Mittwoch, 23. Oktober 2013

Secure communication in the post-Snowden world

Back to 2010, I tried to convince RIM BlackBerry's top management, to make their secure and fast BBM messenger multi-platform and available for everybody. Sure, I was thinking about cooperation with IM+ which was already available for all smartphones.
Silence was the answer.

Fast forward to October 2013, Blackberry releases BBM for iOS and Android.
Three years to late... Blackberry is just a small shadow of itself in the light of Apple and Google.

At the same time, our IM+ team releases the most secure messenger of today.
Beautifully designed for iOS7, IM+ Pro7 includes free peer-to-peer encryption.
And this is the link for our Android buddies:

Being used with IM+ Beep service, Off The Record Messaging makes your communication completely secure in the post-Snowden world of Big Brother reality.
Ad usum populi!

Montag, 19. Dezember 2011

IM+ meets Angry Birds, adding Beep to replace SMS and MMS

There are times to speak and times to be silent.
Today is gonna be a beautiful day. A dream is coming true, the new IM+ unites all messaging in one app.
On top of this, free and magic Angry Birds theme for iPhone / iPad / iPod Touch makes messaging more game-like.
6.1 trillion SMS were sent in 2010, a long way to go, to replace them all with free messages. My season wishes for 2011-2012 New Year eve: freedom for people and messaging.

Mittwoch, 2. November 2011

Scary

I'm in the Third World.
No power, it's cold
In my house.
Darkness.
Electrical wires
Down on streets and trees.
Why are they not underground?
Frosty, dangerous place for kids.
I'm in New Jersey, US.

Donnerstag, 15. September 2011

Venture capital mafia

As we are looking for additional capital to secure our new IM+ related project, yesterday I visited a bank in Manhattan. Namely, the Silicon Valley Bank, recommended by a good friend of mine.
SVB guys were very friendly to me. I learned that the best way to get a credit at SVB is to be a VC-funded company. What?! So, the trick is not to be profitable or to have millions of users like we at Shape but much more to have right connections and to be founded on a right way.

I hear also here and there about strange M&A deals where a VC is involved in both participating companies and valuations are somehow shady.
Isn't it a good time for federal investigators to take a more critical look at VC practices, same way like they do in case of hedge funds, e.g. Galleon case that was brilliantly described in New Yorker, what do you think?

Mittwoch, 17. August 2011

RIM: Silence of the Lambs

Big companies are arrogant. Most of them are evil.  Yep, this are clichés.

But it looks like this is the true about RIM these days.

If you didn't get the story about their anti-competitive "approval" process, here you go:

http://www.im-possible.com/2011/07/how-rim-blackberry-works-with-loyal-app.html

And this is in short how the story continued:

A month ago IM+ for Playbook story got attention of users and popular blogs like CrackBerry.com and RIM was virtually forced to react.  On July 18th Alex, SHAPE's Head of Development, and myself, have had a very strange call with Tyler Lessard, RIM’s VP of Global Alliances and Developer Relations.

Did you hear about court trials in totalitarian countries? They are not truth seeking. They instrumentalize the law and only look for pseudo arguments to get you jailed.

This was the way Tyler communicated (he asked us to make our conversation non-public – why?). During the call Tyler looked actively for arguments why RIM could take time with the approval of IM+ for Playbook and legitimate the two months approval process. And he found the way: we forgot to include our standard End User License Agreement, EULA (which is available in IM+ for BlackBerry). An absolute minority of other, RIM-approved App World social networking apps have an EULA. But you can always find a way to prolong the approval process if you are actively looking for.

At the end of the call Tyler was friendly, as he used to be at our previous conversations on (paid) RIM events like Orlando conferences. I think, inwardly he wanted to be more or less fair. Tyler said that he will take a look at the approval process with the target to make things done. Tyler also said that he will be looking into our need to get Push for IM+ for BlackBerry – a technology that gives users the possibility to get their IMs instantly even if IM+ is closed. This is no problem with IM+ for iPhone, iPad or Android. Naive, we believed and informed our users that shortly we’ll have the good news.

