for very little money, organize and publicize any conference about any topic we want to explore. Attendees find out about the conference and register via social media. Interested persons show up burning to learn, share, grow – empowered. They bring all their ideas and experiences, along with their curiosity. They set the agenda, the pace, and the energy. It’s FABULOUS.
With web, email, mobile, social all changing so rapidly, there is NO WAY any one person or organization can keep up with it all without comparing notes with other smart people. That’s why Firecat Studio sponsors coworking sessions and Camps. It’s how we stay abreast of trends, passionate and focused, and on top of our game. Thanks for creating these camps! They’re gold!”
A very special thanks to all of our sponsors who have generously shared the tools they use to move their businesses forward. We hope you have enjoyed learning more about the folks behind the businesses who make events like MobiCamp San Antonio possible. Let them know you heard about them here by dropping them a line, a tweet or saying “Hi!” on Saturday.
When we asked our sponsor to send answer a few questions for our Sponsor Spotlight posts we knew they were a busy bunch. Which made us especially appreciative of the fact they were able to carve time out of their schedules to respond. This Sponsor Spotlight features Alan Weinkrantz who has been a long time supporter of Camps in San Antonio. Although he is on an extended business trip in Israel, he was able to send us his thoughts on how mobile technology is shifting human behavior.
The future of mobile technology…
“The shift in human behavior. ”Technology” will always keep getting better, faster, cheaper, etc. I am watching people how they behave and what they are doing with these devices. It’s the transumer to watch: the consumer in transit.“
Why I use mobile tech….
“To keep in touch. Liberate myself from an office.”
Which sites / apps / tools…
“The main ones – Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc. But I am finding myself also what I would call temporary apps. So, right now, as I am in Israel, I have an Israel tourist app. When I leave, I will delete it. Also, my iPad is different than my iPhone. My iPhone is my workhorse. My iPad is more of a media reader. I am also starting to use Cinchcast more, for on the spot interviews and capturing the moment in an interesting place. And… finally, the camera on the iPhone 4 is pretty amazing. When I travel, I will do snippets of street life, and post them to my Facebook page to give friends a sense of the local feel and color. All different ways to use mobile tech. But again, it comes down to being human.”
3 Top Reasons to embrace the mobile web…
“A. It’s where the world is heading
Why I support camps…
“Because it’s home. And I love my peeps.”
We appreciate Alan taking the time from the other side of the globe to share his insights with us. On our next Sponsor Spotlight we will hear from Susan Price of Firecat Studio on how the use of mobile tools to focus and simply messaging is part of the future of business.
In this Sponsor Spotlight post we feature ZippyKid which provides Managed WordPress Hosting services for small business, a-list bloggers, and entrepreneurs. Founder and CEO, Vid Luther shares some of his favorite tools for staying connected with customers while on the go.
How does ZippyKid use mobile technology to communicate with customers?
“We don’t have a land line, customers have direct access to my cell phone, 24×7. I also have my live support accessible through a jabber client on the phone. If you visit our website, you’ll see a live chat option. You never know if I’m on my laptop at the office, at a coffee shop, or if I’m at a movie theatre with just my iPhone (don’t worry I walk out if someone wants to chat).“
Which sites/apps/tools does ZippyKid use for client interaction?
“BeeJive for the live chat client on the iphone, we use Olark for actual live chat. Wunderlist for task management.”
Are there tried and true tools you use for mobile content creation?
“Email, Express app for iPhone (blog posts for WordPress and Tumblr) and mobile Safari.”
Why is it important to support camps in the local community?
“Because it gives you a community. I’ve seen too many people get a degree just to leave town. Communities die if there is no interest locally and I like San Antonio. I don’t want to drive to Austin or fly to California to hang out with the people I like.
But seriously, going to camps helps me as a vendor and as an individual because I get to learn what the laymen are thinking in terms of technology and progress. Us nerds live in an echo chamber, going to these camps gives us insight that companies like IBM and Microsoft pay millions of dollars for. If I can talk and listen to the people giving the talks at the camps, and see how they’re using the technology I’m building, selling, or marketing, I can make something they want to use daily.
Plus these camps are a great way to get people who have similar interests, in the same room. A lot of people like to talk. I like to listen. Having a camp where I can listen is crucial for growth as a business and an individual.”
We enjoy learning more about our organizations who are supporting MobiCamp San Antonio in the Sponosr Spotlight posts. Thanks go out to Vid Luther for sharing the mobile tools he uses to run his business. Next we will hear from Alan Weinkrantz on what he believes is a shift in human behavior when it comes to the practical application of mobile technology.
In this Sponsor Spotlight we focus in on Trinity University, the host for MobiCamp San Antonio. Trinity has been educating students since 1869, and is a nationally recognized liberal arts and sciences institution. The campus has been recognized as one of the most “unwired” in the country. We are thrilled to showcase this jewel in the Alamo City’s crown with #MobiCampSA attendees.
Mary Anthony, Assistant Director for University Communications at Trinity University, shares the the institutions use of mobile tools to communicate with students and alumni.
Has mobile technology changed way communication and education happens at Trinity University?
How does Trinity use mobile technology to connect with existing students as well as alumni?
“We use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, and e-newsletters to send information to the Trinity community. http://web.trinity.edu/x2002.xml I also manage our university’s blog on mysa.com and use social media, especially Twitter, to promoting our lectures and special events. And I find the most effective way to communicate with my student workers is by text message.”
Which sites/apps/tools do you use?
“For work and personal use, I love the Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare apps. For personal use, Groupon, Flixster, Pandora, Maps, Yelp, YPmobile. Also, we are in process of developing a Trinity University app.”
