Shazeeye's Blog Thoughts on User Experience, Technology and Business

29Dec/113

Cool software and hardware for your iPad

Over the past few months I've been trying to find ways to use my iPad more like a regular laptop so that I can just use one device instead of two and the fact that it's so convenient. I still use my laptop but along the way I've found  software and hardware for the iPad that's really amazing. Let's me show you this cool stuff with a few videos.

1. Keyboard: If you do a lot of typing a tactile keyboard definitely helps. There are a few on the market - Zaggmate is popular and expensive ($100) and Kensington is great value at $65. As seen in the video the keyboard comes in a case and is removable if you just want an iPad case. There are slots for the camera and to charge the iPad. You can also tilt it from 20-70 degrees for a better viewing angle. Volume and home controls are available on the keypad and setup is very easy.

2. Microsoft Office:OnLive, a company based in Palo Alto, has created OnLive Desktop a cloud based service for creating Microsoft Office (MS Word, MS Excel, Ms PowerPoint, etc.) files on the iPad. Files created on the iPad are accessible on any other device through the OnLive Files Website. They can be mailed and shared on a laptop but not on the iPad. To share the files that you created on the iPad you have to open the file on a laptop.

I'm waiting for the next version of the iPad when they (hopefully) have a USB or some form of external drive to help save files or at least have a file sharing option that is not limited to the Apple network.

Channel

Value

When to use?

How to use?

Social Media-Facebook

Facebook friends are invested in helping you out so if you could ask them to share your message this channel will get you maximum reach

If you want to create awareness and get maximum reach using your social equity.

Ask friends to post your message and share with their network. In your message mention what you want and send the message with a link to your blog- don’t forget to track the link with bitly.

Social Media-Twitter

Gets you traffic but visitors will not spend quality time on your blog. It helps establish you in the Twitter world as a thought leader where you can communicate directly with other gurus in the field. It is also used to identify latest events, updates, etc in the field.

Use twitter to become a thought leader as you will be judged on the quality of your tweets. You could tweet every time you write a blog post. You must tweet daily or every other day to stay current.

Tweet regularly and often. Try to tweet original thoughts on topics in your field so that your followers will retweet it and thus your circle of influence grows to make you a thought leader in the field.

Social Media-LinkedIn

Very high value as people are looking to hire on this network and by using a blog you enhance its value. Visitors from this channel spent the maximum time on my blog.

Always as you build your career – even when not looking for a job. To help give you a professional brand identity.

Add the blog application to your linkedIn profile so that every time you post on your blog it appears on LinkedIn. Post LinkedIn status updates as and when possible.

SEO – Content based on user interest

This is the most valuable channel of all. If you don’t have a unique perspective that or interesting content visitors will not stay or revisit. This helps build loyalty and stickiness to your blog.

Must always use content based on user interest else you will be one among the millions on dying blogs.

With the help of many tools as mentioned above you can gauge user interest and write posts accordingly. I’ve also looked at the offline world (events, conferences) to gauge user interest in my field.

SEO- Linking

Social Media channels need regular effort but SEO is more of a long term strategy than Social Media. Efforts put in a year ago will still reap benefits. Linking helps get traffic from other similar blogs, directories and is one of the easiest SEO methods.

Use only when you are linking to sources that add value to your blog otherwise people will realize you are just spamming their pages/websites/blogs.

Check the credibility of the places you link with as they can either help you or even harm you. Page ranks of above 6/10 or higher are good to link to.

SEO-Long tail keywords

Helps differentiate you from competitors by targeting a niche within your field (example:marketing+ technology+healthcare)

Must use to win against the bigger competitors in your field as you won’t win competing head to head (like Judo Strategy).

Use the traffic estimator to see which combination of keywords keep increasing in traffic month over month

SEO tools- plugin

Tools help to make it easier for Google’s search bots to find the right keywords and thus increase SEO.

For every post use the SEO plugin to promote your keywords

WordPress (blog platform) has a number of SEO plugins that can be added easily.

SEO-keywords

Since the entire SEO game is about keywords it is critical to get the best value by choosing the most valuable keywords

Use to understand trends in the industry and what people are looking for so that content on blog can be tailored accordingly

Use keyword tools to identify these keywords as well as what keywords the competition is targeting

Adwords

Ads help reach a wider audience as well as create awareness. Adwords is the most targeted form of traffic.

When you have the budget to reach a wider audience and when you feel the ROI is worth it

There are some best practices mentioned above (categorize campaigns, use more than 1 ad, bid accordingly and write effective ads) but I still need to learn how to best use this channel

31Aug/110

Entrepreneurial Ideas at Singularity University

On August 26th I was honored to be a part of the graduation ceremony of the 2011 Graduate Studies Program (GSP) at Singularity University. This university, located at the NASA Ames campus in Silicon Valley, aims to educate and inspire leaders to apply advance technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges. The goal of the ten week GSP program is to develop ideas and solutions that have the potential to positively impact at least one billion people within ten years. The program is well supported and funded by companies such as Google and Cisco and Venture Capitalists such as Vinod Khosla (Co-founder of Sun Microsystems and keynote speaker at GSP 11) and Bob Metcalfe (Founder of 3Com).  This year GSP11 students will choose one of six “grand challenge areas” to focus their projects: Education, Security, Energy, Global Health, Space and Poverty. A few of their ideas are detailed below.

