Britt Technology Impact Series

Digital Drop-In: Aviate

May 9, 2014 • Tuck School of Business

Digital Drop-In: Aviate PhotoMark Daiss, Co-Founder, Aviate

This was a closed event, open only to T’14 and T’15 Center for Digital Strategies MBA Fellows.

We were pleased to host the second of our Digital Drop-In Series with Mark Daiss, Co-founder of Aviate, which was acquired by Yahoo! in January.

Aviate is an intelligent home screen that simplifies your Android phone and surfaces information at the moment it’s useful. It automatically categorizes all of your apps, and intelligently rearranges your home screen throughout the day to dynamically give you the apps and information you need most, at precisely the moment you need it. It has been called “Yahoo’s answer to Google Now” and is seen as a major component of Marissa Mayer’s mobile strategy at Yahoo!.

(From CNET Article) Aviate was born in November 2012 when Daiss, a reformed financial consultant now sporting a zip-up fleece and a dusting of stubble, teamed with his cousin Paul Montoy-Wilson, and Wilson’s classmate from Stanford University, William Choi. The trio formed ThumbsUp Labs. Montoy-Wilson knew the business of curating apps intimately, having worked on categorization and interface design for Android’s Google Play store. Their first project was an Android widget that surfaced different apps on a phone when they became relevant to a user. The team wanted a name that conveyed speed, as well as innovation and navigation: Aviator.

As they continued developing Aviator, they thought it could do more, bringing up relevant information from inside certain apps, instead of just bringing that app’s icon to the forefront of the screen. “We had the widget and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, what about an Android home screen?'” recalled Daiss. “There’s no other interface you touch more in your life than the home screen of your phone.”

As they looked at other artificial intelligence products on the market — including Apple’s Siri voice assistant — they decided they didn’t want something with a human element. The thinking: humans are fallible, and they can be slow. And the personal assistant trope can be gimmicky or outdated. So it was settled. In spring 2012, Aviator became simply Aviate.

Twitter @Aviate

The Glassmeyer/McNamee Center for Digital Strategies’ Digital Drop-Ins video conference series allows CDS MBA Fellows the chance to have intimate conversations with key technology leaders. Hour-long sessions focus on a particular topic or range of topics of interest to the Center and Tuck student body, and enable the small group to participate in an engaging discussion about a key element of technology and how it impacts or drives corporate strategy from the perspective of the guest speaker. Students come away from each Digital Drop-In with a clearer sense of each guest’s perspective on an issue or topic impacting his or her enterprise in a significant way.

CDS Fellow Samer Sayigh T’14 and Aviate’s Mark Daiss stop for a pic. Mark spoke with current and future CDS fellows.

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