Category: Social Media

Figure out how to monetize mobile

KPCB‘s Mary Meeker did a terrific presentation at D10 last week. You can go over the deck yourself, it’s available below.

I’ll point out some of the highlights:

  • 1.1B Global Mobile 3G Subscribers, 37% Growth, Q4 – @ Only 18% of Mobile Subscribers. Impressive 29% of USA Adults Own Tablet / eReader,Up from 2% Less Than Three Years Ago. Despite Tremendous Ramp So Far,Smartphone User Adoption Has Huge Upside.
  • Global Mobile Traffic Growing Rapidly to 10% of Internet Traffic
  • Rapidly Growing Mobile Internet Usage SurpassedMore Highly Monetized Desktop Internet Usage in May, 2012, in India
  • eCPMs 5x Lower on Mobile than Desktop
  • ARPU (Average Revenue per User) 1.7-5x Lower on Mobile than Desktop

It seems that monetizing mobile went from being an opportunity to a necessity for survival.

KPCB Internet Trends 2012 by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers


Credit: Zef Nikolla

Today Facebook became a public company. This is not only a great moment for social media but for venture capital, Silicon Valley and entrepreneurship.

Congratulations to all of you who made it happen. Thanks for keeping the dream alive.

Still not tablet ready?

A month ago I published a post on the iPad outselling all major PC manufacturers. This week Forrester published a study that makes it clear that tablets are also changing user behavior; disrupting print and online media, music and gaming.

Device convergence is nothing new, but for many the device of choice is still mobile phones. The richer UX that tablets provide enables more complex and longer experiences, that can be monetized better.

This chart shows the results of a survey among U.S. tablet owners regarding changes in their media and device use since they own a tablet.

Crowdfunding as an alternative to bootstrapping or venture capital?

This week, industry veteran Tim Schafer (Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango), managed to raise $3,336,371 to fund his next game. Crowdfunding is now so popular, especially for games, that there was even a session at GDC 2012.

So far, however, crowdfunding has been mostly a way to fund projects with unclear commercial potential. What we haven’t seen yet is a startup that uses crowdfunding as essentially a “free” series seed. Entrepreneurs could prove there is a market for their product and get customer feedback.

I am sure it will not take too long.

If you never saw the video Tim used to raise funds, here it is:

Are you tablet ready?

This chart compares iPad sales to PC sales.
In the fourth quarter of 2011, Apple's tablet outsold all major PC manufacturers.

No, I’m not asking if you’re ready to wait in line for the new iPad. I’m wondering if you’re taking seriously the importance of the tablet as a key device.

Perhaps you have to rethink your product and design “tablet first”. Perhaps it helps your business or hurts it.

No matter what the impact to your business is, you should take it seriously. The tablet is not going anywhere.

Serving non-consumers, self expression and focus: the keys to Pinterest’s success

This chart illustrates the rise of Pinterest in the United States, based on the number of unique visitors and the average time a user spends on the site per month.
The average time per visitor on Pinterest sustained in spite of user growth

Two things dominated my newsfeed these last couple of weeks: Jeremy Lin and Pinterest. I don’t think much more can be added to the Linsanity so I’ll focus on why I think Pinterest is succesful.

1) Serving non-consumers

The web is plagued with social bookmarking or discovery sites like Delicious, Reddit or StumbleUpon. Most of them target the same base of internet power users. Instead of competing with them Pinterest simply targets a different set of users. This would be a classical example of disruptive innovationAccording to ComScore, it’s being particularly successful among Midwest females. Not your typical startup target.

2) Self Expression

Pinterest has been compared to a scrapbook, a collage or a patchwork. There is no doubt that the interface is beautiful. Users are leveraging that beauty for self expression. Some users tell the story of their life, others their passions, their dreams. The result is an appealing visual representation that represents that user. This is a key differentiator of Pinterest.

3) Focus

What Pinterest does it does very well. More importantly, they don’t try to do anything else.

What’s next? Revenue and engagement. There’s no shortage of theories regarding their revenue. From affiliate marketing to sponsored pins, the opportunities are clear. Regarding engagement, time will tell us if Pinterest is not only a self expression mechanism but also a strong discovery site that deserves continuous visits.


Are your ready to build the city of your dreams?

I have spent my last year and a half in Cafe World focusing mainly on product and more recently acting as Executive Producer. I have now joined CityVille as Director of Product. I want to thank everyone in Cafe World for making my day to day amazing. I can’t wait for the challenge of making the biggest game even better.

Launching Café World

Cafe World Logo
Have you played it yet?

A week after my last Farmville post, I joined Zynga as Product Manager. Being part of Café World’s launch team has been an amazing experience so far. It’s great to be on the other side of social games. This new role deserves all of my attention so I will unfortunately not be as active in blogging or tweeting.

If you want to know more about how Café World became the fastest growing game ever, you can read an interview with my boss here. If you want to have fun, you can play the game here.

Farmville animals

Farmville animals: cute but not very productive
Farmville animals: cute but not very productive

A lot has happened since my last post. I have a lot to thank to Lisa Chan, Zynga’s blogger, who featured it.

I’ll cover the impact it had in my personal life in a later post. Today,  let’s figure out the economics of animals on Farmville.

Are they there just to look pretty? Should I sell them, ignore them, buy more?

We’ll work with the same assumptions we used for the treeconomics:

  • Investment period and residual value: the animal is sold for its residual value after 90 days.
  • Discount rate: to simplify I’ll do a comparison of investments.
  • Available investments:  at this point only the cow, chicken and sheep are available to purchase.

First we’ll compare the animals among themselves to see which one has the highest daily revenue:

Cost Revenue/Harvest Days to Harvest Daily Revenue Daily Rev/ Invested $ Days to Payback
Sheep $700.0 $28.0 3 $9.33 1.33% 75
Chicken $400.0 $8.0 1 $8.00 2.00% 50
Cow $300.0 $6.0 1 $6.00 2.00% 50

Not surprisingly the sheep wins.  On “bang per buck” (or ROI) both the chicken and cow look better though.

Let’s compare a 90 day investment in a square full of sheeps with some crops and trees. Don’t let cartoon logic fool you, you can actually fit 16 sheeps or chicken in a single Farmville square. Only 4 cows though.

Daily Profit Total Profit Initial investment Residual Value Profit
Date tree square $368.0 $33,120.0 $12,800.0 $640.0 $20,960.0
Tomatoes $174.0 $15,660.0 $15,660.0
Raspberries $132.0 $11,880.0 $11,880.0
Chicken square $128.0 $11,520.0 $6,400.0 $320.0 $5,440.0
Sheep square $149.3 $13,440.0 $11,200.0 $560.0 $2,800.0
Cow square $24.0 $2,160.0 $1,200.0 $60.0 $1,020.0

It seems that animals are not a great investment. It turns out that the best among them is a chicken square, given that the cost is much lower than a sheep square. However, it is still lower than, for example, pineapples.

Animals in Farmville will earn you badges but won’t make you rich. They also make a beautiful gift for your friends.