Runscope launched at the Glue conference today with $1.1 million in seed funding from True Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz for its tools that monitor API traffic and address the problems with broken APIs. Also participating were Lerer Ventures, and a group of prominent angel investors.
The Runscope tools come as software is scaling everywhere. And with software comes APIs, which are just a natural way to connect services. When web services ruled back in the IT glory age, software integrations were complex and expensive. Today REST-based APIs make it easy to connect apps. The problem is in the complexity of the distributed nature of building them.
Distributed apps have their own code. It may work across on-premise servers and a cloud provider’s network and servers. It will also use the API providers’ set of code and servers of their own.
It’s from this premise that Runscope built its tools. Designed initially for test and development, the tools will be offered for use in production in the coming months.
“The first thing we want to do is to start to give visibility into the conversations an app is having with other services,” said John Sheehan, Runscope’s CEO. This means building a tool that watches the API traffic and makes problems really visible.
“The real true promise is an app that has multiple distributed pieces but acts as one coherent application,” Sheehan said. “We are starting to realize it but the tools are geared toward building old style applications. For example, performance monitoring tools expect thart code issues are happening on your own servers.”
Runscope is built on Amazon Web Services EC2 and programmed in Python. The CTO, Frank Statton, was lead engineer at Twilio. The system is fault tolerant and was built by Ryan Park who comes from Pinterest. Sheehan worked at IFTTT before co-founding the company with Statton. Prior to IFTTT, Sheehan also worked at Twilio as the company’s developer evangelist.
The business model will in part stem from Runscope’s runtime, which generates data about API traffic. That data can be used for business intelligence. There is also the resilience the service can offer for customers and the assurance that mission-critical apps and their APIs can be watched and issues resolved before they become a major issue.
New Relic looks at the issues that Rusncope addresses from a performance standpoint, especially with a mobile SDK. API management providers such as Apigee and Layer7 are also playing in the space.
Another photo sharing app bites the dust? Or is something with promise getting another chance? Either way you look at it, betaworks is adding more technology and team members to its arsenal, as photo sharing app Piictu has announced that the team will “join forces” with a betaworks company that has yet to launch.
Piictu had raised $1.73 million in seed funding, yet never really took off. The app allowed you to share photos with captions, but Piictu wanted to focus on letting photos start conversations, rather than sit in a stream waiting for likes. The app’s approach was to get you to share photos in context of what you were doing.
Here’s what the Piictu team shared today, including instructions on how to get your photos out of the service. You’ll have until June 7th to do so:
Piictu is joining Kandu (a Betaworks company)!
We’re excited to announce that Piictu is joining forces with Kandu – “a Betaworks company” that shares our vision and ideals of how technology is a catalyst for a better and richer world. Together we will continue to build and bring users great products and experiences for a brighter future.
Obviously, this news doesn’t come without hardship. Unfortunately, the Piictu app will no longer be available. The important thing: You will not lose any of your photos and we trust you will reconnect with all your piictu-friends on other networks like tumblr, kik, twitter and instagram – some of our fave.
Over the past two years we’ve had the opportunity of supporting and sharing unique moments of our lives in pictures. Piictu was built on the idea that “the change in use of photography” is opening new opportunities to communicate and interact as humans. We’ve seen this stand true and flourish not only on piictu, but on other networks as well.
On Friday May 31st, the piictu app will no longer be available. You’ll be able to download your photos until Friday June 7th by following the instructions here
From the entire team we want to thank you for the great energy, trust and support you have brought to the community and we look forward to bringing you more fun, exciting and heartfelt products in the future.
No terms were made available, but we’ve reached out to betaworks for comment. However, this does feel like a stay of execution for an app that never took off.
Again, it’s not known what Kandu is exactly, but we assume that it will have something to do with photography. Another betaworks product, Giphy, has been moving along quickly to provide a home for all of those awesome animated GIFs that we like to share.
During TechCrunch Disrupt, betaworks CEO John Borthwick discussed his vision for the company, calling it a “puzzle.” What Borthwick and team are doing is bringing together the most useful parts of services, be it Digg or an eventual Google Reader replacement, and creating a suite with them. How it will all look once it fits together is unknown, but betaworks is on a bit of a roll after launching its game Dots recently.
Have you ever “owned a room?” I don’t mean in terms of actual real estate, but rather in terms of mental real estate?
