I'm A Product Guy.

Good, bad, great, all products can be better.

If you’re like me, you slightly obsess over every product you come across and are either impressed and inspired by an amazing experience or deeply disappointed by a total miss.  I can’t keep this ecstasy or misery to myself so there’s usually some rant which follows.

Meerkat v. Periscope

This month, with Meerkat announcing coverage of @sharkweek and Nestlé running the first ever sponsored Periscope, @drumstick, livestream video moves closer to mainstream.  But are they ready for primetime?

It’s still too early to call this one, both services have shown promise; moving from just grabbing users with Discovery and Sharing use cases to holding them with deeper Engagement while creating an Ecosystem for developers.

Let’s compare Meerkat and Periscope against how well they Grab and Hold viewers and creators. 



Discovery is seminal for growth; for livestream video to gain adoption, viewers must find content.  So far it’s been rough sledding; finding streams is more happenstance than anything.  But, there’re been a few bright spots: the Meerkat browser plugin launches a page which contains an Alice In Wonderland like question “Bored? Random Meerkat” which launches you into a random livestream.  This feature is fun, I like it, it embraces the randomness of finding livestream videos. While Periscope offers their Twitter page, ho hum.  But then again Periscope has full Twitter Social Graph for finding your friends and a respectable search for finding others, like celebs and public figures.  Meerkats search requires typing an exact Twitter handle - which is remedial search, more like an “enter box.”



Periscope’s Map View, is great! it’s a creative way to open a window up to a place.  “What’s happening in Sao Paulo?” tap it to list local livestreams. 



Sharing makes livestream social, viral and growth exponential.  Initially, sharing options for both were predictably limited to Twitter posts.  Since, Meerkat has been busy and now offers Facebook posts and share to phone contacts; and from their website player include Twitter, Facebook, and copy link; the table below lists the rest.



Meerkat’s Embedded Player, is a crafty tool that allows creators to insert a livestream player onto their site. It’s easy, check it out!  Discovery Channel is using this for the upcoming @sharkweek livestream.  


Twitter acquired Periscope to help with their infamous Engagement problem.  And if livestream video expects to live up to its great expectations the content must be more engaging; holding the users they’ve grabbed after the initial novelty wears off.  Recently, they’ve both shown promise in their own way; Meerkat with fun, quirky animations and easter eggs, mobbing, and basic scheduling (dare I say ‘scheduled programming?’ we’re not there yet) and Periscope with private broadcasts - give the non-exhibitioninsts a nudge.  



Meerkats’ Mobbing, effectively makes livestreaming social by promoting popular streams which are trending.  And there’s a cute graphic of a meerkat in a yellow submarine. 

Pericsope’s Design, is slick, clean with a well-organized layout and a fit and finish expected from a product a year in the making.  The iconography is beautiful and just makes sense and even data heavy displays like user profile cards are refreshingly legible.   The map views support their fundamental vision: to share a person’s window into a place. 


For services which capture and broadcast live content their surrounding Ecosystem is critical.  Think about it; the components in their must have user experience: from the hardware used to capture and play livestream videos to the sites they depend on for sharing this content and adding new users.  Ecosystem is the silent, behind the scenes growth multiplier.  So far, Meerkat is way out in front here.  Nowhere is this more obvious than with the number of 3rd Party projects listed on Product Hunt, producthunt.com, 17 for Meerkat and just 5 for Periscope.    



Meerkat’s 3rd Party Services, could be how Meerkat stays competitive with Twitter owned Periscope.  Of the 17 services listed on Product Hunt one of my favorites is the browser plugin that launches the Meerkat portal page which includes the “Random Meerkat” button and alerts of streams going live.


  1. Meerkat cozies up to Facebook, says “I’ll see your Twitter Social Graph and raise you a Facebook.”  What’s better than 300 million users? well, 1.44 billion users.

  2. Periscope is caught up in Twitter’s management drama - dramaa! - product development and innovation start to slow.

  3. Livestream video breaks out into wearables, like Google Glass (don't call it a "comeback"), and drones.

Meerkat Livestream Alert Posted To Facebook

Meerkat Livestream Alert Posted To Facebook


The reports of Meerkat’s death were greatly exaggerated by more than one guy and they’re fighting back after losing their early lead.  

But while Meerkat is winning the feature chase, their product efforts, at times, seem like throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks. 

 The mixed bag of often half-baked features lacks clarity and a cohesive direction.  Without a vision they’ll soon lose their befuddled audience.  For a startup with limited resources that which you don't do is more important than what you do.  Saying “no” focuses the team on what matters, putting more wood behind fewer arrows.  On the other hand, Periscope has been more measured and professional but is starting to fall behind in functionality and as Meerkat’s API and ecosystem take off it’ll be difficult to keep pace with the ‘kat.  Will it be Meerkat? Periscope? or both that take livestream video into mainstream?