1. IgniSolar: A team of six entrepreneurs have patented and developed a solar panel at one-tenth the price of regular solar panels. Their solution is a concentrated Photovoltaic Solar panel which is flexible, has reflective fabric, requires no tracking and had passive cooling. The technology replaces expensive heavy mirrors with reflective fabric, and minimizes extra features to make a cost effective product. IgniSolar's value proposition is in its complete solution and performance. It generates 20 times more energy at one-tenth the price compared to its competitors. Its target customers are households and commercial customers in sunny climates such as the Middle East, Southern Africa, Northwest India and other places with no or intermittent electricity.

2. Corruptiontracker.org: Dr. Clarence Tan and his team have created a corruption tracking and reporting system. People will be able to submit reports directly through CorruptionTracker.org via SMS, mobile telephony, and our Internet site. To expedite implementation, CorruptionTracker seeks to work closely with the internationally renowned open source platform, Ushahidi. To date, the platform is aggregating data from localized Twitter and Ushahidi anti-corruption deployments but soon will deploy a patented SMS system with mobile application implementation and will include photos, videos and audio recordings that take advantage of mobile telephony technologies.

3. Senstore: provides technological and community tools that make it cheaper and faster for developers to create health devices and applications. Senstore provides the technical and social infrastructure to empower developers to build health monitoring devices cheaper and faster by partnering with existing technology platforms and partners. Their goal is to be open sourced and driven by the community.

You could read more details on projects of the GSP 2009 class here.

30Aug/110

Managing Disruptive Innovation

PARC or Palo Alto Research Center, a Xerox Company in Silicon Valley has contributed tremendously to commercial innovation through ethnography. I am a huge advocate of ethnography and PARC pioneered this process of studying human behavior and "hybridized" it with other social science and analytical methods to optimize it for business application - particularly for addressing new opportunities, customers and markets. PARC owns 2500 patents and have created products such as GroupFire (acquired by Google), Inxight (acquired by SAP) and Uppercase (acquired by Microsoft). You can see some of their presentations here. On August 18th I went for a presentation on Managing Disruptive Innovation by Tamara St. Claire, VP of Global Business Development and Head of Commercial Operations.

Tamara spoke about managing disruptive (vs. incremental) innovation, its risks, two case studies and lessons learned.  Incremental innovation happens in existing markets (left column in image on right) while disruptive innovation happens in new markets (right column) and is more challenging to manage. She mentioned three risks in disruptive innovation - technology, market and execution- emphasizing that markets and execution are the most challenging factors to overcome. A further breakdown of the risks are found in the image below. Lack of credibility/experience (includes C level stakeholders), lack of channel (sales/distribution network) and lack (actually the inability to filter through too much) of information are critical risk factors.

The best way to enter a market of disruptive innovation (with existing or new technology) is to start with a minimal viable product (MVP) introduced at the right time and a strong value chain. MVP is a product with a limited set of features that fits the user needs of a niche market. Once the product has gained an audience ideas to gain mass market with added features can be explored. Tamara gave an example of one of PARC's chip packaging technology which was introduced seven years ago but shelved due to bad timing. It was reworked seven years later by partnering with Sun Microsystems and Oracle due to their advances in chip technology. The value chain are a group of activities (see image below- extreme right) that help to bring the product to market. In existing markets best practices help define a path to market entry but in disruptive markets one has to be flexible and shift gears depending on learnings. It is also critical to partner with experts and consultants studying these new markets as well as visit trade shoes and conferences to learn as much as possible. Partnerships are forged to strengthen the chain and build credibility.

Case Study: Printed Electronics Services

PARC developed low cost disposable printed flexible electronic expertise and devices can be applied in health electronics, packaging and biomedicine. When DARPA (Defense Agency) contacted them to develop an early detection solution to prevent brain injury for soldiers they partnered with consultants and experts to expand their printed electronics services for defense applications. They soon realized they couldn't manufacture the films at the scale desired and thus decided to play a connector role (flexibilty to change is key) between materials and manufacturing.  They partnered with Polyera and 2 other manufacturers thus giving up positions in the value chain and concentrating on their strength (network orchestrator). The lessons are outlined in the image on the right where N=1 means that they relied on more than one consultant or expert to help traverse this new territory and in many cases related to disruptive innovation a group of experts help bring together a holistic viewpoint and a superior product. The other lessons were to be flexible to change course, focus on strengths in the value chain and partner in areas of weaknesses.

Case Study: Content-Centric Networking Protocol

PARC developed a communication protocol complementing existing IP infrastructure to reduce the cost of distributing video and other content in IP/TV networks. Content-Centric Networking uses a unique architecture that caches content closest to the users who request it most thus reducing network capital cost and operating expense.  To create this solution PARC collaborated with Van Jacobson, Chief Scientist at Cisco and an IP/TV expert and took it to open source for feedback. They tested this network with the government and early adopters and used feedback to improve the solution to get critical mass. The lessons here were to get the right commitment, gain critical mass and engage user feedback early.

Overall lessons are to use ethnography to understand how people are using your products and thus have a well defined MVP. Disruptive innovation is more about unique business models and integrating technology. As a company expands it is critical to have a portfolio of products ranging from core to next gen products and using a process to manage this innovation can be the difference between success and failure.

Page 1 of 11

Switch to our mobile site