What are Trinity’s top three reasons for using mobile web?
Why is it important to support camps in your community?
Why is Trinity sponsoring MobiCamp San Antonio?
Special thanks to Mary for offering us a glimpse into the tools and apps that she uses for Trinity as well as herself. Look for upcoming Sponsor Spotlight posts on ZippyKid, Alan Weinkrantz and Firecat Studio.
We are proud to reveal the MobiCamp San Antonio t-shirts that will be given out to the first 100 folks who join us at Trinity University. Our fantastic designer, John Navarrete aka @designminded, hits another one out of the park. It’s no wonder Jennifer married him all those years ago.
We recommend you arrive on the early side so you’ll have plenty of time to grab one of these bad boys from the registration table. Sizes range from Medium to XXL. The only to ensure you get your size is to be there before they run out. We encourage you to wear them with pride on Saturday and beyond.
As we continue featuring our sponsors, today we focus in on SWEB Development the parent company of SWEB Apps. SWEB is a mobile phone app developer on both iPhone and Android platforms. Founder and CEO, Magaly Chocano shares her vision of the future of mobile technology.
“Mobile opportunities are just starting! The future is endless! We are seeing the number of smartphone users skyrocket in the US — but we are still only at about 25% of the US population using smartphones — the more affordable this becomes and the more users become dependent on the technology the more businesses are going to have to recognize the mobile application market is NOT a fad. Tablets are also changing the face of publications and is an important step towards revitalizing that industry.”
What are some of the ways you use mobile technology to communicate with clients and subcontractors?
“We are constantly using the more traditional technologies translated to mobile devices like email and text. But love the ability of being able to read and adjust documents off of your phone. It is invaluable to be able to research on the go. And ultimately very important to keep yourself organized and connected with various apps that help you do so.”
Which sites/apps/tools have you found to be the most helpful when it comes to productivity?
“LOVE, LOVE, LOVE anything 37 signals puts out. I am secretly addicted to my Facebook and Groupon app. And love my NPR, NYT and Fandago app.”
What would you say is the top reason a business should embrace the mobile web?
“At this point it’s about being completely accessible to your clients. The more clients see and use your app on a mobile device the more BRAND LOYALTY you will achieve with your followers.”
Why do you feel it is important to support community events like MobiCamp San Antonio?
“I think it is important to educate on the importance of these “newer” technologies and see the benefits of this fast growing industry.”
Many thanks to Magaly for offering us insight into SWEB Development and the future of mobile tech for our Sponsor Spotlight. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post which will feature Mary Anthony of Trinity University.
When you put together a community event like MobiCamp San Antonio it takes 3 groups of folks to pull it off. The Organizers are the visionaries who have a desire to see real conversation take place around an idea. At the heart of every camp are the participant-led sessions and subsequent community building. The lifeblood of a camp are the sponsor who are the reason we can continue to have events with complimentary admission. They support grass roots community efforts and have been wonderful partners in bringing MobiCamp San Antonio to life.
Camp Veterans understand the importance of sponsors who believe in ideas and community while understanding the “Learn, Share, Grow” mantra of camp. While camp events are no pitch zones, we do believe in highlighting the folks in our community who continue to support these unconference events in the Alamo City.
Today, we would like to spend some time getting to know Rackspace who is one of our 4G Blazing sponsors. Chief Disruption Officer, Rob La Gesse aka @kr8tr shares where he sees the future of mobile technology headed and why Rackspace believes it is important to support camp in San Antonio.
Where do you see mobile technology headed?
“As our phones evolve into more powerful computing devices they are also going to be both payment devices and identity devices. Micropayments will become a reality, as will paying for cabs, vending machines, etc with your phone.”
How does Rackspace use mobile technology to comunicate with customers?
“Currently we use social media tools on mobile platforms. We also have mobile apps for managing servers that have contact info for support, both through our traditional means, and via social media. Those apps will be expanded to allow live chats with support in the application interface.”
Which sites/apps/tools have you found to be the most helpful when it comes to staying productive?
“TripIt is very helpful. I simply email it my trip itinerary and it is all there on my phone. The hotel, rental car, flight info, etc. United Airlines has an electronic check-in that allows for paperless travel. I’ve found that many larger airports have separate lines for electronic checking, allowing me to bypass long lines of people peddling paper.”
What would you say are the top three reasons Rackspace has embraced the mobile web?
“The freedom to provide Fanatical Support without being tethered to a desk. Our ticketing system has a mobile app – so I can investigate and upgate customer issues while on the move. My teams are all on Skype so I can do a group chat with them easily, from anywhere. Being productive while on the rode has increased productivity a great deal.”
As a company who is known for their “fanatical support”, why do you feel it is important to support camps in the community?
“Companies have a responsibility to their customers and to their communities. We take a lot of pride in being involved in our communities and schools. Supporting local tech events encourages the use of technology, and that is of long term benefit to us as a company. Plus, we meet a lot of future Racker’s at these types of events!”
Many thanks to Rob for offering us insight into Rackspace for our Sponsor Spotlight. Stay tuned for upcoming posts from additional MobiCamp San Antonio sponsors.
We are thrilled with the look of the MobiCamp San Antonio badges. John Navarrete came through for us again and delivered this sexy looking badge. Everyone who attends #MobiCampSA on Saturday will be sporting one of these keepsake badges. There is still time to register, but don’t wait too long. Saturday, February 26th is only 5 days away. Be one of the few, who can say, “I was there” and have the badge to prove it.
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