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Problem, defination, innovation and… an App solution?

28 Nov

So, i have been meeting entrepreneurs and people involved in start up companies in Sydney and a world of possibilities have appeared for me

A major trend that has not run it’s full course is in developing apps, everybody has them on their iPhone, it seems clear if you can develop an app that somehow ties in with one of the seven deadly sins, you could be on to a winner.

Where is the opportiunity?


In the example of Reid Hoffman, founder of Linkedin says:

Social networks do best when they tap into one of the seven deadly sins. Facebook is ego. Zynga is sloth. LinkedIn is greed.

But another train of thought for developing that doesn’t sound nasty that i quite like is

Just live your life until you come up against a problem that you can solve and helps others, then develop a business model around the solution.

So, i have ideas, but how do i translate these ideas into a form that can be presented, developed and released?

Why of course, you would define a business model, business plan, develop requirements and so on and so forth for these ideas.

An idea…


So while swimming, i was thinking of this and i remembered a friend of mine that told me of her aspirations many years ago of becoming a Business Analyst in a company we both worked for.

I remember telling her to look at one of the completed projects in the network drive and :

  • Look at the finished product/project release
  • Trace the work by the Business Analyst, their names would be on any/all documents they participated on, you could do a simple ‘find’ by name search to retrieve all documents
  • Look at how the business need was translated into a requirement that was developed/tested and released
  • By identifying what the Business Analyst did, that’s what you have to do too, you just work backwards from the solution

And this got me thinking of our daily lives, just about everything we see or touch in a city was a problem in

  • Design
  • Production
  • Transportation
  • Usability
  • Safety
We’re all coming to recognize design is everywhere—everything we touch has been designed, and every economy is at least partly design-driven and becoming even more so. “A new value is being placed on design as essential to innovation,” says Carol Coletta, director of ArtPlace, “and on the connection between innovation, jobs, and economic growth.” This growing awareness is especially concentrated in cities, where design is being heralded not only as a savior of the economy but as the solution to a multitude of social challenges.Read more:

And the list goes on, the point is that a solution was found, the endless meetings and sleepless nights resulted in you sitting in the chair you sit in, but what were the requirements for the chair?

Well, your sitting in the chair, so the project must of been a success, it met the requirements, maybe it was innovative too?

Introducing Richard Feynman, a class act


I remember reading when Richard Feynman was trying to figure out an equation, that could not be calculated before the times of computers as we know them, he would start off by guessing the answers and then he would work backwards, he often solved problems this way, he didn’t think he was anything special, he had a different way of thinking, a different approach, and that was the difference and quite often it made all the difference.

A brave new world of apps


So it seems clear, if you want to understand how an app came to be, pick a good one (that helps people solve a problem) and work back towards the time someone had a problem, which became the idea, like for example ‘Drop box’, you can listen to the story through the ‘Stanford university entrepreneur pod cast’ through the ‘Podcast’ app (a fantastic learning app)

In case you don’t know the story of Drop box, the founder had an important presentation, he drove a few hours to this important meeting and he forgot the hard drive that he wanted to present.

This mishap was a personal disaster, the biggest of his life, at the time and he thought, ‘There must be a better way?’, step one in innovation, a question Steve Jobs would spend his Fridays with Craig Rispin asking this question

(Download Craigs ‘How to think like Futurist’ here)

Is there a better way?


And there was a better way to access you files and share your files, and that’s how you have Drop box folks, it’s inspiring that someones personal disaster was converted into a triump that the world could benifit from.

Time to get to work….

Social media, the correct use, i didn’t know there was a correct use…

21 Nov

While searching for lectures/information sessions 2 weeks ago, i saw that the city of Sydney library run a series of courses about technology subjects, i picked Social media 101

Introducing Jeffery Cruz and an introduction to social media 101

What i learnt from this session was how to use social media in a positive, less time consuming way

Many businesses and individuals are using social media to:

  • Reach new customers
  • Engage existing customers
  • With the key performance indicators (KPI’s) this effort on social media can be measured on the return
  • 64% of people in Sydney are on Facebook

While Facebook is the current preferred social media of the masses, it’s worth noteing, this might not be the case in the future

What does that mean? Well all signs seem to indicate that Social media isn’t the waste of time other’s make it out to be, the difference being you need to have a strategy before you start participating

Which is another interesting point, the city of Sydney posts content based on a calendar.

