Friday, June 29, 2012

Twitter: bye-bye LinkedIn, hello Facebook

LinkedIn announced today that it will no longer display tweets in its home page.  LinkedIn will continue to support posting its network updates to Twitter, however.  On the surface this sounds like LinkedIn's decision to stop displaying tweets.  But there is more happening here than meets the eyes.
Twitter is changing its dance partner;
bye-bye LinkedIn, hello Facebook.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Product Management: are you asking the right question?

How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?
First open the door, put the elephant in, then close the door.
Simple instructions tend to miss important details;
go figure them out, product owners

Not everything in life can be spelled out in simple instructions.  There are bound to be missing steps, exception cases, and simply wrong instructions even at times.  Some of these instructions come from someone else, but more often it comes from your own thoughts.  We all tend to filter the answers that we receive with our own preconceived notions and stereotypes.  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Google I/O 2012: tablet and glasses

Google had its first day of Google I/O 2012 today.  As rumors suggested Google launched its first tablet Nexus 7 running on the latest Android 4.1 code-named Jelly Bean.  It's priced at $199 for 8 GB storage and features 7 inch (diagonally) screen with 1280x800 resolution and front camera.

All of sudden tablet market is getting even more crowded with Microsoft Surface and Google Nexus 7.  With low price point of Google Nexus 7, it will put pressure on Amazon Kindle Fire price (note that Kindle Fire does not have camera and comes with 6 GB of storage with 1024x600 resolution.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Facebook Messages: now comes with email flavor

You would probably heard of by now that Facebook rolled out email address to all 900 million Facebook users.  If you are not sure what your email address is I suggest that you look up your Profile Contact Info Section.  It should show a new email address that Facebook slipped in there for you.

Facebook becomes full web mail service;
look for anti-spam war in your Facebook
messaging inbox soon.
This time Facebook showed a sign of maturity, and had my new Facebook email as visible only to me.  If it were early 2009, I would have expected it to be visible to everyone but maybe shown in jpg graphics (Facebook used to display user's email address as image to prevent spammers from scrapping Profile sites).

Why would Facebook give up their own domain for all users?  What would Facebook gain by giving everyone an email address?  Isn't Facebook all about short status updates and messaging?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Diane Van Deren: Stay in the moment

There is a theme that I see with all awesome people.  All awesome people stay in the moment.  They live in each moment continuously pursuing their goal.  What makes us go wow when we look at these people is not only at their achievement, but also their tireless persistence to get better at what they do.

Diane Van Deren is one such inspiration.  She is one of the world's greatest ultramarathon runners.  She ran and won many 100 mile races that last over 24 hours, and even 300-mile race where she had to run several days with 1hr sleep in between.

Diane Van Deren in her most peaceful environment
where she can lose herself in the rhythm of her own feet.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Social media is about conversation

One key difference of social media from traditional mass media is that social media is about conversation.  Most people realizes that social media has given voice to everyone who can get on the internet and knows how to post vlog, blog, status update on Facebook and tweet.  What companies often fail to see, however, is that they also have option to respond and engage in conversations with people via social media.

I wanted to share two examples of how companies are engaging in conversation with users.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Essential qualities of innovator

Dan Pallotta wrote a blog article on Harvard Business Review yesterday about how you don't need a PhD to innovate.  After reading his blog (which I completely agree with), I started to wonder what essential qualities of innovator are.

It's easy to see that innovator needs to recognize a problem and solve it by asking whys and hows.  But what kind of qualities help a person create a solution that others have difficult time coming up with?

After a bit of Google, I created tag cloud from top 3 Google results of 'innovator qualities':
The Heart of Innovation: 20 Qualities of an Innovator
Innovation Excellence | 7 Core Qualities of an Innovator
The Five Qualities of the Consummate Innovator

Friday, June 22, 2012

Google ads vs Facebook ads: comparing apple and orange

Facebook has not figured out how to monetize its 900 million user traffic.  Not just yet.  It may sound like a simple problem.  After all Google was able to create its ads platform relatively early in its history.  Why is it that Facebook is having such a trouble creating successful advertisement platform?

Jeff Rosenblum, chief executive officer of Questus, offers one clue as to why this might be.  He suggests that Google helps advertisers to convert traffic to deals at the bottom of the sales funnel, while Facebook is all about creating customer engagement at the top of the sales funnel.  Showing banner ads on Facebook is not really the best way to leverage interactive user traffic.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tony Wagner: How to educate future innovators

Tony Wagner is the first Innovation Education Fellow at the Technology & Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard.  He spoke at TedxNYED event last April about how to educate future innovators.

Menshn: Twitter gets a political copycat

It was interesting to see negative reactions to Menshn, twitter-like political social network.  It was founded by Louise Mensch, British conservative member of Parliament, and Luke Bozier.  The site went live first in U.S., and is launched with ambition of creating open dialogue platform for U.S. presidential political discussions.

