Ideas, Intelligence, Events and Promotions from WIRED

Really Good Emails

imageImage via Really Good Emails

It may seem counterintuitive, but email marketing is every bit as effective as social media marketing, if not more. If you’ve got something important to say to your users/customers/audience, you should definitely include well-designed emails as a part of the way you say it. It’s that “well-designed” part that’s a lot easier than it sounds, so a designer named Matthew Smith has gone ahead and done us all a solid by creating a lovely reference site to help get anyone started with an email template.

Really Good Emails is a terrific collection of really good emails for pretty much any situation. Got a product announcement? They’ve got great examples from other companies who send out great product announcement emails. Looking to re-engage and retain users? Take a look at RGE’s collection of retention emails. Be sure to bookmark this one for later use. (You’re welcome).

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|  April 14th, 2014

The Password Tool the Developers Use

Image via Agile Bits

If you spent even one waking moment on the world wide web last week, you’re no doubt acquainted with Heartbleed—the latest security bug that’s all up in your base, killing your d00dz. The big difference with this little jerk is that its impact isn’t being downplayed at all. You really are going to need to go to the trouble of changing some passwords. You probably don’t have too many of those lying around the internet, right?

This latest SSL nonsense has lead me to take a long hard look at 1Password. It’s a password manager on steroids, but 1Password’s “security audit” is really the pertinent feature here. It’ll quickly assess password security, find duplicates, and let you easily replace them with secure versions. They’ve even got a Heartbleed discount!

Don’t know which sites’ passwords need to be reset? Here’s a guide.

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|  April 14th, 2014

Shyp It

Image via Shyp

Getting a tax refund is great, because it means you can get yourself a brand new iPad Mini. At least that’s what it means for Smarter Upstarter. But that also means that I had an old iPad 3 that I needed to sell on eBay. While listing something on eBay is easy, it’s the shipping that’s kind of a pain. Luckily this is the Silicon Valley, and we have a startup that’s taking care of that part.

Shyp launched last month in San Francisco in order to remove the hassle of shipping from your life. I used Shyp to send my iPad to Florida: you simply take a picture of the item, enter an address, and a Shyp representative comes to your home or office to take it off your hands. You can even track them on a map so you know how long it’ll be before they show up.

And that, as they say, is that. Your item is then shipped using the cheapest option, and you never even had to go outside.

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|  April 7th, 2014

Bring Your Instagram Archive Back to Life

Image via Photojojo

Boy that felt good. You took a great picture of the street outside your office after work, when the sun was just right, and you’re already up to 25 hearts on Instagram. Awesome show, great job. But now what? In 48 hours that photo will join the other photos toward the bottom of everyone’s Instagram feed, and in 72 it’ll be pretty much forgotten. It doesn’t have to be like this!

Smarter Upstarter is no expert, but here’s a cheap and simple decorating tip for your home or office that makes use of those Instagram gems. First, head over to Prinstagram and connect your Instagram account. For $12 you can get individual prints for 24 of your favorite photos. “Great, what am I gonna do with 24 prints, get 24 frames?” Nope, instead hook yourself up with these affordable “photo ropes” from Photojojo. For less than $40 you’ve got 24 personalized photos hanging up at your home or office. Oh, and if you’re hungry try these.

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|  April 7th, 2014

Smarter Upstarter Explains: Tweet Threading

Image via Twitter

Have you noticed that some of your bigger Twitter names are using the platform for more long form idea sharing? Kanye West is one of the pioneers of the genre, but lately folks like Marc Andreessen have also been putting together strings of tweets to share their thoughts. Mr. Andreessen and others often number their tweets in order to maintain readability, but there’s actually an easier way to “thread” tweets together if you’re gonna go on a rant. Here’s how:

1)    Send out your first tweet.

2)    After it’s published, click “reply” to that first tweet.

3)    In that reply, delete your “@username” and type out the rest of the message like you normally would.

Now that second tweet you sent in step three will be “threaded” to the first one for anyone following along on Twitter. It’s like a Twitter Conversation with yourself. NOTE: It’s useful to number them anyway, however, as threading only works on the Twitter website, as opposed to third party apps.

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|  March 31st, 2014

The Social Network for the Anti-Social

Image via Cloak

Hey everyone! Remember when the social media fad was so totally over? When the bubble was ready to burst? That was of course many months ago, before apps like Secret and Whisper led us toward the social networking renaissance we seem to be enjoying.