If you have, you’ll never forget the feeling of having every eye in the room on you, people practically breathing along with you. I think that’s what they mean when they say having them “eating out of your hand.” Now, have you ever completely lost control of the room? As you look around, eyes are glazed over, people sneaking peeks at their smart phones and mobile devices or just typing on their computers (and you know they aren’t taking copious notes). Even worse, executives throwing twenty questions at you and you having that sick, squirmy feeling inside?
If you’ve spent any time at all in the world of business, you’ve probably had both of these experiences and wondered how in the world the same person could create two completely opposite experiences. One answer is to simply say that it’s a function of the audience, and in some ways it is. But like most things in this world, the experience we create for our listeners is really in our own hands.
What I didn’t realize, until I read “Own the Room: Discover your Signature Voice to Master Your Leadership Presence,” is that we can control the outcome of any conversation and any presentation. WE are in control.
What authors Amy Jen Su (@AmyJenSu) and Muriel Maignan Wilkins (@MaignanWilkins) clearly point out in their new book is that you can power up your career and leadership cred by simply mastering your “Signature Voice” that is uniquely your own and can be adapted to any situation. This signature voice comes from aligning your beliefs, your communication skills and your physical energy with the needs of your audience.
For example, there are what I’d call “doing” conversations and “leading” conversations. And you have to be very clear about which conversation you are having. If you are the team or project leader giving an update to the management team – a “Leading” conversation is required because you are speaking up to a leadership audience. Their information needs are different AND they are looking at YOU as the leader in the situation. Hence, they expect you to communicate as a leader would.
The Authors Speak From Personal Experience
I heard about the book from a publicist and requested a review copy based purely on the title. I mean, if there is a process out there where I can get people eating out of my hands, I want to know about it.
The authors, Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins, are the owners and managing partners of Asis Associates, an executive training and coaching firm. Both are sought after speakers on the topic of leadership presence and communications. Both have had personal experience in this area. Amy was told that she needed to toughen up. She was perceived as being too young and passive to be considered as “leadership material.” On the other hand, Muriel was told that she had to turn her bold personality down a notch.
Amy and Muriel took their personal experiences and work to transform their communication style and turned it into a process and a book that you can use to learn how to leverage your strengths and gain the high-powered presence you need to reach your full potential as a leader.
How to Become an A-C-E in Your Field
The authors have developed a powerful model to help you become a power communicator. It’s called A-C-E:
A – Assumptions you make and the mindset you bring to your interactions with others.
C – Communication Strategies – Techniques and tools you use to engage influence and inspire.
E – Energy and Expression – How you physically show up; how your nonverbal cues impact others.
You will learn from the examples of well-known people like:
- Christine Day, CEO of Lulemon Athletica, whose authenticity helped her grow her company’s market share to become the largest yoga outfitter in the world.
- Al Gore, who was known for his robotic style who then transformed his presence to one of warmth, poise and passion for the environment.
- Tony Hayward, the CEO of BP at the time of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, who was skewered for his insensitivity when he failed to adapt his communication style to the crisis.
But the book also includes those unsung leaders in organizations like yours who are all dealing with the same communication challenges.
You won’t just learn from their stories, you’ll have the opportunity to experience the process for yourself by using their diagnostic tool to assess your current and ongoing presence and how others perceive you.
“Own the Room” is a Much-Needed Book
While there are many books on how to give powerful presentations, “Own the Room” is about how to have appropriate communications while not losing yourself in the process. One observation I had as I read through many of the examples is that the style was a little more “corporate-speak” than I’m used to in the world of small business. But don’t let that stop you from taking the authors’ message to heart.
This is a book that is as applicable to small business owners who sell to more corporate clients as well as to employees who are looking to move into leadership positions.
The post How to “Own the Room” in Any Presentation appeared first on Small Business Trends.
LinkedIn, now at 225 million users, continues to introduce more features to its site to keep people returning to it and staying there for longer. Today it’s the turn of LinkedIn Today, its social news page, which is getting a new feature called Channels. Channels is rolling out starting today to English-speaking users. LinkedIn says that it plans to announce the service formally on Wednesday.
Channels bring together curated content around general subjects like technology, marketing strategies, retail and healthcare — 20 in all, with more getting added soon — with each one combining popular posts from news sources with those from selected people deemed influential (LinkedIn’s list of “influencers”) in the given topic.
Channels will be replacing “industries,” a feature that has been around since LinkedIn first launched LinkedIn Today in 2011. Industries were both more specific in terms of what they covered (eg, internet instead of technology), and also geared at news that was trending on LinkedIn, and specifically among your contacts.
