Swell In 2014 And The Mobile Flywheel

As you may know, I’m lucky to work for a mobile technology called “Swell.” I’m lucky to have been involved in the very early days. It’s been amazing fun, a steep learning curve, and the type of job that blends together all sorts of fun things: a product that I use daily as a consumer, along with the benefits of making my flywheel for other mobile activities — writing, investing, speaking — move even faster. In a way, I should be paying Swell for the opportunity! Since releasing the product about six months ago, I wanted to share a bit about how our learnings in 2013 are informing our focus for 2014:

First, we are putting the finishing touches on what will be “Swell 2.0.” I can’t reveal too much about it yet, but it will be out soon. If  you’ve used Swell so far to date, the new version will be even better, the same great content, personalized to you, with newer features that will be the first of its kind in mobile digital media content delivery and discovery.

Second, we are going cross-platform. The majority of early-stage mobile companies go iOS-first for many reasons, though we are starting to see a few more Android-first plays in 2014. So, yes, we are expanding to Android — really exciting move for us, and we are thankful for the patience of our fans who own Android handsets. The wait will soon be over, and I’m waiting for my own Android to come in the mail — I will be two-phoning it for a while!

Third, we are making improvements to our web player. The web is dead, right? Well, not so fast. It may depend on the product. Like millions of people listen to Pandora on their laptops through their browsers, we are sketching out our strategy for how to integrate Swell’s offering into a web-based experience. If you have ideas or requests on this, please reach out to me and let me know.

As 2014 begins, our goal is to put our learnings from 2013 into action and climb bigger hills in 2014. We experienced a nice entry into the crowded mobile app ecosystem. Yet, we are humbly aware that consumers are inundated with choices, so with that in mind, and by not taking any addressable minute for granted, we focus our work at Swell on our engaged users and the data they produce, and I’m looking forward to sharing more of the details around that with you in the coming weeks. What I can say now is that it will be an active year for us — we are gently transforming the app from a single-player utility into a multi-player audio network (the first of its kind, we believe); we are broadening our platform reach (releasing Android and investing in web); we are working with web and mobile partners on distribution and content partnerships (stay tuned!); and we continue to develop the technologies that help drive the machine inside Swell, a machine which aims to be the most-personalized, intelligent routing system for digital media delivery to mobile devices.

Haywire is written by Semil Shah, and is published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. Copyright © 2014 Semil Shah.

“I write this not for the many, but for you; each of us is enough of an audience for the other.”— Epicurus