If you’ve used, or even heard of, Yik Yak, Shrtwv, Banter, Blink and/or any of the other myriad anonymous social sharing apps, well, you’re Smarter than this Upstarter. These apps still have one main thing in common: they help you connect with other people in some novel way.

That’s why my pick amongst this new wave of anonymous apps is Cloak. Simply put, Cloak is meant to disconnect you from your IRL social connections. It uses data from other check-in apps to show you where your friends, ex’s, family and co-workers are, so that you can then be where they aren’t. Simply check your Cloak map as you walk out the door, and you’ll know which streets to avoid. Have we come full circle?

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|  March 31st, 2014

Twitter’s March Madness (of Features)

imageImage via More About Advertising

So Twitter’s been on kind of a tear lately. In the past couple of weeks they’ve released a bevy of new experiments, celebrated their 8th birthday, been banned in Turkey, and leaked plans to release their own smartphone. Ok I made that last one up, but the rest of that stuff is true. Here’s the lowdown on some new features that could be coming your way:

Fave People — A dedicated tab in your Twitter app that let’s you display tweets from only those accounts that you’ve starred as “faves”. Kind of a “best of” Twitter list that’s just easier to access.

Tweet View Counter — How many people saw that biting tweet you just sent about “Girls”? This new feature, which is a test for now, could tell you.

No More @-Replies? — In another test, Twitter appears to be experimenting with a different way to respond to tweets that doesn’t involve the “@” symbol. So, what, we’ll just call the “replies” now? What is this, email?

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|  March 24th, 2014

UnMarkit: A To-Do List For Your Bookmarks

Image via Unmark

So, the world wide web. It’s really quite a large place, and keeping track of all the good stuff you come across is kind of a pain. Now, Smarter Upstarter has always been a huge proponent of Pocket for saving links to read later (and read them in a visually pleasing format). But what about the rest of your stuff? Viral videos, snorkeling gear you’d like to buy, recipes for beef stroganoff…ok maybe that’s my stuff.

The point is that Unmark wants to be your home for the things you collect across the web. While Pocket’s system is very slick, it keeps your links organized in a single list. Unmark’s big difference is labeling, which allows you to have different lists for different kinds of content. Unmark is searchable, sortable, and uses either a bookmarklet or Chrome extension to make it easy add stuff. It’s also completely free, so give it a shot.

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|  March 24th, 2014

It’s A(nother) Numbers Game

Image via 2048

Perhaps you’re familiar with Threes, the numbers puzzle game for Android and iPhone that’s been sitting near the top of the charts in both stores ever since it launched earlier this year. It’s a simple, great-looking game that’s definitely worth your time if you haven’t tried it have. But you read WIRED and know you’re stuff so of course you’ve already tried it.

Well smart guy, what if I were to tell you that there’s an even simpler, more elegent-er game out there that’s so new it’s basically still a GitHub URL? There is: it’s called 2048, it actually is still a GitHub URL, and I spend roughly half of a cross country flight playing this stupid game last week. It’s very similar to Threes, but in 2048 the only new numbers that generate are 2 and 4. That’s it. Join up 2’s, 4’s, and all the multiples thereafter in an effort to achieve the elusive “2048” tile. Try it out before all these number tile games get litigious on each other.

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|  March 17th, 2014

Jack Erwin Helps Men Step Up Their Shoe Game

Image via Jack Erwin

They seem like mainstream labels now, but Warby Parker and Bonobos are actually both startups, and their rise to prominence is indicative of how software and the internet is democratizing the way fashion brands are created and discovered. If there’s a common theme amongst these apparel innovators, it’s that they focus on one item of clothing while avoiding retail distributors (i.e. department stores).

Jack Erwin, a new purveyor of men’s dress shoes, is hoping their name will become synonymous with footwear just as Bonobos did with pants, and Warby Parker glasses. Founded by Ariel Nelson and Lane Gerson, Jack Erwin sells only six models—and even though they’re not cheap, they’re definitely cheaper than their other high end competitors. This is thanks to streamlined manufacturing, and to that retail distribution avoidance that’s part of their mission. “Jack Erwin”, by the way, comes from the combination of the first names of the founders’ fathers. 

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|  March 17th, 2014