Channels, on the other hand, attempts to be more interdisciplinary and less newsy. It makes use of the idea that there will be people interested in “social media” who are not social media professionals, and who are using LinkedIn as a learning resource rather than just a news source.
“We believe Channels better represents the content and topical conversations professionals are discussing and sharing on LinkedIn, which go beyond specific industries,” said spokesperson Julie Inouye. “Topics like Entrepreneurship and Your Career are applicable to more than just one industry.”
It also gives some more mileage to the hand-picked list of 250+ influencers that LinkedIn introduced in October 2012, with their posts also getting rolled into the channels mix.
It looks like over time, this could also include added multimedia such as presentations using SlideShare and more. And that could also potentially leave the door open for other kinds of additions, too. Although LinkedIn has not said yet where it will be using the technology/services that it picked up when it acquired the Pulse news aggregating app, you can see that the channels section on LinkedIn Today is one place that could become a natural home. (Another, which I’ve pointed out before, is in a revamped LinkedIn iPad and other native tablets app, which did not get upgraded at the same time as the iPhone and Android apps did the other week.)
Product manager Kevin Gu notes that among the other new features that will come along with the new channels will be the ability to see the updates from channels on your own homepage stream; the ability to sort content either by most recent news or most popular features; and a look at the top influencer posts on a given day. On top of this, users will also see channels making their way to their LinkedIn email digests, which will now include influencer posts, trending professional news as well as Slideshare content.
All of this, of course, comes back to how LinkedIn is shaping itself up for its longer-term growth strategy. Last week’s quarterly earnings showed LinkedIn still beating sales targets and earnings estimates, but the company’s stock still took a hit on evidence that revenue growth is slowing down.
In that sense, the move to enhance LinkedIn Today is more about improving the time its audience spends on the site. More time spent on the site could have a subsequent positive effect on advertising, a key revenue source for the company going forward — a model followed by companies like Facebook and Twitter, which have also made moves to introduce features that get users to linger on their pages for longer. Conversely, LinkedIn has confirmed that channels and influencers are not direct routes to revenue in themselves for now.
“Our influencers are not compensated to share their unique insights on LinkedIn and we do not have plans at this time to monetize our Channels pages or our Influencer platform,” Inouye said.
In the last several months, LinkedIn has introduced a number of changes. They’ve included upgraded, more media-enhanced profiles; a Contacts update to add in more “personal assistant” life organizing features; new iPhone and Android apps; an expanded search engine; @mentions in status updates; Klout-style endorsements; and a Recruiter homepage redesign for the site’s most dedicated user vertical. As with many of these other enhancements, LinkedIn Today, and its new channels feature, offer a more slick look and more functionality.
I hate using email. I get an average of 60 to 70 emails every day, and only one percent of them are from people I actually care about. Using email today is all about sifting through the clutter. Dextr is an app that helps you accomplish that by filtering your inbox to only include emails from your friends and family.
Dextr is an email client for Android that functions a lot like Priority Inbox for Gmail, only it’s a standalone app. Once you’ve downloaded the app to your phone and signed into your email account, it presents you with a list of your contacts. Here you select your closest friends, family, or associates – basically, the people you’d actually want to receive email from. Once you’ve done that, Dextr only shows you emails from this list of persons who are important to you.
So while Dextr won’t (and probably shouldn’t) be replacing Gmail as your primary email client on your Android phone, having your inbox stripped down to nothing more but your own personal interactions is strangely refreshing. I abhor all the crap that ends up in my inbox, and being presented with one made up only of emails that I would actually care to read just felt nice. This is what email used to be before it became a firehose.
And yet, the fact that Dextr functions less like an email client and more like a messaging app says a lot of about how we use email today. The moment I opened up Dextr, I was struck with this sudden urge to start emailing my friends and having epic threaded conversations again. That’s where Dextr succeeds, but it falls short once I realize that this is in fact, email. I rarely if ever communicate with my friends via email anymore. Messaging apps, Twitter, and Facebook have pretty much taken over that space. And although Dextr has one of the prettiest interfaces I’ve ever seen in an Android app, email at the end of the day is still email.
Dextr is a little strange. It’s too bare bones just yet to function as a fully realized email client. You can’t send attachments (only view and download the ones that are sent to you), and threaded conversations are still a no-go. On the other hand, it’s a beautiful app, and perfectly performs the function of filtering your inbox down to the people you care about.
For me, that feature alone is enough to keep it on my phone. At least I won’t get any crap from my friends for accidentally grouping an email they sent to me along with my spam. Dextr is a $0.99 download at the Google Play Store.