Next day we sent to RIM and Taylor an update and included our EULA. A month more is gone and nothing happened. Not with IM+ for Playbook approval nor with Push for IM+ for BlackBerry. Silence also to my last mail included below.

Research In Motion, your Silence of the Lambs is not only against competition, but also against you, do you recognize this?

Your BBM is a great product, but people want to have a choice. Especially for multi-platform communication.

If you feel like we at SHAPE, please tell / mail / tweet your opinion to RIM.

Perhaps, also directly to Tyler at tlessard@rim.com

We really want that RIM finally makes a turn to be a developer friendly company.
That RIM's snobbish behavior against small developers and, at the end of the day, against users, will be over.
I'm sure, this would be good also for RIMM stock.
_________________________________________________________________

And this is the full mail story after our call with Tyler :

Alex to Tyler,  Jul 19

We've just submitted the update of IM+ for PlayBook to the AppWorld. SKU is "IMPlus_for_BlackBerry_PlayBook", version 1.2. It does show the EULA on first start, as discussed yesterday. I've attached the EULA text for your reference. We're looking forward to having it approved soon.

I'm happy to say we've seen tremendous response to the news about possible enabling of Push feature in IM+ for BlackBerry. Our customers literally can't wait to see it on their BlackBerrys, and so do we.

Currently our servers process about 6M incoming messages per day for all users of IM+ for BlackBerry. However the actual number of push requests may be much lower, since BlackBerry users often leave application running in the background and push is not activated in this case. But at least that gives you some understanding of the volumes we are dealing with. Please keep us informed on the progress with this.

Thank you again for all your assistance. We are waiting for the good news about approval for Playbook and enabling Push.

Regards,
Alex

Igor Berezovsky  to Tyler, Alex,  Jul 22

Hi Tyler,

Hope you are doing well!

How you see our progress going towards IM+ for Playbook in the App World and enabling Push for IM+.

Thank you, have a great weekend!
Igor


Tyler Lessard to ib, Alex,  Jul 22

Hi Igor,

I understand that we are making progress with the review. Let me check on the status. Thanks!

Tyler


Igor Berezovsky to Tyler, Alex,  Jul 22

Hi Tyler,

Thank you, waiting the news!

Igor


Tyler Lessard to ib, Alex,  Jul 22

Hi Igor,

I just wanted to confirm something related to the EULA: do users ever create an IM+ "account" and are those credentials stored on your server? Or do they only add 3rd party user accounts (AIM/Yahoo/etc) for identity? If they do not create an IM+ account, how does the service "remember me" when I switch devices, or am I forced to add all of my accounts again?

Thanks!
Tyler


Igor Berezovsky  to Tyler, Alex,  Jul 22

Hi Tyler,

We do not store user accounts on our servers.

So when devices switched, user is forced to add all accounts again.

Thanks!
Igor


Tyler Lessard to Igor, Alex,  Jul 22

Great, appreciate the additional insight, that is consistent with what I thought!


Igor Berezovsky  to Tyler, Alex,  Aug 1

Hi Tyler,

Any news about IM+ for Playbook and enabling Push for IM+?

Best!
Igor


Tyler Lessard to ib, Alex,  Aug 1

Hi Igor,

We're finalizing review of the privacy policy implications and the related information for the 3rd party messaging services that your app connects to. I hope for that to be complete within the next 5-10 days, I'll try to get you a status update on Friday and will let you know if any other questions come up in the interim. So far, it looks like we have all the information from your team that we need and the review is going well. Hang tight!

Thanks!
Tyler


Igor Berezovsky  to Tyler,  Aug 15

Hi Tyler,

OK, another two weeks gone, and this is how I see the situation chronologically.

