“Handmade” as a differentiation in crowded cosmetics market!

IMG_1445  IMG_1437







As a regular visitor of the Carmel, I have walked the Ocean Ave numerous times and visited LUSH every time i went there. Probably LUSH is the only exclusive cosmetics store there and people can’t miss the soothing fragrance that fills near the street. “Lush produces and sells a variety of handmade products, including soaps, shower gels, shampoos and hair conditioners, bath bombs, bubble bars, face make, and hand and body lotions for a variety of skin types”. Best part is you can try the products then and there and staff is very welcoming and resourceful. They are there to educate you but not push products. By now, my 4 year old daughter is a big fan of their bath bombs and bubble bars.

After few encounters, I was compelled to think on why I am OK paying high prices for LUSH products and not going to other traditional places. Here is the list.

  • An exclusive shop – makes you believe that they are special, very special.
  • A friendly staff who is passionate about educating customers is much better than sales people trying to push products.
  • The product variety makes you think that there is innovation everywhere… even with bath bars.
  • Each product has a name of the person who made it. This makes it more personal and brings in the human touch.
  • LUSH does not do animal testing rather they get human volunteers to test their products.
  • Most of the time they donate some money to a cause. This time it is to the Japan’s Fukushima children who is recovering from the nuclear disaster.








This is not a rocket science but executing and sticking to what you believe is the key here. I have constantly seen this shop for last seven years delivering the same service and I am impressed. This is a great lesson for everyone in business – “No matter which industry you operate in and how crowded the market is, you can always differentiate yourself”. In LUSH’s case it is fresh, natural, personalization, innovation, product consistency, services and company ethos are the ones that differentiate its products.

How do you differentiate your self ?

IMG_1443 IMG_1441

Posted in technology | Leave a comment

Viz – Quickest way to create simple charts

I am always looking for iOS apps that are simple, elegant and helpful. In the last two decades we have seen the mainframe and desktop computing focused on business functionality. The focus was more on providing the functionality and market distinction was made on how quick and deep features were developed. In the last decade we have seen the focused moved from backend to frontend representation with a flurry of rich internet applications, Web2.0, and mobile optimized sites. Now is the time every business has “mobile first” strategy on their roadmap (Of course this means different things for different people and that’s OK). Especially the introduction of the iOS 7 revolutionized not only the mobile industry but also the web design philosophy. These days we see more of flat design websites.

As a strong believer of the mobile technology and its profound influence on the personal and business life, I started the Enterprise Mobility Bytes series to talk about some guidelines and trends in the enterprise app industry. Now, going forward, I plan to additionally focus on the good Mobile App designs. Of course, a good place to look for the best Apps is still the Apple Design Awards but the idea is there are many Apps that do not make to awards but still worth talking about. In this article I will be reviewing the Viz App.

Viz is a paid app that is focused on ONLY one usecase and does it really well. Create simple charts very quickly and share it either on device or on the social media. That said, the app provides a fun, simple and useful way to create and share the charts.

I liked the fun, warm and inviting colors at the launch screen and throughout the app. They did a good job in providing the simple labels to create the data sets and then simply select  the chart type to create the chart. You can select one of several predefined color combinations. Finally, you can share it on twitter, facebook, instagram, e-mail, or save it to camera roll.

What’s nice about this App:

  • A simplistic design that is very appropriate for mobile usage.
  • Fun, warm and inviting colors on all app screens.
  • A very subtle animation of controls and audio prompts.
  • Social integration.
  • Focuses on one usecase and does it nice.

Till next time, Enjoy!

photo 1    photo 2     photo 3 photo 4   photo 5

Note : This is my personal website/blog. Nothing on this site represents views of my previous, present or future employers.

Posted in technology | Leave a comment

Google adds Robotics to it’s portfolio. But wait….

By now we all heard about this news and wondering how Robots would invade your life in future. This is a time to reflect back the science papers, novels and imagination of the +Issac Asimov, a biochemistry professor and author at Boston University. His work on the “The Positronic Man”, “I,Robot” among the best gave the impression on how AI Robots can learn from humans and behave like humans. Remember that these novels are from 1970s.

