Why I am at a loss with strings.com

Another promising start-up that recently caught my attention is strings.com or maybe just strings. Their pitch sounds as follows:

Strings is a social tracking and filtering platform that allows you to share and uncover experiences that are relevant to you. Strings incorporates strong privacy controls, easy filtering, and tracking support that allows your actions on and offline to automatically identify personalized trends worth following.

First of all, the name is way too generic, news and coverage about strings are hard to find. They launched in February and managed to get on stage at Web 2.0 Expo, but that’s all I know. Who is the founder? The site gives me no idea. They don’t have a pressroom either.
The sign-up process is old-school – you have to create just another account, no Open ID, Google, Facebook, Twitter or whatsoever. This is lame, but there might be a reason for this. After the sign-up, strings allows you to create „trackers“ for the usual suspects like YouTube, flickr, Foursquare, Twitter, last.fm, but also for purchases at Apple, eBay and the like. For some trackers, you have to provide your login data, which is lame too, but again there might a reason for this.
Why I am completely at a loss with strings is the social part – that’s missing. I’ve no idea how many people use strings, but it’s clear that I can’t find my peeps. There is no way to import my friends from other services like Twitter or Facebook. Without friends, the whole thing is pointless.
And the design isn’t very pretty anyway.
[Hat tip to Denkzelle]

First Steps with TheDeadline Somewhat Mixed

Last week at Google I/O, a tiny but interesting start-up from Hamburg debuted. It’s called TheDeadline and has something to do with task management and project management. I took some time today to try it out, and my first impressions are somewhat mixed.
First of all, I wasn’t able to login with one of my Google Apps accounts. This may be my fault, but TheDeadline isn’t very verbose on this. Second, I didn’t see the promised integration with Google Contacts and Google Calendar. This may be related to the first problem.
Third, the interface looks geeky and somewhat clumsy. This may stem from TheDeadline’s origin at Hamburg-based IT service provider freiheit.com and also be the handwriting of Lars Hinrichs who recently invested in TheDeadline. But this may change over time, as Lars has already proven with Xing that he founded in 2003. Xing went public in 2006 and was later sold to Burda.
I’ve quickly hacked in some to-dos and particulary liked the tagging functionality. Didn’t see anything of the touted artificial intelligence yet, but that remains to be seem. TheDeadline definitely made it to my watchlist.

As Consumers Move Online, Banks Still Don’t Sell

The branch is not dead, it just smells funny. The majority of consumers now sees the Internet as their preferred method of banking. But while this shift has been under way for several years now, banks are severely lagging behind, as Brett King points out:

How could it be that more than 40% of customers for most banks in developed economies cite Internet Banking (and other direct channels) as their preferred method of banking, transaction volume through Internet outpaces branch by a ratio of more than 4-to-1, and yet 80% of revenue still comes through the branch?

How can it be that these same customers visit their „Internet“ bank 5-10 times per month, and the branch only 3 times a year and yet 4 out of 5 products they apply for through the bank are sold through a branch? The revenue factor is constantly cited by traditional bankers in support of the branch, but there are three reasons for this trailing revenue versus adoption rate data:

  1. Your „home“ branch gets allocated the revenue by the system
  2. The final compliance step is in-branch
  3. Most banks are awful at selling online

Read the full piece. Hat tip to Denkzelle.

BIOM shortlisted at the Favourite Website Awards!

The BIOM Project by ECCO has made it to the public shortlist at the Favourite Website Awards (FWA). That means: At least 70 per cent of all voters voted in favour of this awesome site created by SinnerSchrader. Now it’s up to the industry panel to judge all submissions that make it to the public shortlist for the Site Of The Day, Month and even Year awards.
The submission can be viewed and commented on here.

Very High Performance Websites: The Next Competitive Advantage

These are the slides of a talk Malte Ubl gave at next10 last week. As the title of his talk makes pretty clear, he spoke about the competitive advantage of very (and he meant: really) high performance websites. And he showed some drastic examples like the comparison of Zalando and mirapodo. The former is a Samwer Brothers venture, the latter was launched by SinnerSchrader on behalf of the Otto Group.
Malte’s talk was livestreamed by zaplive.tv, the stream is archived and can be viewed. A polished version of the video will be released on sevenload soon.