We are a long time Alliance Partner, supported BlackBerry on IM+ and other our apps since 2003.

Sometime mid 2000's high RIM managers called SHAPE one of the most important ISV partners in Europe.

In all the years we did our work with a great engagement, thousands of users changed from other phones and ecosystems to BlackBerrys because of our activity as well as availability of our apps, especially IM+, on BlackBerry. Additionally we paid our Alliance fees, participated on paid RIM events, won some RIM ISV and other BlackBerry related contests.

With all the respect to RIM and our success story: now we feel really pissed off. This is not only because of the strange situation with approval of IM+ on Playbook.

Even more we feel us betrayed with the silence to our and our users needs, especially Push for IM+.

The absence of BlackBerry Push on IM+ makes the user experience much worse then on iOS and Android and also brings IM+ and SHAPE in a bad position to competitors like WhatsApp that do have Push on BlackBerry.

Tyler, I would love very, very much to keep the long-term partnership between RIM and SHAPE.

And I do not think that it would be good for RIM, to lose SHAPE and, may be, dozens of other developers that listen to us.

Vice versa, a strong signal that RIM want to be at least so loyal to long-term partners as Apple and Google are, would be a game changer for us and developers that listen to our story.

Actually, we have a lot of partner, media and user requests about situation with IM+ for Playbook and BlackBerry Push for IM+.

Tyler, I ask you and RIM to decide positive about both of the questions today.

All Shapers will be waiting today for two short approval notices from your tech guys: IM+ for Playbook and Push for IM+.

Again, we consider our long-term partnership with RIM as very important for SHAPE.

Thank you very much and best regards,
Igor

NO RESPONSE FROM RIM.

Dienstag, 26. Juli 2011

Homo Ludens

News of the day: cryonics founder Robert Ettinger dies at 92, joins 105 other "frozen" patients.
OK, but what has this in common with, say, games.
The trick is, we are living in a (Western) world, where entertainment has the highest priority.

No one wants to have a boring time. Everyone wants to be entertained all around the day (and night).
And if anything goes so perfect, why the hell should we die at all.

Ettinger, the cryonics prophet, entered the game. It would be hard to lose, after all he is already "dead".
But probably he will win at the end of the day. Robert, I wish you good luck!
In the meantime we can play Angry Birds, CityVille or say Sherlock Holmes.

Let me mention also two other prophetical people who did a lot for our entertainment world.

Eric Berne described brilliant in Games People Play how we play our lives.  It seems comfortable for modern people to be the most time in the Child ego-state.

Johan Huizinga wrote in 1938 Homo Ludens (Playing Man).
He said that a play is free and is in fact freedom.

And this, my dear Apple friends, is exactly what we see today. Millions of people playing free or $0.99 games, all the time, forever. Please forget all statistics about apps and in-app purchases of virtual goods for iPhone, Android or Facebook. Apps are an euphemism. We are speaking about games. Sure, there are some AppGames around, like Foursquare, with a great in-app entertaining value. You can love gamification or not, it will be hard in our entertainment world without in-app game elements for "serious" apps.

Some scientists mean that games are great for peripheral sight of kids and at the end of the day for their mind and IQ. May be, long-term. 
I think, short-term we are moving towards a more stupid world, without old intelligentsia and with much more game experts in Child state. Homo Sapiens moves away. Homo Ludens, the Playing Man, comes.
The good news: You will be entertained! :)

Mittwoch, 20. Juli 2011

Marijuana, venture capital and tango dance

I just learned, Tango raised another $42 million of venture capital ( in addition to previous raised $14 million).
What makes great investors crazy? 
Is it that easy to get medical marijuana in California?
Dudes, please invest $41 million in Color, $56M in Tango and more, more, more. Revenue does not matter. They will scale and then monetize. Or not. But please don't forget on the other hand to spend money for Africa or homeless kids in Eastern Europe, they will need it.
And this is my view of mobile video and chat investments.