Looking forward from today, the science fiction of the past is becoming a commercially viable product of future. Automated cars, Robot driven cars, Robot helpers at home, Robots doing surgeries, Nano Robots in the body to monitor health is nothing but a reality.

Very excited to see this rate of progress in the CS / AI / Engineering.




Posted in technology | Leave a comment

Enterprise Mobility Bytes #6 : Balancing the release cycles

How frequently should you release your Mobile/Tablet App? and How frequent should be the bug fix releases?. Of course, the clear answer is, it depends. In this post we will see couple of factors that influence the frequency and what is unpleasant for end users. To start with a baseline on the number of releases, below is the list of companies that focus a lot on the Mobile users*. The number shows the releases made in 2013.

  • Youtube [6]
  • Google+ [7]
  • Pandora [7]
  • ebay [9]
  • Amazon [10]
  • Etsy [11]
  • Flipboard [13]
  • LlinkedIn [14]
  • Facebook [19]
  • Foursquare [20]
  • Uber [25]

You will see that the range of 6 to 25 is huge and average comes to about one release a month. This does not in anyway endorse or suggest that we need to have one release per month. Without revealing the company names, the App release frequency of enterprise side is about 1 release per every 2 months or 6 releases per year. It is not a surprise that the consumer side of the mobile Apps has a greater frequency than the enterprise side.

Recently i heard couple of Product Managers talk about 3 weeks release cycle for their enterprise Apps. They said, they know that this is the only way they make progress on this specific enterprise App. Even without knowing the business context, I said “I would never do a 3 week release cycle for an enterprise App”. While I have no magic number for this company, I know that 3 weeks is definitely not the magic number 🙂 If at all you need to have a frequent release cycle, I would highly suggest 6 weeks cycles for the main releases and probably some bug fix releases in between.

Here’s why?

  • iOS and Android are very common platforms that many enterprises support and this means that you need good time to develop and test both the Apps at the same time.
  • You do want to release iOS and Android Apps at the same time rather than making the users angry about some getting a newer version than others.
  • Release management has some overhead with builds, creating release notes and org. communications, etc…
  • Sales/Pre-sales/Consulting folks need to be updated with “What’s New” in the release. This communication and training takes time.
  • For the base productivity we know that we need to incorporate some slack time in the development process. However, with the shorter release cycles, the slack gets effected and this the team’s morale is effected.
  • The greater the release frequency, greater the number of times the users need to update the App.
  • There is a considerable overhead on the end user to learn the new App features.
  • How much revenue (potential revenue) does the Mobile App generate? If it is significant, then we may increase the frequency to meet the increasing demand. If not, the overheads may far exceed the benefits.

In summary, there is no magic number to know about the frequency of App releases in a year. However, the above factors will help yo determine the frequency. I view “6 weeks” to be the baseline for a healthy system (Dev, QA, Mkt., Sales, Users).

* Note: The number of releases is taken from the revision history of the iTunes per each App as of November 18th 2013.

Posted in enterprise software, entrepreneurship, management, reviews, software, technology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

“Customer Experience” as a Sustainable Competitive Advantage

I went to Costco the other day and one gentleman told me about a new Indian Restaurant that got opened in Newark, CA and suggested that I should visit. This gentleman gave me a history of this family run business and how they maintain the taste, quality and customer service. I have plenty of choices here in Fremont, CA for Indian restaurants and we really wanted to see how this new restaurant is. So, I took my family to this restaurant for dinner.

We entered the place around 6.30pm, the two (restaurant) employees were busy doing their own business. We did pick our own table and looking for a high chair (for my 1.5 year old). After i went and asked one of the employee, he did gave me a high chair. Fortunately there was a menu card on the table and once we decided, I was waiting for the order to be taken. When i called an employee, they said the order has to be given at the POS table. I went to give the order and the employee neither cared to look at me nor smiled. Got the order, had the food and we came out. My wife said, this is the last time we are coming to this restaurant. Not because the food was bad, but because the overall experience was bad. It was not a negative experience but at the same time it was not a positive experience.

