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yo-messenger-appsEvery year in between 2009-2013 was the year of mobile, the year of responsive web and parallax effects or the year of video video – and looking at the recent app landscape – seems like 2014 and the next 2-3 years will the year(s) of messenger apps.

iOS8 comes up in few weeks and will allow you to instantly share via iMessages photos, videos or audio recordings, much easier than on iOS7. Facebook has released (after leaking information before launch) Slingshot (GG Andrei for the awesome development!) after their failed attempt to rival Snapchat with Poke. Instagram is about to release Bolt this week (after leaking information before launch — see a pattern?). Path has split and now has it’s own messenger app Talk.

And all that after the first wave of (now Facebook owned) WhatsApp, Viber and other telco endorsed apps like Libon and what not.

Yikes, even Foursquare has been caught into this “let’s split our app in pieces” frenzy and move all their friend interactions, check-ins and notifications in Swarm. I bet with the next updates, they will stop allowing you to contact your Swarm friends (which by they way are now a different bunch than your Foursquare friends) via FB Messenger &co but rather impose their own messenger functionality – and you know what – I bet stickers are going to be a big part of it. And Yelp? Yelp will rejoice that they can grab a piece of the check-in pie. Anybody remember Gowalla? Just another great execution killed by “let’s buy our competitors while the bubble still lasts”. Breaking news – check-ins will never work unless business owners understand the power of knowing in real-time who your most loyal consumers are and instead of playing farmville behind the counter, do something to increase that loyalty and make it viral, transform those loyal consumers into your brand ambassadors.

When not speaking, I communicate with most of my friends via iMessages or Facebook Messenger. I sometimes get messages on WhatsApp or Viber – probably most accessible to smart people who have chosen to start becoming dumb by letting a smartphone into their lives 🙂

And now makers of Yo (that has great potential for the internet of things sector, if you ask me) launch Mirage, an ephemeral picture sharing app? You gotta be kidding me. What about the small guys? That don’t make the techcrunches, mashables and nextwebs? What chances do they have to be used not only by friends, family and 2 cents per downloads from countries where you still can get low cost media because there is no local money overbidding.

WTF guys? Is anybody thinking about users? About real PEOPLE? How many messenger-type apps do you think our phones can hold? Why should we keep up? Just so you all can get 1M users and attract some funding to justify your brilliant copy-cat new flavour idea and expensive offices? Yes, you have funds pouring but what if we actually do something useful?

On a much smaller scale the same question for restaurants (chain or no chain) pumping money in their own white-label apps. Do you really think that people who might pick your place for dinner once every two month will just install your app because you have one and you payed 5k quid to develop it? Oh, (you think) you have marketing budget but don’t want to spend it on not owned media channels? Nobody respects users=consumers anymore? Spoiler alert – we keep you all in business.

Of course, there a lot of innovation happening in the sector and that drives us forward so that apps of 2020 will allow us to share our farts privately, publicly or in a group of friends that you could choose to silence or leave. I am looking forward to apply some Issey Miyake filters to my shared scents.

On a much serious note, Elon Musk wants to kill gasoline cars and wake up one morning on Mars. He frickin opened up all his patents because we are all on the same mission. Forget about competition for a second and think about making the world a better place. Of course it’s a revenue generating business and they pedal to grab all the money they can get but looks like they have far better reasons to wake up in the morning than the others. Why don’t we get inspiration from those kind of people for a change?

Colbert Report: What’s next? What’s the next thing you will blow my mind with?
Elon Musk: What (do) you wish there was?

I think Elon should invite all CEOs from the companies above on a business ethics bootcamp. Like – ok guys – we’re all smart and have the power to improve the world we live in – so let’s start doing it, baby steps.

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