Patent Pending...

 OUR OFFICIAL PAPERWORK FROM THE USPTO!

OUR OFFICIAL PAPERWORK FROM THE USPTO!

Some believe patents protect functionality.  Others believe that they stifle innovation.  Any time a patent is enforced, there are winners and losers, whether it's the emerging start-up competing against industry giants for a foothold of the market, or established companies attempting to machete through the patent thicket. 

 

That's why, in 2015, a little over a year after I left Tesla, when Elon Musk proclaimed "Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology", it got everyone's attention.  He later doubled down on the statement that anyone can "just go ahead and use them", which seemed to fly in the face of the legal clause "in good faith".  But even Elon understands that one size does not fit all.  Solar City files patents, but they are not open.  SpaceX has very few patents in an effort to protect the technology from getting into the hands of it's biggest competitor, China.

 

The past few weeks, I have thought a lot about the place Enemy Tree, LLC sits.  We aren't Tesla trying to encourage the largest car companies in the world to get onboard with the electric car movement.  We also aren't SpaceX trying to stop any threats of competition in their tracks.  While I hope someday to be in a position to make such choices, these are still a ways off. 

 

Instead, Enemy Tree, LLC is closer to Solar City.  We have a great idea, but there are some other products that are similar.  The market is large enough that we believe our product can compete, but in the meantime, there is no harm taking the extra step to file a patent or two.  Which is why, a few weeks ago, I went to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Denver to file a provisional patent on one of our unique pieces of technology, in preparation for our latest development project.

 

Believe the hype; patents are everything the kids are talking about.  They are a lot of paperwork.  They are many hours of thinking through every application of your product, and then, painstakingly committing that those descriptions to paper with diagrams.  And once every "t" has been crossed and every "i" has been dotted, they are full of an immeasurable feeling of satisfaction at having completed the process and knowing, at least, for now that what has been created remains yours.

 

And yet, outside of what I need to do to protect the interests of my fledging start-up, and our yet to be announced new product, I remain conflicted about the value of patents.  How do you feel about patents?  What is the tipping point that allows a start-up to open patents or stop patenting all together?  

See the original post on the Enemy Tree, LLC™ website here: http://www.enemytree.com/news/2017/4/17/patent-pending 

Microblogging Project on Kickstarter & The Importance of Owning Your Content

 Image Credit: Manton Reece & the Indie Microblogging project

Image Credit: Manton Reece & the Indie Microblogging project

Over the weekend I supported a Kickstarter project called "Indie Microblogging: owning your short-form writing". I heard about the project from a well known proponent of owning your content, developer Marco Arment. Marco has created one of the most well known podcasting apps, Overcast, along with being a part of creating a string of other hits over the years. His dedication to people owning their content is one of the big reasons he created Overcast, so that podcasts would't get consumed behind walls and so that people would lose control over their creations. It is then an obvious connection to his writing a blog about, and supporting, the Indie Microblogging project on Kickstarter. 

This idea of owning the content you create is one that is also very important to me. It is one of the core reason I created Mosaiscope™. And, the foundation of that is the core technology of RSS. See, the technology of RSS (Real Simple Syndication), was created so that the very large and open web could easily be brought together by allowing people to easily subscribe to websites and blogs with the click of a button. It is this same technology of RSS that is how podcasts work.

See, the way podcasts work is that through your podcast app, like Overcast (or Apple's Podcast app, or any others out there) you are actually subscribing to the RSS feed of the podcast. This layer of tech is hidden, but it is how it all works, and it keeps the content in the hands of the creators. This is the same for subscribing to websites and blogs through Mosaiscope™. You go to the Mosaiscope™ Store, find what you want to subscribe to, hit the "+" button and your subscribed (you can get a bit more technical and paste an RSS URL in the Mosaiscope™ search if we don't have the RSS feed you want to subscribe to, but I'll digress on that topic for now). 

