Customer is King

Most companies during the product lifecycle invest a significant portion of their time in Product Development, optimising the product offering, but spend neglegable time understanding their customers, their needs and pain points. What happened to the Customer is King? This is precisely what Customer Development is, and following on from other concepts such as Lean Analytics and Lean Startup, Lean Analytics is the philosophy of concentrating on only the essential scientific customer characteristics and behaviours.

Customer Development is the process of shifting your mindset from assuming your ideas will fulfil your customer needs, to constructing hypotheses, invalidating them and re-defining your hypotheses.

The development process is repeatable, until your hypotheses are not contradicted by your potential customers, and by constantly fine-tuning and correcting the hypotheses, you will work out what your customers want, and constantly innovate.

 For the complete article, see my post at http://softinsydney.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/customer-development.html?view=snapshot

A concise summary of WWDC 2014


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This year’s WWDC has not only lived up to expectations, but in my opinion has way surpassed even the toughest critic’s expectations. With a slew of news and updates, I’ve decided to compact into a concise list, all the important iOS 8 announcements, that will benefit developers and tech shops, as they look on developing the next generation of apps, for their clients. Here’s A concise summary of WWDC 2014 for developers:

Interactive Notifications

DSC_1127Apple has opened up it’s Notifications engine, which includes the lock screen to third party development. Somewhat short of what Android offers with it’s desktop widgets, Apple’s Notifications widgets allow developers for the very first time to expose parts of their apps to more than just notifications, but allow interactive elements such including buttons, such as ‘Like’ or ‘reply back’, show graphs or interactive graphics (think the standard Apple stocks widget) all without having to launch the app itself.

 

 

 

Custom Keyboards

DSC_1438Another feature adopted from Android’s ecosystem, third party developers now have the ability to create their own fancy keyboards. For a few years we have seen Android users enjoyed custom clever keyboards like Swype, it’s iOS’ turn now to enjoy that. But the potential goes well beyond creating a different keyboard layout, password-security developers such as 1Password and LastPassword can now integrate a keyboard that can inject stored complex credentials right into it’s custom keyboard, allowing you to directly access your passwords in Safari or another third party app.

iCloud Drive

icloudApple have introduced their version of DropBoxiCloud Drive which will be fully baked into both iOS and OSX Yosemite. This means, you have a full iCloud  filesystem on both operating systems, moving files to and from. This is just the consumer side, from the developer’s side, you get CloudKit, a sort of Amazon Web Services solution with 50GB free, allowing you to store user data in a database-like manner. Whilst this may not fully deprecate other cloud solutions, for simpler solutions where you don’t want to invest in a server-side solution, this is the perfect way to go.

iCloud APIs enable your apps to store app data in iCloud, keeping your apps up to date automatically. Use iCloud to give your users a consistent and seamless experience across iCloud-enabled devices.

 

Swift language

apple-swift-logoThis certainly came out of the left field, Swift language is promised to be robust and faster than Objective-C, as it doesn’t contain the legacy-C baggage of the latter. This is pegged as the future of iOS and OSX development, and over the next few years we will see the transition, but it may take some time. For now, it will work together with Objective-C in the same project, but developers will need to invest more time in working with this Python-esk language.

 

 

Inter-app communication

Android doesn’t hold exclusive domain to this anymore, and now iOS apps can fully talk to each other, beyond the traditional ‘sandbox-ing’ we are accustomed to. Using extensions, you decide what features of your app you can share between apps, so if you are creating your own social media app, you can have a like feature or share feature that you expose as a contract, allowing other apps to make use of a certain feature of your app (sort of like headless app) rather than launching your app fully.

 

HealthKit

healthkit-heroThe rumours have been quite accurate with this (besides the yet to be announced iWatch) API, Apple have opened up a consolidated ‘Health Store’ allowing third-party health and fitness developers to share their data with Apple’s Health App, centralising storage of all the person’s health information. If all the big players, such as RunKeeper and Nike+ will participate, the benefits of it means you have one central app that you can show and export information to your health provider. The API is quite sophisticated, allowing developers to easily work with various measuring metrics for various health measurements, which you learn to appreciate once you start getting into the data and analytics. Apple for example can easily aggregate and sum up stats for you, taking care of the maths for you if you are aspiring to create your own app.  Third party hardware developers can be hooked up and interact with the HealthKit API as well.

 

HomeKit

Android a year ago introduced the Android at Home initiative which didn’t really take of, but now Apple has come onto the podium with HomeKit. Billed as the API to allow third-party hardware vendors to embed smart logic to allow anything from toasters to garage doors and lights and TV to interact with iOS. Based on Apple’s certification program, you can allow for smart locks for doors and other creative and amazing things, such as a slow cooker that talks to you when you are at work.. How about that…

 

Touch ID

image.jpgApple introduced the Touch ID capabilities late last year with their iPhone 5s, but had largely limited that to simply unlocking your phone. Now, companies like 1Password and PayPal, as well as anyone else keen on providing a finger-print authentication to access part of their app can now do so.  We will see the likes of banks and other financial apps being able to leverage a new mode of authentication, although Apple will probably want to stress that touch-ID should be used as a secondary form of authentication, rather than the primary or sole method. It is more secure than a four-digit pin but far less secure than a proper password, but nevertheless I am excited to see how this will progress.

