Category Archives: In English

Getting started with TenFarms

So, you got invited to the coolest social discovery platform on Earth? No? Well, get in the queue with a simple tweet but also feel free to read forward so you’ll know how to act when the lights are turned on for you.

If you have not heard what we are doing here I’d suggest you to read this introduction.

Profile without moments is like fish without bicycle and we’ll fix that easily by connecting your social profiles to TenFarms. Your Facebook account is automatically connected when you enter TenFarms for the first time but you can also add your Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, SoundCloud, GetGlue, Instagram and Picplz accounts from the Connected apps by clicking the application icons. In few seconds your content from these networks starts to show as your moments on your profile.

Profile page displays also who you are following and who is following you. We suggest you to also update the description next to your photo so the others will also know you.

We want to eliminate “spam” as users are the best filters of quality content (If curated in the right way)
– Nils Forsblom, TenFarms

Loneliness is something we can easily cure as we imagine it would be quite dull to be the only one in the planet. Using the Discover functionality you’ll see immediately what’s happening around you and who is creating all this buzz.

When you see something that interests you, click either the content on the map or the person under the map and you’ll see her profile and the most important, her Moments. See something interesting? Well, just click the Follow button and you’ll see all her future life moments almost in real time.

You can discover people and life moments from all over the world

Nice thing with map is that you can zoom it and browse any place you like on earth to discover more people to follow.

Now that you follow few or even more people you can easily see the moments they are generating by simply clicking the Feed.

Magic is in the Moments and we show those moments in the Moment Cards. Cards are simple and elegant way to visualise what is happening and via these cards you can love, comment and reshare them, even pin them to your favorite moments and share to Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Facebook.


When you fall in love with something, just reshare the love, even pin it to memories

The very special moments can be saved for easier remembering. Past and present moments can grow and adapt to new contexts.
– Nils Forsblom, TenFarms

Creating new moment from your photographs is easy as a-b-c as we have created Post button for your pleasure. Just select your picture, write a description, select a location for it and post the new moment anywhere in the world.


As you can see, we are developing the system all the time as the flower button seen here is actually today +Post on TenFarms

 

Exploring and discovering something new is always the most exciting part so dive in and share the love! We have just scratched the surface here so there is plenty to find out.

Please remember that we are just getting started so things may and will change but we’ll keep you updated and hope that you’ll also keep us informed if you find something.

Special thanks to Taru Arnkil for these lovely pictures featuring Tiny Person. Taru, you’re a star!

Uh, I almost forgot, click this to jump towards TenFarms!

TenFarms gathers the Moments of Your Life as they Happen.

This post is also available in Finnish

I met Nils Forsblom the first time during primary school when we were in the same class in Turku, Finland. At the end of primary and secondary school we went on our own ways but twenty years later our paths crossed again via Twitter. Nowadays I am still in Turku but Nils is creating his future as an entrepreneur in California.

After founding the ecommerce company Fruugo it was time to create something new and we are now about to preview what he’s been up to.

Petals of Hibiscus flower are symbols for the different aspects of TenFarms (Applications, Location, Map markers, Unity, Community)

The reasoning behind TenFarms is quite obvious as two years ago Nils noticed that current services on the Internet didn’t offer what he needed. He has travelled a lot during his life and while on a trip he wanted to know what was happening in the places he visited, what kind of people were around and what they were doing and also wanted a way to keep up with his friends. Of course services like Foursquare and Twitter combined with user forums can help with this but gathering this information using multiple mobile applications is difficult or even impossible.

Creating another Facebook was a dead idea before it even came to mind but a new social discovery platform idea was starting to arise. TenFarms acts as a mobile application aggregator which gathers updates from favorite apps like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare, Gowalla and many others based upon your current or chosen location and gives all this information in one unified feed to the user while enabling instant communication between people in the same area. Serendipity at its best.

I had a Skype session earlier this week where Nils demonstrated TenFarms to me and one thing that instantly caught my eye was the simplicity of the stylish and beautiful user interface. For me this wasn’t that big of a surprise as one school memory about Nils was his eye for design. During the session he admitted that he almost drove designers to madness with his obsession to make every little design perfect on TenFarms. What else you can expect from a man who values user experience over everything?

User interface itself changes dynamically based on what the user is doing, for example when you’re checking your own profile you’ll see your position on map and Google Street View from your location. This is combined with your moments, e.g. your updates or comments on many different social services in one feed which gives you great overview on what you’ve been up to lately.

If you want to know who else is in the same area, you can just choose a view where TenFarms shows the people on the area directly pinned to the map. By choosing the person you can see her updates from the social applications she’s using and wants to share via TenFarms. The coolest thing is that you can start a group chat with the people in any area in the world whether they are your friends or not (as said before, serendipity at its best).

Naturally you can use the map to search or browse anywhere around the world or focus on friends in specific groups. On a basic level the open concept of a friend is the same as in Twitter or Google+ meaning you can follow anyone you like and start a conversation with them.

TenFarms runs on the latest technology with techniques used both on the front end and the back end. Systems are built on Ruby on Rails, node.js and the user interface is built on HTML5 and backbone.js which also enables seamless scaling between different mobile devices, tablets and larger displays. Native applications for Android and iPhone are coming and actually might be that the iPhone application is under development as we speak.

For the application developers TenFarms will be a treat as it will offer it’s own API which enables mostly any mobile application to be added to TenFarms’ feed if he wishes to (a developer has to follow the visual guidelines of TenFarms). This API could give a new renaissance for even the smaller applications used in specific areas as they now have the ability to broadcast for a wider audience than would be normally possible.

Nils also has another startup called Photopoll, which is developing an iPhone application that can be used for picture based crowdsourcing. Photopoll will also be a showcase for developers on how to integrate a little more complex third party mobile applications into TenFarms. TenFarms is also using the same API to continuously integrate more mobile applications so the user would have all of their applications they are normally using available on also on TenFarms.

Our long term vision is to build the most beautiful ecosystem in the world, not necessarily to be the biggest.
– Nils Forsblom, TenFarms

TenFarms will be available for first wave users in the next few weeks but before that is possible the user needs to request an invite by tweeting to TenFarms.

Links

 

Social Evolution

Text below was a guest post for Tom Laine’s excellent blog, SocialMediocracy. Please visit his blog which is full interesting stuff related Social Media and business related to it.

When Tom enquired if I’d like to come up with guest post for his well entertaining blog, I think we discussed about Business Intelligence and how put social vibe to it. Well, I was slow and Tom came up with his own text. Worth of reading even though it is not written by me.

Next topic was CRM, again with the social spices, the topic I’ve been touching at the times (only in Finnish though). I started to write on that but got bored, cut all of the written text and decided to write a little story about the perfect world.

Before the perfection, may I introduce myself? My name is Jani Lilja, 34 years old part-time entrepreneur with my social everything related company, Cliente (web pages only in Finnish, sorry). Working background consists of Business Intelligence, Service Management, CRM and software development in every role you could imagine.

The little tale of being social

In the beginning there was this local clothing store for a local people where the owner knew her customers, their families and their likings. For example Mrs. Robinson’s children loved all things shiny so the storekeeper sometimes slipped couple of free glittering hairpins to the shopping bag and Mrs. Robinson was happy as the kids were happy.

Shopkeeper always had time for her customers, seemed to remember everything and knew how to serve them. She had this little thing called CRM system, also known as paper notebook, where she stored all kinds of information and along with her calendar she remembered always to congratulate the customers on their birthdays.

Time went by and the village grew and became a town. Number of customers grew, store grew, services expanded and number of employees grew but the shopkeeper insisted on having close relationship with her customers and this was also required from the employees.  After they build couple of new stores and started to sell stuff online, owner knew they had to think of new ways to keep in touch with the customers.

As they had the online store, they had quite much customer data stored somewhere in the databases. They also had all kinds of information in their old paper book CRM system and had quite a lot feedback from the customers via email and on paper notes from the shops. Valuable information around places but no centralized way to examine and use it.