This experience made me conscious of couple of things that we must do on the consumer side or on enterprise side. In the knowledge and information economy, companies no longer compete on making “great” products because it is a given. But we compete on providing the best “Customer Experience” (Apple, Zappos, Maybach, …). The restaurant marketing/sales guy (who I met at Costco) did a wonderful job of bringing me to the restaurant. But the folks at restaurant could not make a memorable experience to the customer and missed a chance to build a reference customer in the long term. (or may be they don’t want to, I don’t know). May be they don’t have the right employees there in the restaurant. May be the standard operating procedures are not spelled out. There could be may reasons, but the result is they have lost someone who could otherwise be a loyal and referenceable customer.

This means a lot to many who provides solutions to enterprise customers. Enterprises spend Millions of $s on Marketing to generate the leads. Everyone knows that it takes enormous effort to get that customer on to the door and make him try your solution. Organizations often forget the fundamentals on how to treat customers and I feel that every industry should adopt and focus on providing a great “Customer Experience“. Don’t mistake this with the “Customer Service” which is more of “after the fact” (usually a department is dedicated to this). But the “Customer Experience” should be considered by everyone in the organization including Marketing, Sales, R&D, Consulting, Customer Services, Product Management and others.

In summary, irrespective of the size of the business, business executives should understand Customer Acquisition Costs, Customer Retention Costs, Creating a Referenceable Customer, Introducing a Product and Implementation feedback. Most importantly communicating the unified message across the organization is key to the success else you will end up in having disconnected internal departments and confused customers. Providing a Customer Experience is the new mantra because that’s the only differentiating factor in this new economy.

I am glad to hear your Comments, Suggestions and Thoughts.

Update (11/26/20130) : Some of you have asked how does it effect an industry with Monopoly. I believe that Customer Experience has various positive side effects.

  1. For the startups, “Customer Experience” brings in more customers and possibly increase the market share.
  2. For Mid-size companies, “Customer Experience” increases the number of satisfied customers and thus potentially increases referenceable customers.
  3. For large companies, “Customer Experience” helps the companies thrive. In fact, larger companies lose a lot of “brand value” when they have more and more dissatisfied customers.

In general, monopoly in an industry does not mean that there are no other companies competing with this monopoly. These small / mid-size companies can use “Customer Experience” to their advantage to gain the market share. Remember that as companies become monopolies, they tend to ignore (a segment of) customers and this is the opportunity for the small/mid-size companies.

Posted in entrepreneurship, management, technology | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Enterprise Mobility Bytes #5 : Deciding between Tablet and Smartphone.

The line between the desktops, tablets and smartphones is blurring and this means a new challenge and a reality to all enterprises. As a consumer, we have adopted tablets and smartphones apps at a much faster rate compared to that of the enterprise adoption. With the BYOD trend, it gets even more trickier for the IT folks to provide Mobile application access on multiple devices and make sure that the data is secure.


In a recent projection, the smartphone and tablets seem to have taken most of the workforce and the enterprise work is being “redefined”. According to Adobe Digital Index, the user engagement and share of page views on Tablets have long surpassed that of the smartphone. No longer we are working just at the desk and that means we need to get right information at the right time on tablets and smartphones. However, this poses a fundamental question on device priorities.

“Should your App be on Tablet or on Smartphone ?”


Irrespective of the size of the company, you have limited resources and we need to make sure that our enterprise mobile priorities makes sense for the “end users”. Here are the two questions that you consider when deciding the Tablet vs Smartphone strategy. It is that simple.

Who are the end users?

For the most part, an enterprise application caters to more than one user profile. As an example, it could be an IT Administrator, Application Administrator and end users. Your users could be a Sales Manager, Marketing Executive, Executive Management, IT Analyst, Finance Manager, Construction Architect, Medical Supervisor, Highway Patrol Officer, etc… As you could imagine each of them has different needs and the way they consume data is different.

On a high level it is important to understand categories of end users.

What are the usecases?

Once you identify the end users, make sure you go deep to understand what functions each of these users do. Typically each user would navigate through set of features to accomplish a business task. Once you understand the usecases, prioritize which usecases will make it to mobile App. Remember, we still have not decided if it is a Tablet App or Smartphone App. In the process of prioritization, it could even be that some users may be totally eliminated from considering a mobile access via App. e.g. If your enterprise application has “Application Designer” as the user who designs the UI via a form designer, you may chose NOT to target this user with this App. Many times, you DON’T want to replicate all usecases on the mobile App.

Once you prioritize the usecases, chose to go with Tablet if at least three points from below criteria are true.

  1. Usecases involve heavy/medium data entry.
  2. Usecases involve showing decision making data.
  3. Usecases represent data in grid, hierarchical forms and drill-down data structures.
  4. Usecases need to show a lot of dashboards.
  5. Usecases need heavy document management and offline access.

As a final point, clearly the user experience on the Tablets and Smartphones will be clearly different. Don’t try to squeeze in the UX built for Tablet into Smartphone and vice-versa. Even if the same user is accessing the App on Tablet and Smartphone, what user sees and interacts might be totally different.

Note : The only external factor (and an important one) to take into account is how savvy are your end users and if your customer organization is willing to provide Tablets to your users. Sometimes we might be limited to provide just a Smartphone App and not think about Tablets because companies may not have a Tablet strategy at all.

Picture Credits : Adobe Blog and LinkedIn Mobile Strategy Webinar.

Posted in enterprise software, Mobile, technology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Enterprise Mobility Bytes #4 : So.. you decided to have a mobile app. What now ?

From my own experience and talking to many product managers who are taking care of launching a new mobile application for enterprise applications, it is very clear that the “usecase” definition early on in very valuable and makes a huge difference. Many enterprise applications are deployed On-premise or on Cloud and customers would like to access the data wherever they are and whenever they want. However, one thing that is not clear is “what data” do you want to provide on the enterprise mobile applications. In this mobility byte, I will focus on some homework and tips to define mobile usecases.

As a general framework, make sure that you understand about your product, users and competition before you launch the mobile app to your enterprise users.product-db

Know your Product : Practically every enterprise application has several modules. Each module has caters for a specific functionality and it is important to understand if each and every module is needed to be mobile. As an example, if your enterprise application has Installation, Configuration, Administration and User modules, you will need to decide what makes sense to expose to the mobile. In most cases, User modules may be first candidates to provide as mobile services. However, exposing admin and configuration modules to the mobile may not benefit a lot of users.know users

Know your Users and Talk to them : Of course, your enterprise application may cater to multiple users. E.g. IT administrators, Project Administrators and End users have different needs they all may not need access to the application via mobile app. However, in some specific settings, providing mobile access to administrators may be the best thing to do. E.g. If Administrators have to constantly need to loginto the systems and monitor services, they may find it very compelling to use a mobile device and get push notifications.

Also, make sure that you talk to each category of users from your customer base. This helps not to assume things based on a single user and also provides the pain points of the users with current system. At times we are able to solve a pain point with the current system with a creative solution on the mobile and sometimes it’s not possible to find any solution.  So, when you are talking to the end users and customers, make sure that you provide the right expectation on what you are solving by going mobile.


Know the industry that you serve :  Enterprise apps generally serve multiple industries and user needs in every industry is different. Some industries adopt mobile technologies faster than others. Know what industry you are serving and what kind of user needs should be met. E.g. Facilities Management folks has a high need for going mobile. But, the app needs to be very simple – big buttons, take decision, take pictures, etc – to have any adoption from users who are mostly mechanics, plumbers, etc… However, in Financial Services industry, users are mostly tech savvy and the nature of App can be different from that of Facilities Management.stack

Know your Technology Stack : Last but not the least, knowing your technology stack is important to know what to put into the mobile product offering. If you have a legacy enterprise app that runs on a old technology stack, you may not be successful in exposing them as mobile services. In such a context, trying to expose even a small part of the system take a huge effort which may not be worth. Talk to your engineering and understand the cost of such an effort. If you have a relatively new cloud based web services technology, you may not have a big problem. Again, technology stack may not be a deal breaker to build your mobile application but

Summary Questions to help you build mobile usecases :

  • Is it necessary to provide all features on the Mobile too ?
  • Are mobile users different from Web users ?
  • Is mobile device used for data consumption or for decision making or for data entry ?
  • Are your users mobile savvy? What kind of devices they use ?
  • What are the end-to-end usecases that customers work on daily basis ?
  • Does mobile usage bring in ease-of-use or increase efficiency ?
  • Does your mobile app have an internationalization need ?

In summary, make sure what your product is and how it is used by your customers. It is necessary to do the initial research before any R&D goes into the product rather than tweaking the existing mobile solution because we did not do enough research.

Update 10/15/2013 10.06am : Some of you have reached out to me asking why I have not considered the “Competition”. Thanks for this observation. At the initial stage of building the usecases and figuring out the MVP for the mobile, it is not too crucial to think about the competition. You should focus on the YOUR customers and users and how they use the software rather than trying to build what customers have. Make “Customers/Users First” and rest all will follow. That said, competition is definitely important for the GTM to consider how to position and message the product in the market.

Posted in enterprise software, management, Mobile, software, technology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Enterprise Mobility Bytes #3 : Mobile First Strategy

These days everyone talks about the “Mobile First” or “Mobile First Strategy” in the context of the consumer apps and enterprise apps. Many think that Facebook is the one that publicized this strategy especially when they put big bets on the Mobile usage and hence mobile ad revenue. Of course, not every company is in social space and not you may not even develop apps in consumer space.


Increasingly, enterprises started to take the mobility as the serious endeavor and by now most enterprise software companies have developed the apps in-house or partnered with 3rd party app developing companies. Idea is simply to provide best user experience on the mobile devices; be it smart phone or tablets. The bigger challenge everyone struggles is how to provide value in a way that you can monetize your mobile apps. In the consumer space, companies can provide free apps and later gain the value with the help of in-app purchases, advertising and other viral marketing techniques. Unfortunately, enterprise apps can’t do the same and the amount of R&D spent on these apps is significant to ignore the costs. These costs somehow have to be built into the product pricing and still providing options for the users who do not want to use mobile solutions. Based on my industry observations and experience, below are key components of a “Mobile First Strategy”.

trendsIndustry Trends: Most of the enterprise applications serve a specific industry. It is important to understand how open is your industry to the mobile adoption and if going mobile would add value to that industry? More often you get a sense of the industry trends from the analysts, conferences, and customer demands. Also, remember to differentiate the mobile demands from your customer’s IT department and the real end users. It is not to say, if your industry is not going mobile, you should not invest in mobile apps, but the chances your success is more when the industry and users are ready.

usersUsecases / Users: If there is only one thing that you could focus on in this list, I would suggest you do a good job of evaluating your usecases and users for your mobile apps. As an example, if a specific usecase has a “heavy data entry” operation, making it mobile may not make sense. On the other side, if the usecase has a lot of “data consumption” by managers (like graphs, progress reports), it might be a perfect fit for going mobile. While identifying the usecases, you must also know who the users are. Is your user a mechanic using the smartphone to update his task at the work site? Or your user an executive who is always on the go and wants to see the project progress on his tablet?

Stitched PanoramaTechnical Architecture: Strategically it may make sense going mobile, but it may not be fun for the engineering team to march on the “mobile first strategy”. Especially if your product is not built for mobile. Or in other words, if you have a old technology stack and is too difficult to rewrite a “mobile consumable web services”, your engineering will hate your idea of going mobile 🙂 Of course, it’s not the question of “can you re-write your product” to mobile enable but its the question of “does it make sense to re-write”. e.g. some traditional products built on a complex n-tier architecture may not be good candidates to re-write and expose services as RESTful services. Typically you would end up rewriting presentation and/or middle layer to keep clean. Make sure that you factor in the technical architecture of your product(s) before you get too excited about mobile.

licenseLicense Mechanism: Everyone faces the same question. Should the mobile app(s) be free or should you put a price tag on each mobile user. Is it appropriate to differentiate the Mobile and Web users? Clearly, you need to understand the customers and the Mobile value to the end users. If you get this part right, it is easy to decide if you need to put a price tag on the mobile App. If Mobile is a major channel for users and the value deminishes too quickly without this mobile solution, then you may be able to put a price tag. Else you might have a hard time explaining why you have a price tag >=$.01.

speedRelease Speed: Remember that the applications on the two major mobile platforms – Android, iOS – have an average release cycle of 2.5 to 3 months. This includes the complete development, testing and deployment cycle. Is your organization ready to take on the quite dynamic release cycles? Not only that the release cycle is short, but people expect that you release as quick as possible.

native-hybrid-webNative vs Hybrid vs Mobile Web: This is a never ending argument. if your users simply wants to access the information from a web browser, you can chose the Mobile Web. users simply loginto the system via browser and  mostly interact the same way you they would do it on the laptop or desktop. HTML5 has pleasantly evolved over the years. Based on your need HTML5 (JS+CSS) may be the best option to provide some of the on-device capabilities and also rich user controls. The clear advantage is that you will be able to run these Apps on multiple platforms using cross-compilers. Lastly, If you want to provide a rish users experience and a complete handle on the on-device features, Native App may be the best one. The decision to chose one or the other probably decides how the market will perceive the product. You want to decide and do it right.

mobiledevicesDevice Selection: Every organization has limited resources to put on a single project. For that first mobile App, you need to focus and a single device and probably single form favor. What should I select between SmartPhone and Tablet. What screen size should i support? These questions have a greater relevance so that the engineering has good time to think and architect the product. Indirectly, the Usercases and Users you selected should hint on what kind of devices to use. Based on If App is used mostly for “Data Consumption” or for “Medium Data Entry/Decision Making”, the decision would change.

Sales and Marketing PictureMarketing and Sales: Selling enterprise software and going into the customer door steps as domain steps as totally different than putting heads together to sell and market the Mobile Apps. Is the team capable of understanding the mobile technologies and their usage in the customer’s context ? If the App is licendsed, do you know clear value proposition for each release ?

gamificationSocial and Gamification: There are ways to motivate and encourage human behaviors to do certain thing. With the Social and Gamification features we are able to combine the enterprise software with the social behaviors to motivate the users. E.g. A Work Order specialist (who takes work orders by phone and enters in to the system) services his 1st, 10th and 100th work order and he will be given a Fresher, Starter and Expert badge. The ability to share the work, statuses and documents via Mobile and Web is pretty essential and the underlying platform should take care of that.

board-roomStrategy Validation: All the above points are related to internal decision while this one relates to external validation and decision. However good or bad the internal decisions are , the “sexy” application that does not meet customer expectation is of no use. Establish a customer advisory board with key customers who can give you critical feedback and who wants to use this mobile solution. This helps a lot to avoid the later on disappointment from end users.

“Mobile First Strategy” is different things for different people. In my experience, above ten items needs to be considered for a Mobile First Strategy before jumping into the execution. Remember, scrapping a project before it’s even started is much easier than scrapping a project after it’s released 🙂

Image Courtesy : Google Image Search

Posted in enterprise software, entrepreneurship, Mobile, software, technology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

If you want to be in sales, you better learn to connect with people.

We keep an open mind and we keep learning everyday. Some are more profound than others. This week I met bunch of some middle school kids in my community, who are “trying” to sell the magazine subscriptions from a catalog book. I met with about five different groups and learned a bunch on “how to” and “how not to” sell. Only one group was able to convince me to sign up for a magazine subscription. I could not observe if this particular group has the natural ability or mastered the skill with some training; probably that’s not important. Below are the conversations I had with five different groups.

Group 1, Group 5 : [<1 minutes conversation]

  • Kids : “Would you like to subscribe for a magazine!”
  • Myself : Sorry guys. I don’t read magazines anymore.
  • Kids : “Oh… thank you uncle”

Group 2: [<1 minute conversation]

  • Kids : “Do you have few minutes?”
  • Myself : “Sure.. what’s up”
  • Kids : “We(our school) are working with a charity organization. Some amount of magazine subscription money will go to school.”
  • My self : “That’s nice”
  • Kids : “Would you like to buy one?”
  • Myself : “Sorry guys, I really like the idea of charity. Unfortunately, i don’t read magazines anymore.”
  • Kids : “ohhh…. thats fine”

Group 3: [~1 minute conversation]

  • Kids : “How are you”
  • Myself : “Thanks for asking guys. How you are doing?” 
  • Kids : “Good. We have this magazine catalog.”
  • Myslef : “Oh OK…”
  • Kids : “Would you like to see whats in side and subscribe for something you like ?”
  • Myslef : “Sorry guys, i don’t read magazines anymore”
  • Kids : “You can subscribe and someone at home can read it”
  • Myself : “Sure. But no one reads any magazines at home too”
  • Kids : “ohhh…that’s fine. Thanks for your time. bye.”

