News

Gathering consumer feedback on mobile apps for the connected car

MakeItDriveableIf you like to discover new mobile apps and are curious about the latest trends in connected cars, you would have loved this event I attended recently. I was a participant at Ford’s “Make It Driveable” startup hackathon held October 25-26th, 2017 in Paris. The event featured innovative mobile applications for the connected car. My role was to organize and moderate two consumer focus groups.

The mobile apps were developed by French and international startups and focused on a range of mobility solutions, from locating a parking spot to getting help from a virtual assistant, ordering food or listening to audio podcasts. The apps run on SYNC AppLink, Ford’s in-car hardware. AppLink enables users to sync their smartphone and use a wide variety of mobile apps to make their driving time more enjoyable or productive.

Ford was looking for input on how mobile apps create an in-car experience and will use the focus group results for internal discussion. I recruited an even mix of age groups (Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers) and nationalities (France and EMEA). We watched a short demo of a mobile app presented by the startup developer, then I questioned the participants for their feedback. I used my journalism experience to create an atmosphere that encouraged a dynamic exchange of opinions.

Ford Make It Driveable Paris

I present focus group findings with Jason Weiss of Axis Innovations

3 winning mobile apps were selected by a panel of judges and those startups each received a $10,000 award.  The exciting finale took place at the Tour Eiffel and I presented some research highlights from the focus groups.

Les Echos, a French business journal, reported on the event in this video (in English with French subtitles).

Ford press release on Make It Driveable and an article in French.


Axis Paris Cap Digital – Futur en Seine June 8th, 2017

Futur en Seine

Interviewing Eric Benhamou, a long-time innovator in Silicon Valley

Axis Innovation and Cap Digital had partnered up to create this exclusive annual event which hosted captains of the global tech world, investor pioneers and disruptive startups. They came together in Paris to meet, network and connect for funding opportunities and creating international strategic partnerships. The event ran concurrently with Futur en Seine, a digital festival that attracts an average of 25,000 visirors from around the world.

I conducted an interview with Eric Benhamou, the former CEO of 3Com and CEO of Palm Computing, which developed the most successful handheld computer in the 1990s, the Palm Pilot. The Pilot represented a major leap forward in how we communicated and worked with information, and the operating system was way ahead of its time. Eric’s leadership was driving that innovation so it was really interesting to hear his predictions on the next wave of disruptive technologies.

Click here to view a video recap of Axis Paris Cap Digital 2017.


In my free time, I’ve published two bi-lingual (French/English) books of photography and prose: “VISIONS Ephémères: perception et illusion / Ephemeral VISIONS: perception and illusion” and “Le Cercle de la Vie: Recueil de Perles de Sagesse / The Circle of Life: Gathering Pearls of Wisdom”. VISIONS Ephémères was accepted to be included in the permanent art and photography collection at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.

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