October 13, 2014
BoatTent.com, my new project

Evolving means learning. Learning means doing new things and putting yourself out of the confort zone.

In some ways, your own life is like a startup, or like visiting a new city. And we all know that getting lost in a new city is the best way to experience and learn from it.

This new project is that “get lost”-kind of different.

I am launching with some good folks BoatTENT.com. Its a temporary change to clear minds but also to learn by pursuing some experiences in different fields namely sailing (a passion I have) and crowdfunding (where I lack experience).

For a few weeks I’ll be working on this in the usual fun way, ie, doing whatever needs to be done to kickstart a cool project.

This comes after a few months when I’ve been consulting for a few local companies within my area of expertise. I’m still doing Product Management and getting more and more focused on Growth, and there are some planned work ahead. But for now, for a few weeks I’m a tent maker in the sailing industry (LOL), not a PM in the web industry :)

If you think that’s weird, wait until we launch :) The product is simple, cool and head-turning: some folks say it makes a lot of sense, so we’re really excited about the outcome.

Check it out:

boatTENT.com

@boattent

etc..

June 7, 2014
Innovation often happens not as fast as we predicted it

Unlike other “me too“‘s, Peter Thiel often throws controversial thoughts about tech.This is probably one of my favourite videos on the web. 

June 4, 2014
The Rise of the Single-purpose app

A new trend emerged during the last couple of weeks when Facebook launched their Messenger app. By unbundling messaging into a new, independent native app Facebook effectively blocked you from using messaging as before unless you install this new app. Soon after Foursquare also announced Swarn, a new app that splits the Foursquare experience in two by separating the discovery of places from the “friend” experience.

This is, in my opinion a pivotal point in mobile app ecosystems.

Single purpose apps are mobile apps that focus on solving only one very specific user need. As a contrast, fat apps try to provide all the features of one concept inside one single native app.

Single purpose apps aren’t new. Instragram does it. Yahoo! took a deep breath away from nothingness with their awesome weather app. Google recently also decided to split the Sheets app from Google Drive on iPad.

 

Why is this happening? Mobile domination is a war happening on multiple fronts:

 

Limited attention span

You’re likely to spent 2 hours and 19 minutes per day on your phone if you’re an average mobile user and native apps are gaining momentum 86% of the mobile experience against an ever diminishing Mobile Web experience). Growth at scale is only possible when a certain company owns a substantial amount of the time you spent on your mobile.

 

A precious real estate

Notifications push for engagement. Facebook knows that’s easier to notify you when they own your home screen as well, overlaying it with what’s effectively a pop-up reminding you about a new incoming message.

 

You will only use one app per category

People don’t use multiple apps to check their email. The same happens across other categories. When Foursquare goes for a fight against Yelp, they know they need to become the app of choice on the location discovery and rating space. Having those features buried in a fat Foursquare experience doesn’t help.

 

Macro-categories

Messaging is more than just text and Facebooks knows that. Messaging competes with Email, Skype, Snapchat, etc.. To own your digital communication needs they really need to go head-first against those guys. A new app allows them to have the focus required to integrate and push multiple types of communication toward their user-base. 

SEO now happens on the app store

Roelof Botha recently mentioned how Evernote struggles to be recognized for what they do on app stores. While “document scanning” is a core feature, they are not a top result when a user specifically searches for it. By breaking down apps into verticals (like Cooking) and/or user needs (like scanning) Evernote is able to fight for the top ranking under certain keywords. 

Growing as a company is hard

Foursquare may also be having trouble on an organizational level. Scaling product teams is hard. Breaking them down into functional areas is usually an option but soon they start fighting for resources and relevancy within the app’s user experience. Foursquare effectively spin-off a part of the organization by creating another app while maintaining organizational synergies like server operations shared across both.

Pivot in style

We may find out sooner or later that Foursquare effectively pivoted. When companies get too big to fail because they raised too much money (Foursquare raised $162M+) acquisitions by others stop making sense. Their best option becomes pivoting but that takes time and they can’t afford hard choices that’d lose their current audience. I believe Foursquare is trying to own a new category so they can later divest of it legacy, if needed.





What does this means for you? If you build products, you’ll see that small startups have a hard time playing this game but you may study your space closely to find interesting niches. For instance, Danish-based Everplaces also builds apps for businesses, effectively expanding their reach into new geographies while self-funding their operations.

 

Larger companies are clearly aware that they need to own every single minute of your time on mobile so small startups can only play against that by radically out-innovating.

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