Archive for December, 2009

Last post of 2009 – updates and best wishes for 2010!

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Dear all, i hope you are well! So this will clearly be our last blog update for this year which will have been a busy one for us – many things have changed (for the best) at WAYN HQ, from a new site design, enhanced functionalities, a refocus on our global strategy and increased penetration in the Tourism and Travel industry where we have gained major accounts with Tourism Boards. But 2009 will have been a year where we will have spent most of our time listening to our users, and collecting as much feedback as we possibly could. We have improved the user interface of the site and have added many functionalities enabling richer interaction within the community. Our latest addition, “Activities” is testament of that. Users can now not only plan where they want to go but also express what they are into and meet fellow WAYN members based on similar interest:

Activities

Since launched on December 4th, the rise has been spectacular, with more activities being added day by day, up to 35,000 activities being added daily as of late.

activities daily

We are going to add more functionalities to this service in the coming weeks to refine the product even further and allowing users to better see the “matches” they have with other users!

But 2009 will have also been a year of focus on our VIP Club – we have been working hard to bring more Lifestyle benefits to our VIP members by signing up key Global Partners and more are about to be announced by the end of January 2010 so watch this space! So far, VIP Members can benefit from:

  • Exclusive access to Quintessentially Membership and win the James Bond 007 experience
  • Free Global SIM Card – no more roaming fees on your phone when you travel abroad
  • Auto upgrade on Car Hires worldwide with Hertz
  • Free Lifestyle Card (worth £10) offering cheap travel money
  • Send 100 Free International SMS per month
  • See who likes you and others (New Feature)
  • Unlimited standard Gifts, Super Rates and Say Hello’s
  • Stand out from the crowd on search results
  • Browse in secret and create private forums
  • See who has read your messages
  • Customize your WAYN experience (turn off advertising and customised profile skins)

As we realise that our VIP offering needs to be increasingly more compelling, we will be adding a number of benefits to our Lifestyle and Travel VIP Club which money simply can’t buy!

We are equally pleased to see the great growing trend in registrations – with more and more accounts being created every day – there are now nearly 10,000 of you joining the community each day, from over 193 countries – WAYN keeps growing and that’s the way we like it!

New Accounts on WAYN

There is clearly plenty of exciting stuff coming up in 2010 which we will be announcing very shortly but for now, we would like to thank you for all the support you have given us throughout the year and would like to send you all our very best wishes for 2010!

Jerome, Pete, Mike

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

Greetings, after a memorable few days at Le Web!

Jerome and I were in Paris this week for what has got to be the biggest conference covering the web and social media that I have ever been to in Europe. Over 2,000 of the leading people from the digital media world, representing nearly 50 countries, turned up to mingle, be inspired and hopefully learn something new.

Le Web audience

The theme of this year’s event, which was celebrating its 5th year, was the real-time web. And as Hermione Way posited on her recent Video blog, you can’t get more real-time than Twitter! The tweet stream which was being displayed alongside the speakers for most of the conference sessions was moving so fast that you could barely read it. It’s amazing though how people will still post their tweets for their 3 seconds of fame and to foster engagement amongst their followers.

I think we can all learn a lot from what Twitter has achieved.  What on the surface looks like a really simple user interface, is in reality an powerful broadcast and engagement platform that has taken the world by storm. We were fortunate enough to hear from the inventor of Twitter, Jack Dorsey who is also acting Chairman. Jack was a great inspiration and I found the story behind what led him to invent Twitter very enlightening, as it touched on the importance of knowing where people are and what they are doing.

twitter_logo

Here at WAYN, ever since the beginning we have always believed in the potential value of real-time engagement based on your whereabouts and activities and we are busy working on a variety of capabilities that will hopefully unlock some of the value being demonstrated in this area, but more as a compliment to the way people use sites like Twitter and Facebook, rather than instead of. I look forward to announcing more on this in the New Year, but in the meantime, check out our new Activities offering, which is one of the first in many steps we are taking to broaden our appeal beyond travel.

Activities

Jack’s new invention – Square – is quite simply – ingenious! Soon, we will all be able to transact with others via our mobile devices without having to be set up as a business merchant with companies like Natwest Streamline. Instead, you will be able to get your Square adaptor and raise all the money you need from your friends, family and fools to set up your next bootstrapped venture by simply asking for their credit card ;)

square_transaction

There were many other highlights such as people like Chris Brogan reiterating why culture is so important, along with many other amazing speakers who are helping to change the world. I could go on for ages and I’d be only scraping the surface, but there is one other aspect that I really wanted to add a  special mention to, and that is the folks at Microsoft Bizspark. Microsoft can often get a bit of bad press from the early adopter community as many entrepreneurs see them as the slow moving giant that can’t compete with the cachet of Apple for example. However, when you consider the fact that Microsoft remains the world’s largest software company, that is to be expected. However, for WAYN, Microsoft represents an important enabler for our business and many people tend to forget that many of the world’s leading technology stacks rest on a Microsoft based platform, like ours does.

BizSpark_StartUp

The Microsoft BizSpark program is a fantastic example of how Microsoft are working with a number of start-ups to help them succeed. Particularly those on BizSpark One, which helps accelerate the growth of high potential start-ups like us, through nurturing a one-to-one relationship with Microsoft. The reason I am “bigging” these guys up is because they really pulled out the stops for us this year to show their support. It is thanks to them that we were bestowed the privilege of attending Le Web as they sponsored our tickets and also gave us access to our own booth, like all the other BizSpark One companies. And last but not least, and certainly most enjoyably – they helped put on the best parties at Le Web, which brought everyone together and strengthened relationships, which can be priceless. They even had the brands of their BizSpark partners flashing up on the screens in this trendy boutique that housed us for the Drink Tank after party on the closing night, which was a nice touch. For those of you who are keen to find out more about the various perks you get as a BizSpark partner and would like to take advantage of their various technology platform benefits on Micrsoft SQL and Azure cloud computing for example, you can find out more here.

48559881_le web

Peter Ward and Jerome Touze at the BizSpark One Stand at Le Web 2009

That about wraps it up for this instalment. Le Web, as Loic Le Meur said himself “has become a platform” for us tech and new media geeks from around the world to benefit from. For me it was great to see some of the familiar faces from across the internet sector. Le Web has definitely morphed from a European event to a Global one and represented one of the top 5 trending topics on Twitter, generating over 100,000 tweets. Hats off to both Geraldine and Loic, for pulling it off! They definitely learned from most of the mistakes from last year. My only one complaint?.. Why couldn’t the food be as good as the Nespresso coffee? ;)

Roll on next year…

Pete


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