In the end, the use of RSS allows the creators to keep control and ownership of their content on their websites. But, unfortunately, this is not where the majority of content seems to be available today. The majority of content is starting to concentrate with a few large companies behind closed-wall-systems (like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google...). And, it's the convenience of these services that have made it this way. I mean, do any of us want to do more than we have to to find good content. Probably not, but that means many content producers have lost control/ownership of their content. 

This is why I supported the Indie Microblogging project, put together by Manton Reece, on Kickstarter. It is basically a Twitter-like product that allows you to create small snippets of content (microblogs) to be easily shared throughout the web, except you maintain ownership of it. And, just as good is that, it is based on RSS, which means that you can use Mosaiscope™, or any other RSS aggregator or reader you want, to easily keep up with what anyone who is microblogging is talking about. 

The service he is creating, called Micro.blog, will also allow you to cross-post to Twitter (since they are huge this will be important for creating traction), and will have all kinds of additional benefits. 

It's a small and simple addition to the endless sea of ways we can all create and share content, but it is significant enough to be supported, talked about, and used. It's another way we can start to take back control of our online content. In the end, it is your content and seems like a pretty good idea to maintain ownership of. 

As of this writing there are only 5 days left on the "Indie Microblogging: owning your short-form writing" Kickstarter project so head over there now and help a brother, and yourself, out!

What Start-Up Purges User Accounts in the Early Days? One That Gives a F**K

I started a Yahoo email account in the 1990's.  It soldiered on through the early 2000's until I got my .mac account.  Next thing I knew, I was chatting up a storm in Apple mail.  

What happened to my Yahoo email account?  Well, I didn't bother to disable it or erase it.  I moved on with my life, as though it never existed.  But therein, lies my mistake.  I left it, and all of it's contents waiting for hackers, who would eventually find it and scour it's content.  I, like everyone else that was hacked, would find out many months later that my old Yahoo email account had been hacked.  This left me feeling... well... gross.  It didn't matter that it may have been years since I used the account.  Someone wanted to get in my account and use my information for their personal gain.  I had been robbed.

I started to think about what this meant to me, as a business owner.  I request some data to sign-up for an account.  I store that data.  If people stop signing-in, I continue to store that data.  Most of the time, people do not purge their accounts.  They abandon them.  There's even entire articles about how people can "properly" abandon an account.  

I didn't want Mosaiscope™, an RSS reader and news aggregator, to be a product that didn't take adequate steps to protect users, even former users of the product. I am grateful any time someone downloads our free app, and wants to try the product of my blood, sweat and tears to find their news, but if they determine for whatever reason Mosaiscope™ isn't quite it, I still want to do right by the customer.  I don't want to keep storing their personal data.

So, several weeks ago, we dug through the data. We found a handful of users who had not signed back into their Mosaiscope™ accounts since signing up for their account initially. On top of that, they had no content in their accounts (no Topics and no Sources). These were the people!
 
We took that group of customers and started a campaign to contact them to see if there was anything we could do to help them get content into their accounts and hopefully enjoy Mosaiscope™. We also wanted to solicit their feedback to understand why there had been a drop-off in activity, as well as let them know of all the updates and new features that had been added since they last signed in.  Finally, we let them know that if they didn’t sign back into their accounts within 2 weeks we were going to delete their accounts.
 
Fast forward to last week, now three weeks after sending the message, and wouldn’t you know it--a bunch of customers had signed back into their accounts and added content.  Of course, there was also a group that didn't sign-in, but that was a sign. With a little bit of hesitation, we hit the delete button on their accounts. All their information gone. 
 
Not the normal activity for a startup, but one that felt like the right thing to do.  Outside of keeping the data clean, it also makes reporting more accurate.  When I talk about how many users we have for the product, I know I am reporting out engaged users.  On that rare occasion that I need to contact our users, I know that I am contacting people, who are using the app.  We aren't about being annoying, and hopefully, this is a good thing that serves our customers and our product.  

