The iPad is changing the world so fast sometimes it is hard to believe. We released our iPad app in early October. It’s such a hot, sexy app that now I lead off with it. Every time I meet with a prospect the first thing I show them is the Business Web on my iPad (usually pre-configured for their market) and then I’ll describe what we’re doing and why.
And to my delight I find that many of our prospects and customers are investing so heavily in the iPad that they can immediately relate to how FirstRain fits. But more fun than that is the new apps I get to see, often before they have been released. BI apps, sales apps, fashion apps… the world is going iPad.
Today Fidelity announced a major update to their iPad app – this time including FirstRain content. Fidelity has been our customer for many years now, but over the past few months it’s been exciting to work with them on integrating our sector and stock research into their iPad app.
Like we have done online, we are providing Fidelity with Hot Topic research, centered around sectors and trends – what’s rising? what should you as an investor be paying attention to? when you see a topic you want to drill in on, what are the recent developments that help you understand it?
You can download the new Fidelity iPad app for free on the iTunes store. To see hot topics, open it up and click on Research (tab at the bottom of the home screen). Chose hot topics and you’ll see the key active sectors and what’s changing . We identify what’s changing and what’s hot using our analytics technology – identifying clusters of topic, detecting anomalies, comparing them to past patterns, analyzing the new pattern to see if it shows a rising event. Here’s the landing Hot Topics screen this morning:
You see a list of sectors – swipe right to see more. Within each sector you can then drill down into a topic and see the latest business web news and understand what’s behind the trend. For example here — drilling in on Automobile Fuel Efficiency:
The topic research page shows you not only the news you need to read but also the stocks related to the trend that you may want to do deeper research on, and the volume of conversation on the Web on the topic you are researching so you can get a sense of how active it is.
Good apps on the iPad are simpler and easier, and more pleasurable to use than web apps. There is something about the simplicity combined with the tactile experience that changes how we feel about using the application, especially for non technical people and the older generation. We have only had the iPad for 2 years now… it is just the beginning of a sea change that will sweep how we all interact with both professional and consumer applications.
One of the best ways I’ve found to build community in the office is by working together to give back to the greater community. Last week, the FirstRain team and I continued our annual tradition of volunteering at the Second Harvest Food Bank. SHFB is a fantastic organization that strives to end local hunger around the San Francisco Bay Area. I was pleasantly surprised (and impressed with the massive amount of food to sort) to learn that gathering and collecting enough food was not the organization’s main concern. The great need for volunteers, like those of us from FirstRain, is necessary in order to help sort the food. Kristin Sulpizio, the Director of Volunteer Services told us the “the food is there, it’s finding people to help figure out what to do with all of it, is our problem”.
FirstRain participated in this event not only to give back to the local community but to hopefully encourage others to follow in our footsteps. I know activities like this strengthen our own FirstRain community. Working together outside of the office allows my team to engage in an experience that deepens their sense of shared values, such as social responsibility and caring for others. Every year, I know I can count on our team to clear their busy schedules, to show up and to work very hard. This morale is later translated inside the office, all part of the many reasons why FirstRain’s company culture is so dynamic.
Everyone got his or her hands dirty that day. Working as a team, we were able to quickly and successfully sort through a hefty amount of food in our two-hour time slot. Thanks to the entire FirstRain team’s effort, we helped 236,000 people receive food this month! The day was a huge success and everyone left the bank in great spirits. As always, I was pleased and proud to see my team come together for such a great cause –and one we will continue to support!