Your Own Edition

Create digital journals with Living Junction

The problem: too much news. Not enough time. Some people do, and share it via Twitter, Facebook, etc. But it’s nowhere near the pleasure to read a magazine or a book, even on an iPad. And going through your entire Twitter timeline is painful.

The solution: a simple newspaper creation tool for anyone to build its own magazine, and share it with its followers. Aggregate content from social networks or create your own, add pictures and a bit of editing, and you’ve got a great magazine you can distribute to anyone accepting to read it (the traffic is not included…).

Who is this for?: hard to tell yet! But curating news is a big trend, and doing it in a more regular and pleasant way than a twitter feed or a Pinterest account, with also more different possibilities, should attract users. Amateurs and pros.

Visit Living Junction

Integrating medias, such as YouTube videos or your own FB pictures is really easy, Tumblr way.
It makes the creation of graphic and well designed pages much more simple!

There is too much you can do. No need to have all the possibilities a real editor offers : the font, the color, the size, for each element of the magazine…
Creating a magazine takes time, and we’d love to see templates and pre-designed pages to do it a lot faster. Sometimes, constraints are good, they enable creativity!

U.S.E.’s take on it

Self edition, or curation, are growing markets, and completely automated technologies like Flipboard or Paper.li are not fullfilling all the needs.

Individuals and pros might very well need for a tool mixing social curation and self edition. And Living Junction may be one of them, especially if they improve the possibility to integrate contents and links from social networks, maybe in a semi-automatic way. Like selecting a few links from your timeline, and sharing them in your LJ magazine.

Out final take :

  • No way this will work
  • Not betting on it, but the start is interesting
  • Need a bit fixing, but the path is clearly good
  • Where do we sign to invest ?

Our grade

7/12

First published in the newsletter #24, on July, the 12th, 2012

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Wow your Audience

Forget Powerpoint. Lead the show with Prezi

The problem: Powerpoint presentations are lethal weapons.
Not only are they boring when mis-used, but they’re increasingly painful to create. Hard to include media in it, hard to export or to embed. What was good in 1995 is not in 2012 anymore.

The solution: a cloud-based tool where you can design your whole point or argument, and zoom in on the different parts of it during your oral presentation, as it were usual slides.
And what’s the best way to hit your audience and make it remember you? A great design, with smooth effects but an astounding view. It’s all in Prezi.

 

Why we talk about it: Powerpoint presentations are increasingly common, but evenly boring for the most part. Creating a completely different tool involving new habits is probably the best way to break into the MS monopoly.

Plus, even if they already got praises and funding in the US, Prezi is European-born. With a great potential to become a worldwide reference in their field, it had to be duly noted here.

Visit Prezi

 

A recently launched iPad app lets you present your Prezi on it!
It’s an excellent way to make a big impression when you’re presenting your product or new service to a partner, a VC or your mom!

 

Starting using Prezi is a bit like learning a new language. It’s hard, painful, and you do not enjoy it until you speak good enough to sustain a small talk.
Too bad an improved presentation tool, half way between Prezi (which is great) and Powerpoint (which is efficient) does not exist yet.

Spread the Number

Make stunning infographics in a snap with Infogr.am

The context: infographics exploded on the web recently: company growth and metrics, sociological analysis, preposterous but funny figures… It spreads faster, better, and stronger, and its good for the brand and for the one who designed it.

The toolinfogr.am offers you the possibility to make your own infographic, without any design or photoshop expertise.

A few templates, in which you can include datas, pictures and words, a bit of imagination, and you have a perfect, slick and complete graphic.

Where it’s headed: the tool itself and its interface are great. And new templates (some of them probably premium) are on the way.
But you’ll never get the level of detail and cohesion with your brand that a pro designer can bring, althought it’s great for a quick but efficient presentation limited to a quite small circle.

What if infographics become out of fashion, though?

Visit Infogr.am

Interactive and animated graphics!
Unlike usual infographics, most of them static, Infogr.ams are made for sharing. Interactivity (zoom on a figure for example) and animation are great additions to infographics.

The possibilities of different types of graphics and/or integration of your owns are still very limited. Meaning you won’t beat professionnal designers at their own game. Yet…

Drop the Paperboard

A virtual whiteboard that actually works

The problem: working with a team on an idea, a new design or a strategy is, by itself, hard. But unless you’re all in the same room for a long time, it also involves lots of email (where you loose the remarks you needed to include) and/or hundreds of paper sheets (you never know what the last version is). Most of the time, it does not work.

The solution: a big whiteboard tool, where anyone can write its remarks or propose ideas and changes, that you can discuss and follow. This is exactly what Conceptboard is : a tool for teams to work on a common project, as everyone was there (but they’re not).

What it does better: the intuitive UI, the possibility to import any kind of file (well… almost any) in the board, and the easyness to comment and discuss (like a Facebook status) a specific detail. Then transform it into a todo, check if everyone agrees, makes it a very powerful tool.

Visit Conceptboard

For loyal U.S.E. readers: get a 15% discount on Conceptboard with the following code: unitedstartups

Despite there is no app, it works perfectly on your iPad.
Multi-fingers gestures, zoom in, scribbling, it’s all working in Safari. Probably some room for improvement, but very nice work.

Some features look a bit superfluous, and may slow the app.
For example, do you need a video chat integrated into your collaboration tool? Using skype, Facetime or your phone on the side makes much more sense.

Hire an assistant

Get everything you need to blog, when you blog, with Zemanta

The problem : writing a blog post is not the hard part! But exploring sources, getting the links, finding the right picture, that’s what takes most of the time of bloggers.

The solution : integrated through a browser plug-in into most famous blogging platforms (wordpress, tumblr, etc.), Zemanta brings your own sources and content ready to copy/paste into your next post. No more need for 12 open tabs, or loosing half an hour getting the source of this picture right.

It also gives you suggestions of links (related contents) and pictures, and it can create automatic links to Wikipedia or other trusted sources to improve your post.

What’s their business : It looks like Zemanta plans to offer better tools to bloggers, so that they can sollicit them for advertising or brand-related contents. Not a bad strategy, althought it requires a sales network as wide as their plugin is used.

Visit Zemanta

Connect your Instagram and Flickr accounts to Zemanta, and you’ve got your pictures right here, next to your blogging interface!
It’s a huge productivity bump for every blogger.

The sources and features are limited to Zemanta’s partners.
It’s probably the right business approach, but bloggers could ask for more, and try to find a better assisting tool.