Archive | February, 2012
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“90 percent of successful startups start out with the wrong strategy and often take three or four…”

28 Feb

“90 percent of successful startups start out with the wrong strategy and often take three or four attempts to get it right. That makes some kind of web sense. For those of us trained in the arts of journalism, though, it’s probably a tough lesson: We’re trained to get it right the first time.”

The newsonomics of hyperlocal’s next round: Patch, Digital First, and more » Nieman Journalism Lab

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“programming is both incredibly simple and impossibly hard, like so many important things in life.”

28 Feb

“programming is both incredibly simple and impossibly hard, like so many important things in life.”

Red Sweater Blog – Learn To Code

Takeaways: GA’s ‘Making life easy with algorithms’ class

25 Feb

Class: General Assembly session on “Make Life Easy With Algorithms“, led by Adam Levine of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Date: February 22 2012, 20:00-21:00

This was my second class at GA (the first covered mobile strategy). This session, only an hour long, would best be described as “thinking about thinking about algorithms” – it was a high-level overview of the history of algorithms, what they are, their modern applications and a short “how-to” of writing them. Continue reading

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“The coding of the frontend is one matter. The backend is another. Linking the APIs together. Then…”

21 Feb

“The coding of the frontend is one matter. The backend is another. Linking the APIs together. Then it’s buying a domain. Setting up the domain. Ftping the files in. Testing it out across all your web browsers and phones. Making sure all that stuff works. This is what making things for yourself and putting them live in the real world teaches you. It opens questions that you hopefully can answer but trying it out.”

.: sermad :. » Blog Archive » Learning to program isn’t the hard part

I always buy the domain first. Result: I have many, many domains.

“In the context of startups, project management tools will always suck”

19 Feb

On Friday 17 2012 the CUNY EJP12 cohort attended a session on product and project management hosted by Nancy Wang and Jeff Mignon of RevSquare.

Both Jeff and Nancy stressed the importance of having a clear project plan, of communicating effectively with your team (and especially your developers), and of prototyping (more on which in another post). And Jeff admitted to being something of a convert to the Project Management Way.

Back in the FT Tilt era, both Ranjan and I spent a lot (a lot!) of time “optimizing our process”. In the end (and indeed, toward the end) I settled on Trello as a way of keeping the globally dispersed editorial team briefed and engaged on where we were up to in terms of sales and development; our London-based developers used Redmine for bug ticketing; and Ranjan and I used a combination of email, Google Docs, Skype and shoulder-tapping/coffee meetings for everything else. I, of course, am a total iDoneThis evangelist, so I also used iDT to keep a running log of what we’d accomplished (or not, as it were).

But along the way we tried (and abandoned) Teambox and Basecamp, and I tested at least a half dozen other options. The issues were always the same: fiddly interfaces; too many emails and checkboxes and lists, not enough “doing”; team objections to yet-another-login/thing they have to use.

(For what it’s worth, I’m using Asana these days and quite like it)

Having been on both sides of project management – i.e. as the manager and the manage-ee, and sometimes both at the same time, I agree with the RevSquares that clear objectives and communication are essential.

But I also agree with the sentiment expressed by “Handsome Code” in a post about project management:

In the context of startups, project management tools will always suck. If you are using a PM tool then you are not designing, coding, or communicating with customers. You are not even communicating with your team. You are putting an abstraction layer between you and your team, effectively saying “I prefer to engage with this UI which makes me feel valuable and productive because I make lists and assign tasks” instead of actually engaging with the people building the product…Getting e-mails that say “UserName has assigned you task: XXXXXX” sucks.

The post also included some strong words about developers not being robots.

But not having any system at all – or heaven forfend, relying on email – is arguably the worst of all possible worlds.

Sure, getting notifications that you’ve been assigned X, Y or Z has never ranked high on Maslow’s hierarchy. But not shipping because no one has any sense of priority or ownership? Epic fail.

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“the idea that more money comes from fewer people appears to be nothing but a myth.”

18 Feb

“the idea that more money comes from fewer people appears to be nothing but a myth.”

How the Myth of the Algorithm Fools the Market | Betabeat — News, gossip and intel from Silicon Alley 2.0.

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5 New Ways to Monetize Your Content in 2012

17 Feb

5 New Ways to Monetize Your Content in 2012:

Interesting.

Takeaways: GA’s ‘How to build a mobile app’ class

17 Feb

Class: General Assembly session on “How to build a mobile app“, led by @peterbell.

Date: February 15 2012, 18:00-21:00

This was a useful session which focussed (for the better, I thought) more on how to think about developing a mobile strategy than on the technical nuts and bolts of building a specific application.

Peter Bell, CTO of Go Pow Wow and a lean startup coach, divided the session into five sections:

  1. The importance of mobile
  2. Do you need an app? (or will a “mobile site” do?)
  3. Native apps vs ‘web’ apps
  4. Stepping towards mobile
  5. Testing

Continue reading

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“Brands and their marketers suffer from what I refer to as medium’alism, a condition where inordinate…”

16 Feb

“Brands and their marketers suffer from what I refer to as medium’alism, a condition where inordinate value and weight is placed on the technology of any medium rather than amplifying platform strengths and ideas to deliver desired and beneficial experiences and outcomes. Said another way, businesses are developing for the sake of development and establishing supporting presences without regard for how someone feels, thinks, or acts as a result. In doing so, “engagement” programs are calculated, brought to life in the form of an editorial calendar that, by its very nature, isn’t not designed to really engage people at all.”

Engagement Ain’t Nothing But A Number | PandoDaily

See also: “if you build it, they will come”.

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“good designers don’t tend to think about consumers; they think about people and what they want…”

15 Feb

“good designers don’t tend to think about consumers; they think about people and what they want and need. It’s a subtle point, but thinking about people as consumers immediately dehumanizes them and makes it harder to empathize…good designers are good at iterative prototyping, refining the concept through repeated cycles and getting feedback from the right people as they go. James Dyson famously made two thousand prototypes of his bagless vacuum cleaner before he got it right. The rest, as they say, is history.”

How Good Designers Think – Simon Rucker – Harvard Business Review