Category: Ideas

Fizzle.co, the cheapest startup accelerator ever!

Have been lapping up the Fizzle.co podcast over the last few weeks. It has been motivating me to write the book on Delhi that I wanted to write and got me to start the email sign up list for the same on Delhishoppingtour.com.

It has also prompted me to develop a course on how to go from being a developer to becoming a product manager.

While I don’t think I need to sign up just yet, I think this might be the best $35/month you can spend if you are interested in starting your on business online or are pursuing passive income or want to just be a life hacker!

See: Fizzle.co

Listen: The podcast

–Anubhav

 

iOS apps – Go Free or Die

As I work on building a small app business, its been great to hear the public commentary on pricing iPhone apps lately. The blog from Marco Arment and TechCrunch both point out clearly that mass market customer acquisition apps have to be free with in app purchases to have any chance of being downloaded.

Marco’s blog is especially interesting because he’s speaking from personal experience and is trying to solve a problem today. As a consumer myself, I’m much more likely to download a free app than a paid one. In fact, I only have one paid app on my iPad and none on my iPad. And.. I dont even use that paid application more that once a month. I have owned an iPhone for 5 years and an iPad for 3 years. 90% of apps on the Apple app store are free and 6% are priced at $0.99 as per Flurry, a market research firm.

There is also a great book by Chris Anderson called “Free” that can help you understand how to make free work for you. Even this book is no longer available for free. You might be able to find an illicit copy but its worth buying on amazon if you really serious.

Personally, I don’t see the point of creating a free app that provides a ton of value to the user. Your free app only helps Apple build a stronger ecosystem around the iPhone. Build something of value and don’t be afraid to charge for it.

I’m looking at building an location based iPhone app to help tourists. I am confident that I don’t want to give this app for free. I want to charge $20. You may think that this is absurd considering what I just wrote before but the fact is that this application is not a mass market app. It is a niche app for a very small and targeted set of customers. And, in talking to these customers, they have indicated that are comfortable paying $20 for this app. I dont think this app will make millions of dollars let alone even $500,000.

To get $500k, I will need to sell this application to 25,000 customers. That will take more than 20 years based on current estimates of users. 🙂

So.. why build it? Because I believe in the usefulness of the idea and the value it provides users. I dont expect to spend a lot of money building it and I already have customers to sell it to.

–Anubhav

 

Austin Kleon at the HOW design conference

I see a lot of presentations in my profession. I give a lot of them too… so I’m hard to please. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed Austin’s keynote presentation at the HOW design conference. He’s a terrific speaker and storyteller and I love good storytellers. He walked us through these 10 rules for creative people and a lot of them rang true for me as a product manager:

  1. Steal like an artist. (from the best and many at a time)
  2. Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started. – you are never going to have it all figured out.
  3. Write the book you want to read.
  4. Use your hands.
  5. Side projects and hobbies are important.
  6. The secret: do good work and share it with people.
  7. Geography is no longer our master.
  8. Be nice. (The world is a small town.)
  9. Be boring. (It’s the only way to get work done.)
  10. Creativity is subtraction.

What I loved hearing was:

Steal from the best, surround yourself with the best. If you are the best person in the room, change the room. So.. as a product manager, unless you are working with smarter people, you are are not going to get any better at what you do. I guess this works for all disciplines and careers and not just product management. This made me wonder if I’m learning new things in my discipline or not. I don’t think I am. I have to make my career more exciting for me and seek new mentors.

Here’s more about Austin. He’s awesome and his story about Winston Smith and how it all came around many years later is beautiful. Everyone should be so lucky. Here’s the story:

http://austinkleon.com/tag/winston-smith/

 

http://www.austinkleon.com

 

Gentlemen Coders, Writers and Musicians

It is interesting to draw a parallel between what has happened in the music industry and what is now happening in the tech and publishing industries. A new breed of professionals, who are really good at what they do and can “hustle”, are giving established companies are hard time in all these industries.

On a long walk with one of my previous managers in San Francisco last week, we discussed a new generation of coders, who he called “Gentlemen Coders”. He described them as :

  • Self employed developers paired up with a good designer
  • Via the app stores,they sell directly to customers
  • No desire for world domination – just building the best product they can
  • Value their time and quality of life over a desire for just money
  • Can hustle and get attention to their products

He moaned how he would have loved to be able to do this when he got out of college 25 years ago. He told me of story where he sold his product’s rights to a publisher and then when the publisher went bankrupt, he could not sell his product – period. His product had become a property of the lenders to the bankrupt publisher and its fate had to be decided in bankruptcy court.

I see many interesting products being created by gentlemen coders. See:

And, this way of developing software is significantly faster and cheaper than how established software companies develop products. Gentlemen coders are very closely tied to their customers and have complete control of the pace and direction of development. Thus, they seem to respond faster to customer demands and update when they are ready not when “everyone in the company” is ready.

So, is it game over for large software companies or publishing houses? I dont think so. But, this new way to develop software should attract a lot of talented, fresh out of college graduates towards starting their own companies. Working for a large innovative software company is so 2007. 🙂

Its much easier to build out a product idea that excites you and then take it to market via the app stores today than it ever was. These stores are hyper-competitive though and knowing how to hustle will be the differentiator between success and failure.

Music Book Publishing Software
Publishing Channel(s) Own website Kindle, e-Books App Stores (apple and android)
Successes Jonathan Coulton Hugh Howes AirServer
Hustle methods
  • Free give a aways
  • Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license
  • Blogging
  • Sending free copies to reviewer
  • Building the first 1000 fans
  • Social Media
  • Posting to the forums
  • Experimenting with App pricing

–Anubhav