 

TestFlight

TestFlight-LogoSince Apple’s acquisition of one of the platform’s most popular distribution framework, we have all been wondering whether Apple simply planned on deprecating the service, but in fact they have made beta testing a whole lot more convenient with their complete integration of TestFlight into the upcoming XCode 6.

 TestFlight will allow developers to offer 1,000 users beta versions of its apps. That’s 1,000 individual users, not devices – an important distinction that any developer who has ever beta tested its apps will appreciate. (TechCrunch)

Gone are the days of having to email testers to get their UDID before setting up in a Provisioning Profile and distributing it. Along with that, managing provisioning profiles is a lot easier now, where you simply have to remember your Apple ID, it will then manage the provisioning profiles you need, making moving from one development machine to another painless.

iTunes Connect, the tool that Apple offers to developers to keep track of the apps they have on the store, has also been revamped with a cleaner design. In addition, it now offers expanded analytics that let developers track downloads of apps, retention (how long people keep using their apps) and even how many visits there have been to a developer’s app page (TechCrunch)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 tips for Lean Recruiting using LinkedIn


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As an entrepreneur, you don’t have the financial stocks to have your own HR, nor the affordability to pay recruiters a hefty fee, but you want to snatch up the rockstars of development. In line with various other concepts like Lean Analytics, I believe small and ambitious companies need to have a Lean Recruiting strategy, that will bring them the best talent, at minimal cost. LinkedIn in my opinion, along with Angel.co provide two of the best sources for the CEO to snatch up quality talent, and here are 4 tips for Lean Recruiting using LinkedIn to get you started:

1. Strong LinkedIn Company Profile

You need to make your LinkedIn profile reflective of the ambition and stature you want people to see your business as. With LinkedIn becoming the de-facto direct interface between potential candidates and employers, you need to dress the part.

45 million profile views take place on LinkedIn every day—it is the #1 activity on the network.** Your profile is often candidates’ first interaction with your company so it should be inspiring. The more you can show about who you are and what your company does, the easier it is for candidates to engage with you and determine whether or not your company might be a great fit for them.

Your dazzling profile should include the following:

  • Killer opening: Your headline and summary needs to have the ‘Don Draper’ weight in it, something that’s catchy, modern and capture the potential candidate’s imagination right off the bat.
  • Be Interactive: You should invest the same time in your LinkedIn company profile as your website, have rich media, profiles of various staff, present some videos and showcase visually what your company is about. Link it up to your company YouTube channel.
  • Be Relevant: Update the LinkedIn profile, don’t do it once and drop it. Monitor who comes to visit, participate and engage in various industry groups, comment and chat back. This should be a vital arm of your social media engagement channel, that includes an active Twitter account that networks around.

Some interesting company profile you can utilise as inspiration is Zappos. On LinkedIn you may come across Influencing figures like Guy Kawasaki, your company can be a corporate ‘influencer’, by being more engaging.

2. Post interesting things

You should look at posting interesting status updates, and engaging and interactive questions, expert tips and opinions. Look to some of the inspirational updates below as a guide on how to build your viral network influence:

Followers are twice as likely to amplify a post via likes, shares, and comments if it contains video. No videos? Try SlideShare, PDFs, images, and links.

3. Track profile performances

LinkedIn provides great analytical tools for measuring your social presence footprint, helping you build your company and employer brand. Some of the important analytics you can employ to track your engagement campaigns include:

  • Who’s viewed your profile (are you getting more views, are you being endorsed or showing up in search engines more);
  • How effective are your status updates (are you getting your status updates shared or liked more);
  • Network reach (is your network growing?)
  • Follower demographics (where are you getting your followers from? Are you attracting the right type of people?)

4. Sourcing well


Source: Recruiting for Small BusinessSource: Recruiting for Small Business
Source: Recruiting for Small Business

To fuel your business’s growth, you need to engage the best talent, not only those actively looking. The reason is that the vast majority of professionals are passive candidates, they’re not actively job seeking but would consider the life-changing role you have for them.

Passive candidates typically don’t visit job boards or career sites or have current resumes—they are too busy exceling at their current company. Here’s where your size can be a huge advantage. Passive candidates want to make a big impact, and they want challenging work. Compared to slower-moving corporate giants, you can offer them greater responsibility, flexibility, and/or access to leadership.

To be a smart recruiter you need to source smartly. This requires prioritising your outreach, allowing you to better understand supply and demand. Through LinkedIn’s search tool, you can run a live search and determine the size and quality of the talent pool for a specific skill-set. In fact, with the tool you should learn to be more boolean-proficient, to get a more precise and calibrated search result for the specific type of person you are looking for.


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Blog source: [http://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions]