December 5, 2013 Add Comment Pooja

Tom Troja (CEO, Social Symphony) and Michelle Lapierre (Sr. Dir. of Customer Experience, Marriott Rewards) provide a deeper perspective about Marriott Rewards and speak about how companies can empower their customers and communicate their brand’s message/values through relevant interactions and engagement.


Above  is a photo of  Chute’s Co-Founder Greg Narain introducing the Marriott case study. (Credit: Maria Ogneva)

What are people saying?:

Sheila Collins ‏@SheilaDCollins

Words (reach) + Photos (engagement) = Art of Words  #marriottrewards #VisualRevolution

CanCan ‏@MomMostTraveled

RT @Abuckalew: “Marriott will help you with your path in life.” Using their ‘product’ to improve their users’ lives. #VisualRevolution

Visual Revolution ‏@VisualRevSummit

#VisualRevolution is about harnessing & sharing the love & meaningful memories from fans @MarriottRewards session

Ravi Mongia ‏@RaviMongia

“Words give you reach. Photos give you engagement. You need that balance.” – Marriott Case Study from #VisualRevolution

Join us at @VisualRevSummit!

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September 20, 2013 Add Comment Jay Park

After months of beta-testing and waiting, iOS 7 finally hit the public with an incredible 35% adoption across all Apple products on the first day alone. For anyone that has seen the new update, there are some radical changes to the beloved iOS–both aesthetically and functionally.

So, we decided to help focus  it down into 7 of our favorite features on the new iOS!

1. The Camera

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Obviously, as a visually-driven company, we’re going to love the improvements made to the camera app. With a possible Instagram-angle in mind, you can now take pictures in a square-format to reduce the need to crop and even apply in-phone filters. There’s also a burst shot feature which allows for rapid-fire picture taking (the iPhone 5s can take 10 photos per second!).

2. The Control-Center

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While Android users are rather unimpressed with this update, it was much needed for Apple users. No longer will people have to toggle back and forth in the settings to quickly adjust brightness or turn on/off wi-fi; with a simple swipe up, a master control-center will allow quick access to music, brightness, airplane mode, and more.

3. Message Time Stamps

A minuscule addition to the new iOS is the ability to see the exact time that a text message was sent in a conversation. Before, there was only a general time frame for when a conversation took place, but if you swipe to the left in a message, you are able to see exact time records.

4. Airdrop

The iPhone has long been compared to Android for lacking innovation; the infamous commercial of Galaxy users able to share files merely bumping phones had Apple fanboys green with envy. With the introduction of Airdrop, Apple users no longer have reason for jealousy: virtually any sharable item (aside from music) can be shared over the app.

5. Block

For the first time, iPhone users can block unwanted calls and texts. Simply go into Settings, Phone, and hit Blocked; from there, you can choose any number or contact to block. Now, you won’t have to receive those six daily calls from that telemarketer that wants to sign you up for a 10-year subscription to Cats on Wheels Digest.

6. iTunes Radio

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Think of it as Pandora or Spotify but already built into your phone along with your other music. Everything is free (as long as you like ads and limit the songs you can skip), but there is a year-long subscription for $24.99

7. Phone Level

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Now this one’s a little more hidden, but if you go to Compass and swipe left, you will see that Apple has integrated a level app into the device. Use it next time you’re hanging a photo or building a table.

That’s our rundown of our favorite iOS 7 updates, what are your favorites? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter!

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June 27, 2013 Add Comment Jay Park

With the unprecedented popularity of visual content in social media over the past few years (Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.), photography is no longer just for the professionals. Millions of amateur photographers, armed with their smartphone cameras, are marching into the world–one picture at a time.

Now here’s where it gets even crazier: new programs and mobile apps are being developed everyday to make the post-edit process simpler as well. Whether you want to touch-up, edit, or compile your photos, there’s an app for any and all your needs.

The downside? There are literally hundreds of different apps you can choose from; so to help you streamline that entire process, here are a couple of our favorite apps from the office here at Chute.


