Someone once told me that if your customers are forcing you to move so quickly that you’re constantly on the brink of crashing, you’re likely onto something big. I’m starting to believe that more and more with each day.
In the last two months the TokBox team has been moving at record speeds. We’re doing something right. In fact, I think we’re doing a lot right. The small pieces that we’ve been pushing on for a long time are starting to come together as we had imagined and hoped they would.
Most recently, we’ve been working on one of our newest plug-n-play apps, TokShow, which has been the cause of much of this craziness. TokShow allows musicians, politicians, celebrities or really anyone to host a live conversation with their followers on any web site. Think MTV’s old-school show TRL hosted by Carson Daly. Your favorite band takes the stage to field questions from the audience about their upcoming album or tour.
With TokShow, that type of fan and celebrity interaction is now possible online to the masses, not just to the crowd lucky enough to be in the studio.
The world loves social networking; that’s a fact. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Path or Tumblr, folks are searching for ways to connect. Despite a wide breadth of options, Ken Pomerance and Ron Tannebaum identified a gap in the social network market back in 2008: there wasn’t a place for the recovery community to connect and provide support for one another.
That’s when they decided to launch In The Rooms, a social network dedicated to the global recovery community. Three years later, they’re revolutionizing the online recovery community again by introducing a fully interactive and completely authentic online AA and NA meeting format powered by OpenTok.
The face of fundraising has evolved. While telethons and toy drives are still popular, fundraising efforts have gone digital in recent years with the launch of organizations like Causes, Kickstarter and Crowdrise. SoreBums, a new OpenTok partner, is working to bridge the gap between real-world fundraising and the convenience of online efforts.
Built by NetEngine for The Employment Office, SoreBums is aiming to raise $20,000 for Diabetes Queensland. They’ve setup a stationary bike in their office that is being ridden continuously until their goal is met. Riders are streamed via a live webcam as they complete a 2,000km relay, taking turns at cycling 30-minute legs for 8 hours every weekday for 2 weeks. All of their blood, sweat and tears are captured via live OpenTok video streams.
No, I’m not talking about the Rocky theme song here – I’m actually referring to the mascot at Princeton University, but now that you already have it playing in your head…
At TokBox we’ve travelled to dozens of Startup Weekend events but there was definitely a different type of hunger at Princeton Startup Weekend. Not many of these events get the chance to be hosted on a prominent university’s campus, with the leagues of inspired and creative students anxiously awaiting their opportunity to make a dent on the universe. It made the weekend exciting and fruitful for some of the future entrepreneurs that we met. I’d like to highlight some of my favorites here.
In the past six months, group listening services have become hot destinations on the web. A common thread runs through all of them: listening with your friends is more fun than listening alone.
Avatars and text chat are the standard form of interaction within these apps. What you might be missing is the live experience of enjoying music with friends: bobbing heads to the beat, busting out dance moves and belting out lyrics.
Meet Rolling.FM. Rolling.FM realized that when you’re listening to music with friends, you should be able to recreate the live experience. Now, in all of their rooftop listening rooms, you can do just that with Rolling.FM’s integration of OpenTok. What Rolling.FM has done really well is incorporate live video in a way that augments the experience, but doesn’t distract from the reason the service exists – to listen to music.
Today we’re launching our newest editorial venture, “App of the Week”. One kick-ass OpenTok powered app will be selected by the TokBox team each week to receive a little extra TLC . We’re excited to launch this effort with our inaugural AOTW, buzzumi!
Buzzumi enables anyone to create customized web-based video rooms for up to six people or webinars with up to 100 people. Signing up for an account is free, but buzzumi also offers their users a way to make money through an incredibly simple PayPal integration.
Update: March 13, 2014 – Please note that this blog post references the archiving functionality in our OpenTok 1.0 platform. This feature is no longer being supported. Learn more about archiving using our OpenTok 2.0 platform.
A few weeks ago we were very excited to release our archiving feature to a wider audience. Now a video conversation is no longer a fleeting moment in time, but something that can be recorded and played back.
What we noticed however was that people wanted a bit more then just having the ability to record and play back archives. Our partners want to take ownership of the individual videos, to modify them, and to more easily share them with family, friends and their own end-users.
What to do?
Man, these hackers in Hollywood sure know a good API when they see one (*cough*, OpenTok, *cough*). I’m kidding, but I am genuinely thrilled about the uptake of OpenTok at this weekend’s Hollywood Hack Day.
I arrived Saturday Morning at Ashton Kutcher’s office in West Hollywood for day one of the hackathon. I was pleased to see that there were lots of developers and chocolate chip muffins. I spent the first couple hours getting acquainted with both.
I had come to the event thinking I was going to hack on a jeopardy game. Janine Yoong, who was attending Music Hack Day in Boston, was conspiring with me to build a jeopardy game that would mash up APIs from both events, and that way we could submit the same app for two different hackathons, and win all sorts of prizes. It was a genius evil plot.
Presenters at Thinc Iowa 2011
Returning home to the midwest after spending a few years in the cultural bubble of San Francisco is a strange experience. As John Travolta’s character says in Pulp Fiction regarding Europe: “It’s the little differences. I mean, they got the same shit over there that we got here, but it’s just… there it’s just a little different.” You’re confronted with of all the superficial differences in dress, decor and culture, and you start to remember that in Iowa it isn’t about wearing expensive clothes, or having a hip club to check out every night. It’s about sincerity, genuine friendliness, working hard, and desire to help other people. “And that,” I imagine the people presenting at Thinc Iowa would probably say, “is exactly the point.”
If I had a nickel every time someone pitched me an app idea, I might have enough to buy an Amazon Kindle Fire.
Unfortunately for me, nobody has given me a nickel. But you, however, are in luck.
We’re running a contest to find the best idea for an application that uses the OpenTok API, and were giving away a spankin’ new Amazon Kindle Fire.