If you have a start-up, have you ever considered deleting users?  What made you move forward or hold back?   

Let us know what you think, and hopefully you will agree that, although not the normal thing for a startup to do, hopefully it's the right thing for a startup to do.

MOSAISCOPE'S BRO-MERCIAL IS HERE!!!

That's right. The Mosaiscope™ video / commercial, aptly named the "Bro-Mercial" is finally here.

Enjoy the video and download the Mosaiscope™ app for iOS at: https://appsto.re/us/ANJW-.i

THE VIDEO:

It's a fun jaunt with some bro's bro-ing down, only to take a side-step into deep cultural and intellectual conversation, thanks to the Mosaiscope™ RSS news reader app.

A huge thanks to Andrew Burke. He is not only featured in the video but did all the video recording and editing and I can't thank him enough for the assistance.

Another huge thanks to Stars Hide Fire & my friend Adam Kamber for the use of their song "Still Breathing". It gave the video the exact the excitement it needed.

Finally, I'd like to thank Woodward Camp, life-long friends and purveyors of fine, fine stickers, as the helmets attest.

Additional Notes:

We rented the mountain bike from REEB Cycles. Great customer service, awesome bike people!

We decided to have lunch at CYCLHOPS Bike CANtina the day of the shoot. Not only was the food amazing, but it was the perfect atmosphere to get our creative flow going.

The "Bro-mercial" was shot entirely at Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, Colorado. It is one of the most amazing parks ever and we are very lucky it is just down the road from us here in Longmont, Colorado. 

Thanks again, please share the video far and wide, please download the Mosaiscope™ app for iOS (or, use the web-app online), and tell your friends and family about the app. It all really helps and is much appreciated.

Sincerely, 

The Mosaiscope™ Team

A Podcasting Anniversary, Milestones, and The Podcasting Road Ahead

A Podcasting Anniversary, Milestones, and The Podcasting Road Ahead

Mac OS Ken Day Anniversary!

Just over a week ago, on Tuesday, January 26th, marked a very special day in podcasting history. My favorite podcast, Mac OS Ken, had its 10 year anniversary. For those unfamiliar with the show, it is a podcast on 5 days a week, lasts around 15 minutes, and goes over the major, and some minor, happenings related to Apple Inc....

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Press Release: Native iOS App Available, & Our First Month

 Mosaiscope in the App Store!

Mosaiscope in the App Store!

Greetings Mosaiscope Fans!

Just when we all figured out how to spell the name of Enemy Tree, LLC’s first product, the free iOS app for iPhone and iPad landed in the iTunes App Store!  Yes, the wait is over.  You can now begin downloading.  GO!

Since our official launch on November 3rd with our responsive web-app, we continue to move forward. Depending mostly on word of mouth to share more about the product, here are a few of the statistics of how things have been going over our first month:

  • Over 450% growth in our user base of the web-app
  • Our first official advertiser has come on board
  • Over 2 million articles have been linked

Whether you are new to our product or have been using it for the past month, we want to continue to be responsive to what our audience wants. With this in mind, the next 6 months are focused on honing in on our Plus subscription service. We plan to go beyond Email Subscribe (which allows you to treat emails like articles), and add Pinpoint Bookmarking (allowing you to bookmark in an article down to the word or even letter to know where you left off). In addition, we are going to begin the process of breaking down barriers to gaining access to additional content (getting beyond pay walls, but not leaving writers holding the bag!).  

Looking forward to sharing our latest and greatest with you, as it develops. In the meantime, why are you still reading this?  

Go download the app from the app store HERE.

Like us on Facebook (Mosaiscope on Facebook & Enemy Tree on Facebook).

And follow us on Twitter (@Mosaiscope & @EnemyTree)

Until soon, and thank you so much for your support!

JOhn Rokos

Founder, CEO, & Product Architect 

www.enemytree.com

www.mosaiscope.com