Virgin America pivot

Virgin America CEO navigates turbulent skies

The media has had some doom and gloom stories surrounding Virgin America, Silicon Valley’s startup airline, recently. I spoke with CEO David Cush about the airline’s latest pivot and the future of the company.

PR disaster

Preparing for a PR disaster

Chances are, if you’re a reasonably successful startup, you’ll eventually face a PR disaster. How you respond can turn that disaster into a marketing opportunity, a bump in the road, or the iceberg that sinks your company.

Amazon locker

Who’s afraid of Amazon locker?

Online retail has a last-mile problem for many city dwellers: They’re often not home when the UPS or FedEx driver chooses to show up. Amazon is solving the problem with Amazon locker, automated lockers installed in dense urban areas.

Failed IPO and how to recover Eric Kuhn of Varsity Books and FoundersCard

Learning from a failed IPO

Shortly after the company’s IPO, the stock tanked. Marketing costs were threatening the very existence of the company. Wall Street had pretty much written it off.

returning the iPad mini

Why I’m returning my iPad mini

I thought the mini would fill a small niche in my tablet needs, such as controlling my TiVo or Sonos system. So I bought the low-end 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad mini. I was wrong.

Showrooming

Amazon’s advantage in holiday gift giving

Showrooming is when you visit a retail store to see a product and then use your mobile apps to check prices online and place an order. The practice is making Amazon a lot of money.

Big data will help maps get smarter

Google and Apple: The bridge is closed, but drive over it anyway

Bay Area residents discovered this weekend that the San Mateo Bridge, one of several that crosses San Francisco Bay, was closed. But if they listened to directions from Google, Apple, Microsoft,or Mapquest, they would have been advised to cross it anyway.

How Netflix, TiVo, Hulu, YouTube disrupt TV

Zen and the art of disrupting TV

Television is a tough business, and few innovators make it big. But these eight companies have defied the odds.

City Target opens in San Francisco

Tech-savvy retailer Target comes to tech-savvy San Francisco

City Target is now open at the Metreon in San Francisco. A look around last night and the shelves were already running low on milk, bread, eggs, hummus, toilet paper, and tampons. (Hey, I’m comprehensive in my market research.)

OpenTable partners with DudaMobile to give restaurants mobile sites

OpenTable is giving restaurants free mobile sites

OpenTable is partnering with Palo Alto-based DudaMobile to automatically generate mobile-friendly web sites for restaurants on the OpenTable network. The software makes key information easily accessible on mobile screens with big, touch-friendly buttons.

Google Street View of Kuleto's

A quick fix for an iOS map problem

As Apple plays catch up to Google Maps, there is one quick fix it can make: Let users make minor corrections and publish them immediately.

No incentive

A quick lesson on the value of marketing

My dentist is finally online. But her service provider, Demandforce, isn’t doing her any favors. Consider this excerpt from the email that I received.

Exploring the Amazon with Google Maps

Apple v. Google will define the fourth wave of online mapping

With all of the grumbling these days about Apple’s new maps in iOS, one would think Apple just made the biggest mistake in its history. Yes, Apple’s maps aren’t as good as Google’s. But Google’s maps weren’t as good as the maps they replaced when Google switched away from its data providers a few years ago.

AmEx Passbook

AmEx launches integration with Apple’s Passbook

American Express is launching an integration with Apple’s Passbook today. Before you get too excited, no you won’t be able to pay with AmEx using Passbook, but you’ll still have access to some cool features.

Why Gogo should raise the price on inflight WiFi

To understand Gogo’s economics challenge, you first have to know that there is limited bandwidth to each aircraft — a peak 3.1 Mbps of bandwidth to share among 100+ passengers. (For comparison, I regularly get 15Mbps-25Mbps on my home broadband, just for me.)

NFC

NFC’s ongoing user interface problem: some readers don’t work

I haven’t had a lot of kind words for NFC, the mobile payments mechanism that some have touted as the Next Big Thing in payments. I’ve knocked it for being a kludgy experience that doesn’t deliver any meaningful consumer value over swiping a credit card. But NFC has another big problem: Even when you think it might work, it doesn’t.

Obama hug spurs yelp reviews

Presidential bear hug reveals key problems with Yelp

Since the owner of Big Apple Pizza in Fort Pierce, Fla., bear hugged President Obama over the weekend, he’s seen his reviews spike. Today, he has more than 2,200 reviews. Last week, he had two.

parking payment

Mobile payments that matter: parking meters

I was having coffee with local guru Greg Sterling this afternoon at Another Cafe in San Francisco, and as we were chatting, Greg pulled out his iPhone and refilled his parking meter.

OpenTable

OpenTable’s hidden stash of restaurant reviews

Restaurant reservations service OpenTable announced today that it has collected more than 15 million reviews since it started a little less than four years ago.