Monday might be lifestyle, Wednesday events in the library, Friday might be a weekend festival and so on…

The point is it isn’t randomly created by someone that’s bored with dealing with customers or needs a break from checking in Harry Potter books, to the city of Sydney posting on Facebook, Twitter and the rest is a science an art and it works, Jeffery explained how he controlled content, had tools like Hootsuite to enable them to do just this.

Introducing David

I learned about a librarian futurist called David Lee King, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was all made up, gone are the days where a library was just a library, they are so much more and offer a huge range of services with enthusiastic people who are really switched on to social trends. And they want you too, if that’s your choise

So, i’m now following David and he has some interesting things to say too

The most notable difference after this talk later was my behaviour, i was very excited!

When i was telling some friends about the ideas i learnt, i experienced quite a bit of rolling of the eyes, the playful glance of eyes, like i had lost my marbles and maybe i did?
My mind was being flooded with ideas, new possibilities for moving forward and of course as a professional software tester, stepping up my game and being able to demonstrate just what i am capable of doing, by demonstrating what i have done.

In the presentation Jeffery gave some examples of Facebook pages that had won awards, on of which was a small dog training company from Ireland that took booking’s though their page and others

Introducing Craig Rispin

I was listening to a talk by a futurist called Craig Rispin last week (and he’s coming to Sydney soon too, before Santa Clause too) and he was saying that in the future all jobs will be Freelance, a lot of them currently are if you have been folowing globalisation outsourcing trends

Craig says you need to ask yourself:

* Where do I ultimately want to be in my life?
* How should I do it?
* How does this fit with my life values and goals?
* What could be my next step?
* How can I prepare for the next change as I do my current work?

It’s becoming clearer to me that to have a professional presence on social media is crucial, like it or hate it, this is the way of the future. You are marketing a product, the product it you, if you don’t decide your future someone else will do it for you, thank you someone else, i think I’ll decide my own future

A man ahead of his time on his Nokia?

What’s interesting is, when i think of all of this is that social media technology, iPhone technology is nothing new, what’s new are the ideas, even the ideas are not that new. Not if you spent your youth watching Star Treck that is

If you have the idea you can pretty much do anything, crowd sourcing is an idea for getting the labor, crowd funding is another idea to supply the $$ for the idea

Before the social media presentation i didn’t have any ideas for social media, except maybe it was something to be avoided, all in all, a bad idea and many people are of that opinion.

But not so, the facts speak for themselves.

Jeffery explained:

Incorporate your organisation’s goals to your Social Media Plan:

1. What is your online organisation?
a. What is your unique voice online?
b. What is your story and how is it compelling, authentic, personal?
c. What will make your organisation appealing to SM users?

2. What is your online product?
a. What makes your product different?
b. What makes your product appealing online (photos, videos, stories, interactions)?
c. In addition to your product, what value-added information/entertainment can you provide?

3. Who are your online customers?
a. Demographics (location, gender, age)
b. Interests
c. Spending habits

4. What are your online goals?
a. Build your brand?
b. Drive online traffic? In-person traffic? Immediate sales?
c. Build connections/engage customers?

So, as a software tester, a soon to be freelance software tester, i never thought of this option before, i will now be aligning myself (i am the product) in this light.

The funny thing was, before going to see this Social media talk, i checked out a book downstairs in the library called ‘Accordion crimes‘ by Annie Proulx, a friend said it was the best book he has ever read, i was looking forward to reading it too.

In an Agile world, this book would be on my backlog

After the talk, i brought it back and told the librarian that i just had too much work to do to read Accordion crimes, but it’s on my list, i can order it online and go to my local library and pick it up, just about the only thing i cant do at the library is get coffee, i have to go next door for that and i do.

Everything has its correct use, a machine always has the exact number of functions, nuts and blots, any craftsman will tell you this and a bad craftsman will always blame his tools.

Social media is a great tool i learned and when you know how to use it to your advantage it can make the world of a difference

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