Blog Post

What, no fist Bump?

bump_main_screen_with_phone_copy-scaled1000-e1294707745219.pngCall me a sucker for cool networking tools, but I love Bump and wrote about the Mountain View, Calif.-based back in August 2010. The company’s audacious goal – to bridge the physical and digital world – made a lot of sense to me. Investors, too, liked the company and have pumped in over $20 million into the company.

Since then, apparently 77 million have downloaded the Bump app and 12 million have used it in past 30 days.


Except I don’t know anyone who either has the app or uses it. I happen to meet a lot of people, and I often ask them to Bump their contact details to me, but most give me a vacant look they normally reserve for a person with limited grip of their faculties. Once when I asked a girl to Bump me her contact info, she left for the ladies room and never came back.

I still don’t get why more people don’t use Bump. It makes sharing contacts so easy. It must be the feature creep — they added a lot of features like sharing music, calendar and other apps, none of which made sense. Hopefully the new focus to go back to its roots — photos and contacts will help them win back attention.

By the way, any theories you have why Bump?

Update: Bump co-founder and CEO David Lieb writes in an email:

Bump frankly isn’t solving a big problem for the Silicon Valley tech crowd.  We all have large online presences and can easily connect via many other means.  For sharing photos, we all have Dropbox accounts and are comfortable posting most photos to Facebook.  But for normal people (12 million of them in just the last 30 days), Bump makes these interactions really accessible and simple. [attached a photo of our Bump Map from our lobby this morning].
For example, a woman from Tennessee that we recently spoke with told us this story:  She recently had a baby, and she uses Bump to give photos of the baby from the last week to her parents when she and her family have Sunday night dinners together.  She uses Bump b/c it lets her tell a story about the photos in person, rather than just sending an email or posting to FB.  It’s somewhat akin to sharing double prints bak when we had photos printed.
We’re also working on some things that we think will resonate with the tech crowd as well as the non-tech crowd; would love to show them to you when we’re a bit closer to launching those.

15 Responses to “What, no fist Bump?”

  1. James Bradshaw IV

    The simple problem with bump which has been the app store since almost day one, is that:
    First the other person has to have the app already installed or the moment is lost.
    Second: The whole use of the app is clunky. You have to have it on your home page or then you have to search for it. Wait for it load. Be signed in already. yada yada yada.
    By that time I could just send you and imessage/mms with my vCard.

    The only thing that will solve this is an API built into the iOS that serves the sole purpose of easy contact information exchange for end users.

  2. The last time I used bump was about a year and a half ago at a private meeting about a new social app. At the time I was the only one who had the app and so it worked out as a great conversation starter. By the end of the conversation there was a lot of fist bumping going on. I did notice that most of them were hesitant to fist bump even after they down loaded the app and tried it. Bump kind of reminds me of poken. Another tool that I enjoy but haven’t been able to find others who have it yet.

  3. Ouriel Ohayon

    Actually the only way Bump could be really useful? As a core feature of an OS. It only makes sense if you don t have to “think” bump first, then sharing. But the opposite. Sharing first then bump if the opportunity makes sense.

  4. mike mostransky

    I like the Bump app and the fact that it can immediately send a LinkedIn invite to the other person. I agree with Marshall though, it’s no different than a QR code reader. So gee, lets see if there is a native app / control built into the next stream of devices that allows you to merely press and bump rather than unlock, flip, flip, tap, bump. Granted its only us networking geeks that find value in an app like this, more pertinent updates will happen first. Like opening up OS6! I want to say “Siri, open Pandora” and not be given the opening share price for $P, because it only reminds me of how much I lost on that purchase :P

  5. Bump probably includes in its count of 77 million users each of the names it acquired when took the Address Books of each of the few million who have actually used it. Oh wait, that’s what Path does.

  6. Marshall, I don’t know. Last night at Cloud Connect parties I was reminded how awkward people juggling drinks, food, wallets, and other peoples’ business cards spilling out of their pockets is, only to later cardmunch them and bin them.

    I wonder if psychology isn’t a big factor, where holding and loading an iPhone app crosses from professional to personal.

    Do any of these apps have broadcast modes? Broadcast, request, confirm -> stop with the cards and focus on the conversations and party.

  7. Gianfranco Chicco

    I’m another frustrated Bumper. Guess I only used it twice effectively and because the other person -a geek- downloaded it after I told him how awesome it was. This was back in 2010. As others have mentioned, the process to activate and effectively bump is not a natural action and suffers of cross-platform issues (not everyone has a data-enabled smartphone, etc) as opposed to reaching out for a paper biz card.

  8. Matt Eagar

    I agree with the other commenters. Bump sounds like a good idea, but in practice it’s too much hassle. The last time I tried to use it (I think this goes back to April 2010), it didn’t actually work properly. Something like this needs to be not only quick and easy, but also reliable.

    • newtechpress

      It’s still a numbers game. 12 million users in the past 30 days in the social world is pretty much nothing, especially in a country of 350 million. On a day you meet 100 people, four may have the application. The problem with that is most people interact with an average of 7 people a day, according to several studies I’ve read, so you could go two weeks before coming across a person who actually uses the app.

  9. Yann Lechelle

    I don’t bump, I think I never did. Bumping is like QR-codes. It feels like the action to reconcile the object is one-step too far in terms of the cognitive association, and often, requires a specific app (i.e. code scanner NOT built-into the Camera app, and Bump NOT built-in to the default Address book). Small barriers to entry, but high enough to actually prevent recurring usage.

  10. Marshall Kirkpatrick

    I haven’t bumped with anyone in years. I think it’s just too much trouble to find, launch and use the app, vs pulling out the tried and true paper business card. I recently started using LinkedIn-acquired Cardmunch to scan and ingest paper cards and that has made me life much happier. I think that fits into the collective workflow better.