Microsoft To Buy LinkedIn

The tech world was left reeling yesterday after it was announced that Microsoft is going to be buying the social network site LinkedIn for an eye-watering $26.2 billion cash. The deal works out at $196 a share, a premium of almost 50% to Friday’s closing share price.

 

If, for any reason, the deal doesn’t go through, LinkedIn will have to pay Microsoft a $725 million termination fee.

 

The acquisition is one of the largest technology deals on record, and is certainly the all-time biggest deal for Microsoft, whose other transactions include the purchase of Skype for $8.5 billion and Nokia for $9.5 billion. It seems so far, for Microsoft, few of their purchases actually pay off, and I’m sure I’m not the only one whose sole experience with Nokia is playing Snake in the early 2000s.

 

But, with the acquisition of LinkedIn comes a new wave of hope for Microsoft, as they will soon have access to the world’s largest professional social network with more than 430 million users worldwide. Not bad for a company who have famously struggled to keep up with explosion of Facebook and Google.

 

These days, Microsoft seems to focus solely on software, alongside the occasional failed attempt to buy other organisations (rumours include Salesforce and Slack). However, the acquisition of LinkedIn could finally allow Microsoft to get a foot in the door of the social networking, and see what life is like on the other side.

 

Chief Executive Satya Nadella seems adamant that LinkedIn and Microsoft will complement each other. Currently, he says, work life is split between work tools such as PowerPoint or Excel, and professional networks that connect the professionals. The deal will aim to combine these two pieces, with Nadella vision of a user’s LinkedIn profile embedded in other elements of their work, connecting with Windows, Outlook, Skype and Microsoft Office.

 

He said in an interview that the deal is ‘really the coming together of the professional cloud and the professional network’. Microsoft’s Dynamics software can be built on due to the integration of LinkedIn, as it will the site’s analytics to help companies manage relationships with clients and sell more products.

 

Microsoft also has visions for Lynda.com, which LinkedIn bought for $1.5 billion last year, a channel for training videos. Microsoft aims to be able to play Lynda’s videos inside it’s own software, such as PowerPoint or Excel spreadsheets.

 

Growth has been a challenge for both Microsoft and LinkedIn, so perhaps greater things are on the horizon for the two companies. Then again, perhaps not. Decelerating growth this year means LinkedIn’s stock dropped from a peak of $269 in 2015 to a meagre $101.11 last February.

 

So is the acquisition of LinkedIn a mistake because of it’s stagnant growth and last year’s annual loss? Only time will tell, but everyone involved seems fairly confident. Let’s not forget though, they were also confident about Nokia.

 

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The 5 Most Beautiful Connected Devices

2014 is the year of the connected devices, or wearable tech. With the release of the Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch, the upcoming release of the Apple iWatch, and the release of a whole range of wearable tech from many different manufacturers, it seems that this is the future of technology.

Whether you are looking for a smartwatch to quickly keep up to date with your daily tasks, and help keep you organized, or you are looking for a fitness tracker, there is a whole range of wearable, connected devices that look fantastic, and work well. Here are five of the best.

Pebble Smart Watch

wearable tech

 

This is probably the most stylish piece of wearable tech that is currently available on the market. It has a black and white e-ink display which makes the information on it clear to read, and great to look at.

It is useful because it can connect to both iPhone and Android, and can receive messages from both. It features an accelerometer, which means it can be used as an activity tracker.

This is widely regarded as the best smartwatch currently on the market.

You can buy it fromgetpebble.com

 

 

Jawbone Fitness Tracker

 

iphone app developers

This in many ways is like most of the other fitness trackers on the market. It will count your steps, and your sleep. You will learn how many calories you are burning from exercise a day, and will give you a step target to try and meet every single day.

What sets this apart, and makes it really cool, is that unlike many rivals it actually looks good on the wrist. There are no displays, it isn’t very big, and to most people it will just just look like a bracelet.

You can buy it atjawbone.com.

iWatch

While this product hasn’t been announced yet, most industry experts agree that it is almost certainly coming in the very near future.

We have seen severalrumored designs, and with Apple’s track record it is almost certain that the iWatch will be one of the most beautiful connected devices on the market.

This will no doubt explode the wearable tech market, and will be the must have cool gadget (just like every other Apple product), so when it is announced you are going to want to move quickly to pre order your version.

When it is announced (probably in September), apple.com will be the place to go to buy.

Nike+ Fuelband SE

In terms of futuristic looking wearable tech, they don’t come much cooler looking than this. It has all the style that you would expect of a Nike product, and it works great too.

The biggest selling point is how simple it is. You are given an allocation of Nike Fuel every day, you gain more by exercising, and lose it by eating, so you can easily keep on target with your fitness goals.

What makes it even cooler is that it uses LED lights to give you a quick and easy way to see how you are doing. The colors change the closer to your goal you are.

You can buy it atstore.nike.com.

Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 Smartwatch

This is the choice for the millions of people around the world who own a Samsung Galaxy phone. It looks cool, and it is designed to interact with the Samsung Galaxy, so it will work better than any other smartwatch with that piece of technology.

It replaced the Gear 1, and is widely regarded as a significant improvement. It runs on its own operating system, one that is specifically deigned by Samsung. So if you want a fast, responsive, feature packed smartwatch, then this is certainly a great choice.

You can buy it at Amazon -https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Gear-Smartwatch-Silver-Black/dp/B00JBJ3HQ0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403692250&sr=8-1&keywords=gear+2

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The App Development

When it gets to this time of year, we always like to have a little reflect on the past 12 months. Who has had a bit of a tough time, and who’s found 2017 a total breeze? Which trends have risen? Which have fallen? What can we look forward to in 2018?

 

2017 has been a fantastic year for mobile app development with many companies finally realising that a mobile app is now an essential part of their business – helping many brands to provide speedier customer service, increase sales and engage with their customers.

 

Mobile app development trends constantly change, but 2017 has seen a few specific styles of app start to dominate. Here’s the app development trends we’ve seen a lot of in the past year.

 

Augmented Reality

 

We predicted way back in April that augmented and virtual reality would continue to shape mobile app development throughout 2017, and they certainly have. With Pokémon GO and Snapchat arguably bringing augmented reality to the mainstream, app developers have been forced to adapt their practises to meet the demand for augmented reality style apps.

 

With the release of the iPhone X, augmented reality apps have become even more commonplace. Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore allows developers to embrace AR technologies and it’s something we’re really looking forward to getting stuck into in 2018. For more about designing and developing for augmented reality, check out this post.

 

Talent Platforms

 

This year, recruitment platforms have steadily risen as more agencies need an easy way for candidates to apply for jobs on the go. What used to be solely web-based has now taken to the App and Play Stores and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping in the coming year.

 

We’re seeing more in terms of specific niches, as well as plenty of platforms emerging for freelancers to showcase their skills.

 

Stress Busting Apps

 

It seems the world is finally taking note of mental health and, more specifically, the effects being constantly connected can have on our stress levels. So, rather ironically, stress busting apps have been on everyone’s radar in 2017.

 

Whether it’s apps that encourage mindfulness, guided meditations or your very own portable gratitude journal, apps that encourage us to get out of negative thinking patterns and appreciate life for what it is have boomed in 2017.

 

Similarly, apps that block other apps in order to increase our productivity have been extremely successful. We are aware of the total irony in requiring an app to stop you visiting other apps, but hey, anything that reduces our ever-increasing stress levels can only be a good thing.

 

We’re expecting this style of app to expand further in 2018, with virtual reality style relaxation apps becoming commonplace in corporate environments.

 

Online Banking Apps & Mobile Payments

 

Remember the last time you queued at your local bank? We certainly can’t. It’s now easier than ever to handle all your finances online, whether that’s using the app of your own bank, via Apple Pay, or using an online banking app like Monzo.

 

With anti-social opening hours and notoriously long lunchtime queues at banks, it was never going to be long before someone came up with a better idea. Monzo are currently leading the pack, having just received their banking licence, but there’s others not far behind. We’re sure this industry is only going to continue to grow, making it easier for anyone and everyone to manage their finances.

 

Technology For Good

 

You may remember a post we did about the technology being used for good in the world, and this is a theme that has continued to boom in the latter half of this year. With such a wealth of knowledge and incredible technologies readily available to us, we love the fact that it’s being used to help others.

 

In terms of app development, 2017 has seen us work with various charities to design and develop apps that help support the charity’s mission. One of our favourites is the wonderful London Village Network, which you can check out here but we’re certainly keen to continue doing our bit next year.

 

So, there you have it! The top trends that we have seen in mobile app development in 2017. We can’t wait to see what 2018 brings!

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Start-Ups: What To Attend And Why

There’s no denying that life as a start-up entrepreneur is tough. Long hours, endless worry and sleepless nights are just a snippet of what’s ahead in your quest to create the next big thing.

 

But life shouldn’t always be this hard and the quote ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ rings true in the world of start-ups and business growth, (although what you know matters a lot too – having friends in high places will only get you so far).

 

So, how can you increase your chances of meeting the right people in this highly competitive world of start-ups?

 

Luckily there’s a huge number of meet ups for entrepreneurs in London, so you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to deciding where to meet like-minded people for some evening bevvies.

