Sunday, October 18, 2015

Reaching out to people (lecture review)

Communication is key in the product development process. It is informative in the way it gets feedback from future users to better prepare the product for the market.
However, this process can be hard.
The first step towards effective communication is preparing mentally. Be ready for rejection and setback during the process. Get prepared for investment of time and efforts.
Afterwards, we need to find a way to market ourselves. Try to build a consistent image through different sources such as social networks.
The next step and the most important one, is to go out and really meet people. Be mindful of the way to approach different types of people. Recognize the valuable people we wish to keep in touch and try to build relationship with them. A good platform to meet people is through relevant events.
Don't ever close the door and do all coding, it is almost always beneficial to communicate with people. And if we hold the wish for communication, there is a way.

Monday, September 28, 2015

9/28 session GrabTaxi

Just a brief summary on today's session.

For an app with potential to grow big, scalability is essential. The idea of micro services architecture is interesting. It builds small and autonomous units by function, letting them communicate with network calls. It fits the programming principle of "low coupling, high cohesion" perfectly well. It is a dynamic structure more friendly for addition. It also applies the decentralization concept by even decentralizing data management. The flaw comes from the external communication.

I took a special look at event collaboration. It closely implements the idea of loose coupling, so each component cares about its own business, by watching on updates needed for itself. Low coupling allows for flexibility of modification; nevertheless, it comes with complexity. Event cascade is indirect and may be difficult to spot. The communication process between components are public and incur difficulty to trace.

As for the quote from Hooi Ling "do what you really care about". Seems to fit broader than start-ups. Try to do what you care about and try to do it well!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

reflections on medium

The team has introduced Medium from various perspectives and here's what I've learnt from their presentation:

1. Medium has established unique positioning in the online sharing world. It has decided to hide and weaken user, focus instead on quality content. The fact that it organizes community based on topic and content instead of relationship. differs it from other blog sites which heavily rely on interaction between users. This is ultimately important as its foundation and starting point and I feel that Medium must stick to its core value to thrive in future.

2. The group have also mentioned the technical side of Medium. Medium has put in effort to improve user writing experience. The UI is in general quite writing-friendly and it focuses on creating atmosphere deeper writing and reading. However, it has chosen to forgo some common blog functions such as categorizing comments by user and private messaging. These approaches are generally consistent with their proposition and is therefore good.

3. At last, the group have proposed possible improvements for Medium: 
In addition I have some other thoughts:
(i) Improve on the analytics aspect of user data and create value by analysing
(ii) Medium can add in ads according to specific topics

I have some add-ons on base of the presentation:  

- A natural weakness point of such products is that networking effect is vitally important. Loyalty of consumers and activeness of a tier of most valuable and influential users are key to development. Medium may seem to be even more vulnerable since there is low connectivity in the community, however, with further inspection, we will find that Medium will only attract users who are hunting for quality contents from the very start. This means it has placed itself in a niche market but in this way it's more straight-forward to offer what this small segment of users want.

 - As for the group's proposal of advertising. In my opinion, ads may be source of income, but may result in dilution of brand and loss of consumers. So this must be implemented in a careful way and under tight control. Only ads are relevant enough and consistent with its brand are allowed and in a limited space.

In conclusion, I personally feel this is a nice product targeted at a limited customer base. It is cool and brave of Medium to deprive users of many things they are so used to in order to deliver what Medium think is ultimately important. It is not a hit, it won't be one if it keeps its way of doing things, but it is something attractive and not distracted by current trends.

Monday, August 24, 2015

A brief summary on today's session:

1. The talk given on "growth hacking": The marketing and promotion methods shared by Bjorn are quite amazing. Large amount of investment into marketing is one way, spending almost nothing but try to catch people through various existing sharing channels can be more powerful than I imagined. The approach to popularizing an app is so diverse and is readily available if you invest time and efforts.

2. The story-telling style sharing about start-up is quite interesting. Entrepreneurship is always a hard way to go. Team is ultimately important. Other obstacles and challenges may turn out to be beneficial somehow. Be flexible and agile when creating something by keeping everything as simple as possible. Try to recognize and try your best to correct errors at earliest stage possible. Focus on the product itself to differentiate. Last but least, be well prepared to suffer if ever go into founding a start-up.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

At the beginning

The purpose of this blog is to set some target for the coming semester.

The very first target is to challenge myself as much as I can. I really want to see what I can accomplish if I ever try to push myself beyond limit.

Also some concrete targets:
- Get to know more about both the technology side and business side of web applications and explore effective and efficient interaction between the two.
- Try to create application which really serves someone's need and do it well
- Get a deeper understanding of the web-application landscape today so as to understand where we stand and where we shall stand
- Really improve on the hardcore programming skills and learning skills
- Communicate more efficiently and seek to learn from people around

There is a saying "journey is the reward", but I need to have a fulfilling journey first.