Business

Progressive Web Apps For Startups

Today I gave a talk at our Startup Space in San Francisco to a group of startups from Mexico.

The goal of this talk was to expose young entrepreneurs to the power of the web platform and how they could leverage progressive web apps in order to improve their businesses. The first section is talking about ‘startups best practices’. Since most of them are in their first steps, I figure it would be valuable to them to hear what they can do better.

The second section is telling the story of progressive web app revolution and how it can help them.
The TL;DR is in the picture below. Continue reading

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Business, webdev

How To Rapid Prototyping?

One of the strength points that startups got over big companies is the ability to run fast and try new things. That’s why it’s important to improve your prototyping abilities.

Rapid prototyping composed from quick iterations of these three steps:

  1. Prototype РDraw, sketch or code something that can be reviewed.
    Convert the description of the solution into mock ups that everyone can see and review. You should take into considerations what is the story that will drive the user interaction. What will be the best experience?
  2. Review –¬†Share the prototype with stakeholders (=users, developers and designers) and evaluate whether it meets their needs and expectations. If you can, let them try it and watch what they are doing. Try to mimic the real world as much as you can. For example, if it’s a mobile web app, let users try it with 3G networks (or even 2G) and see what is working and what is not.
  3. Refine –¬†Based on feedback and data that you collected, identify areas that need to be refined or further defined¬†it in the prototype. Now jump to step #2 and see if the result improved or, like in some cases, they did not.

The key to a successful rapid prototyping is¬†revising quickly based on feedback. You should say ‘no’ to a lot of suggestions and let the data leads you.¬†This approach¬†helps teams experiment with multiple approaches and ideas on their way to a new product. It also reduces the risk by putting everyone on the same page (or in this case, the same image).

What to Prototype?

Use the 20/80 rule.

As a starting point, you can impress¬†your colleagues¬†when you suggesting it… You can start by saying something like: “Let’s work with Pareto distribution“. At this point of the meeting, everyone will look at you with admiration.

But more importantly, it’s helpful – For real.

Focus on the 20% of the key functionality that will be used 80% of the time. You¬†wish to showcase how your product will work and later how it will look like. So¬†ignore all the ‘little’ features that are not part of these core¬†functions.

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Android, Business

How To Make Money From Your App?

What are the action items that will increase the odds in that battle to improve your monetization?

This is one of the most challenging aspect for every startups. After you build your application¬†(or service) you need to measure all the actions that the users take. This is a learning mechanism that will let you iterate (hopefully quickly) and improve your product. Once you feel that you have a good product market fit and you are out of the alpha (or beta) modes it’s time to put efforts in the ‘Grow’ and ‘Earn’ parts.

Let’s see what are some of the tools that we can use.

develop, grow and earn! Continue reading

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Business

Startups And Running

running on the beach

Last week, I had an interesting talk with a friend about the common set of skills you need in order to create a successful (big) project. In most cases, the planing phase is important but not the most challenging one. The execution is the real deal.

It’s the ability to push on when things are falling a part. As someone said:¬†“Everybody has a plan until they get punched”. This is why grit is a¬†critical aspect.

We later talked about another passion we shared: long distance running. It wasn’t too hard to see the similarity in characteristics of great entrepreneurs and runners.

From my experience, in both cases,¬†it’s about the people that you meet in this clan and the willingness to help and support each other.¬†In most cases, it’s not a direct competition, but rather a huge challenge to make it to the end. Where each individual¬†define the ‘end’ differently.

Sure enough, someone already did a ted talk on this topic. Continue reading

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Business

Innovation From One Startup

These are the slides from my talk today at Google IL Office.
It covers:
1. Google’s past, present and a bit of the future.
2. Google’s 5 principles of innovation.

If you are an entrepreneur, there are some good principle to take to your venture (especially from slide 23).

SFO bride to startups

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Business

Failure Is Part Of The Game

blue in the dessertLast night, I read this¬†article. What I like most was the short paragraph that gave few recent examples of ‘big’ failures:

…With original ideas, failure is inevitable, because it‚Äôs impossible to predict how technologies will evolve and tastes will change. Mark Cuban passed on Uber. In the early days of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin tried to sell their search engine for less then $2 million, but their potential buyer turned them down. Publishers rejected Harry Potter because it was too long for a children‚Äôs book. Executives passed on Seinfeld for having incomplete plot lines and unlikeable characters. Pay a visit to Jerry Seinfeld‚Äôs bathroom, and you might find a memo hanging on the wall that calls the pilot episode of Seinfeld ‚Äúweak‚ÄĚ and says ‚ÄúNo segment of the audience was eager to watch the show again.‚ÄĚ

We know that most startups will fail. Moreover, in many cases, they will fail even if they had a good idea and executed well (see:¬†“Why Startups Succeed”¬†for more details).
So be willing to fail and try again.
You are in a good company.

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Business

How To Start? The Execution

Build something people loveThis is the last part from four presentations I did to a course for young entrepreneurs. In the last three lessons: Idea, Product and Team I did my best to focus on the things that will move the needle for you at the early stages. This fourth lesson is all about execution and it might be the most critical part. Continue reading

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Business

How to Start? The Team

Build something people love

This is the third part of four presentations I did to a course for young entrepreneurs. The slides are as brief as possible because they meant to give just the framework. The real content is pass verbally.
However, the main points to pay attention are:

  • In many aspects, finding a great co-founder is like finding a partner for life. You should do your best to seek for someone you can trust and spend time with during circumstances that will be very challenging. The ‘honeymoon’ will pass quickly, so make sure it’s someone you want to have with you on a deserted island, because this is what ‘startup life’ will look like after few days.¬†It’s important that your skills will complement each other. So if you are the technical person, you should find a partner that is strong in business, marketing, sales etc’.
  • You should pick the initial team members by their resourcefulness and passion (or determination) to the mission of what you are trying to accomplish. A good way to look on the ‘founding team’ is for people that could have been co-founders if the timing was right. Another great way to look on these first hires as people that you would have feel comfortable to report to.
  • Hire only when you desperate – So do everything first and only hire when there is no other option.
  • Hire true experts. The difference between an ‘OK’ developer and a true expert is unbelievable. At the early stages, it’s critical to build an ‘A Team’ because these type of teams create ‘A companies’.

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