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Showing posts from 2013

Increasing CTR on Facebook

The level of holistic thought we put into Borentra might make people think we're insane. We work incredibly hard on building up the technology just right so that there are no barriers to borrowing, renting, trading things nearby. Incidentally, we also find that it is important that while we are small, we can take tons of risks with our marketing, sales, and engineering.In this blogpost, I'd like to give a run down on how we're solely focused on growing on top of Facebook's 1.3+ billion monthly active users, as well as, the technical design side of how to increase Facebook CTR on desktop, mobile, and tablets. It is important to note that since Facebook's growth strategy for the next few years is focused on mobile that our strategies continue to evolve alongside.Epic Growth On Mobile Across The GlobeIn Facebook's Q3 results, they state that they currently have 1.3 billion monthly active users -- and they will continue to acquire users for next year's target o…

Finding Potential Customers on Facebook

Typically, when asking other marketers about their Facebook user acquisition tactics, they typically say a few things"Facebook isn't great because boosting your posts costs a ton of money with no return on shares/likes""Twitter is a better place for user acquisition after you build up a huge following""Building up your SEO on your blog improves your brand and helps with acquiring users as they will be able to find you easily"As the clever cat I am, I decided to take on this challenge. Was it even possible to do efficient user acquisitions on Facebook? is it true that when some of your users say "I only use Google" or "I don't trust Facebook" that you should focus on supporting different OAuth providers?After a bit of experimentation, we've found out the following:If your friends are using the product, they will be willing to signup via Facebook as they don't want to miss out on what their friends are sharingFacebook has…

Borentra at DemoCamp16

We are truly excited to have been a part of Vancouver DemoCamp16 and we'd also like to give a huge thank you to the community who voted for Borentra to be a part of the demo list! So what was in our demo? I've thought about this a lot over the past week while preparing for this DemoCamp and I realized that 5 minutes isn't enough for all of the amazing features on Borentra. Things that were in the demo:What problem we're trying to solve (people have things they barely ever use that they can make money off of, and people would rather borrow/rent/trade than buy: access over ownership)What our current traction metrics (100%+ growth month over month for the last 3 months) since we started in July 2013Logging in through Facebook with one clickBeing able to use quickly see what's going on around you (activity stream of people putting things they have, things they want, things people are borrowing, renting, or trading nearby)Being able to quickly and easily add things you …

Marketing at Borentra

At Borentra, the move-fast-break-things mentality is deeply ingrained in our culture. We not only apply the same work ethic to engineering and product design but also in marketing. We've been able to achieve multiple weeks of over 70% growth (week over week) with The Art of the Grand Hustler.I believe that the term marketing has evolved into a Grand Hustler role which spans a multitude of skills including copywriting, graphic design, blogging, event management, social media, and a bit of programming in HTML/CSS. I won't dive into what the skillset has become but more on the strategies and tactics that are required for Grand Hustlers to achieve growth at the level of YCombinator startups or better. That said, many startups like to think small and build up a tight community around specific cities on hyper-local platforms (so-lo-mo, aka, Social-Local-Mobile); however, we've taken the phrase, get big or die trying seriously. The screenshots above are from our administration co…

On Execution

Systemic problem in the startup culture is that people have plenty of ideas but no execution. I'm incredibly lucky to be passionate about software engineering and that I have the ability to build products (on my own).

We all can't be great at everything and I'm a firm believer that people should focus on their strengths while on a day-to-day basis keep improving their weaknesses. For me,  I kept following my love for software engineering (I've become both technical and design focused); therefore, my weakness is really the sales and marketing side. After hanging around plenty of software salespeople -- I've come to realize that their primary strengths boil down to inside connections, confidence, and presentation.
Thomas Watson (IBM) once said, in order to sell software, you have to look like the person you're selling to. IBM at the time was selling "punch carded tabulating machines" which were used in many law and financial offices.  This was when an …

Significance of working in the same proximinity

Best Buy and Yahoo have started their own initiative to remove the ability to work from home. Incidentally, for the past few years, I've been a big advocate for autonomous, remote working in teams. Great examples of amazing work cultures including Github and 37signals (Basecamp). In the best conditions possible, we should all be able to trust each other to pull their weight; however, it has become a huge dampener for Yahoo as the culture has become stagnant. It is the gradual deceleration over a number of months that kills the company's ability to innovate and ship great products.

For me, I prefer to work in an office with my teammates, perhaps, this is because in my past experience, I was part of teams shipping software on fast deadlines (3-week projects including design, development, testing, and user acceptance) -- you need that face-to-face interaction to show a number of things confidence in your teammatesoptimism on hitting targetsvalidity on progression 
If I saw a team…

Death and Taxes

I recently came across a post in regards to Manny Pacquiao refusing to fight on US soil due to the high tax rate applied to his earnings. From his last fight, the total payout was $24 million (he lost to Marquez) -- but after tax, it can turn out to be $15 million. At 39% tax rate, it becomes stupid to think about fighting on US soil.

Incidentally, there are reports of Americans giving up their citizenship for other countries to "evade" tax -- One being Eduardo Saverin, who saved over 60 million dollars in tax when Facebook IPO'd. He now lives in Singapore. Looking at tax rates per country, it almost always feels like the go-to country to setup a corporation will always be Ireland. Setting up shop in Ireland is a fairly common "pay less on taxes" strategy because it is only 12% for corporations. One thing I am starting to notice in startups that start to gain traction and revenue is that they all start bringing in a CFO who has significant experience in being …

A search for more sustainable business in Vancouver

I recently saw that the government is wanting to introduce a sales tax to help improve the transportation services in the lower mainland. There was massive uproar from people who claim that they're already paying too much ($151 per month for 3-zones). While I do agree that the costs of living in Vancouver are becoming insane, I do believe that the government is doing a great job of keeping the service up and running.

The Skytrain is the backbone of our city. The interesting thing about Vancouver is that the core of downtown is full during work hours but drops drastically in the evening. This is because most people who are downtown are only there for their jobs. Incidentally, an increase in tax would require too much effort to collect and would dispel its advantages. I'm sure they have run the numbers on this strategy but I'm thinking a better way to go about lowering the cost of transportation is to help businesses transition to a model that

allows remote working (usage of…

Momentum

We've all been through that phase in product development where you're extremely excited to keep building out specific features and you're hustling so hard that you want to get it into the hands of your users and get feedback (The MVP, minimum viable product). Incidentally, I've come to the conclusion that what really makes or breaks startups is momentum.
If the team stagnates on product development and continuous improvement, your team's overall confidence, dedication, and motivation will dissipate slowly. Taking this advice on, it becomes ever so clear on how to determine whether a team is going to be successful; also, it provides you that level of insight when to cut your losses short.
They say, "never give up when all hope seems lost". I'm a big believer in this; only if I'm the only person in the equation. For example, if I'm on the treadmill with no breath and needing to hit a specific benchmark (time or distance) -- I'll muster up a…

Guidance: A Practice For Better Teams and Better Products

Have you ever been told by a peer they look up to you? It's a feeling that pushes me be a better person everyday. Righteously, it's the experience (the mistakes, the heartbreaks, and the victories) that have taught me a lot about how to make a positive impact on the lives of others -- believe it or not, it all starts with attitude: Never let people see you sweat and always be positive & professional.

How you carry yourself in battle (stressful situations) indefinitely reflects your level of integrity, your maturity, your empathy, your stewardship, your commitment  and your compassion for others. From the sound your voice in meetings, to the eye contact you have with even the most unfortunate. This isn't something that is achieved but practiced -- it is a way of life. 
People know me as executer. During my days in software services (I now focus primarily on products) -- I was known as a person who you call to finish the job. No one questioned my ability to get the job …