Periscope Named Apple App of the Year: A Look Back On 2015

As founder of the Periscope Community Summit and creator of @ZeroModeration, Ryan Bell’s work bridges the worlds of music, community and philanthropy. Bell has received the President’s Volunteer Service Award  for his volunteer work in mentoring with the youth of Oakland, Calif. and the Special Olympics.

Earlier this month, he ran the Periscope account for at its #Vision2020 conference. Bell will be speaking at CES in January about the live streaming movement. Cited numerous times by other interviewees in this column, he was a natural to contact for an interview on mobile live streaming’s breakthrough year.

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apple app of the year

Small Business Trends: What patterns have you seen in the live streaming world that can save a business both money and time?

Ryan Bell: During an engagement with SanDisk, we were able to broadcast the release of a new product. The SanDisk team was amazed at the immediate engagement, sales numbers and the communication via Twitter. This was the very first example of a brand using Periscope so it was a pretty big deal. Since then I’ve seen successful promotions of new products and giveaways that were tracked via and They’re both amazing tools and the only two products our team uses at this time to archive video and data.

Small Business Trends: How has the community changed since day one? And how did you react when you found out Apple named Periscope “App of the Year”?

Ryan Bell: It’s beautiful really. Periscope was a curiosity at first… a toy broadcasting app … but then a community formed within it and we realized how powerful it could be to do things together. I, personally, try to be involved in just about anything I can so I see all of the social good.

Tasmin Lucia-Khan recently said, “Periscope is going to become the leading platform for charitable causes” and I agree with that sentiment. We see initiatives like #ScopeForGood, headed by the brilliant and talented AJ Joshi, gaining momentum and purpose. It moves me that so many people want to make the world a better place.

Along with this social good and philanthropic aspect, there is also a natural competition for viewers, so people are striving to make better content and to connect to a community in a more meaningful and permanent way. Periscope is now a way that we see the world and understand one another on a global scale.

As for Apple’s announcement, up until that time I’d never really cared much about “App of the Year.” It was funny when I found myself beaming with pride. It’s not like I built the app or was on the team but I felt recognized because I’m part of the Periscope culture … and that makes us all part of the team.

Small Business Trends: What were some of the coolest live streams you saw this year that drove engagement?

Ryan Bell: I’m a nerd so I loved seeing Chris Sacca go on Blab recently. I think about how people are able to watch someone that’s as brilliant as he is and then I think about how much more amazing it is that they are able to ask questions. I watched Dan Moore on a cruise ship in Australia that was so large I couldn’t understand how the bastard floated and I’ve watched Mitch Oates use his Hitcase underwater in the most beautiful blue ocean of Australia that I’ve ever seen.

I’ve seen a 5-year-old walk for the first time after being fitted with a special brace. I’ve gone to the Smithsonian and the Louvre, been in multiple helicopters, taken rides in drones, hung out on stage with The New Kids on the Block and walked into the ring with Sugar Shane Mosley.

Small Business Trends: Which companies, small or large, have you seen succeed in 2015 using livestreaming platforms and tools? What lessons can others learn from their success?

Ryan Bell: I’ve seen T-Mobile win big by having their CEO on often. John Legere helps personify the brand and has become a thought leader in live streaming. People connect with him and the brand. Can you think of the names of the other carriers’ CEO’s?… because I can’t. T-Mobile beat out Sprint and took the third spot in carriers behind AT&T and Verizon last quarter. I’m not saying that this was all due to live streaming but I will tell you that by being forward-thinking and moving fast, you’re going to friggin’ win.

On the small scale I’ve seen Perfection Chocolates, a small chocolate shop, owned by a very friendly old gentleman who goes by @ChocolateJohnny go from a one shop operation to a global operation because this old fella realized how to use live streaming as a driver. Johnny is a lovely man who engages well on Blab and Periscope and it has paid off for him.


This is part of the Small Business Trends Livestreamed Livelihoods interview series featuring sessions with today's movers and shakers in the livestreaming world.

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Alex Yong Alex Yong is a staff writer and host of the Small Business Trends Livestreamed Livelihoods interview series featuring sessions with today's movers and shakers in the livestreaming world. Alex was named a must-follow PR resource in Cision North America’s list of the top 50 Twitter influencers utilizing rich media tweets, alongside Guy Kawasaki and Lee Odden.

8 Reactions
  1. There has been a lot of hype on Periscope and I know that the user base is growing rapidly. But I am not so sure if it is the biggest thing this year.

    • One of the most poignant things I’ve heard this year is one Periscoper named Vin Nolan who said Periscope changed his life. Prior to it, he said his world was small, but now it’s expanded, because of this app. So it’s sentiment like this, on an individual level, multiplied by a ton. What the app does tugs at your heartstrings, so that could be a factor. Then there’s also the reality of marketing and partnerships the public doesn’t see. I’m not saying that’s the case here, but a it’s a possibility. Not long after the Dec 9th announcement from Apple, the CEO of Periscope appeared on the Stephen Colbert show.

  2. Great insights – Periscope has allowed us to see the world live through other people’s eyes. This in turn has opened my eyes to my own world – I have bought my farm to many people via periscope – they have seen me drive my tractor many times! I have scoped sunrises over my dam, wineries in south Australia & even koala crossing the road! The amazing business & personal relationships delevoped through the periscope & blab community have been priceless!

  3. Alex: Will Periscope be the cash cow for Twitter?

  4. Hi Martin, happy holidays. Well, good question, but there’s Facebook Live rolling out to the masses now. Many people feel it will be the one to ‘normalize’ live streaming, not Periscope. 2016 will likely be a showdown year. Meerkat is eating dust and out of the equation, I feel.

  5. For Periscope to get named App of the Year for 2016, that would be back-to-back wins. But they’d need to wow us/move mountains for that to happen.

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