Max Bulger

PM, Wildcard. Previously, eBay mobile platform, cognitive & brain science at Tufts University and a handful of other startups.

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On Display: Mobile

Ads, CTR, and the product-service line

tl;dr To have a successful display advertising business in the mobile era, the user has to view your product as an integral service.

Display advertising: the elephant in the room for most proponents of consumer software. These wonderful services, platforms and sharing tools are largely powered by a technological evolution of the billboards that line our highways. The billboard on the 101-N just south of San Fransisco doesn’t know I already have a Moto X in the car with me, whereas the Facebook ad knows my name and who my friends are. The Foursquare ad knows where I’ve been (and, increasingly, where I’m going next). The Twitter ad knows what I’m reading, what I’m saying and who I’m communicating with. The Gmail ad knows… almost everything. Much is made of adtech, segmentation, targeting and retargeting, exchanges, bid rates, varying conversion...

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Apple Has Misunderstood Mobile

The Case for a Low Cost iPhone

The main surprise of Apple’s product announcement this fall was the lack of a low cost iPhone. Almost all analysts had predicted a low-cost unit to accompany the 5s. What Cook, Ive and Federighi delivered was a LOWER cost unit. $100 dollars lower. Not enough to significantly differentiate the product category, and definitely not enough to break into the APAC markets. Apple will sell phones in Asia, sure, but they won’t gain noticeable marketshare distributing luxury goods.

Cook presented an argument: Apple products are an experience. These are iPhones. 2004 Jobs quotes likening Apple to BMW and Mercedes Benz were surfaced. Essentially, Apple reasoned, there was no way for them to introduce a unit at a lower price-point without sacrificing the very quality of product that makes them Apple.

What. A. Cop out.

The implication is that low cost (say, $0...

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Data and design


Note: This is reposted from Medium as I migrate my tech/product writing.

User experience is important. This is platitude in 2013, but it’s worth noting design wasn’t getting its due in the same way a decade ago. It took multiple incumbents with technological head-starts being disrupted by younger companies with stronger design. The number of different professions under the “UX” umbrella has ballooned in the last 10 years.

So, what is design? Some people say everything is design (Looking at you, Tim Brown). But I think that’s a non-answer: when you frame the debate that way, solving anything becomes “designing a solution.” This is overly general to the point of being ineffective.

In the software and web world, we have two sides: experience design (focused more on user interface elements and products that the end-user directly touches/clicks)...

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