Group 4: [~6 minutes conversation]

  • Kids : “Hi…… how is your day ?”
  • Myself : “pretty good guys. How are you doing”
  • Kids : “very good. Where is Saahithi?” [Saahithi is my daughter]
  • Myslef : “She is still in India. She will be back next week.”
  • Kids : “that’s nice. You must be missing her a lot. “
  • Myself : “Oh yes… so…. what’s up guys”
  • Kids : “We are raising funds for a charity organization via these magazine subscriptions. Based on what we know, you might be interested in Technology, Auto, Disney and Life style kind of magazines. Would you like to see what you might like?”
  • Myself : “You guys are a great mission. Unfortunately, i don’t read magazines anymore”.
  • Kids : “Totally, we get that. Good thing is you don’t have to have a full year subscription. You can try for 6 months and cancel if you don’t like. After all, this money is used for charity.”
  • Myself : “I really like this idea. But i don’t read magazines.”
  • Kids : “Do you have an iPad or any Smart Phone?”
  • Myself : “yes”
  • Kids : “There you go… there are so many magazines that can be accessed from these smart phones. You might want to subscribe things that you can access anywhere. And its really cheap compared to market price.”
  • Myself : “really? Show me the ones that can be accessed electronically”
  • Kids : [showed me couple of magazines that can be accessed electronically]
  • Myself : [I chose a 6 month subscription and provided them the details ]
  • Kids : “Thank you very much for your time. We live right across in …, …. If you have any problem please let us know. We will talk to our school and see if we can help you. Once again, thank you.”
  • Deal Done!

When you read the conversation. You might say, the choice is clear. Some kids are able to connect their mission with need and some did not (could not). of course, this is a simple example of  sales. But most often, these skills help everywhere.

Group 1, Group 3, Group 5 : [Whatever] We are here to sell. We don’t care if you buy or not.

Group 2 : [Mission] Didn’t know how to connect their mission with buyer’s need.

Group 4 : [Passion, Mission, Personalization, Persistence, Connection] They were very passionate about the mission they are serving. Started with a friendly and personal conversation. They were able to take the rejection and at the same time think out of the box to connect with the needs of the buyer. Not only think about this sale in the short-term but also think about credibility that you could use in long-term.

In summary, one should be passionate, mission driven, persistent and connect with the Company, Product, Need and Buyer. It needs incredible amount of skill to connect things together. Selling is not easy!

Posted in entrepreneurship, management, startups | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Enterprise Mobility Bytes #2 : Launch Screen

In this “mobility byte”, we will discuss a common practice to provide the “launch screen” to your Apps. Responsive UI is the core characteristic of any successful Mobile App. Most Apps when launched usually updates piece of data and then update UI. This is usually an expensive process to get the data from the servers, cache it on the device and update the UI.

The exception to this are the Apps that uses the data stored on the device. Such examples could be “Photos”, “Contacts” and “Phone”. These Apps completely utilize the local storage and usually there is no data or processing to be done on the cloud servers.

Needless to say, all the Mobile App designers struggle to strike a balance between presenting “right amount of data” vs. “being responsive” with UI updates and navigation. Based on the data and UI interactions, the Apps can be broadly classified as below…

  1. News Feed Apps (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, BuzzFeed, Tumbler, …)
  2. Search/Discovery Apps (Music Apps, Video Apps, Travel Apps, …)
  3. Data Entry Apps (Enterprise Apps, Assets, Tasks, Work Orders, …)
  4. Shopping Apps (Amazon, Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, …)
  5. Background Apps (“Clock/Alarm”, RunKeeper, Nike Runnig, …)
  6. Disconnected Apps (Photo, Contacts, Games, Compass, …)

On the launch of an App, when it needs to connect to servers, load data and update UI, its a common practice to have the launch screens and provide a “progress bar” or “spin wheel”. This has the advantage that it provides a way to provide branding as well as provide the feedback to the end user.

Below are some examples of the launch screens from popular mobile Apps.

IMG_4544(6)IMG_4544(7)IMG_4544(8) IMG_4544(9) IMG_4544 IMG_4543 IMG_4544(1) IMG_4544(2) IMG_4544(3) IMG_4544(4) IMG_4544(5)

Posted in enterprise software, management, Mobile, software, technology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment