Skip to main content

Re-reading Rework

Rework is a fantastic business book for all levels of entrepreneurship. I use this book as a way of reconnecting myself with reality. I'm naturally always relentless and sometimes I find myself slowly being blinded by the passion I invest into my vision. In the time that I've been doing startups (2 years ago), I've learned a great deal of things that I will always know I can transfer into the next venture. I love what I do and I love building products that connect people in valuable ways.

In tying into the things that Rework outlines, leverage is one of the most important things to use in any type of process you use in business. If there's a tool you will allow you to put in 20% of the effort but output 80%, you'll find yourself moving faster than your competition and investing that extra time in refining your product. Being stuck in the trenches where you are frantically trying to figure out what features will grow your platform's user base can be a stressful situation. In the beginning, it's described as a "eureeka" moment because it all makes sense; however, once you get into the marketing portion, you find yourself hitting a wall because it just isn't simple enough or people don't understand the value right away.

Since then, I've adapted, learned, and changed my ways. In trying to build better products, I always try to think of the ziploc concept (thanks to an inspiring colleague of mine). If the product you're trying to build doesn't pass the ziploc test, it will almost certainly fail. In the mobile world, it becomes increasingly more important the user experience is extremely simple. One button: login, one button: accomplish a task that adds value to my life. This might seem crazy but it's exactly what gets people addicted to your application. In the past, I've tried to apply the same "tried and proven" user experience strategies, such as, having clear CTAs, better copy, structured information architecture -- things are different now and the bar has been heightened and things need to be relentlessly simplified. In fact, for an example, with tools like Facebook Connect, LinkedIn Connect, and GitHub, it almost makes no sense to build your own authentication system.

In one my startups, we added several different authentication providers, such as, Facebook, Google, Windows Live, and Yahoo!. I think this was a small mis-step which had a huge impact because it introduced too many choices. Software developers (our primary target audience) are obviously technical but ultimately, they are human beings -- and in order to humanize any type of complex software product, it needs to pass the ziploc test. Additionally, as a technology startup, it becomes extremely important to use the right tools for the right job -- not the tools that are politically aligned. On the web, if you're unable to get up and running within a few minutes and shipping to production -- you're probably using the wrong tools. While many things didn't go as expected, this is the life of an entrepreneur and a software believer. It's never a straight road to success -- it's going to be full of wild challenges -- plenty of victories and plenty of losses. The main thing I have learned is that although I've fumbled and tripped over a few obstacles, I'll always have that burning determination to get back up and try it with a fresh perspective again.

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." - Thomas Edison. 

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

TextMate Tutorial: How to add a Strikethrough keybind to your Markdown bundle

Markdown is awesome for quickly generating Readme's on Github. After looking at other projects using the strike tag, I've decided to create a custom keybind for it in my TextMate Markdown bundle. Here's how:

1) Click the + sign on the bottom left and click New Command.
2) Paste this into the editbox and make sure you name your command "Strikethrough".

For the input field, select WORD in the drop down.
For the output field, select "insert as snippet".
As for the keybind, you can totally map it to whatever you're comfortable with but I chose Command-D as it is the same thing in Microsoft Word.


Using Git Hooks: Prepare Commit Message to automatically prepend branch names on commit messages

When you're practicing branch by feature with distributed version control, typically you'll get assigned a ticket or issue and that ends up being your feature branch. Instead of always typing in the branch name in every commit, you can edit your Git hooks (specifically prepare-commit-msg).

Assuming that this is a brand new git repository:

mv .git/hooks/prepare-commit-msg.sample .git/hooks/prepare-commit-msg
vi .git/hooks/prepare-commit-msg

Edit the file by commenting out what was originally in the file and then add this:

Now, whenever you make a commit, it should show up like this in the log:

Since GitHub and Bitbucket both support Emojis inside commit messages, you can do something cute like this

Want more emojis? check out the Emoji Mardown Cheatsheet!

NodeJS Hack Session: MMO Pokemon with NodeJS/WebSockets

The primary focus of this proof of concept is to determine how easy it is to build real-time web applications for all iPad, iPhone, droids, Safari, Chrome users on top of NodeJS (non-blocking event driven server side Javascript platform). The proof of concept was built within 6-8 hours including the following:

Uses Express framework for server side Javascript development (inspired by Rails / Sinatra / Django)Uses EJS for templating language (much like Django templates and symfony) -- allows partials and passing parameters into partials like symfony PHPReal-time chat using WebSocketsArena Queueing System for real-time competitive matchplay using WebSocketsHTML5 AudioCSS3 transitions for all hand cards, tappable cards, transparent panels, rounded corners, drop shadowsFallbacks for Firefox, IEFirefox/IE will fall back to Flash socketIE will fall back to XHR long poll if the user doesn't have Flash installedNoSQL CouchDB for fetching users and soon cards, achievements, friend associat…