Archive for 2011

The past 30 days

Ephemeral motivation

Your developer will show great progress at the beginning because everything is fresh and shiny.

That is where their intrinsic motivation comes from when you cannot pay them.

Be careful not to take away that motivation.

Ancient video games


Was speaking with a chap at a networking meet-up just the other night who had applied for, and was reasonably confident that he would get, a design patent on what is colloquially known as a hamburger menu.

When I pointed out that these have been quite popular for a year or two, he chastised me by¬†pointing out his design patent was filed for some four years prior to today’s date.

I thought for a moment and then mentioned that hamburger menus were also in Turbo Debugger, for DOS, somewhere around the early 1990’s but went back as early as the 1980’s on the Xerox Star.

The entrepreneur dismissed this out of hand, pointing out that his design patent was unique because, and I quote “It’s on a mobile phone.”

The “I have an MBA!” starter-kit.

The “I have an MBA!” starter-kit is:

Took an Economics 101 course and now understands how start-ups should be run, how to manage technical projects and how to raise money.

Hiring frieze

When you are attempting to woo potential new hires an authentic message and an authentic attempt to connect with them as individuals will produce better results than a glossy advertising or obvious marketing campaign.

As denizens of the 21st century, good hires, those that have the pick of where they want to work and who they want to work with, have become more attuned to filtering corporate messaging than ever before.

Bored to success

Success is boring.

If you follow the art of someone starting out with a product they are building, and go through all the steps they went through, it is utterly mundane.

A phone call here, an email there, grinding away, hour after hour, day after day, persistently chasing another small deal, pushing out yet another marketing piece in to one more channel.

There’s no wild “Aha!” moment.

Yet, all those boring hours of humdrum activity where shit is getting done, add up to an amazing success story.

And then other people focus purely on the success and how exciting that must be.

But you know the truth, the path you took to get to that success was boring.

Distributed friction

The future of the app store is install free apps.

On demand streaming of apps that require no download and partial app downloads with smart caching (Only store the parts of an app locally that you use regularly, remove those locally stored parts of an app that you haven’t used in a while) will be the new way that users download, consume and interact with apps.

Eventually users won’t install anything through the app store, they will just install a link when they click on it in a web browser.

The “app store” as we know it, a place to search for and download new software, will go away for about 90% of the useful utilities that we use on a daily basis.

When a friend shares a link with us on our smartphone, we won’t be directed to the app store to download and install the app.

Instead the app (or at least the parts we need) will stream to us automatically.

And then we will be given the option of saving an icon (a link) to the app on our home screen after we have interacted with the app for a while.

This will reduce user acquisition friction, but it also means that the saying “there’s an app for that” will ring even more true.

Burnt out? More like burnt to a crisp!

You will insist your technical co-founder build something they are not proud of.

And that’s okay, because you need to burn out a few craftsman before you realise you can get the same second-rate throwaway app that will never make any money by hiring cheap, talented amateurs that just want your money.

Questionable ability

At some point you will question your technical co-founders ability.

We should always question the work of our colleagues.

We should also always be prepared to have our own work questioned.

Execution is everything

Ideas are worthless without execution.

And execution isn’t a business plan.

Or a powerpoint.

Or a written design.

Execution is something real and tangible that will change my life (even if only slightly) the moment I touch it.

You came in that thing?

Your next developer will recommend you scrap everything and start from scratch.

Developers have “opinions” and you need to learn when to implement the recommendations and when to dismiss them.


As a first time co-founders, it is almost guaranteed your technical co-founder will have terrible communications skills.

But that’s not why you work with him.

Detailed close-up

Attention to detail is contextual.

When the play has to go off without a hitch.

When the positioning of the logo on the corporate website needs to be two pixels to the left.

When the costume that appears on screen needs to look perfect in close-up.

When the segue from one music track to the next on the album needs to tell a story about the music.

When the trackpad on the new laptop has to click in a satisfying way.

Minor details that make for a great product.

But worrying about those details before you have an MVP of the product, written the story for the play, got financing for the film, composed the music you are going to play, or have designed the base hardware for the laptop is a form of procrastination.

It’s a clear signal that you are worried about what people will think before they have anything to think about.

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