Month: May 2012

Hotel(Not)Tonight: Disrupting The Hospitality Industry Takes More Than a Slick App

I‘ve long been a fan of HotelTonight. In fact, Sarah and I were there at its launch, test driving the service in a fun dash through San Francisco. Since then, I’ve booked more than a dozen stays through the company — and the front end experience has always been a delight.

At noon each day, in any one of nearly 40 US cities (Canada, Europe coming soon), HotelTonight displays a list of available accommodation, at rates usually far below rack. Two clicks later and you’re booked.

Unfortunately, that’s where the trouble all too often seems to start.

Given how publicly bullish I’ve been on the company (and I remain a huge fan), it seems only right and proper that I’m equally public when things don’t go so well. And last week, when I travelled to NY for PandoMonthly, things went pretty damn far from well.

I was already a little nervous about using HotelTonight for a last minute booking. The previous week I tried to check in to Hotel Abri in San Francisco, only to be told that my HT booking had been moved to a different hotel down the street. The excuse given — “we had a water leak” — is classic hotel code for “we gave your room to a more valuable guest.”…


How NSFW Corp Dodged the Newsstand Bullet and Lucked Into HTML5

As I read Jason Pontin’s piece about how Technology Review decided to turn its back on magazines-as-apps in favor of HTML5 publishing, I felt a sense of horror. Horror at how close I came to making exactly the same costly mistake.

Seven months ago, when I announced my bold (and at that point entirely un-thought-out) plans for a new tablet-focused satirical news magazine (“the Economist as written by ‘The Daily Show’”), I was extremely bullish on Apple’s Newsstand and its clunkier cousin, the Kindle magazine store. Our magazine would be optimized for those stores, I wrote. As a paid-for publication, there was no other sensible choice.

And yet…when Not Safe For Work Corporation finally launched a few hours ago, there was no Newsstand edition, and no Kindle store edition. Instead, it’s HTML5all the way.

And as I read Pontin’s explanation of how TR blew $124,000 on outsourced software development I felt horror at how much of our investors’ money we could have wasted, and how much stress we could have suffered had we stuck to our original plan. But I also felt relief: We dodged a very expensive, very annoying bullet.

The logic behind publishers initialembrace of the Newsstand makes total sense.…


(c) Copyright Paul Bradley Carr 2002-2021.