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Ignite X is a recognized, integrated marketing agency in Silicon Valley that delivers content marketing, executive branding, and public relations services.  


Ignite X specializes in helping technology startups grow their market visibility and brand. We bring expertise, connections and tenacity to helping brands break through the noise. Here are some of the things we've learned along the way. 

Filtering by Category: High tech trends

As Companies Go Twitter, Landscape for Job Opps Shifts to Social Media

Carmen Hughes

Social media has become a defacto communication channel, compelling tech startups, small businesses and large companies to supplement their marketing and public relations efforts by forging ahead to discover how to harness social media to integrate it with their existing web 1.0 efforts.   

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Clouds Gathering Around Industry Standards

Carmen Hughes

Cloud computing-based initiatives are gaining adoption with startups and large enterprises that need to increase efficiencies across departments and within their data centers. While the benefits of cloud computing such as reduced infrastructure investments, increased economies of scale and accelerated time to market are highly appealing to businesses, concerns still exist around the risks of cloud computing. 

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Hyperlocal Services Surface to Address Growing Need and Market Opportunity

Carmen Hughes

An interesting trend seems to be taking root that provides a growing opportunity for aspiring tech entrepreneurs to tap. According to a March 2009 PhoCusWright report titled, "Hyperlocal Content Services," this trend relates to local content proliferating as new tech advances enable improved search, aggregation and distribution.  The concept of hyperlocal is introducing a new model in which content based on proximity, presence and context is delivered to users. Today MySpace announced a deal with CitySearch where the social network site will introduce MySpace Local, which is essential a social directory for local businesses and venues powered by CitySearch.  The power of the new offering will allow MySpace users to peruse local businesses and venues and see their friends' reviews.  Additionally, it will provide MySpace with a bonanza of new ad inventory where it can run geotargeted advertising.  It's no wonder that this deal was a wise one for MySpace to strike given that the local internet-advertising market has accounted for some of the fastest growth in Internet advertising in recent years, as small businesses take their marketing online.  Another new example of a hyperlocal website that today also unveiled a beta version of its service is from client, A Day's Outing, an online search tool for discovering short-distance day trips and weekend outings.  A Day's Outing takes the proximity of where someone is starting from to deliver a comprehensive list of outings and events personalized around their preferences.  It currently focuses on the Mid-Atlantic region and will continue to expand regionally. A Day's Outing represents a growing number of tech high tech startups popping up to introduce new services that deliver highly relevant, personalized, local information to users when they seek it.

Hyperlocal websites as well as smartphones are increasingly helping users access geolocation-based content such as information, advertising, events, and entertainment centered on a user's locaton and time.  While local information is abundantly available, getting it quickly and easily still leaves a lot to be desired and users seeking a better way.  Expect to see more innovative partnerships such as the MySpace/CitySearch deal as well as many other innovative companies such as A Day's Outing move to better address users' need for getting the right information when they want it.

Amazon Makes Smart PR Move with Crowdsourcing of Holiday Product Reviews

Carmen Hughes

Amazon issued this press release announcing its new “holiday customer review team.” The idea from Amazon is simple: appoint holiday product reviewers from its very own customers to compile lists of their favorite items in order to help other shoppers pick out that perfect gift.  The team is comprised of Amazon’s top reviewers selected for their expertise and interests based on the number and breadth of products each reviewed.  In addition to reviewing personally-selected items, Amazon’s review team were given early access to test some of the top Black Friday products for free in exchange for their reviews. 


It’s a clever idea overall; crowd-sourcing that taps customers to create user-generated content in the form of product reviews to help shoppers decide on their purchases.  Some Web 2.0 startups have done phenomenally well applying this concept, including Yelp, Digg and Wikipedia.  Consumers are increasingly comfortable researching and shopping online and having access to straightforward, unbiased product reviews helps guide their selection process.  It’s also a great PR move by Amazon to recognize their most active customers who post reviews and involve them at a deeper level within their business. Amazon is building and leveraging a grassroots program to effectively connect with and expand its online community. 


Yet Amazon still needs to be mindful that it doesn’t try to sanitize or unduly influence the reviewers for any group of products, brand or manufacturer. Candy-coated reviews won’t work for consumers who have honed their screening capabilities to spot biases or questionable reviews wherever they may be (ie: TripAdvisor). If Amazon can proactively require its reviewers to make any full disclosures this will help keep the quality of these reviews in check.  Kudos to Amazon for its crowdsourcing product reviews initiative. It’s forward-thinking as well as a smart PR move to boot.

How to get your Twitter On

Carmen Hughes

For those of you who have not tried Twitter yet, we'd highly recommend it. Twitter is a way to tap into another world literally of real-time, ongoing communication by thousands of people who are busy tweeting away. You can choose to follow real-time tweets (short written notes) from a select group of friends, interesting people, or the public at large. Just as important, you can engage in the conversation or add your own two cents-- whatever those might be. Whether it's breaking news or real-life drama unfolding, or frankly mundane everyday things affecting people ("Stuck in traffic due to major accident on 101. Traffic at a stand still.") After diving into a world of twitters and tweets, we found it to be a highly informative and an influential, dynamic communication tool. The nice thing about Twittering is that brevity rules. Your tweets are limited to just 140 characters, so keep it short and sweet. Tara Anderson of Citizen Agency and HorsePigCow blog wrote an exceptional primer titled, "Tweeting for Companies 101." It's a how to guide on the world of Twitter and tweets, highlighting many of the cool new tools one can use to become more Twitter proficient. Check it out here: We believe the practice of Twittering is going to grow like wildfire so you might as well figure out how to get your Twitter on sooner than later.