After reading sharply negative post about Menshn on Gigaom (here's another critical review of Menshn), I decided to take a look around myself.

Brits are setting up U.S. politics discussion platform.
In order to become viable, I see lot of challenges ahead, though.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Greplin pivots to Cue

I've been a Greplin user for a while.  I think I first signed up back in early 2011, when they had Facebook and Twitter support.  Its pitch is a simple one.  Greplin is an aggregated social and personal data in the cloud search engine.  It lets user connect his Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and many other webmail services, and allow user to search on all data including contacts.

Bye bye Greplin;
hello Cue!
I have been a fan of their clean UI and responsive user experience from the start.  Everything worked as expected.  When indexing the newly connected account, it displayed the status of how fast the system is indexing the new feed.  Search worked flawlessly with intuitive search results display and hyperlinks to drill down to the returned result.

However I felt there was something missing.  Greplin has executed very refined user experience on a problem that everyone could relate to.  Yet I did not find myself going back to Greplin for my own use of searching my feeds.  I was going back to Greplin to illustrate how to get user experience right.  Why?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Google+ is gaining ground

Google+ is gaining ground.  That was the exact note that I made to myself last Monday.  With redesign launched back in April 2012, I found myself spending more time on Google+ for a simple reason.  I was finding interesting content to keep me on Google+ through Explore tab.

I now make a point to go browse Explore tab to get an idea about what's trending in my interests.  Inspirational commencement speech videos that I shared yesterday were curated from Google+ in addition to a few other content.

The fact that Google+ is gaining popularity with its own techy ambiance is not surprising.  Most of us following social network space have anticipated that there will be more than one winners (that's because each network has its context).

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Inspirational commencement speeches

As 2012 graduation season winds down, there were a couple commencement speeches that I wanted to share with you.  Both of speeches helped me see what is truly important in life, and how important it is to live my life with love, passion, and be present in its every moment.

To all graduates, congratulations on your new beginning.  May your journey be full of learning and living.

1) Cory Booker at Stanford University Commencement

2) David McCullough Jr. at Wellesley High School

Thanks to Robert Scoble and many Google+ users who recommended the speeches.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mobile phone radiation: take precaution until we know better

FCC (Federal Communications Commission) plans to re-investigate whether mobile phone's low frequency radio wave causes adverse health affect.  It originally launched earlier probe 15 years ago, and reached conclusion of no adverse health effect after its chief investigator got let go (I wrote about this topic back in November 2010).

Mobile phone is so much more than just a phone;
it's a communication device.
Its long term effect must be studied and understood.

It is great to see FCC taking initiatives to investigate this.  Until I hear overwhelming evidence that it's safe to use cellphone without worrying about health effect, I would recommend everyone to take caution in holding up your cellphone to your ear.  Especially I won't be allowing my children to use cellphone.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Microsoft += Yammer

UPDATE 6/16/2012: According to CNET, Microsoft tablet will run Windows RT, a variant of Windows 8, that has subset of Windows 8 features available.  Check out how Windows RT is different from Windows 8 here.

It looks like Microsoft is buying Yammer for $1.2 billion according to WSJ.  This marks the third major acquisition of social networking company this year.  It follows from Oracle's acquisition of Vitrue and Salesforce's acquisition of Buddy Media.  Yammer had released SharePoint connector back in late 2010 and acquired OneDrum, Microsoft Office document collaboration tool, earlier this year.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Humblebrag: Twitter-only phenomenon?

Have you seen humblebrag?  Urban Dictionary defines humblebrag as following:

Humblebrag: When you, usually consciously, try to get away with bragging about yourself by couching it in a phony show of humility.

It's like someone is pretending to be humble on the surface, but in reality bragging about how remarkable her life is.  Let me show you some examples of humblebrag:

Has Facebook peaked?

It's been just about a month since Facebook has gone IPO.  As much as there have been hypes of Facebook IPO, there have been just as much disappointments.  I think most of hypes were too speculative to be classified as bubble, and I welcome the readjustment of expectation.  But recently I started hearing a question.

Is Facebook on its way down?

People give several reasons why this may be the case:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Prod Mgmt: Solve human problem, not machine capability

I will be the first one to admit.  I am a recovering engineer who got introduced to product management.  I like talking about computational theory and randomized algorithms.  I get a kick out of talking about right way of designing object hierarchy and design patterns.  Somehow it makes me feel that I got value out of my college and post-college years.

But I can tell you one thing.  Designing a product has very little to do with understanding technology, let alone implementation details.  In fact, knowing how product is put together is likely to hinder your understanding of what makes a marketable solution.

I still remember the conversation that I had with my sister.  When I was fresh out of graduate school, she was pursuing screenwriting career and got her first digital camcorder.  I remember the camera was a significant investment on her part.  It must have costed her over $4,500 to get digital camcorder and MacBook for video editing.  Seeing the cool gadget for the first time, I could not help but get excited.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Apple WWDC 2012

Apple kicked off its 23rd WWDC today.  Tim Cook took only several minutes to start the conference, and shared eye opening stats with all Apple developers.

