meerkat, social levelling up

the view from 5660 miles away

So what da hell is meerkat?

hmm… it doesn’t look promising…

You can only stream live video, schedule a stream and see streams from people you follow…

“I don’t think this is for me.
I’m not a video guy and not that much into filming myself.
Pictures of food and cats are enough I don’t need to see videos”

This was my first reaction and the same I saw from most of my friends.

Today I’m a meerkat fan and addict! (only two weeks later)

So what changed?

Seeing an overflow of meerkat mentions on my twitter feed, I felt I should take a deeper look into it. What I found was astonishing…

What are people doing with meerkat?

Streaming live from sport events!
Being among the fans inside the stadium

Streaming live from music concerts!
Inside a concert amidst the crowd

Get the behind the scenes view!

Do live interviews with Q.A. from the audience!

Are you seeing it? Isn’t it awesome?

Video live streaming. Isn’t this old? why now?

Justin.tv, twitch, … and a lot of others were already doing live-streaming a couple of years ago, why such a hype over meerkat now?

Timing.

This is just the right time for mobile live video streams for a couple of reasons:
-smartphones are now in the hands of millions of people;
-smartphones now have the processing power to do live video processing without major problems;
-mobile communication networks all over the developed world now have the capacity to transport live video feeds without major hiccups;
-mobile communication data plans are now affordable enough to allow users to use large amounts of data without major costs;
-with the popularity of apps like snapchat, society is more and more accustomed with people walking with phones on their hands pointed at themselves or anything else. It’s not that awkward anymore.

Ok, I see, but I’m almost sure I’ve seen some mobile apps that do just this a couple of months ago, why meerkat?

Upclose and Stream are both examples of this, on the surface they seem exactly the same as meerkat, why have they apparently not taken of as meerkat did?

No barriers to entry and finding the perfect user group.

meerkat piggybacks on the twitter social graph and on the deep integration between iOS and twitter that’s already in place.
In less than a minute you follow a meerkat link someone mentioned on your feed, download the app, accept to connect trough twitter and start watching a live video feed.
Perfectly painless on-boarding process.

They have chosen to launch trough Product Hunt and this revealed to be a great decision for them. On both Product Hunt and twitter, they probably encountered the people with the best use cases to try this out and seed the viral growth we have seen up to now.

I don’t think this has anything to do with luck. These guys were building a live streaming app before, for more than two years, meerkat was done as a side project incorporating the learnings from that previous work.

The future of meerkat

This first two weeks, after meerkat launched, make it seem that glory is the only outcome possible for this guys but recent news are shaking this notion.
Twitter just announced they have cut meerkat from accessing their social graph, what this means is that when you signup to the service, meerkat won’t be able to auto-follow everyone from your twitter feed. Because they don’t even have a way to search for users in meerkat you have no way to overcome this change.

This is not the first time twitter does something like this and this time it was somewhat predictable, after the announcement they made about purchasing a similar service, Periscope.

Let’s see how they overcome this huge hurdle.

Still not convinced about the usefulness of meerkat?

Just search for twitter for |LIVE NOW| SXSW and if you were fast enough you will be in Austin Texas in one of the best conferences in the world!

If you were not fast enough let me try to show you what you missed:

This is Matt Mazzeo a VC at lowercase Capital at an hotel lobby in Austin discussing what’s been happening at SXSW with various guests, Dave Mcclure and others. All this while 128 people viewed live and asked questions from all over the world.

And now what you’ve all been waiting for…

What I’m going to do with meerkat!
I think there’s some very cool stuff a software engineering team can do with meerkat. If you’re into software development follow @linkedeng on twitter and in some days meerkat will show with some clever stuff.

Indie Campers Director of Product & Tech/ Web addict

Indie Campers Director of Product & Tech/ Web addict