Smartphone Adoption in US blazing a trail

Carmen Hughes


Lots of stuff coming out of CTIA this week. These two items caught our attention that bode well for the growing adoption of 3G-enabled smartphones in the US. Gizmodo reports that the AT&T Mobility CEO spilled the beans related to Apple, noting to expect a 3G iPhone in months.

The second piece came on the heels of RIM announcing projected growth for its smartphones in the US is taking off like wildfire. Citigroup estimates that the smartphone market will grow 50% to 60% annually in the next few years. It also estimates that smartphones will account for 22% of the handset market next year, almost triple its 8.5% share in 2006.

It's welcome news to our ears that the US market is moving away from dumb phones as an increasing number of consumers open up their wallets to join the bandwagon of using supercharged smartphones.

Here's one more recent study comScore issued last week regarding the blazing trail of mobile broadband growth.

Extreme Makeover? No -- Extreme Hybrid Drives 150 mpg

Carmen Hughes


CNN ran a news segment on a new protype car, the XH150, that was unveiled yesterday at the Detroit auto show.  AFS Trinity Power Corp built its car using existing battery and electronics technology to show what the Big 3 could conceivably deliver to the market: a car that drives 150 miles per gallon. If you drive like many folks, under 40 miles a day, you won’t have to pay for gas. The only ergonomic hitch is that you do have to plug the car up everynight to charge it up. After you’ve driven more than 40 miles, the car converts to gas; it can drive highways too. Estimated cost is still TBD, but they only expect to charge a premium of about $8,700 over the price of hybrid cars that start at $25K. Very promising. If none of the Big 3 move to license Trinity’s patented technology, they will move to raise VC funding. If that’s the case, I hope they relocate to the San Francisco Bay Area so the company can build upon the new auto manufacturing hub taking root in Silicon Valley (ie: Tesla Corp.).  Nevertheless, this car could be available in as little as 3 years and if gas today in CA cost $3.50/gallon, I believe this type of benefit would be widely embraced like the Prius.

2008 is the Year of Information Overload

Carmen Hughes

Never mind that it’s supposed to be Year of the Rat. Basex recently picked Information Overload as its 2008 Problem of the Year.

Email, phone calls, IMs, twits and tweets, LinkedIn Questions, Facebook pokes… Interruptions such as these contribute to the Information Overload problem that research firm Basex pinned at $650B in loss productivity. We take pleasure in Basex’s prediction but not because we’re gluttons for punishment. Rather their call to attention is an indication of how serious the problem is and perhaps a prelude of better things to come.



As we get ready to ring in 2008, I challenge myself and all of you out there to make email and IM etiquette part of your New Year’s resolutions. Check out a few tips that Basex suggest to help manage information overload. These include:

-“I will not e-mail someone and then two seconds later follow up with an IM or phone call.” - “I will read my own e-mails before sending them to make sure they are comprehensible to others.” - “I will not overburden colleagues with unnecessary e-mail, especially one word replies such as “Thanks!” or “Great!”, and will use “reply to all” only when absolutely necessary.”

Web 3.0 and the role of the Semantic Web

Carmen Hughes

The MIT/Stanford Venture Lab (VLAB) hosted a forum yesterday evening titled, “Web 3.0 and New Opportunities on the Semantic Web.” First of all, the moderator, Paul Saffo, was outstanding and entertaining. He kept things lively and humorous.  The panelists (Paul Kedrosky, Alex Iskold, Nova Spivak, and Robert Cook) were also fantastic and represented some excellent startup companies. My takeaway from the event is that a good foundation has been laid for moving the semantic web forward to the next stage. Paul pointed out Flickr as the best early consumer app example of how people are using collective intelligence to make searching and finding the right content better. Alex’s company, Adaptive Blue, and Robert’s company, MetaWeb’s freebase, are prime examples of companies making strides with the semantic web. Alex has a written several great posts on the topic. Here is one in particular that I think is very insightful as to the direction that websites are headed with respect to 'web 3.0.' (View Post) Nova’s startup company, Radar Networks, is certainly one to watch but evidently some of what they are doing is still under wraps. Nova did an exceptional speed-prezo in about 2 minutes and shared this most excellent slide with the audience that lays out where we currently are on the path to arriving at the semantic web. Here is a link to some of his posts on the subject as well. (View Post)

The semantic web is indeed on the cutting edge of transforming search, advertising, content distribution and commerce. Some of the companies that panelists mentioned that are doing interesting things and helping to push the semantic web forward included Powerset, Hakia, and MapLight. What is exciting about the semantic web is how down the road (okay we’re talking 2030 or so) literally all of the information and disparate databases on the web will interconnect and the computers will be far more intelligent in how thyey read, process and deliver information to people. At the end of the forum, Nova pointed out that no one in the audience or on the panel mentioned where there is likely an untapped opportunity with the semantic web, and it is the one that really drove people to the web -- the sex industry. I certainly hope and expect that there will be far greater and more useful arenas that will propel the semantic web faster to it materializing.