Instagram Adds Maps, Another Reason for Small Business Owners to Pay Attention

instagram maps screenshotDo you use Instagram? The photosharing app has gotten huge in the last year, and now boasts 80,000,000 users. To put it in perspective, that’s almost ten times the entire population of NYC. Plus, it was acquired by Facebook for – no joke – a billion dollars. That gives the service access to the money and resources of one of the top tech companies in the world. Long story short, Instagram isn’t going anywhere, and it’s a force to be reckoned with.

The first big new feature announcement since the acquisition was rolled out yesterday. It’s called photo maps, and it’s essentially geolocation. Your photos are displayed on a map based on where they were taken, with the streamlined and simple design we’ve come to expect from the service.  Previously the only way to experience Instagram photo was as a timeline, moving backward or forward through the past. The new map feature is much more immersive, and helps conjure that feeling of “being there” even better, which is exactly what we want from our photos in the first place.

We hear a lot these days about how brands should be engaged in storytelling, and Instagram is a great place to start. Small businesses can use the new mapping feature to be engaged with their customers and consumers throughout where they live, not just where they do business. It’s easy to imagine a small business taking photos where they source supplies, with partners in the community, or at drop-off point for deliveries to bring that business to life, so to speak. And what if a small business found a way to encourage folks to tag photos from their location? It’d be a great way to get a business name our to the networks of those users. Think of Instagram’s new map feature as another way for customers to find you – with the built-in trust bonus of a referral from their network.

Have an Instagram marketing idea? Let us know in the comments. And check out these examples of brands using Instagram to help get the word out.

Microsoft Office on the iPad & Android Tablet

Tablets have revolutionized our leisure computing. We can browse the web on our laps while we watch TV. Food magazines become full-color digital spreads right in our kitchens. And the email, of course. There’s always more email. But tablets haven’t been great work devices, not least because there’s no Microsoft Office on the iPad.

Now tablets have taken another step toward being all-around machines that can handle work too, thanks to CloudOn. Available on both the iPad and Android devices, CloudOn brings you the full Microsoft Office Suite using you guessed it, the power of the cloud. That means Powerpoint on the plane or tracking Word changes wherever.

Since it’s in the cloud, CloudOn links to both DropBox and Google Drive to make it easy to access, write and save files. Plus CloudOn automatically saves as you work, just in case.

We don’t advocate working on vacation, but if you’re planning to get away and worried something may come up, this could be the perfect strategy for coping without having to bring your fully decked-out work computer.

Union Square Ventures’ Fred Wilson and Etsy’s Chad Dickerson on Company Culture & Hiring

Fred Wilson is one of the most important Venture Capitalists investing in new technology startups and small businesses today. He’s been around for a long time, has seen a couple of booms (and busts) and has advised companies big and small on how to grow and succeed.

Fred’s kind enough to share his wisdom on his must-read blog,, and even  goes so far as to ask other tech-industry superstars to contribute their industry expertise. We especially love Fred’s series “MBA Mondays,” where he provides thoughtful expert commentary on a very specific business issue, from how to analyze financial statements to how to finance your startup.

Fred Wilson
Fred Wilson, Venture Capitalist & Principal at Union Square Ventures

You can see all of Fred’s MBA Monday posts here, and even download each post for your Kindle or as a pdf for further consideration. We can’t recommend them enough.

We were especially moved to share by today’s guest post from Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson. It’s a refreshing look at how to recruit for an organization regardless of size. He writes about communicating the spirit of an organization’s values,  especially when it comes to recruiting, but also about how an organization’s culture motivates employees. His conclusion?

“When it comes to recruiting and culture, a leader is mostly responsible for tending to the spirit of the organization, and for making whatever adjustments need to be made to keep that spirit strong and powerful. In the end, that spirit matters more than anything.”

Definitely interesting food for thought. Read Chad’s entire post over at

How-To: Organize Online Shopping Receipts

Keeping track of business-related expenses is a must. And if you’re doing most of your office supply and equipment ordering online, it makes sense to use Slice to keep track of all your receipts digitally.  No more sifting through paper receipts and invoices come tax time!
slice app for tracking receipts

Slice is simple: give the application permission to see your email, and Slice will archive all your purchase records from major online retailers like Apple, Amazon, and eBay. You can add up to five email accounts to your single Slice account, so it’s perfect for small business and remote collaborators.

