Tuesday, November 27, 2007


We went into silent mode back there for a while. Usually, the blogging dies down when we are iterating on features and working on make the user experience better. But a lot has been happened in the last couple weeks, we had to give an update.

1) UpNextNYC (FB App)

We officially launched the UpNext Facebook Application. Still waiting to get listed in the directory but just click on the link above and it should take you directly to the FB App.

Enjoy all the same functionality of UpNext.com within Facebook. The only difference is the size. Add the application, invite your friends to join you and share and discover the city together.

2) UpNext: Wicked 3D Maps of NYC on Facebook

We got a nice write up in TechCrunch last week, just before the Thanksgiving holiday. I think that is the first time we got "wicked" 3D map but we will take it.

Thanks Erick for taking the time to meet with us. Good stuff.

3) Interactive Local Media 2007 (ILM:07)

I will be speaking at ILM:07 on a panel on mapping. The official topic is "Maps: They're Not Just for Driving Any More". Ian White of Urban Mapping is on the panel with me. I heard him speak at the Where 2.0 conference and he definitely has some great ideas about maps. Looking forward to hearing what he has to say and hopefully making my own contribution to the discussion.

Feel free to introduce yourself at the conference. I will be there all day on Wednesday and Thursday. Would love to meet more people in this space.

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Monday, November 5, 2007

UpNext and Facebook

Over the last couple weeks you may have noticed a Facebook login on our home page. This login allows you to access your Facebook network through the UpNext main site. Let me give you a little insight into why we do this.

Here is how we see user progression on UpNext.

1) Kicking the tires - Users enter without registering

We are a new website and people need to get to know us. So we let users just see what UpNext is all about before setting up a profile.

Just "Enter Now" and have fun flying around New York and exploring the city. There is enough value in the site for these non-registered users to bring them back for more.

2) Taking the test drive - Registered Users

Users now want to access the full capabilities of UpNext. Creating a profile allows users to share their city by writing reviews, rating businesses, adding favorites and marking places they have been. The information is now easily accessible in a user's profile.

On the flip side, other UpNext users can now see user contributions in a contextual basis. The profile description, favorite quote, even profile picture, provide contextual information around content, making it more valuable to others.

3) Buying the car - Building a social network

Since a big part of discovery comes from your friends and extended network, we make it easy for users to make this happen.

Users can import contacts from any of the popular email applications. Or simply type in a friend's email address and ask them to join UpNext.

This allows users to share their city within a network. More importantly, it allows users to see reviews and favorites from people they know and trust.

But people spend a lot of time setting up and managing social networks on other sites. Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and the list goes on and on. So rather than force users to redo all their previous work, we simply leverage the existing social connection of the user.

Facebook API and Open Social are both tools that we can use to make life simpler for users. We don't believe our users actually care about the intricacies of either; they just want it to happened. So we will continue to make it easy for users to leverage these networks.

4) Avoid being a lemon - Keep users happy

At this point, users have "bought" UpNext and have driven it around for a while. The focus here is to keep users happy and add value through every use. We continue to add new features and improve existing features to keep users happy.
We solicit and encourage user feedback through direct emails, blogging and by reach out to the community. Having bought a car in the past, I know the worst feeling is sitting in that car 5 months down the road and realizing you bought a lemon. So we focus on not being a lemon.

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