Usability: Delete Confirmations Done Right

Here is a great way of implementing delete confirmations in web app interfaces. It’s intuitive and usable. It’s done within the same “delete” button but with an extra click. This is how it works, you click once on the button and it will change its state to confirmation button, you click again to confirm deletion.

It’s way better than the overlay popups in the middle of the screen or other too creative ways that go counter-intuitive to the usability of the web app.

It’s from Zapier.com, kudos to them for making their UI user-friendly.

Competition is for Losers

Peter Thiel is no stranger to Startup World. He is the co-founder of PayPal and investor in Facebook, Quora, Artsy, PandoDaily, AdRoll, Reddit and many more.

He has an interesting viewpoint when it comes to Startups and how they should be managed, in order to be successful. For the past decade, methodologies like Customer Development and Lean Startup have been popular. The central idea in these methodologies are around customers, and that your idea (hypothesis) must be tested against potential customers in order to be successful, and based on customers’ feedback you should tweak your initial idea (pivot) to achieve a sustainable and repeatable business model that generates revenue.

Peter Thiel is sceptical about these methodologies. He says that customers might not always be right and listening to them to guide your business’ destiny might not be the right approach. He encourages entrepreneurs to start startups that do in order of magnitude better than the existing competitors, rather than doing incremental improvements as the Lean Startup methodology suggests. He also advises entrepreneurs to go for monopoly when starting a startup, doing something that dominates the market i.e avoiding competition and aiming for monopoly. He says “Competition is for losers”.

He also questions the education system in leading Universities that teach Entrepreneurship, he says that currently our education system instills and inculcates in future entrepreneurs to compete and to be a better competitor rather than doing something unique that makes competition irrelevant or difficult for others to compete with your startup.

Personally, what he puts forward is definitely something interesting and somewhat refreshing. It kind of reminds me of Steve Jobs’ beliefs. He was the type of person where he would say “customers do not know what they want.. etc”. But I think Customer Development and Lean Startup Methodologies are not mutually exclusive to what Peter Thiel is suggesting, in fact they can still be used to help reach product-market-fit.

Below is a video of him giving a lecture in Stanford in “Business Strategy and Monopoly Theory” where he expounds on the above mentioned ideas of his:

Note: If you are based in Malaysia, you can order his book from Bookurve with free shipping. I ordered mine already together with Eric Schmidt’s “How Google Works“, should be arriving next week.

Startups Around Blockchain Technology

When you mention Bitcoin, first thing that comes to people’s minds are that it’s an anonymous digital currency (it’s actually far from anonymous but that’s a discussion for another post). So it’s primarily associated with “digital money” for majority of people.

But it’s much more than that. The underlying technology that Bitcoin is built upon is called Blockchain. Blockchain in simple terms is a decentralized platform that keeps track of all the transactions ever executed on the platform. It’s transparent and it’s decentralized, in other words no central government or banking institution controls it. There are major “nodes” (or servers) that keep copy of all the transactions, and there are many other computers that sync to those nodes.

Various types of “apps” can be built on top of Blockchain, it just so happens that the first “app” is a digital money app called Bitcoin. This was intentional by the founder(s) of the Bitcoin (Satoshi Nakamoto, a person or a group of people) to include the money part within the first release of the Blockchain, so that it serves as a reward for the miners (people who solve complex algorithms to generate Bitcoin) and node maintainers to earn monetary value for their contribution to the blockchain. In simplistic terms, bitcoin to blockchain is like gmail to internet. One is a platform and a protocol, and another is an app that is built on that platform/protocol.

Types of Apps being built around Blockchain Technology

Lots of interesting startups are being developed around Blockchain. Below are some of them. I’m not going to cover the ordinary ones like Bitcoin Exchange Platforms, Bitcoin Wallets, Bitcoin Payment Processing Gateways, Bitcoin Debit Cards etc. Rather will be mentioning the more interesting ones that are leveraging on the Blockchain Technology and not necessarily the currency Bitcoin itself;

Payroll System

  • Bitwage – bitcoin based payroll system for companies. Especially useful in paying international employees or freelancer workers.

Cloud Storage

  • Storj.io – Think of it as the truly decentralized version of Dropbox, where your files’ chunks will be stored in thousands of other members’ PCs.
  • Filecoin.io – Data storage network and electronic currency based on Bitcoin.
  • Bithost.io – Normal hosting with a twist, just pay with bitcoin and no need to provide bank details.

Crowd Funding

  • Counterparty – raise funding for your startup. Think of it as a Stock Exchange based on blockchain technology that allows you to IPO on your own.
  • Koinify – Crowd funding platform specifically for blockchain related startups

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OhLife Alternative

It’s a shame that OhLife is shutting down. If you didn’t know what it was, it was a service where it periodically (eg; daily, weekly, monthly, depending on what you choose) sent you an email asking “How was your day today?”. You would just reply back to the same email describing your day, week, month, and it would save it in your account in OhLife.com.

And one of my favorite bits of the service was, it would include a random post from your life, saying; “Oh snap, remember this? 175 days ago you wrote…” (see above screenshot).

What I liked about the service was, it was not a burden, it was very easy to use, it didn’t force you to write. If you didn’t want, you would just ignore the reminder email and just enjoy the random post from your life.

Well, now that the service is shutting down, how can you record your life in a similar fashion?

OhLife Alternative via IFTTT

If you are not familiar with IFTTT (if this then that) service, then please check this post first. I have created a recipe in IFTTT that will do the following: Everytime you send an email with the subject #OhLife to trigger@recipe.ifttt.com it will save that email in your GoogleDocs. New entries will be added as a new row in the spreadsheet. Date and email content will be saved in the document.  Continue reading