A favorite among the Instagram community and professional photographers, as well as my own, is the VSCO Cam™ (Free) by Visual Supply Company.

The great thing about the VSCO Cam is the photo editing quality you get at an extremely reasonable price–free. You can mess with exposure, temperature, and contrast settings along with rotating and cropping photos, all within the same app. Not to mention it also comes with filters.” Gone are the days of using high-tech computer software to edit photos; you can get brilliant results in the palm of your hand–expediting the entire process.

Available in the App Store; FREE

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Make something beautiful even moreso with the multiple editing tools (@mypjays)

A Beautiful Mess

Next on our list is A Beautiful Mess, recommended by our own Kate Torres. From the creators of the award-winning lifestyle blog, “A Beautiful Mess,” the app allows you to customize photos with fun fonts, filters, and hand-drawn doodles.

“I recommend this app for any blog writers or somebody that is trying to find a really cool way to highlight the content that they’re talking about. You’ve got some really cool texts and borders. It’s just really unique and girly and fun,” says Kate. While it’s great to see beautiful and gorgeous photos in your Instagram feed, sometimes you need to inject some personality and whimsy to make things more uplifting.

Available in the App Store; $0.99

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 Sleepy Wayne is even cuter using the cool effects on A Beautiful Mess (@thepolaroidkid)


Our last (but certainly not least) recommendation for the day is PicLab, courtesy of Monica Watson. Created by digital creative agencies adamo and apperto,

“I really like PicLab because it gives you a lot of really powerful tools in one app–a text editor along with some really cool overlays/borders, filters, and advanced coloring options. The design of it is also really slick. It’s very easy to use and very intuitive.” PicLab is somewhat of a combination of the above; it has great editing tools alongside the fun text and border additions. Keep your phone a little less cluttered with PicLab.

Available in the App Store; FREE

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Overlay, filters, and text edits–all in one app, with breathtaking results (@monicakwatson)

Don’t see your favorite on the list? Let us know in your comments below!

And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to see how we’re using these apps.

Jay: @mypjays

Kate: @thepolaroidkid

Monica: @monicakwatson

Chute: @getchute

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June 18, 2013 Add Comment Jay Park

Marketing’s purpose is to appeal to the public and get them excited enough to buy into a product, event, or idea. The first step of marketing is to grab someone’s attention. The second step, and most difficult, is to hold that attention to build a stronger and more long-term relationship with the consumer.

A few years ago, content for marketing was created months in advance and then distributed and repeated to consumers. Today, the thought process hasn’t changed much even though our culture has. Retargeting through banner ads has become the golden child of online marketing, despite research that demonstrates the ineffectiveness of using repeated content.

Human Attention to Visual Stimuli

Let’s take a step back and analyze from a non-marketing perspective. At the root of all these theories and proposals is the mighty question: how are people going to react? Human attention has been studied by scientists for decades, ranging from infants to adolescents to adults.

In one study of infants, ranging from 14-to-52 weeks old, researchers measured their attention to faces and various stimuli (both strange and familiar). Conclusive results showed that in the older infants, their look duration tended to decline when repeatedly exposed to the same patterned stimuli, or faces; however, when shown new and different images, they tended to look at the object for the same, if not longer, period of time.

Keep your babies entertained, or they’ll lose interest fast! (taken from Instagram, @mypjays)

What this phenomenon tells us is that this basic property of human behavior is instilled in us from infancy. As an audience, we easily become bored with banners, billboard ads, and commercials the more they are shown to us. For example, everyone loves the revealing of the annual SuperBowl ads for their fresh and entertaining content; however, when shown the same commercial weeks later, our reaction is much different than it was initially because we become bored with recurring content.

Live advertisement offers fresh, engaging content every single time.

Authentic Engagement

Perhaps the most effective approach to marketing is user engagement and integration. While innovative and creative ads can be interesting to view once or twice (such as the SuperBowl ads), users who are able to personally interact and shape content feel a much stronger connection to the platform. We’ve seen this in past Chute-powered campaign launches by companies like Vanity Fair and the NBA, and now what we’re doing at Chute is taking the real-time and user-generated content that makes these campaigns so engaging and bringing them to ads.

New user content is still getting uploaded to VF’s ‘Best Dressed’ Challenge!

Months after the Vanity Fair ‘Best Dressed Challenge,’ new entries are still flowing in – creating evergreen content that can be syndicated across a variety of sites. This constant engagement and audience shows the sustained effectiveness of the real-time and user-generated experience.

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Photography has never been a solitary experience. From the moment you press the shutter button to the moment you share the photo, photography is about capturing and creating memories and connections with other people. With the creation and mass adoption of Instagram, whole communities have popped up devoted to being a part of what Instagrammer @RaviVora calls the Instagram Generation.

During an Instameet in Santa Monica, California, Vora filmed the above mini-documentary. Instagram, Vora argues, is the most personal of all the social networks. It provides a window into the lives and minds of each user. Lori writes:

While technology interfaces for us, and our virtual lives overtake our analog existence, the ironically titled social media encourages isolation over real interpersonal communication. One social media outlet seems to contradict this notion, however. Welcome to an Instagram Generation.

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“They marched the entire 26.2 miles #bostonmarathon #america #BAA” – Photo by Instagram user brehm5.

The tragedy at the Boston Marathon left all of us in shock yesterday. But despite this, one thing we have been struck by is the help and care that is pouring in – from businesses and individuals alike. Around the country, people are coming together to mourn and heal – both in-person and online, and mobile creators are sharing images in honor and support of victims.

These people – the ones who ran toward the explosion to help victims, the ones offering their time, homes, and money to help the affected, the ones creating and sharing images to keep the people of Boston in our thoughts – they inspire us. They remind us that even though a few people can do terrible and dark things, the majority of humanity is good.

We’ve shared some of the images coming in below. If you want to help, this Huffington Post article gives suggestions.


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Photo Hack Day 4 Wrap Up

We started off Photo Hack Day 4 weekend with an official pre-party here at Chute HQ. We had a great crowd come in and eat, drink, and strategize for the hackathon. Thanks to everyone who came out and made the event such a success!

Chute team at Photo Hack Day 4

Photo Hack Day itself was a blast. We loved working with the developers who used Chute to develop fun and innovative apps. We gave our top prize for the best use of Chute to Makeup Artist, a lifestyle app that lets users upload a photo and give their self a virtual makeover. It was awesome to see what developers and designers were able to put together in 24 hours, and we look forward to seeing which apps from this weekend will be released in the future.

If you want to relive the weekend or weren’t able to make it, check out the SlideChute gallery below for some of our favorite photos. You can also check out more photos from the event over at our Facebook page.

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Google+ launches in-app photo editor

Google has recently rolled out an update to it’s Google+ app that features a powerful in-app photo editing tool thanks to its acquisition of Nik Software back in September.

google+ photo editer

The new photo editor features basic editing components like rotating and cropping, but the real magic lies in the filters. Preloaded Instagram-style filters line the bottom of the screen, but once a filter is selected the user has a whole new range of customization options. Sweeping up and down lets you select options like the style strength, brightness, saturation, contrast, texture coverage, and others depending on the filter. The most surprising part is how simple it is. With so many options, one would think the photo editing system would be clunky and complicated. But instead it is really quite simple.

Instagram popularized the idea of having a pocket dark room, and now tools like Google’s photo editor are making the concept a standard in any form of photo sharing.

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Front Lines of the Visual Revolution

February 6, 2013 Add Comment Monica Watson

Every Wednesday, we select three companies that exemplify the Visual Revolution. What do you think of this week’s choices and who do you think should be featured next week?

