The first time I viewed a professional focus group I was impressed. We sat behind a mirror wall, were served great food and wine and watched business owners answer questions asked by a professional moderator. For a long while, I was in love with the concept: pay some money and get a glance into the future, read your potential users minds and build the perfect product that they will use for ever. If only it was so simple…
Later in life I understood that the most important thing to remember about any user feedback is that people don’t tell you what they think, they tell you what they think they think… Continue reading “Never trust your users (during market research)”
I just finished reading The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. In short, the book uses new brain research to explain how habits are created and how one should go about changing personal or organizational habits (anything from eating a dessert after your meal to produce products of higher quality…). The book is worth reading: the short of it is simple- habits are automatic stored procedures in our brain. They start with a cue, and end with a reward (cue-finishing lunch, habit- eating dessert, reward-sugar…). I will stop at that- read the book if you are interested…
What the book only touched on briefly is measurement as a way to build or modify a habit. Say that you live half a mile from your local grocery store and you go there 3-4 times a week to buy fresh produce. You know that walking there will save you money and add some points into your health jar but than again, you still get into the car and drive there since it is easier. Continue reading “Measure your way to a new habit”
Most designers secretly or publicly hate their managers. It can be a CEO in a startup or a product manager in a larger company. They hate us all. Some of it has to do with the fact some of them are just precious flowers and their work can not be criticized by regular humans but often, it is only our faults.
Here are some dos and don’ts that will make your designer much more productive, and therefore creating better products:
- Your “gut feeling” about the design is not important: We all watch baseball matches but don’t think we can play professionally. We all watch hospital dramas but don’t think we can operate on anyone. We all use web products but we DO think we can design them better than the designer we hired. Your design expert is the designer you hired. If he/she are not good enough, replace them. You are unlikely to be better than them. Continue reading “Don’t drive your designer up the f**king wall”
I am not going to Austin for SxSW this year and a minute before I apply my “don’t show me anything tagged #SxSW on Twitter” filter, I wanted to share some of my personal favorites in the city, in case you are looking for good places to eat or play. The source is my very own Bizzy List from my two visits in Austin last year…
- Amy’s Ice Cream– The very best ice cream in Austin. Don’t miss! My Original comment: “Like Cold Stone but with high quality ice cream”
- The Steeping Room– In the middle of the town of ribs, greasy food and Mexican beer you can find this elegant place with awesome coffee and tea selection and sophisticated brunch food. A bit out of the way but can be a great place for a meeting away from the crowd. What I said back then? ” I am back in the sane world where they serve artisan coffee and organic granola and yogurt. This place is my new BFF (plus an amazing selection of teas)”
- BBQ Heaven– BEST. BRISKET. EVER (Ellen makes a better one but only once a year or when a friend is having a baby). Open really late and a perfect place to get a late night sandwich you’d never forget. “Same awesome Brisket, same great people. Best (immobile) food truck ever.” Continue reading “8 Places you should not miss while in SxSW”
I’ve been building software/internet products for a long time now and always cared a great deal about User Experience and design. Good UI can get your users more engaged, can lead to higher conversion rates, better engagement and overall better user experience. But did you ever think that good UI can make your product safe?
I was watching this TED video today where Avi Rubin, a security expert, explains how everything (from your car to your Pacemaker) can be hacked. It was all very interesting but what I found fascinating was his example about hacking the two way radios that are used by law enforcement officials. These devices, made by Motorola (not known for employing the best in UX…), have an option to encrypt radio transmissions with a switch of a button. As you can see from this image, moving from open air to a secure channel requires 1/8 turn of a multi-purpose switch. When secure, the device is showing an indicator which is few pixels large. Because of this failed UI, 20% of the discussions in the secure channels that were sampled, actually happen in open air. Continue reading “When bad UI can make your product unsafe”
SAP acquired my startup in 2002. It was SAP’s first meaningful move to the SMB space and the expectations were high. SAP achieved its goal as our product, now called SAP Business One, became the leading SMB product for SAP, competing and winning against Microsoft, Sage and other market leaders. Since then I acquired two startups, spent some time in a VC, started a company and now I am experiencing it all over again as I help a startup integrate into a much larger company. Doing it, I feel that the first order of business for the acquiring company is to realize what is it that you acquire. Often, it will be bunch of hacks, knowhow and a group of passionate individuals. Once you align your expectations, the chances of getting more out of the deal are much higher. Continue reading “What do you get when you buy a startup?”
Both Sarah Lacy and the New York Times covered the story of Apple iPhone manufacturing in China. The short of it is simple: companies don’t go to China because of cost anymore, but rather because a Chinese company provides better flexibility and higher quality than an American one. The days of cheap plastic chairs manufacturing in China are over- they outsource it to Vietnam now… Today’s China makes the most sophisticated devices in the world.
But why China wins? I believe that China is winning because it got to an optimum between education, wealth, human rights and discipline. It seems like the formula to a national success is MIN (human rights, wealth) and MAX (education, discipline). Continue reading “China’s winning formula: MIN (human rights, wealth) and MAX (education, discipline)”