My friend Adam is a small animal veterinarian in San Francisco. Unfortunately, I rarely get the chance to see him, but when I do it’s always illuminating in some way. Last night over some lovely steaks and shirley temples at San Francisco’s A5A, we got to talking about apps. Adam is an app fiend. He has completely filled up his iPhone with apps. He yelps. He tweets. Adam is super-connected. More interesting though is how he runs his business. Adam uses Freshbooks to do all his business management online (or “in the cloud” as fashion now dictates). Using the Minibooks iPhone app, he is able to get into all this information while mobile, including patient records, blood work reports, etc… everything he needs to do his job. He uses VoiceCentral/GoogleVoice to manage his calls, get transcripts and make appointments. He uses MotionX GPS to get to appointments.  He accepts credit card payments with MerchantWare’s credit card app.  Otherwise, Freshbooks allows clients to pay him through Paypal. He has all kinds of Veterinary reference material and medical calculator apps on his iPhone.  He uses Osirix to carry around digitised xray images from hospitals. He uses Evernote to sync multimedia of pets (images, sound, and videos) taken on the iPhone to his Mac. His entire business is mobile. He can show up at a client, pull up their pet’s records and start working without a single piece of paper. This enables him to do something almost unheard of in this day and age: make housecalls. In fact, that’s all …

Mobile 2.0 In the Wild Read more »

One really interesting conversation that emerged at the Mobile 2.0 Europe conference last week was about the emerging Apps culture. Clearly, mobile apps (applications, widgets, webapps whatever you want to call them – I’m talking about data-driven experiences on the phone here, irrespective of platform and technology) are in the midst of a renaissance. However, I have also been hearing a lot of critical voices recently talking about “useless” apps and questioning “how many apps do people really use on their phones?” So I made a point at the Developer Day portion of the event that Apps are like Songs which I didn’t actually think was terribly original but people there seemed to jibe with it. Why are apps like songs? Someone else commented that you can “use them once and throw them away” but I’m not sure that captures it – because you don’t throw songs away really. They might stay in your music library unplayed for months or even years only to resurface at the right time. I was reminded of this today when someone challenged me to find an app that made effective use of the “shake” feature. I immediacy called up the “shotgun” app on the iPhone, which is kind of a “one joke app” like the Zippo lighter or the Carling beer. It doesn’t mean they’re any less worthy – and in the case of the Zippo or the Carling (ugh – I hate Carling — but I love the app!) you can see the marketing potential of apps as songs. …

Apps are like Songs Read more »