BuyReply text-to-buy

A couple of weeks ago we announced our text-to-buy feature. I believe text-to-buy is our most powerful feature yet as it allows anyone to buy anything from any medium without requiring an app download. Every single mobile phone has text messaging so when you use BuyReply text-to-buy, your addressable market is 100% of mobile phone users.

Our split tests between ‘app based’ call-to-actions such as QR codes and BuyReply call-to-actions that require an email or text has seen 25 x higher engagement using our ‘no app’ technology.

Text-to-buy is most powerful when used on TV, however it is also very effective print (newspapers, catalogues and magazines), outdoor advertising and wherever else you might want to sell within your ads.

Click over to the BuyReply blog to read more about text-to-buy!


A good friend of mine @hiltmon has recently launched a new app called TimeToCall. If you are anything like me, working out time differences when making international calls is a struggle.

World clocks sometimes help but if its 4pm and you want to know what the time will be in New York when it’s 9am the next day, you need to do some thinking.

This is where TimeToCall comes in. You enter the location you are calling from then add destination locations. You can then use the slider to change the time to the time of your call and the clocks below update automatically to the correct time.

Here is a screenshot:

It’s a simple solution to a common problem and often those are the best ideas, and it’s just 99c on the App Store.

Best of all, Hilton has documented his journey of creating TimeToCall. It’s recommended reading for anyone thinking of making an app. There are 10 parts to it and this post contains links to all of them.

So if you frequently need to calculate times for overseas calls, go ahead and download TimeToCall.

Well done Hiltmon!

Technical Luck

When building products for the Internet, no-one builds ‘everything’ from scratch. Web services are almost always a mashup of existing technologies and third party services that come together to form a product. Entrepreneurs use API’s, SDK’s and hardware from a range of vendors to create their products. This might be as simple as using an existing open source software stack to launch a WordPress blog, hosted by Go Daddy. The end goal for the user is to create a blog, but they don’t want to be concerned with developing a platform to do this, or configuring servers. They just want to be able to write and publish their thoughts.

I often think about start-ups and the timing of their success with regard to the technical capabilities the preceded their services and whether or not their business could have existed 6, 12, or 24 months ago. The ability to leverage an existing technology and build something valuable on top of this, is what I refer to as ‘Technical Luck’.

A good example of this is Square. Square is a payments platform that is currently valued at $4bn. What would have happend if Apple did not allow for the headphone socket on the iPhone to work as a microphone? If this was the case, Square would not exist because they could not process payments via the Square card reader that plugs into this port. This tiny feature enabled Square to build a $4bn business.

Another example is Instagram. If Amazon Web Services did not exist, Instagram would never have been able to scale to meet demand with just 3 or 4 staff. It could have been a disaster.

There are services out there that let you leverage incredibly powerful and scalable features that make it possible for Entrepreneurs to move swiftly.

These examples of ‘technical luck’ make breakthrough products and services possible simply because of a some pre-existing features or services that can be leveraged in a few lines of code.