1. Expedia

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Expedia’s Find Yours campaign took off last fall with a series of moving travel-themed videos. Now, the company is giving users the chance to tell their own personal story with the Find Your Story Facebook application. Users select the starting and end point of their journey, what they “found” on the trip, 10 photos from Facebook or Instagram, a filter for the video, and music. The app creates a more personalized experience in the documentation process and lets Expedia be a part of that experience.

2. IBM

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Tumblr may not seem like the obvious choice for IBM. However, IBM, with marketing firm Ogilvy, has come up with a creative way to make the platform work for them. Their Tumblr, or IBMblr, serves as a celebration of innovation. This is something IBM is well-versed in, with having the most patents over the past 20 years. The page features visual and informative content such as illustrations, GIFs, and videos.

3. Chrysler

A photograph can hold a lot of power – capturing a moment, feeling, or thought frozen in time. During the Super Bowl, Chrysler’s Dodge Ram ad featured only photos along with audio from radio broadcaster Paul Harvey’s famous “God Made a Farmer” speech. The images featured moments from farmers’ daily lives, and it was a recreation of a video from This commercial was the kick-off to Chrysler’s Year of the Farmer campaign for 2013, and the slideshow was met with an overwhelmingly positive response on Twitter, according to ABC News.

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Y-Combinator Backed Chute Lands New Funding from Freestyle Capital, Battery Ventures, U.S. Venture Partners and Strategic Angels

We’re excited to announce the close of a new round of funding for Chute!   The round was lead by Freestyle Capital, with participation from Battery Ventures, USVP and strategic investors including, Joe Fernandez, Binh Tran, and Joshua Reeves among others.

Find the official press release below:


San Francisco, CA; July 24, 2012 – Chute, the Y Combinator backed company that
helps apps and sites capture, manage and display media files, today announced it has
secured a new round of early stage venture funding. Freestyle Capital (who led), Battery
Ventures, USVP and a handful of strategic investors including, Joe
Fernandez and Binh Tran (the CEO and CTO of Klout), and Joshua Reeves (CEO of
Zen Payroll) contributed to the round.

Chute makes it easy for content producers and app developers to add photo functionality to their apps or sites by simply embedding a few lines of code. Chute’s technology gives developers and online publishers a cloud-based backend for image uploading, processing, moderation, third-party API integrations and user authentication.

“The best brands and publishers in the industry are bringing user generated media alive
and displaying it on their site, on their Facebook pages, in their mobile apps, or at live
events; anywhere their content lives,” said Ranvir Gujral, Co-Founder of Chute. “Chute
lets them do this. With Chute, publishers, brands, and application developers no longer
have to re-invent the wheel every time they want to build functionality to capture user
generated media like photos. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, believe it will be an
exciting ride and feel great about the investors we have alongside us.”

While still currently in beta, Chute has seen incredible customer growth and engagement since its inception in 2011, including a number of new customer use cases at publishers like and Lucky Magazine, big brands like Taylormade and Havaianas, and live entertainment companies like House of Blues Entertainment and L.A. Live. Given Chute’s cloud based platform is of particular interest to large publishers and media companies, the company was accepted into Turner Broadcasting’s new accelerator, Media Camp, a selective program for digital media startups.

“Chute has taken the time to understand and address the strategy for
social sharing,” said Jen Brown, General Manager. “The Chute user
experience integrates beautifully with our editorial product, making for a seamless user
experience and maximizing engagement.”

“As a founder of two successful digital media companies, I got the explosive potential
of Chute in the first meeting,” said Josh Felser, Freestyle Capital Co-Founder. “There is no better way for publishers and brands to add images and related virality to their online experiences and the Chute team knows this space intimately.”

Mikey Kilun, Senior Manager, Social Media for House of Blues Entertainment
adds, “Chute provided a dynamic branded UGC experience that we leveraged across
a few of our key social media and web assets. These hash-tag driven content feeds
tend to be highly viral and helped to drive brand awareness and fan engagement for our
venues and events.”

The company will apply the new funds to hiring and investing in sales and marketing.

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