 

Our mobile app developers are used to giving advice to startups and know the importance of networking. We’ve put together their favourite London meet-ups to ensure you know exactly where to go and when, in order to get your fellow entrepreneur fix – and free beer.

 

Silicon Drinkabout London

Next meet up: 17/06/16

Time: 6pm

Venue: Electricity Showrooms, Hoxton Square

 

Taking place every Friday evening at different venues, Silicon Drinkabout is a great event for you to unwind after work with drinks whilst pretending to be ‘networking’.

 

It is hosted by 3 Beards, a company who run events primarily for start-ups and techies. This is where to go when you want to meet like-minded people and return home with the realisation that you are not alone in this crazy start-up world.

 

Silicon Drinkabout is a great place to start networking and meet potential co-founders in a relaxed and friendly environment.

 

Don’t Pitch Me Bro!

Next meet up: 28/7/16

Time: 6pm

Venue: Albert House, Islington

 

Don’t Pitch Me Bro is the event to go to if you want market validation without having to fully build out your product.

 

Their mantra is ‘get the feedback your product deserves, not the feedback your pitch earns’. The meet up is designed to get to the ‘nitty gritty of business…to help you ascertain where the next step may lie’.

 

The idea is you pitch (but ‘don’t pitch’) your idea in front of a group of entrepreneurs and receive helpful advice and comments. Attend this event if you want to get honest but constructive feedback on your product in a social and relaxed environment.

 

Our app designers Elliott and James attended the last one and said there were free burritos and beer, need I say more?

 

It’s the same team behind Silicon Drinkabout, so the atmosphere is similar, although the events are less regular. It’s hosted every month and the next one is Thursday July 28th.

 

London Ruby User Group

Next meet up: 13/6/16

Time: 6pm

Venue: CodeNode

 

A meet up to see various speakers talking about different aspects of running a business. The next event has talks on managing information overload and a beginner’s guide to passwords.

 

Whilst this may not sound overly enthralling, it is free and there’s a pub trip afterwards.

 

Google Campus

Next meet up: 13/6/16 (for new members)

Time: 8.30am

Venue: Google Campus Café

 

Google Campus is a space for entrepreneurs to ‘learn, connect and build companies that will change the world’. It’s free to become a member of Google Campus and you will join a huge community of founders, entrepreneurs and start-ups.

 

If you’re serious about getting your start-up ready to go, Google Campus events are the ones to look out for. Their events seek to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and larger corporations, so you could even meet your next investor or cofounder.

 

There’s casual meet ups, talks from premier speakers including successful entrepreneurs and inspiring industry leaders, and mentoring sessions including marketing and brand awareness.

 

This is just one meet up out of many, so have a look on the website and you’re sure to find one to suit you.

 

 

 

 

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Common Email Marketing Mistakes

Email is still the primary form of communication in the digital age. For this reason email marketing is stronger than ever as a direct marketing strategy. With that in mind many businesses still make some very basic mistakes when it comes to email marketing.

Email is still the primary form of communication in the digital age. For this reason email marketing is stronger than ever as a direct marketing strategy. With that in mind many businesses still make some very basic mistakes when it comes to email marketing.

Not Using the Right Subject Line

The subject line is probably the most important part of an email. The subject line is going to determine whether the person bothers to open the email or sends it to the spam folder or trash. A bad subject line may get flagged for spam from the very beginning and your customer may ever even get the choice of opening or deleting it.

Use subject lines that are likely to get attention, avoid spam keywords and also avoid using all caps.

Not Sending During the Right Time of Day

Sometimes instinctively companies will send emails first thing in the morning and at the beginning of the week. Traditionally this when people cull the bulk of their emails. This means you have less of an opportunity to stand out , and it is the time when people will only scan subject line sand will be preoccupied with starting their task for the day.

Not Sending The Email From a Person

Customers tend to ignore emails that don’t come from an actual person. Avoid sending emails from addresses like “info@website.com” or “sales@website.com”, send them from an email address with a persons name like “johnsmith@website.com”. This makes the email more personal and improves the odds it won’t be flagged as spam or ignored all together.

Not Sending to Good Email Addresses

Companies often buy email marketing list where many of the email addresses bounce or are no longer being used. If your email marketing software doesn’t track bounced emails and give you a list of invalid addresses, you could be putting out a lot of effort to reach very few people.

Not Creating Valuable Content

One of the biggest problems when companies send emails to customers is that the emails only focus on achieving the companies goals, rather than putting information the customer may want or need in front of them. Often times email marketing is a scheduled task for a company, which means sometimes they are not in a position to develop content that may actually be useful to the customer, this means customers are more likely to delete or ignore their emails.

Not Think About Design and PresentationIn marketing presentation is more important than ever. You are constantly competing for people’s time and attention, and if you don’t have a clean and professional presentation in your marketing materials, people are likely to just ignore it and decide it’s not worth their time. Part of this when developing email marketing campaigns is to make sure they are designed for mobile devices, and that it looks consistent in different email applications.

 

Not Tracking Email Statistics

If you’ve done everything else right, you’ll never really know if you’re not tracking it through your email marketing software. You will want to track things like open rates, bounce rates, link clicks and also what time of day your emails were opened. This will help you make informed decisions to improve your email campaigns.

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Your Pre-Launch Marketing Strategy

Back in August, we wrote an article to help you answer the question of ‘What Next?’, when launch day finally comes around. The resounding answer? Well, an awful lot. There’s advertising to be planned, social content to be perfected and feedback to be responded to. But marketing doesn’t just begin when your app launches. The majority of successful mobile apps will have had a marketing strategy in place from the get-go.

Here’s our top tips for getting your marketing strategy in place before your app has even launched:

 

Set Objectives

 

Launching a marketing campaign without any goals is like visiting IKEA on a Saturday afternoon without a shopping list. It’s not only a huge waste of time, it’s also likely to end in divorce. We’re not sure why or how, but take our word for it.

Set yourself an end goal and work backwards to figure out which campaigns to go with. These goals could include brand awareness, building an email list, reaching a certain engagement % on social media. Statistics are important and don’t just pull some numbers out of the air willy-nilly, actually put some thought into it.

 

Competitor Analysis

 

Whether you’re launching a mobile app or a chain of gluten-free, vegan restaurants, competitor analysis is an essential part of the process. You only need to watch one episode of The Apprentice to see how ugly things can get when the basics are overlooked, and competitor analysis is one of these basics.

Analysing your competitors involves evaluating anyone who does the same thing as you. Have a look at their marketing strategies, their target users, brand values, profitability, strengths and weaknesses in their campaign – the list is endless!

Ideally, competitor analysis should be done before the project even begins for two reasons. Firstly, to ensure there is actually a gap in the market for your project. In an over-saturated market it’s essential to determine your unique selling point, and researching other companies will ensure no one is doing the same. Secondly, it enables you to learn from your competitors successes and mistakes and avoid making the same from the offset. We all love a marketing fail, but as well as laughing at yet another monumental screw up, let’s try to learn from them.

 

Know Your Target User

 

If we had a pound for each time one of our clients had no idea what kind of person they’re targeting, well, I’d probably be on a beach in Mexico.

Our branding meetings at the start of a project often include a target user profiling session. Put together a list of your users’ goals and needs, which will help you when it comes to creating and targeting your campaigns.

Your product must help your target user accomplish their goals, whether it’s relieving boredom on their commute, finally managing to lose weight or finding a new partner.

 

Optimise Your App Store Page

 

We’ve written multiple posts on app store optimisation, so we won’t go into too much detail here. All we will say is keywords, keywords and more keywords.

And we don’t want them stuffed into your app store description like an overfilled sofa cushion. They need to be delicately placed into your copy strategically and carefully – use the same care and consideration you would use to place strawberries on a slightly-underdone chocolate brownie. Have we been watching too much Great British Bake Off? I don’t think so.

 

Start A Blog

 

People are often put off starting a blog as they believe they can’t write. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life it’s this; you do not need to be able to write well to start a blog. Sure, it helps. But my morning scroll through Medium’s top stories has taught me that running a successful blog is so much more than just being able to write well.

It is not knowing your similes from your metaphors or using a synonym for every word you type. It’s about personality and actually useful advice. Blogging will help you to build the hype around your brand, target specific people and bring traffic to your website. Plus, it gives you something to do while your app developers are busy writing 6 months worth of code in a windowless basement.

 

Build A Social Presence

 

Attempting to build a brand without a social media presence is definitely possible, but you’re likely making your life more difficult. If you’re not social savvy enough to manage your own social media profiles, it’s worth getting someone else in to help. These days millennials know their way around a Twitter feed better than they know their way around their own town (I’m allowed to say this – I”m a millennial), and most of us only require enough money to get our weekly avocado toast fix.

Social media profiles are an excellent way to make your brand appear more ‘human’. Twitter allows brands to quickly respond to feedback and complaints, while Instagram can provide a valuable ‘behind-the-scenes’ insight into the creation of your app. Social profiles are essential when it comes to building a pre-launch ‘buzz’ around your product – think sneak peaks or giveaways.

Check out our guide to using Instagram to drive downloads if you need a bit more inspiration.

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