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How Email Marketers Are Embedding Video

About 22% of US marketing practitioners plan to add HTML 5 video this year


Digital video has been among the fastest-growing ad formats for the past several years, and digital video viewing has only become more popular among consumers. It’s unsurprising, then, to see email marketers getting on board with video. According to research, they tend to rely on animated GIFs to get their messages moving.

Liveclicker, which provides both video commerce solutions for retailers as well as email services, analyzed 2,500 campaigns sent by its clients in the year leading up to June 2016.


The most common way for email marketers to include video in email messages was by sending animated GIFs: 46% of the campaigns studied used silent animations to embed video content. But almost as many offered full-screen video (44%), including 33% of campaigns that required two clicks for playback. Only 11% had full-screen video with playback available after just one click. And only 8% placed the video inline in the email. Meanwhile, Liveclicker’s analysis also found that 2% of the tracked emails displayed a static thumbnail from a video.


Email Marketing Features/Tactics that US Marketing Professionals Plan to Use in 2016 (% of respondents)

Email marketing is about as old-school as digital marketing gets, but has provided strong ROI, and even high acquisition and retention rates, particularly for small- and medium-sized business. About four-fifths of these professionals said email marketing helps contribute to this outcome over other tactics from organic search to social media, according to a June survey from WBR Digital and emarsys.

It seems like a no-brainer that in order to continue to modernize email marketing campaigns and attract today’s video-ready consumer (especially millennials), practitioners should consider embedding more video. According to a poll from Email on Acid earlier this year, almost a quarter of US marketing practitioners said they planned to add HTML 5 video to their email campaigns, among several other tactical upgrades. Even more encouraging, Apple’s recent iOS 10 release now supports video in email.

Original Article:


Participated at 50+ Hackathons

  1. 2012 Mobile DevCamp NYC Hackathon – April 27, 2012; won API Prize
  2. Angelhack NYC Hackathon – June 24, 2012
  3. Etsy’s eCommerce HackDay – August 4, 2012; won API prize
  4. Helping Hacks: The Goodnik Hackathon – August 24, 2012; won Top Prize
  5. AT&T Mobile App Hackathon – Social Good – September 22, 2012; won Samsung API prize & won DoSomething Text messaging prize
  6. NYU Wagner’s School of Public Service’s Code for Change – September 23, 2012
  7. tilt: fall twenty twelve – September 29, 2012
  8. Tapped NFC Hackathon – October 6, 2012
  9. AT&T Aspire Mobile App Hackathon in partnership with the Mayor’s Truancy Task Force and NYC Digital – October 12, 2012
  10. Hack’n Jill’s Hacksgiving – November 9, 2012; won Pearson API Prize
  11. nytechresponds Sandy Hackathon & Benefit – December 1, 2012;
  12. Conde Nast’s Decoded Fashion Hackathon – Feb 2, 2013
  13. Hearst Fashion Hackathon – February 9, 2013; won Microsoft Prize
  14. Disruptor Cup 2013 – March 3, 2013; won Top Prize
  15. Publishing Hackathon – May 18, 2013
  16. AngelHack NYC Hackathon – June 1, 2013; won Runner Up
  17. AngelHack DC Hackathon – June 8, 2013; won Top Prize
  18. Northside Festival’s Hacking Health – June 14, 2013; won Top Prize
  19. Spotify’s Music Education Hack – June 28, 2013; won Teacher Participation
  20. Paypal BattleHack New York – July 20, 2013; won API prize
  21. BlueButton Co-Design Online Challenge – August 2, 2013
  22. Jawbone’s Code4Health Hackathon – August 9, 2013
  23. Techcrunch Disrupt SF 2013 – September 7, 2013; Won a Jawbone
  24. The “Internet of Things” Hackathon – September 27, 2013
  25. The Next Web Hack Battle – October 1, 2013; won Sendgrid API prize
  26. Hack’n Jill Build’n Play – October 4, 2013
  27. Music Hack Day NYC 2013 – October 18, 2013
  28. FinTech Hackathon – November 9, 2013; won OpenFin API prize
  29. AppHack NYC – November 30, 2013
  30. FinCapDev Hackathon FinancialDiaries – March 29, 2014; won Top Prize
  31. WebMD Hackathon – April 4, 2014; won 2nd Runner Up
  32. Techcrunch Disrupt NY Hackathon – May 3, 2014; won Yammer API prize
  33. POV Hackathon – May 9, 2014
  34. Fishing Hackathon – June 13, 2014
  35. Food / Dining – June 27, 2014
  36. Salesforce Hackathon – June 27, 2014
  37. 3 Hour Blitz Hackathon
  38. 3 Hour Blitz Hackathon – PubNub API Prize Winner
  39. SmallBizDev Hackathon – September 13, 2014, Runner Up Prize $5000
  40. ERA Hackathon – October 26, 2014
  41. Money2020 Hackathon Las Vegas – November 1, 2014, Runner Up Prize $5000
  42. Fusion RiseUp Hackathon – November 15, 2014
  43. Camp Interactive Microsoft Hackathon – January 31, 2015 as a Mentor
  44. AT&T NYU ABILITY Technology Hackathon – March 14, 2015
  45. ScriptEd Student Hackathon – May 9, 2015 as a Mentor
  46. Comedy Day Hackathon – Final 7 – May 15th, 2015
  47. Hackster Hardware Weekend – May 22, 2015
  48. Virtual Reality Hackathon – July 11, 2015 as a Mentor and Participant
  49. Coders vs Cancer Hackathon – September 11, 2015
  50. VR Hearst Immersive Hack – October 24, 2015 as a Mentor and Participant
  51. Mastercard Hackathon – Master of Code – November 7, 2015, Top 4 Projects
  52. Stupid Hackathon – February 7th, 2016
  53. Cornell Health Tech Hackathon – March 5th, 2016 as a Mentor
  54. MVP Hackathon sponsored by Serval Ventures – April 9th, 2016
  55. UX Prototyping Mini Hackathon Series: Hackers for Literacy – April 13, 2016; won Best Prototype Design




Buffer SWOT Analysis

  • Product Strategy
    • Transparent Roadmap
    • Alignment
      • More features in the backlog are prepped for Business customers
  • Community
    • Dedicated users
      • Passionate user base willing to switch from Edgar and Instagram API to Buffer
    • Leverage community for support
      • Product council
      • Beta testers
      • Word of mouth marketing
  • Sales
    • Is the customer success team / happiness hero part of the business on-boarding team or sales team or sales engineering team?
    • Case studies are good but can be stronger use cases and value statement
    • Nature of user – need to analyze how to move up organization (ex: Land and Expand)
    • Business tier plan, free -to- $99biz -to- $899 enterprise, nothing in between
      • Need to create additional plan for anchoring
      • Business pricing plans confuse with Team pricing plans
  • Product
    • Lack synergy with all the products
      • Currently its 3 *separate* products
      • Create a foundation base or system of record and then proceed to build a social media marketing suite on top of the system of record (ex: Hubspot, Salesforce)
      • Focus on bundling jobs concepts to solve customers problems (ex: Intercom)
    • Features are unknown due to UI
      • You can post comment on Facebook posts inside Analytics; UX is unclear
    • “Non-binary Actions”
      • Highly discourage from recommending any future Post Suggestion or Hashtag Suggestions (non-binary actions) features
    • Dependency of Platforms
      • unable to use some features (tagging) due to official API
  • Developer Community
    • Need to grow developer community, low developer content
    • Currently unable to scale problem-solving to users / customers request
  • Community
    • Develop 3rd party developer community
    • Enabling developers to attain greater revenue growth
    • Promote Buffer API to unlock various use cases
    • Turn into an App Store Directory
      • Example Slack: 8AFF2018-B7B3-4A90-BB1F-DA2FAC2A7761
    • Shine lights on Buffer culture for future engineers and technical hires
  • Buffer Platform / Product
    • Moving beyond simple workflow to take over piece of a typical company software suite, and can make Buffer as the premier software similar to Salesforce
    • What is everyone’s marketing stack, and how can it integrate well with others
      • Maximize integrations with Zapier and IFTTT
    • Leverage Buffer’s historical data for 3rd party
      • Encourage the product team to strip down and re-think about how Buffer can utilize the social media metric data it already has to build a core data foundation for businesses
      • Recommend the product team to weave in usage between the 3 products as a product strategy moving forward
      • C56F58D2-4158-498F-9EE1-CC5FE81B195F
    • Encourage customers on collaboration and build draft and creative space – because pricing based on seats
  • Sales
    • Purchase for your whole team – use professionally, everyone should be on social
    • Create more education content for feature suggestion (ex: Neil Patel-type content for “how to find best hashtags”)
    • As product move up-market, need to shape the sales conversations
  • Competitors
    • Way too many competitors of various sizes
    • Larger competitors compete against business customers – switching cost might be too high (ex: Newscred)
  • Climate
    • Seasonal purchase pattern and usage
      • Baremetric Downgrades for Businesses need to be analyze; unable to keep small business plan customers at same rate as Upgrades
    • Require sales to negotiate and tap into marketing budget for bigger clients
JTBD USERS JOBS (as study from building OzContent and analysis in Newscred & Percolate)
  1. When I, a social media strategist, have an idea and I am ready to share content, I want to easily create a text message under 140 characters, so I can post it on Twitter.
  2. When I have my social media post ready and approved, I want to schedule and post to all my social media channels at once, so that it will save me time.
  3. When I receive a notification regarding my posts, I want respond / converse to comments for every channel in one single interface, so I don’t have navigate through multiple social media sites.
  4. When I want to know what shared post resonated, I want to review analytics and metrics, so I can continue to post content from similar topics that resonated.
  5. When I want to create content, I want to group content together as “campaigns”, so I can cleanly analyze topic and group posts that resonated well.
  6. When I realize I have different use cases for my company and clients, I want to customize my Buffer scheduling needs, so I can save time by building a customized one-time workflow without adjusting my clients to our original workflow.
  7. When I finished my contract with my client, I want to switch out their social media channels easily and I can charge my clients a % share of my SaaS products usage, so I can off-board my clients cleanly and fluently without any issues.
  8. branding (url shorteners, hashtags analytics)
  9. When I want to write a draft post, I want to use a simple Wysiwyg, so I can record my thoughts without anxiety of advance editing.
  10. When I want to share ideas, I want to collaborate draft materials with my colleagues, so we can develop mindshare on our social media posts.
  11. When I am on the go, I want to be alert about trending topics, so I can capitalize on posting to social media.
  12. When I am too focus on other activities, I want to receive recommendation based on our analytics data, so I can discover opportunities when I am inactive.
  13. When I learn more about readers / followers / customers as a whole, I want to drill down a follower list and graph, so I can see which segment is more engaging.
  14. When I am uncertain about how my posts are doing, I want to request feedback from my audience, so I can further engage with them and understand if my content posts are working or not.
  15. When I feel like my posts can do better and I need more understanding, I want to receive more training, and want more learning about best-practices, so I can execute and be better at my job.
  16. When I remember or want to find out how an post did, I want to search posted content, so I can know if the post did well or not and if the overall topic area resonated.
  • minimum time on app should not be a dashboard to hang out on
  • connect from sources and feeds
    • what are users doing with the RSS sources? are they drafting on top of it immediately?
  • get hashtag, maximize exposure
  • tagging, and editing
  • looking for full stack solutions
  • publishing / engagement / reporting
  • see growth coming from all channels

How to use data and experiments to drive engagement inside Facebook Group?


Managing and growth hacking your community

How do you drive engagement inside a Facebook Group? How do you discover what content and topic conversations resonate when you have 3,000 entrepreneurs inside your group?

I am an avid listener of the Startup Chat podcast with Hiten Shah and Steli Efti. On one of their latest podcasts, they spoke about experimenting with their The Startup Chat Facebook Group and I eagerly volunteered.

If you are wondering if creating a Facebook Group is right for your brand and business, read this awesome post by Thinkific to get started.

If you have already created a Facebook Group, and want to growth hack your community with data-driven experiments, read on.


Slack to Buffer Integration Prototype


User Request
User Questions
  • How did you come up the idea / request to want to Buffer a link in the Slack command line?
  • How often do you share links with your team or community in Slack?
  • What are your current methods to Buffer links you found in Slack?
  • How many social media accounts do you have connected to Buffer?
Assumptions to Validate
  • The number of Buffer users that also use Slack
  • How many Slack links are not buffered
  • Who are the targeted user?
  • How accessible is it to use via Slack mobile
User Usage
  • Slack Autocomplete Command
    • Description: Send CHANNEL | URL | TEXT to Buffer
    • Hint: [twitter | facebook | all] [URL] [your message]
Features Backlog
  • Authenticate Slack application
  • Each user need to authenticate their Buffer account
    • Buffer account ID match up to Slack account ID
  • Return success and error message to User
  • User can select which Buffer social media accounts to buffer to
  • User receive error message on cap post limit
  • User can send text only without URL
    • Detect if URL placeholder is not URL format, route following string as Text
Chores Backlog
  • Case insensitive on channel command
    • “twitter” vs. “Twitter” vs. “TWITTER”
  • Reduce timeout sequences
    • Update server capacities
  • Send error message if text is not URL format
  • User can type /buffer help to find command list
  • User can put in a schedule on the Slack command line to buffer to
    • Parse variation of time stamps
  • Links are parsed to identify image and media as well as the meta description
  • User can share to multiple accounts rather than “All”
    • Require refactor code to split command line message
  • User can share image
  • User can use option “Share Now”
  • Buffer posts are tagged with “via Slack”
  • Team Admin can view log of links Buffer-ed
  • Replace Slack bot icon with Buffer icon

Buffer Suggestion for Facebook Group Questions



  • Admins and moderators want conversations that increase engagement inside their Facebook Group.
  • Alternative to “What do you want to share?” text area placeholder by triggering content ideation.
Use Case
  • This app provides prompts and ideas for scheduling thoughtful conversations.
  • Questions revives social chatter and continues ongoing conversations based on your most popular content.
  • Members can buffer multiple questions ideas in one session.
  • Can be use for Twitter and LinkedIn as well.
Assumptions to Validate
  • What is the Text / Image / Article share ratio used via Buffer ?
  • Are members more responsive to questions versus sharing content?
  • Are there any alternative to ideating engagement?
Added Value
  • Goal is to creates conversations through message and text rather than recycle content.
  • Buffer helps distribute content, but engagement metrics with the content remains underutilized.
  • Facebook Questions is personalized based on previous content and post success.
  • Used to drive a community environment inside Facebook Group.
  • Based on identifying highly engaged topic inside Facebook Group, members can follow up with question writing ideas.
  • The underlying technology here is providing recommendations based on keywords parsed from post message.
  • Alternative to Buffer Suggestions, where categories-based NLP bubbles up to topic too general to create meaningful adjacent ideas.
  • Question prompts are collected from Quora, GrowthHackers Ask GH, HackerNews Ask HN, etc..
  • Number of Comments on question-post
  • Number of Comments by multiple members
  • Number of Replies to comments by other members
  • Number of Likes via questions



Follow me on Medium

A Sentence a Day Keeps the Doldrums at Bay
How to Journal Daily like a Champ

I believe reflecting on your life will make you happier. Sometimes we go through the day so fast, we don’t have time to assess how lucky our day was. And I always forget to contemplate on what I learned, or my takeaway for the day.

One of the major reasons why people are not doing well is because they keep trying to get through the day. A more worthy challenge is to try to get from the day. — Jim Rohn

Who is my entrepreneurial inspiration? My mom.


My family and I immigrated to NYC, USA in 1996 from Hong Kong when I was 7 years old. To me, I didn’t know what was going on except now I live in a cold snowy place. We know English just a little bit but acclimating to the culture was tough, especially for my mom.

By default, she ended up working at a sweat shop sewing buttons together for less than 3 cent per button. My mom did this probably for 7–8 years until the sweat shop businesses in NYC started to dwindle. She then worked at a laundry mat folding cloths for minimum wage. She overheard she was going to get lay off because the laundry mat was not getting enough business.

She took a chance, self-employed, didn’t speak a lick of English, and started cleaning apartments. Going into strangers’ houses and being a cleaning lady. My mom does chores around the house, so she is familiar with chores, but she had to gradually learn how to communicate in English, find clients, make business cards, have the courage to find work in a foreign place, and basically learning how to survive. She became an entreprenuer out of necessity to support her 3 kids who were all going to college and with bills to pay.

Overall, she inspired me the strength of being a parent. My mom is a big part of my life. She shaped our household. She did everything she can to support me so I can try to become an entreprenuer too. Everyday I look to her as example of hard work and determination.


Ultimate Guide to Winning a Hackathon


What I learned after 40 Hackathons

Jason Calacanis wrote a post on How to Win a Hackathon — which is a thoughtful read on the topic. After being involved in over 40 hackathons as participant, I thought sharing my experience would be valuable.

I attended my first hackathon in 2012, I considered myself an “ideas guyat the time, which is someone who has a lot of ideas but can’t implement them. But after the first one, I was hooked. I loved the thrill of having only 24 hours to develop something and the ability to work with great teams of people.

In going to hackathons, I learned a lot, fast. And along the way changed from being an ideas guy to a real programmer, someone who was capable of building my dreams. I ended up participating in a lot of hackathons, over 40 of them (listed here) and won at over 20 of them. The strategies and tactics I learned are below:


POV Documentary Mock Prototype

POV’s objective of being the content distribution hub. Mobile application allows viewers to come back to POV on a daily / weekly basis as their key destination for the latest in documentary films.

The design is inspired by Yahoo News and Medium. Simplicity of viewing, consuming imageries, and bookmarking and reminder to watch full-length films – with a limit of 5 documentaries per update. Everything else, it left off for a cleaner interface.


VoiceUp – Secret, the app for Enterprise 2.0


VoiceUp provide an outlet for employees to be a honest and transparent while remaining anonymity. Feedbacks are collected for leadership teams to address. Ultimately, improving employee engagement and addressing critical needs within the enterprise.

Using sentiment analysis when user compose a message. Negative comments will turn the background red, while positive comments will turn the background green. This provides a second chance for user to re-think before posting harsh criticism.

In addition, user can post to channels such as either Global, within their own Department, associated Yammer groups, and based on expertise other co-workers might have.

Presented at : Techcrunch Disrupt

Read more:


Naptar – Benefit & Assistance Calendar App

Naptár provides knowledge and education about government assistance, services within the community, employment news, and family discount built on top of a calendar application for activities to become actionable, and low-income families to take advantage of these resources.

Distribution Strategy
B2B – Employers
Allow employees to keep track of billings, deadline, government assistance
Take advantage of free classes to advance skills
B2C – Community Leaders
Assist community members to receive government aids
Connect members to events

Initial Barrier (Pre-app)
Language Dependency
Confidence / Asking for Help
Community vs. Strangers
Late to apply
Don’t know where to get assistance
Don’t know if qualify

Uneven income
Mental Budgeting
Paying bills late

Enablement (Post-app)
Community Resources
Distribution to a group
Applying on time
Now know where to get assistance
Qualification based on Profile

Income anticipation
Smartphone Reminder
Paying bills on time



Realizing that the greatest opportunity we have in life is the process of discovering what we love to do–and then dedicating our life accordingly. When we close that gap, we live a life where Mondays are celebrated as much as Fridays and “someday” is today.