There are 400 million Apple App Store accounts that are connected with credit card information.  These are not Facebook accounts that are created with your email addresses.  These are accounts that are linked with credit card that can be used instantly to purchase apps.

400 million accounts with credit cards;
that's a big number.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Michael Lazerow: the guy behind Buddy Media

Buddy Media is getting acquired by Salesforce for $800 million.  It is the biggest exit from NYC-based start-up in last 5 years.  The guy behind Buddy Media is Michael Lazerow.

He made an personal video post after signing the deal:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Website to Application: Appification

Last year I started to hear about discussion of launching mobile application first before launching website.  Remember $1 billion acquisition of Instagram?  If you happen to be one of shrinking minorities who do not have smartphone or iPad and google Instagram to use it, you are out of luck.  Because they do not have website where you can use the service.  Instagram is all on mobile.

Now I see this more and more.  Application is replacing website.  What used to be dynamically updated real-time content feed (aka Web 2.0) is now getting replaced by applications.

If you don't have mobile app, you don't have mobile content.
Think of mobile app as a bookmark to your service.

There are three trends driving appification of web:

Friday, June 8, 2012

What does it take to be 'cool'?

That was the question that I started to ask myself.  Often we see something and we immediately think that it's cool.  What makes something cool?

I don't think I have an answer.  But maybe I can narrow it down by showing you a couple of cool things that I saw this week:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Product Management: why simple UX wins

I am a big believer of simple user experience.  Simplicity is more than design philosophy.  It's way of communicating clarity.  It's way of showing focus.  It's way of selling.  This is especially true with software.  That's because software does not have form factor unlike physical product that you pick up at Home Depot.

Take a look at this tool:

What do you think that is?  Bluetooth ear piece?  Ergonomic mouse?  Or thumb drive that has flip-out USB connector?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Rodney Mullen: create for the joy of creating and sharing

Rodney Mullen took a stage at TEDxUSC on May 4th.  Rodney Mullen is a skateboarder.  He started out as a freestyle skateboarder back in early 1980's and won 35 out of 36 freestyle skateboarding competitions by his 23rd birthday.  He then had to reinvent himself once new street skating style obsoleted freestyle of skating.  He draws parallel of how skating tricks are invented and shared with how hacker community create and share open source projects.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My thoughts on Paul Graham's email

Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator;
Facebook bubble is popping a bit and
start-ups should watch out for the side effect.
Yesterday I saw Paul Graham's email alerting Y Combinator teams that start-ups may have rocky road ahead in raising money due to over-hyped Facebook's IPO.  Then there are lot of pundits piling on the news.  Some compared it with now famous Sequoia Capital's R.I.P. Good Times deck.  Some had more balanced response putting Facebook's IPO in perspective.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Opportunity to innovate is everywhere

Innovation is what happens when you start challenging earlier assumptions.  It is more of way of approaching a problem than building on existing solution.  Because it's more of approach, how you look at a problem, questioning hidden assumptions and being open to outlandish idea are key ingredients to innovation.

Because innovation has more to do with breaking down earlier assumptions, opportunity for innovation is everywhere.  Sometimes assumptions that used to be valid are no longer valid because consumers have changed.  Sometimes what used to be technically impossible several years ago can be possible because of Moore's law.  Consumer may not have been educated to realize there is a problem earlier.  Perhaps they are now familiar with new product and how it can solve their problem.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

When is the right time to launch?

Over the weekend I saw two tools that recently launched.  One was widbook and the other was  Widbook is social book authoring network.  It lets you write books and share your drafts with fans and friends to get their comments.  It also allows you to discover books on topics that you are interested in. is a blog comment search engine.  You can search comments that anyone wrote on anyone's blog and jump directly to that comment.  Idea is to easily search old and new conversations and start engaging with the conversation.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Lessons from Sam The Banana Man

Samuel Zemurray was an entrepreneur around the turn of 20th century.  As a son of immigrant family, he did not have a college degree yet he started out as banana trader and eventually ran United Fruit company, the world's most influential fruit company at the time.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Product Management: sell experience, not just features

Lower your price to get a new customer, if you can be leaner than anyone and scale better than anyone.  Chances are, however, you will not be able to compete with China for too long in this lower price competition.

Add more features to get a new customer, if you know what features will help you close the deal.  Chances are, however, that you won't be able to do this for too long because your product will be too bloated for you to maintain.  Bunch of professional services put together as a product usually don't make a good product.

Create a new product category to get whole bunch of customers, if you know how to displace existing solutions that customers are accustomed to.  Chances are, however, that there will be second and third products in the newly created market soon, and you will be dragged into feature competition.