Home Speaker Profile: Circa’s Matt Galligan On The Wearable Future Of News

Speaker Profile: Circa’s Matt Galligan On The Wearable Future Of News

Wearable World Congress, ReadWrite’s signature annual conference in San Francisco on May 19-20, will feature the key players who are shaping wearable technology and the Internet of Things. This series profiles some of the experts who will be speaking at the conference.  

Is the smartwatch a media platform? As the first Apple Watches start landing on wrists later this month, we’ll soon find out.

One entrepreneur who’s poised to leap from phone to wrist is Matt Galligan, the CEO of Circa News. Just one year ago, I declared Circa, which delivers news updates written specifically for smartphones, the first media startup to be truly “wrist-ready.”

Since then, Galligan has proven me right in spades. Last fall, Circa updated its app to deliver notifications on Android Wear devices. And now it’s ready to do the same for the Apple Watch.

Buy tickets now: Wearable World Congress, May 19-20

I’ve invited Galligan to speak at Wearable World Congress, ReadWrite’s signature event in San Francisco, where he’ll join a panel of media entrepreneurs and innovators. In preparing for his session, I’ve had several conversations with Galligan about how the Apple Watch and other wearables will change the media business. Here are some highlights: 

CNN, the New York Times, and Flipboard have announced Apple Watch apps. How do you feel about the competition?

Everyone’s going to have their own unique play. The New York Times is going to do one-sentence stories, which I read to mean headlines. We’ve been building for this platform since we launched in 2012. We write our stories so they’ll work, no matter the mobile interface. 

You’ve got a massive mountain to climb if you haven’t been thinking about mobile in a fundamental way. Flickr had a mobile website. That didn’t stop Instagram from crushing it.

What have you changed about Circa for smartwatches?

The challenge was that, at first, we were [building the app by] staring at an emulator on a screen. The moment people held up their wrist for 30 seconds, it was a different ballgame. I bet you 50%, maybe even 75% of developers won’t have done that.

The story list is gone. You used to be able to read the entire story. We pared the app down dramatically to just updates and notifications. You can get an update and follow a story, and if you want to read the full story, you can do that on your phone.

I’m not convinced that someone’s going to stare at their watch that long. Anyone who’s going to try to present articles is insane. The lesson for me is that it’s all about “glanceability” and quick actions. Get those right, and then worry about features.

What will change for developers, as usage shifts from phones to wearables?

I feel like notifications are a blunt object right now. You’re going to keep seeing things rip through. If your phone lights up on the table, you can ignore it pretty easily. If you’re in a social setting and your watch is going off, it’s going to be a problem. 

The norms by which we use things are going to shift pretty quickly. A lot of how we use things is going to shift as well. Push notification abusers will get called out much quicker than they do today. 

To hear more from Matt Galligan and other innovators and experts, register for Wearable World Congress 2015, May 19-20 in San Francisco. Early bird prices end soon!

Photo of Circa News CEO Matt Galligan by Dave Morin

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.