The app (available for both iPhone and Android) makes your purchase history easily accessible anytime, but can also deliver push notifications about deliveries en route regardless of the shipping carrier. And the UI is far superior to the mobile offerings of certain other shippers who shall remain nameless, since we’d really like to keep getting our Amazon purchases in a timely manner.

Slice is currently in beta. More info and signup at

Coursera: Free Business Advice from the Best

CourseraOnline education is key to the future of American universities. In fact just recently University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan was fired in part over what the school Board of Trustees perceived as a failure to move the school’s online learning programs forward quickly enough. She’s since been rehired, but there’s no denying that the web will revolutionize the way we learn in the years to come.

One online education startup called Coursera is already working to bring University-level education to your laptop, tablet and mobile phone. They’ve partnered with leading univerisities like Caltech, Stanford, Princeton and more to bring real-time classes on a variety of subjects, like computer science, math, economics, and statistics.

Small business owners and employees should especially check out their business and management classes. Introduction to Finance (from the Univeristy of Michigan) begins Monday, and Introduction to Operations Management (from the University of Pennsylvania) begins in September.

Courses are free and can be taken while wearing pajamas. What’s not to like?

PODCAST: Combine Siri with @Evernote and Max Out Your iPhone’s Capabilities

On today’s episode of the Small Biz Go Mobile podcast for AT&T, I teach you how to combine Apple’s digital assistant Siri with one of my favorite mobile apps, Evernote. I’m a serious Evernote user, but sometimes I don’t want to have to type out what I’m thinking, I just want to dictate it! So what I do is use Siri to take down my thoughts and automatically email them to my Evernote email address. Want to know how to set this up for yourself? Head on over to AT&T’s Small Business site and listen to my lastest podcast.

PODCAST: 2012 Small Biz Predictions

In the latest entry to my Small Biz Go Mobile podcast for AT&T, I make a few tech predictions for 2012 in small business. My #1 is that we’re going to see a ton more about the cloud. While I don’t like the term, cloud and data storage are taking over. Want to hear my full thoughts and predictions? You can listen to this podcast over on AT&T’s Small Business site.

Intuit Adds Mobile Payments Service GoPayment to QuickBooks POS

The mobile payments battle is getting pretty serious now that Intuit’s GoPayment mobile payments service has now been integrated with QuickBooks POS (Point of Sale).

What this means is QuickBooks users who currently use GoPayment readers attached to their smartphones, can now take payments at the register. Those payments will go directly to QuickBooks which will integrate with the businesses inventory, transaction history, and analytics data. In other words, you won’t need to utilize multiple financial services/merchant accounts for mobile and traditional payments if you’re already using QuickBooks.  Read More

JOBS Act Brings Open Source Investing to Startups: Crowdfunding Lets Anyone Own a Piece of a Business – But Does It Really Level the Playing Field?

David Egger is Lead Marketing Manager for AT&T’s IRU (Individual Responsibility User) Mobility Programs. You can find more blog content from David and other experts on emerging technologies and mobile application on the AT&T Networking Exchange Blog. AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.


We’ve all heard the stories of the brilliant tip from a bank or investor – the one that made millions. We can’t imagine ourselves ever missing out on what was so clearly a no-brainer opportunity to make more money than we’d ever imagined.  But would we really have bet the farm on that opportunity?  Hindsight is 20/20, and investors see hundreds of business ideas every week. The decision to move on an investment is often made as much on the people doing the presenting as it is on the business plan.

Thanks to a few websites — and a new law — all of us, not just the ‘accredited’ investors will be able to play venture capitalist in the near future thanks to the JOBS act, recently signed into law.  The crowdfunding portion of this bill will allow companies to solicit investors from a pool of millions without filing all the required paperwork they currently must file to register new investors. Read More

Comparing Mobile Payment Technologies: PayPal? Square? Verifone? A look at all three

As you may know, the market for allowing individuals and small businesses to accept credit card payment through mobile devices is really blowing up.  In fact, just this morning I saw a television commercial for Square’s mobile payment service. PayPal is even getting into the game with their ‘PayPal Here’ solution.

We’ve talked about Square a lot here, as well as Venmo and other ways for folks to pay (and get paid) on the go.  I’m excited about these technologies, because they empower individuals and small businesses through lowering their bar for credit card integration.  Now that the powerhouse of digital payments, PayPal, has entered the space, we can be pretty sure that this type of technology is here to stay. So, the only thing left to do is to compare them and see which fits best for you and your business.

So, how do these different providers stack up? Read More