Aug 14

The future of mobile payments, Apple, Google, Amazon

iphone-fingerprintIt’s no secret that big corporations are planting the seed for the next generation of payment processing solutions. It’s a big industry to tackle. If you consider the fact that coins ruled for thousands of years. And paper currency for about a hundred years. Plastic credit cards have held firm for a few decades. The next generation will be even more secure and easy to use.

Right now there is a lot of talk about bitcoin. I personally like the concept of cryptocurrency, but the adoption rate is low and it will take a strong tech giant, or a partnership of these giant tech companies to execute the infrastructure and protocol. It’s too fragmented and only the tech savvy are playing around with this type of currency.

So, what will the future hold? Theres only really 3 players in this game. The three companies that can build and execute on the next generation mobile payments are Apple, Google, and Amazon.

Google already tried and failed with Google wallet. But Google is a trusted brand with deep multi device OS penetration. People trust Google. People already know how to use Google services. It’s just a matter of people getting onboard.

Amazon and Apple are two companies that hold the most credit card info of consumers. This gives these two companies a big head start. Both have a lot of money to execute.

If I was a betting man, I’d put all of my money on Apple. Here’s why.

1. Apple already does payment transaction on iTunes.

2. Apple is a trusted brand when it comes to security and consumer experience.

3. The integration of the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone was a big hit. It created a perception of security and it’s the best case example of user experience.

4. Recent iBeacon tech can possible payment processing and ease of use to the next level. Hardware to setup iBeacon payment stations are cheap and will be widely available in the near future.

Can you imagine visiting a coffee shop or a department store and just selecting your purchase and putting your finger on your phone to complete the transaction? How awesome is that? No need to carry a wallet. We already have our phones with us at all times. It’s secure and simple.

Note. I left out Paypal or Square out of this because in the big picture, they will merely be vendors or partners in this equation. Going into your phone and launching the Paypal app is already too much work for the future. I feel that the feature will need to happen at the root level. This gives a big advantage for Apple and Google.

Sean Lee out.

Aug 14

Internet of Everything IoE

tiny-chip-golfball-freescaleThree buzzwords for 2014 are iBeacons, Wearable Tech, and Internet of Things (IoT). Actually these terms have been around for at least a couple of years. But we are seeing a lot of traction within the industry. A lot of startups are testing out mashups of these products/services.

tiny-chip-thumbWhen I was a 7, computers were big, heavy, and expensive. At 14 my science teacher told me that one day computer chips will be so inexpensive and small that even a paper cup will house a microchip. Fast forward 22 years and we have the Internet of Everything (IoE).

My team and I are currently working on some applications for the Internet of Things. At MashUps, we hope to build something not for the sake of building tech into it, but for it to be really useful. We want simple solutions. We want automated data. It’s 2014 and we don’t expect people to have to do much to engage with our product/service.

vessyl-smart-cupOne of my favorite products that came out in the last few months is the Vessyl smart cup. Put a chip in a cup and it tells you what you’re drinking. I imagine tupperware or others to follow suit.

I’m going to just list some ridiculously simple everyday products that can possibly integrate a microchip. (Shoe, bag, shopping cart, glasses, chair, toilet, stove, toys, clock, sofa, bed)

The list goes on and on. There you go, you have the starting point for your startup.

Sean Lee out!

Aug 14

I don’t care about Tech or iBeacons

iBeacon-sean-leeI consider myself to be an early adopter. I tend to waste a lot of my disposable income on tech gadgets that become junk after a few months. But I do it cause it’s fun and I think it’s very cool, in a nerdy geekedout way. The products that really grab me are the ones that remove the tech.

What Do I mean by removing tech? Hide it the best you can. Cause honestly, on the consumer or even the B2B side, noone cares about tech. They just want it to work. So basically it’s all about the user experience. It has to work like magic.

How many of you understand how airplanes work? I don’t. You have this huge metal box that forces itself from the ground and slides in the air. Crazy. I don’t want to know the details. I just want it to get me to my destination without crashing.

The highest penetration of any high tech ever much be the mobile phone. Mainly the smart phone. I don’t have hard numbers to support my next statement. But, I think that most people only use about 10-20% of the devices capabilities. People buy the top of the line high performance stuff, but end up only using 10% of the thing.

So, people are stupid. People are lazy. Consumers just want to consume without effort.