To get this information in to use, they decided to get proper CRM application and integrated it to their online store and invoicing systems. Later on they also had information from their customer loyalty program and started to have a good view on the value and behavioral patterns of the customer by implementing reporting functions to the system. But even though they knew the value of the customer, they didn’t know what the customer expected from them, what they were talking about them.

And so the social media came to the picture. Owner was curious but didn’t want to rush in to anything so they decided to find out whether people were talking about them or their products. Agency was hired and after a month the agency came back with the some suggestions how to proceed. They already knew who their customers were and now they also know where customers were doing their talking so they started to follow those forums and eventually also to discuss. Discussions were held about their products, their services, potential products and services, customers’ opinions about the world, basically all kind of thing you can discuss or crowdsource.  After getting positive results they expanded their repertoire and communicated with the customers using popular tools like Twitter and Facebook. During the process they also happened to discuss with Mrs. Robinson’s daughter who still remembered those hairpins.

Discussions happened outside of their systems so they decided to socialize their CRM systems. As the result they managed to do most of the customer communication using their CRM system which was on integrated to the social channels.  Tricky part was to get every employee to understand the importance of being social but as part of the decision to coach their employees to understand the new era of communication they decided implement kind of Facebook like intranet which brought working with the new social ways closer to all employees.

Not only they gain kind of full view on their customers but managed also to bring internal communication to the new level and the employees got their voices heard. Employees got the channel where they could internally discuss their products, what kind of customers they’ve been in touch with and what they could do to improve their offerings.

On technical level this is all achievable. You can access your customer information anywhere, analyze it to the bits and communicate with your customers, vendors and employees when ever needed and where ever needed. Outside the machines lies the problem, warns Yoda.

You can do the same but hear me first

They needed to move forward with the world and growing customer masses so they started doing CRM, they used discussion forums and other social channels, added Social CRM to their CRM process, expanded it with Business Intelligence and even managed to socialize their internal way of working. It’s like doing Social Business, eh?

In ideal world everything and everyone goes social like in the previous story but in real life this might be little bit more complicated as you have people who are used to have a phone call when contacting other people and socializing with the friends means having a dinner or night out somewhere nice. Email has been The Channel via internet. All of sudden they are forced to tweet, try to determine the meaning of YouTube video and get insulted by total stranger without face.

From the business point of view the biggest challenges are not the technical ones as it has been already shown that everything can be integrated with anything. You can integrate your systems to social channels and get the all information written on the internet but how to get your people involved and understand all of this?

What is there to understand? What has happened is that almost everyone is now connected to each other via machines.  One has a laptop, other has a iPad or any other mobile device which is connected to the internet and social networks all the time. Business itself is not changing that much as someone is selling and other one is buying but the communication is, the way we are communicating with each other and with the ecosystem we are living in. Basically you could argue that we’ve been social forever as we’ve been talking with people face to face but now the concept of social is moving to open discussions where one or many can participate in conversations, get opinions and express themselves. This is the reality especially with the younger generations who have iPad for the 1st birthday and cell phone for the second. Nowadays people go to Facebook instead of using it (think about the difference).

How to move forward then? Starting inside is always a good way to start. Get your people involved on internal matters, give them platform to express themselves, urge them to do that, reward them for being open and innovative. Show your own employees that their opinions are heard and respected by those above them, show them than you are responding to negatives with something other than the sound of silence. If you can show internally the power of the customer’s voice, you are one big step closer on moving your company to more open and more social, may I even say more customer-orientated territory?

All this may mean rethinking of some processes, making them more outside-in where the process is designed to serve the customer instead of the people involved inside the company.  This might also mean new marketing and pr strategies. Heck, this might mean even more business when customers see that their opinions are valued and they have possibility to create more value by partnering the company.

Whatever is your approach, starting inside the company or outside, move forward by taking baby steps. Do not try take on every social service, choose one or two and concentrate on those, and when the understanding is there, expand if needed. If the existing infrastructure supports integrations to the social layers, why not to implement these to support the process but might be wise to first concentrate on getting used with whole concept before starting huge system projects.

As we have witnessed, everything is social, the present and the future, even the past. Now it’s up to us to surf on the same wave as our customers.