Monthly Archives: April 2013

Lean Analytics

Trying to read more but just never have the time lately.

Back to this book for now :: http://leananalyticsbook.com/

I just love this quote as well:

“A startup is an organization formed to search for a scalable and repeatable business model.”

Sometimes, quite often, I freak out thinking I should have all the answers, I shouldn’t get frustrated and that I shouldn’t have hell weeks but quotes like that help me refocus. We have an idea – we are working to make it a business, disrupt a market and delight customers.

It takes time to find the thing we can scale and repeat.

I will keep fighting.

Ever think about your app’s Cognitive Overhead?

I like to use simple pics to illustrate my thinking and for the post I thought the first pics of my baby girl climbing the stairs would do. She had only been crawling a few weeks but was always looking at the stairs. One night she just decided to start going up them one at a time. Took forever and it was funny to watch each step and her reaction as she slowly made her way up. No one really taught her to do it. She had been crawling, standing and pulling herself up but for some reason she decided to connect all those behaviors into one motion, albeit slow motion, and ascend the stairs.

Today I read this article on TC – I rarely ever read TC but when someone links to something good I usually check it out. This is a good one:

http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/20/cognitive-overhead

The article is not a super long read and worth digging into – here is the thrust of it:

Cognitive Overhead — “how many logical connections or jumps your brain has to make in order to understand or contextualize the thing you’re looking at.”

For all of us who “make” things, we naturally assume that everyone else approaches or sees the product they way we have gotten used to building, testing and using the product. Scroll this, click this, wait for this and so on. But the reality is most of your users, apart from the returning ones, are new and have no idea what to do. So whether they think about it, or you design it that way, the user has to process his surroundings, the app and the outcome to an advantageous situation. It could be that the user delights in the app and uses it or struggles with it and deletes it. I think the decision tends to happen pretty quick.

Lots of other factors come into play as well

Is the app free and therefore no barriers to entry?
Is it a freemium model so everyone can try before they buy?
Does your app need other factors like social, good network and so on to work well?

Not sure that everyone can simple draw a success matrix for cognitive overhead or let’s say to cut down on the cognitive overhead but the model warrants some thinking. I can imagine almost going through my entire app/site and thinking about the cognitive overhead. My team is going to hate me.

I am not sure I have the answers yet but when I think of my kid ascending the stairs – I am sure it was a pretty simple leap in her mind and she just did it. There was not a lot to think about, the problem was clear (challenge) and the outcome was well known. How do I make it this simple for my users?

The goal for myself now is to think about my app (mobile and web) and start figuring out where the overhead is, how can we induce better feedback and for our ecosystem especially – how can we guide the users through the errors or technical issues so that they help us fix them or we make it where there are no errors. Video streaming is never perfect. 🙂

So I am dwelling on this paragraph a bit:

GIVE PEOPLE REAL-TIME FEEDBACK.
If your user has to wonder, “So, did it work?” you’ve failed. Walk people through using your product like a magician leads the audience through an illusion. Point out the steps along the way, or whatever magic your product is providing could be lost to the user.

Much to think about. Hoping to see more discussion on this topic since I like the way it is somewhat boiling down problems to science versus pure art.

Enjoy.

bubblemotion Tom and the state of Asian social networks (Mobile First)

Just saw this today:

Why the Largest Social Network in 2015 Won’t be Facebook, and Will Be From Asia

Thomas starts off with some pretty bold predictions:

The time has come: Facebook is falling from grace. It appears that although people used to love flooding their friends’ newsfeeds with pictures and information displaying their every move and emotion, these people have now moved on. It’s no longer cool to upload hundreds of photos from your most recent vacation, which can be overwhelming for friends as well as for the uploaders themselves (uploading, adding captions, and tagging your photos can be a huge time commitment). Today, less is more. Keeping social sharing simple and instant is the secret to integrating into people’s lives and mobile devices.

On some level I tend to agree and have felt this way for a while but so far I can’t tell if it is really happening. Facebook just has so many peeps on it, the advertising is getting better and it seems to be a force to drive traffic and installs. The other thing I notice is I see people using say Line or Path but still using Facebook. When it comes to photos and sharing – Facebook seems king. When it comes to games and chat and commerce – something like Line seems to be doing better.

I have talked about this subject from a different angle on this post – I also cover some of my feelings around Whatsapp :: http://www.nokpis.com/2013/03/20/what-the-hell-happened-to-yahoo-messenger/

The thing I am wondering with the rise of the Asian social/chat networks is will they take hold in Europe and/or America? Emerging markets seem like a no brainer for products like Line but will it happening in America? I am doubtful. Can it happen in Europe – this article touches on that :: http://www.forbes.com/sites/terokuittinen/2013/04/12/interview-with-the-ceo-of-line-usa-challenging-whatsapp-aggressively-in-its-core-markets/

Perhaps the most interesting insight from Ms. Han is that the early success and high market share of WhatsApp does not present an insurmountable hurdle for rival services. Quite the opposite:  now that consumers are used to a streamlined messaging app, they have started hungering for a richer experience with more features. This clearly was the case in Spain – but will it work in all major markets? Might Spanish and Asian consumers have a special affinity to stickers and games that may not apply to the US market or Northern Europe? And how will the resurgent KakaoTalk with its impressive gaming system complicate LINE’s world conquest?

Just 12 months ago, the messaging app market seemed to be consolidating around WhatsApp, much like the social network market once did aroundFacebook. But in April 2013, the situation suddenly seems more complex; the Spanish shock could be a sign of glorious turmoil to come in the messaging space.

Thomas makes some valid points but somehow I just don’t think it will be easy and if Facebook learns and evolves – I think there lead is big enough to hold on to.

Asian social messaging services get what users today are looking for out of social sharing: simplicity and fun. Facebook should start looking East for inspiration on how to up the ante and regain engagement, before an Asian social network beats them to the punch and funnels away a large portion of their user base, primarily on mobile.

I think Facebook could start looking east fast enough to make the difference but the model is changing and apps like Line are shaking it up. The question is can Whatsapp hold on to their lead?

fun times.

nice work Thomas!

How to pick a good metric :: Article from OnStartups

Got this in my feed the other day: http://onstartups.com/tabid/3339/bid/96738/Measuring-What-Matters-How-To-Pick-A-Good-Metric.aspx

It’s a great read and has some salient points to put to work right away at your startup.

It is easy to go crazy with the term big data or the track everything mantra. Not saying tracking everything isn’t good – we tend to track more data than we need but mostly cause we have not had the time to cull it. We track, store it and analyze when we can. I figure someday at Spuul we will have more bodies and time which allow an employee to go much deeper to find some nuggets. Surprisingly some of our old data we have been collecting has already been useful in making some new product decisions.

What I like about this article is how they define some good metrics:

Comparative: this is important. You need to see something that is easily measurable against an old figure to see the difference. Something is showing as improving or getting worse.

Understandable: I digest this as make it something even the the non techies will easily understand.

A ratio or rate: This helps to deal with the comparative issue.

Behavior changing: A metric must help you make product or business decisions. Hopefully it helps to alleviate any opinion or gut feel.

There is a ton to talk about here. How does one come up with these metrics that make sense for their business? I don’t think it is too hard – you will quickly start wishing for particular data points as your business operates. Then make it happen, iterate and look again. More needs will appear, more data will get generated and you just keep going.

One day you will wake up to an almost dashboard of data that helps guide you day to day. Sure it could get overwhelming and at times you might have to cut some data or make it simpler but the slow evolution of your data needs will explain itself over time.

Trick is to start collecting, showing and making it useful.

This article just helps give you some better guidelines for getting going.