Currently I’m working on an iBeacon solution at Mashups LLC. I don’t really educate or polish the Bluetooth Smart tech that is involved. I just want it to work for my user base. Without any type of hurdle or barrier.

Right now, the iBeacon space is basically a mobile app platform with hardware. You have to install an app on your phone. And you get spam notifications about discounts. I see that it can become something different altogether. MashUps LLC’s solution has no app installs. And No spam notification. This eliminates the major barriers for true organic engagement.

I don’t care about the tech. What I love about iBeacon tech is that it is cheap and a single coin cell battery can power it for years.

I’m 36 years old. I left a comfortable job at Samsung to do this startup. I wouldn’t risk my job and family wellbeing to build an app that spams people with 15% off coupons.

Sean Lee out!

Aug 14

K-pop Dreams documentary like Hoop Dreams.

kpop-dreams-snsdI currently live in Seoul, Korea. The K-pop explosion happened right before my eyes. I’m not a huge fan but I see the potential that this little country has as far as selling culture and becoming a world power as far as culture.

Unfortunately, K-pop is basically western pop. The Korean dramas are soap operas. The music scene is dominated by N-sync type boy and girl bands. And K-pop’s biggest star is Psy, a Korean rapper. (rap originated in the USA)

But, what if, it could go deeper. What if the audience becomes sophisticated faster. What if K-pop starts to innovate in the digital age.

hoop_dreams_documentaryAnyway, I read an interesting article a few days ago that I wanted to share. It’s a piece that follows the K-Pop Dreams of the members of the girl band Billion. As I was reading the story, I kept visualize scenes that were dark and seedy. One of my fav all time documentary films is Hoop Dreams. I become inspired to create. I was thinking about producing and or directing a K-pop documentary.

Sean Lee Out

Aug 14

MashUps LLC why I left my comfortable Samsung Job to launch my startup

mashups logoI Left my comfortable Samsung job about 3 months ago. I was working as a digital strategist at Cheil Worldwide. I started the job wanting to learn how the big Korean multinational corporation did business. The Chaebol as they are called do things a bit different. In Korea everything is Samsung. They don’t just make cheap plastic Android phones. They make everything. I’m surprised that people in Korea don’t push the government more to break up these monopolies. Anyway, I left the job because I had an itch. And I wasn’t satisfied just being another employee. I dream of bigger things in my life.

The world has gone digital. But there are still a lot of areas and industries that need to convert to digital. I saw an opportunity and I jumped. I’m 36 years old and I figure I have 1 more shot at trying to break out of the pack. People think I’m crazy but I have a good feeling that my company will succeed. That’s why I started MashUps LLC.

Seoul, Korea is an interesting place to live. It’s exciting and full of energy. I moved out here from Chicago about 4 years ago. My wife and I decided that it was time for a change. A few months after the move, my wife got pregnant. I was doing a startup at the time, and I felt too old to be doing a startup. After my son’s first birthday, I decided to join Samsung at Cheil Worldwide.

Fatherhood changed me in a way I can’t explain in words. I feel old. I feel like a real man now. I feel responsible. I feel stress. I feel pride. And I’m scared. Literally, my son will die if I don’t care for him. I’m in charge of a new human being. How crazy is that?

I thought about all of the grownups I knew during my youth. Honestly, I wasn’t impressed with any of them. Very few were special. I don’t want to be that type of person. I understand that most people lead very average lives. But, I can’t let that be me. I want to have freedom to do things my way. I want to have time to spend with my family. I want to work on projects that really interest me. I still have the fire. I haven’t given up.

Working at a big company drains the life out of you. It’s like a cult prison. They give you just enough to survive. They keep your brain stimulated just enough to not kill you.

Starting a company isn’t for everyone. But for the few gamblers out there, it really is the only options. If you dream of a different life, you gotta do a startup.

The time is perfect right now. We are living in the “Smart” everything age. The internet of things (IoT) and wearable tech and all of these cheap sensors that are coming out will really change the digital landscape in the coming months and years. My company MashUps LLC will help big brands implement these technologies. MashUps is an event based promotional platform. We are currently building wearable devices that communicate with our platform to help event organizers operate more efficiently. With out first product, we will use iBeacon technology to help B2B industry events. Please visit the company homepage to learn more about our services.

Sean Lee out.