My Rating: 9/10The Four Steps to the Epiphany – It’s a must read book for all Tech Entrepreneurs. Newer version of the book is called The Startup Owner’s Manual. Author of the book Steve Blank, was the lecturer of Eric Ries who popularized the Lean Startup book/movement. This book will teach you how not to build a company, and to avoid many pitfalls that early entrepreneurs normally do. It’s a highly recommended book that will change the way you approach building and growing startups.
My Rating: 10/10 Don’t Make Me Think – This was one of the first books that I read on usability, back in early 2000s. If you are into web usability and user experience (UX), this is a highly recommended book. It’s one of those foundation books that can set a solid base for someone who is foraying into the field of building usable user interfaces (UI) and user experiences (UX) for the web.
Plastimake is an easy-to-use plastic that you can dip in a hot water and mold it with your hands. It’s non-toxic, super-strong, reusable, lightweight and biodegradable. It’s a great way to have a family fun with your kids.
Kinetic Sand is sand that breathes motion. It’s easy to clean, dust-free and never dries out. Playing with Kinetic Sand gives a moment of relaxation for your kids and it’s great for their fine motor, sensory and cognitive development. Continue reading
My Rating: 9/10The Lean Startup – In his hugely popular book, Eric Ries basically expands on Steve Blank‘s “Customer Development Model“, a formula for building successful and sustainable products and businesses. The main idea of the book is about shortening the product development cycle by way of validated learning. It encourages building MVP (minimum viable product) version of the idea and then adding small iterations and improvements to the product. Each new iteration (i.e feature) has to be tested against the customers. So that, you are absolutely sure that the features you are adding to your products are actually useful to your customers.
Russian TV Station “Первый Канал” (1TV.ru) has announced that it will be showing Pacquiao VS Mayweather fight live on National TV on the 2nd of May, 2015. That means if their servers can handle the traffic, you should be able to watch the online streaming version at http://stream.1tv.ru/live. Downside would be, you will be watching with Russian commentary.
If you have other options to watch online, free or paid, please comment below for the benefit of others.
My Rating: 7/10Zero to One – this is a very easy to read and simple book. Peter Thiel touches on many topics with simple examples (oftentimes too simplistic). But one takeaway from this book is, he suggests that everyone should try to build a monopoly-company (i.e proprietary products and solutions, closed ecosystem, patents etc). He argues that instead of competing with your competitors in the perfect competition market, which results in marginal increase in revenue, you should build a monopoly company where you can charge a lot higher margins for your products and services. He also argues that many of the successful companies (eg; Google, Apple etc) are monopolists, but they have been successful in “tricking” everyone that they are competing in a very competitive industry.
I have had this idea of reviewing books that I’ve read with a very short review – only the gist of them, the main theme so to speak – and it shouldn’t be more than five sentences. So, here goes the first one.
My Rating: 8/10The Innovator’s Dilemma – this book argues that the processes and resource allocation priorities that are setup in big corporations are not startup (new idea) friendly. For this very reason, it argues that big corporations often miss the boat on the new emerging and disruptive technologies. Because they are setup to keep churning more and more revenues from existing products and services. Their focus is to improve existing line of products and services, and ignore the new emerging technologies that are initially not directly competing with them.
Eg; Telcos – SMS vs Whatsapp, Taxis vs Uber, Hotels vs Airbnb etc.
Eric Ries who has popularized Lean Startup methodology has done an AMA on HackerNews. When he was asked “Are there examples of lean startup ideas going wrong or being misunderstood and leading startups straight to failure?”
He had this to say:
“Tons! I think about this all the time, since I feel a responsibility to try and talk about lean startup in such a way that prevents misunderstanding.
I would say the three most fatal misapplications are:
- “Up and to the right“ disease.
Here you split-test everything and just do whatever moves the numbers. pretty soon you are selling porn or psychic hotlines.
- “No vision, no problems“ error.
It’s like trying to do science without a hypothesis. In lean startup we emphasize that people trying to predict the future are often wrong, so it’s best to experiment and pivot as you learn. But some people interpret this to mean that the future is unknowable, there’s no point in having any kind of vision, and you should just ship something and see what happens. the problem with this plan is you are guaranteed to succeed – at seeing what happens. after-the-fact rationalization will prevent any learning, because if you can’t fail you can’t learn. having a big expansive vision is really helpful because it provides lots of falsifiable hypotheses for testing.
- “Minimum Viable Crap” sloppy execution.
Some people think MVP means just throw garbage at the wall and see what sticks, especially since the M makes people think lean startup is for doing something small. but the truth is if you’re doing something small, you don’t need MVP or lean startup. you only need an MVP if you’re trying something large. further, part of the MVP process is to learn what customers actually value in terms of quality, so we can build something that they perceive as excellent. shipping crap isn’t the goal, and people that go on TechCrunch with garbage and then claim “but it’s an MVP!” are doing it wrong. the hard truth is that spending more time “perfecting” a product in the absence of feedback often makes the product worse, not better.”
I can see the No3 in many startups. You can read the full AMA here.
As I tweeeted earlier, International Money Remitance has many pain points, main of them being the cost of sending money of course..
Fees for remittance, $100 from Malaysia to Kyrgyzstan: EFT $25, MoneyGram $19, WU $27. Undoubtedly the 1st industry to be disrupted by BTC
— Abdylas Tynyshov (@ades) February 25, 2015
Below is one of the many solutions that will be coming up soon that will be built on top of free, transparent, public ledger technology called Blockchain. And money will be sent on the Blockchain platform via one of its main apps/features called Bitcoin.
Transaction fees are nearly $0 on the Blockchain, but service providers and apps might charge their own service fees. But these service fees won’t be like the ones above in my tweet for sure.
Initially I just wanted to provide some feedbacks to @MyMaybank via twitter, but there were simply too many things to tell, so I thought it would be easier to write a blog post about it.
Native mobile apps that are extensions of existing web services are a great way to make your service more accessible and enjoyable for your customers. If done correctly, it can boost your customer satisfaction and increase your customer loyalty.
Today I will be reviewing Maybank’s mobile app for iOS and giving some constructive critique. I hope they will take feedbacks of mine with an open heart and improve their app further, so that it can be a better app for their customers in general.
A big no-no – placing an ad on app startup
One of the big no-no’s in mobile app usability is to display an ad during the app startup. Because this slows down the process of user reaching to his objective (i.e main screen, where he wants to log into his account) thus increases his frustration. Because that’s what user wants to do, login to his account and do some transaction or check his account balance.
Well, Maybank thought that it would be a good idea to display a banner ad that lasts whole of 8 seconds (see screenshot to the left) until user sees the main screen of the app. These 8 seconds feels like 20 second for the user..
This is a typical problem in big corporations. Where different product managers who are in charge of different products (in this case Maybank Malaysia Open event) within the corporation are always fighting for eye balls and visibility on company’s website, mobile app, newsletters etc.
Suggestion: Get rid of the ad and make the app snappy, let it go straight to the main page. If startup image has to be placed, then it shouldn’t be longer than 1-3 seconds. Continue reading