Nibbler is a free tool for testing websites. Enter the address of any website and Nibbler will give you a report scoring the website out of 10 for key areas, including accessibility, SEO, social media and technology etc.
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.
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:
Updated: 29 March 2016
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 a “digital money” for majority of the people.
But it’s much more than that. The underlying technology that Bitcoin is built upon is called The Blockchain. The 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.
Lots of interesting startups are being developed around the 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, I will be writing about the more interesting ones that are leveraging on the Blockchain Technology in general and not necessarily focusing on Bitcoin itself;
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?
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 email@example.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
Say, you have an idea for a startup which you would like to build MVP (minimum viable product i.e most basic version) of it but don’t know any decent UI designer who can visualize your idea and turn it into this amazing User Interface; the likes of Instagram and other similar cool apps.
If you have done web or mobile app projects of your own before, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about – it’s a challenge to find pro User Interface designers.
Most of the time, prior to deciding if you should hire full-time developers and designers for your startup, optimal and cost-effective thing to do would be to outsource MVP version to freelancers. Hiring of full time staff can come later, once the app achieves product/market-fit.
For this reason, you would normally want someone who is pro and available for freelance work. Many sites like oDesk, Freelancer, Elance, DesignCrowd etc have these kind of resources. But it’s really a pain to find the right person.
But there is a great platform where all the professional designers hang around, and that is on Dribbble. It’s a place where designers showcase their work and peers feedback and “like” each others’ work. It’s also a great place to find the right designer for your startup idea.
If you are an avid book reader in Malaysia and often purchase books from Amazon, you must already know how much the shipping fees are pain in the neck. Bookurve, a local startup that was founded by my friends Hossein and Lian Shen is addressing this issue.
Value proposition of their startup is simple;
They have taken few pivots to reach to their current business model. And I’m optimistic about it, as it’s working pretty good for them.
Last week I tried out their service (mainly to see the end-to-end customer journey and provide feedback) and ordered my first book, received it few days back and couldn’t be happier 🙂
Give it a try..
Largest stock photography site Getty Images has recently made a major change to its licensing options. As a result, big bulk of its 35 million image library is now free to use for bloggers and internet publishers.
Below is how it will look when you embed an image from Getty Images to your blog or website. As part of the image, at the bottom, there will be a branding at the left corner – Getty Images’ logo will be displayed. And at the bottom-right, there will be social sharing and re-embed buttons.
This makes it very easy for us – bloggers – to find the right image for our blog posts.
You can search for images that are available to embed here.
You know why some startups that are working on some of the great ideas/products fail? You would think that they have a great idea, have a great team, and have a backing of the leading VC firms in the industry, but often times they end up in the dead pool after a few years.
There are of course many reasons for their failure, but to drive the idea of this post, ceteris paribus – mostly it’s because of the person, the leader, the entrepreneur behind the idea. Yes, I think, one of the most important requirements for a startup to succeed is to have a founder who is absolutely obsessed with his/her idea (provided that product/market fit has been achieved), very passionate about it and driven by it on daily basis. And most importantly, he/she is involved in all the important decisions about the product; from marketing to design to product features to User Interfaces… etc, basically end-to-end involvement. This is necessary. It’s a pre-requisite. Especially in the early years of a startup.
It’s when founder decides to heavily delegate (or even outsource) the product development to someone else, that the problem arises. Unfortunately, this is what happens in some startups; the founder would be too focused on the business development part of the startup and have little involvement in the product development part. Or some entrepreneurs who have money would setup a company and hire someone else to run their startup for him/her. Or some entrepreneurs would decide to outsource the most important part of the startup (i.e product development part) to third party companies.
It’s also why big corporations have struggled to churn out great ideas into successful products and services. Because, in big companies, new ideas would come from top management as a directive and passed to relevant divisions and subsequently to Product Managers or “Product Owners” for execution. This kind of delegation, especially for the new and innovative ideas can be disastrous. On top of that, big corporations would have layers and layers of red tape and processes that hinder the efficient execution of an idea. Inter-department collaboration on launching new ideas can be a real pain too.
So, it’s no surprise why Amazon allowed hugely successful Zappos to run independently after its acquisition in 2009. Or why Walt Disney kept Pixar as a separate entity after its acquisition in 2006. It’s precisely for the reason to keep the company culture alive and untainted, to keep the acquired company lean and efficient. And most importantly, to let the passionate people behind these companies to run them.
Steve Jobs have said on this topic spot on in his 1995 interview called “The Lost Interview“;
You know, one of the things that really hurt Apple was after I left John Sculley got a very serious disease. It’s the disease of thinking that a really great idea is 90% of the work. And if you just tell all these other people “here’s this great idea,” then of course they can go off and make it happen.
And the problem with that is that there’s just a tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product. And as you evolve that great idea, it changes and grows. It never comes out like it starts because you learn a lot more as you get into the subtleties of it. And you also find there are tremendous trade-offs that you have to make. There are just certain things you can’t make electrons do. There are certain things you can’t make plastic do. Or glass do. Or factories do. Or robots do.
Designing a product is keeping five thousand things in your brain and fitting them all together in new and different ways to get what you want. And every day you discover something new that is a new problem or a new opportunity to fit these things together a little differently.
And it’s that process that is the magic.
And because of this, you can’t outsource your idea to someone else to make it successful for you!
Future of Bitcoin
The future of Bitcoin or crypto-currencies in general are now largely left to Governments and Central Banks to decide and steer. Otherwise technologically it has proven to be an effective medium of exchange that has certain advantages over the current fiat money and services built around them.
Bitcoin has particularly major advantage over the current international money remittance services, such as Western Union, MoneyGram or traditional Bank Wire Transfers, which normally charge up to 15% service fee. As for Bitcoin, sending and receiving bitcoins is free and almost instant.
Another area where Bitcoin has clear advantage is, over online payment gateways. Usually eCommerce sites use 3rd party payment processing systems like PayPal, WorldPay, 2Checkout and other Credit Card processing systems. These services normally take a cut from each transaction that happen on eCommerce sites. With the implementation of Bitcoin as the payment option, eCommerce sites could reduce their reliance on 3rd party payment processing systems and increase their revenue margin. Since, using Bitcoin would mean “no more incurring transaction fees” for each transaction.
On the other hand, since Bitcoin is not governed by any Government or Central Bank, Governments have been quite worried on the possible misuse of Bitcoins; particularly in the areas of money laundering, buying and selling of illegal things etc.
So far, governments are struggling to set a direction for Bitcoin. Singapore government has stated that it’s not going to interfere with Bitcoin usage for the time being. On the other hand, China has taken a stricter approach by restricting the definition of Bitcoin as “commodity” rather than “currency”, and banning the usage of Bitcoins as payment options online. As for Swiss parliament, they are going to vote on treating Bitcoin as a foreign currency sometime next year. Other governments have taken the “wait and see” approach for the time being.
So, yes, a lot of uncertainty out there for Bitcoin. And each of these news from Governments and Central Banks have been adding more volatility to the already volatile Bitcoin prices.
How to buy Bitcoins in your Country
Startups in some countries have been more active than others when it comes to building Bitcoin related businesses, particularly exchange platforms for buying and selling Bitcoins. Following is a list of such platforms that allow you to buy and sell Bitcoins with your local bank accounts. Continue reading