Despite the heat and the impending (and ultimately devastating) Bruins game, a huge crowd gathered at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge for Webinno 38 last night. The audience turned out to hear Wayne Chang of Crashlytics/Twitter Boston and Micah Adler of Fiksu speak and to check out some very promising startups.
Chang, the evening’s first speaker, talked about his long relationship with WebInno, even describing the year that Dropbox was a “Side Dish” at the event, not even able to make it to Webinno’s “Main Event” that year. Chang then explained Crashlytics’ meteoric growth from a small startup at the CIC to its major acquisition by Twitter.
In its first few months, Crashlytics went from zero to 10 million devices using its product; as Chang told the crowd, “Before our acquisition, we were one of the fastest growing mobile companies, ever.”
Chang then shared one of the keys to his company’s success, a little mantra he tells the team weekly, “We don’t engineer solutions, we engineer emotions.” He said this idea is vital to Crashlytics’ user experience, and differentiates their product from anything else on the market.
He then spoke about the “Delta of Wow,” “Engineering Delight,” “Engineering Satisfaction,” “Engineering Playfulness,” and “Engineering Surprise” as keys to making a product that amazes people. For Crashlytics, creating this emotional response involves incorporating small, memorable components within the app that seem simple yet often involve complicated engineering and long hours for developers.
After hearing Wayne speak, it is obvious that the vital component for Crashlytics/Twitter Boston’s success has been creating an experience that engages users in a manner that goes beyond the simple coding and UI/UX of other app developers.
Micah Adler, Fiksu’s founder and also a professor at UMass/Amherst, spoke next, and discussed B2C mobile app development and the art of acquiring users.
After explaining the difficulties of creating an app, shipping it to the app store, and effectively marketing it, Adler explained how Fiksu optimizes the entire process with its easy to use mobile marketing platform. Instead of working with multiple different mobile marketing products, "When you are working with Fiksu, you can integrate with a single SDK," Adler said of Fiksu's appeal.
The two companies featured in the “Main Event” presentations were impressive, and both appear to be on the cusp of something big.
FlightCar, the airport-based car sharing company, presented their product first. Allowing customers to get free airport “parking” by leaving their car for someone else to “rent” while on a trip, FlightCar is a great alternative to airport parking fees and the hassles of renting a car from a rental service. Fully-insured, the company picks up and drops off users, thoroughly cleans shared cars (whether rented or not), and even delivers a rented car right to an the airport terminal for its users.
Sold., a company featured in VentureFizz before, was the second company in the “Main Event.” Displaying their awesome and memorable new marketing video, Sold. definitely made some new fans (and customers) for its all-in-one mobile selling platform.
The “Side Dish” demonstrations also featured some companies that are generating a ton of buzz around Boston, including Car Care Check, Polar, and alcohol delivery service Drizly.
As always, Dave Beisel, the Web Innovator Group’s founder and organizer, hosted the event. He should be especially commended for deftly managing the timing of the event so no one in attendance missed the Bruins/Blackhawks faceoff.
Dennis Keohane is a staff writer for VentureFizz. You can follow Dennis on Twitter (@DBKeohane) by clicking here.