This week, The Fetch London’s Community Ambassador, Alexandra Leslie spoke with Lauren Maffeo, Product Manager at AppBeat, a weekly web series designed to keep people up to date with the mobile industry. She spoke about how AppBeat is keeping up with the ever-changing world of technology, what to expect next and her favourite ways to stay connected with the world.
So let’s get to know each other! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Sure! My name is Lauren Maffeo, and I work as a contributor to the blog The Next Web as well as Product Manager for AppBeat. AppBeat is a weekly web series that interviews c-level executives on mobile innovation as part of a larger discussion on the role of mobile in London. I establish and oversee media partnerships, content creation/distribution of our blog, newsletter and video interviews, guest bookings, topic research and more. It’s a job that spans marketing, PR, journalism and business development; I’m learning a lot in a very short time!
How did you come to be involved with AppBeat?
I didn’t find AppBeat-it found me. I had just submitted my dissertation for my MSc at The London School of Economics in September of 2012 and was fulfilling a one-month contract as a community management assistant at Enternships, Rajeeb Dey’s startup that connects aspiring entrepreneurs with roles in small businesses. One of my bosses, Alethea Lindsay, contacted Enternships asking to place an ad for someone to oversee AppBeat (which had always been a side project) full-time, and Dave, Enternships’ sales director, said, “We have someone here who’d be perfect for that.” I submitted my CV, met Alethea for coffee in Notting Hill, and the rest is history!
What sorts of things do you feature in your newsletter?
We’re in the midst of a major expansion/re-branding process for AppBeat that has involved conversations about how we should engage with and build our audience. AppBeat’s interviews are relevant to any mobile market, but we’re aiming to keep our newsletter London-centred. That means we begin each newsletter with a curation of mobile news and upcoming events that those in the London mobile scene should be reading/attending. Then, alongside each new episode, we also offer original blog content on topics ranging from London mobile retail to how consumer loyalty will drive mobile wallets.
We’re starting to host more guest blogs from previous guests as well as those within the London mobile scene—Steve Rothwell, CEO of Eagle Eye Solutions, has written a three part blog series for us on his industry predictions for 2013, and we have much more exciting content in the works. I also wrote my first industry guest blog recently, which was exciting!
AppBeat is a 90 second weekly video series. How do you keep viewers engaged with such a short amount of time?
AppBeat was created to be a peer-to-peer conversation about the evolving role of mobile at large, the idea being that viewers get bullet points about specific topics in the time it takes to make a cup of coffee. These topics have ranged from BYOD and apps as mobile strategy (FYI: they’re not) to companion apps and augmented reality.
What’s most exciting at AppBeat is seeing these industry predictions come to life months later. Adam Levene, CSO of Grapple Mobile, predicted early last year that the new BlackBerry operating system would make waves, and companion apps played a huge role in this year’s SuperBowl months after David Pinke, head of mobile product development and strategy at Condé Nast, explained them to us. Mobile will revolutionise our world in years to come, and speaking with leaders at its forefront is a great privilege.
With the rising numbers of people worldwide who have mobiles, is the constantly changing world of technology hard to keep up with?
It can be—there’s an endless amount being written about mobile across the globe, from China leading the smartphone market to the evolution of African telecomm. It’s an exciting space to be in, but that’s also why we aim to keep AppBeat’s newsletter focused on the London mobile market. As one of the world’s premier business hubs, there are so many global companies here, and there’s more than enough news/innovation to cover, especially with Tech City, Digi Greenwich, etc. My goal is to build an audience that appreciates how London is innovating the global mobile market, from enterprise to corporate.
What’s next in the world of technology, according to AppBeat?
There’s a lot of speculation about mobile payments, specifically the potential for them to be conducted solely on mobile without need for a credit card. We’ll be in Barcelona the week of 25 Feb., covering Heroes of the Mobile Fringe, which is happening alongside Mobile World Congress, and the big theme I’m hearing in advance is that there will be discussion of how companies like Visa will innovate the “mobile wallet” space.
What do you think would happen today in 2013 if it were a universal law to have a smart phone?
My hope is that people would use smart phones to stay connected. Despite covering all things mobile, I have very few apps on my Galaxy SIII. The top ones I use are Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Gmail, with Spotify, Skype and Shazam the runners up. I hope that indicates what matters to me—connecting with loved ones and discovering new music. Living as an American living abroad could potentially be isolating, yet I’m able to text friends in Vancouver and DC through WhatsApp as if we’re in the same room. And I can see my kitchen at home each week when I Skype with my parents. Your mobile is your most personal device; use it to nurture your most personal connections.
What’s your favourite technology as of this year?
I love how high fashion is using tech innovation to connect with customers, specifically amongst UK brands. Topshop’s live stream presence at London Fashion Week last year allowed 200 million iPhone users to browse colour options for items, place advance orders, etc., and for February 2013 they’ve partnered with Google_+ to ultimately “create a narrative” that’s letting customers connect, from “Be the Model” photo booths in their Oxford Street store to Google Hangouts with the design team.
And with their in-store technology taken directly from their website, Burberry does an amazing job of creating an experience for customers that uses cutting edge technology to facilitate its heritage brand. This ensures that whether in London or China, you get the “Burberry experience” that Christopher Bailey has worked so hard to create—and their showing at London Fashion Week this week reflects that. Fashion’s my guilty pleasure, so I love how brands are becoming more interactive and can’t wait to see how these ideas evolve.
Written by Alexandra Leslie, The Fetch London Community Ambassador. Video blogger for Newspepper.com and TechFluff.TV. American student in London, finding her way around the city one iPhone app at a time. Follow her on Twitter at @AlexandraLeslie.