Enterprise Mobility Bytes #1 : Application Icon

As with the consumer mobile applications, enterprise applications also have the same branding challenges. Choosing the right Icon for your iOS and Android applications is very critical for how users discover and identify the app. Remember that once the application goes into the App Store (iOS and Android), the end user might have your enterprise app co-located along with 10s (or 100s) of other apps. According to recent stats, both iOS and Android have about 800,000+ apps. This means you better make sure that you take care of the branding and make the icon represent what it should.

Looking at the most current applications in the market, App icons can be categorized into three types.

Icon with Brand Full Name: As the name suggests, the App icon has the complete name of the company or the product. Probably “Full Name” is the same way that the company wants to get identified.


Icon with Brand Letter : Icon with the brand letter seems to be the least used. However, you will see that many famous companies like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Skype uses this kind of Icons for Mobile Apps.


Icon with Brand Image : By far this seems to be the most frequently used icon type. as you see below, many Apps use the Brand Image.


As a last note, make sure that you don’t get into any legal battles by designing the Icon close to another company’s Icon.


Remember : “It’s not just an Icon. It is your brand and a way for your users to identify the App”.


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LEAP Motion – my final comments

I am one of those early adopters who was very excited about the LEAP Motion technology and the potential. I started playing with LEAP on August 14th 2013 and finally i returned the device today. LEAP Motion is a good device but probably not for me at this time.

Here are top 3 reasons for me to return the device.

1) Free Apps: There are 23 Apps on the LEAP App Store (called AirSpace) for both Windows and Mac. I would not use some of them and I don’t want to buy apps. I have spent $70+ for the device and I am not ready to pay for the Apps. My favorite game “Fruit Ninja” is $2.99 on Windows. Unfortunately, in the era of the iOS and Android Apps ecosystem, I never paid more than $.99 for an App. I enjoy most of the Apps for FREE. In that context, paying anything more than $.99 is a burden on me.

I believe LEAP (or partners) should have created more Apps before this launch. I like to explore but without lot of FREE Apps, my options are limited.

2 )New HCI Paradigm : Of course, LEAP is all about the new human computer interaction that potentially creates multiple opportunities. It took me a while to get used to the hand gestures and how i control the screen.

No wonder, Steve Jobs is the genius to understand the users as well as the business sense when he introduced the iPhone and iPad. The user interaction is pretty intuitive, starting from 2 year old kid to 90 year old grand ma. The usage of the finger to accomplish any task on iPhone/iPad is the trick. Everything just works.

With LEAP Motion, I was not able to get the same intuitiveness and it just feels odd. Also, i work mostly on the laptop and it becomes very cumbersome to keep Leap on your lap and do hand gestures. Perhaps this is designed for people using the desktops.

3) Usecases : After playing couple of FREE games, I did not know what ELSE to do. Can i control my whole Windows 7 experience? probably not. Unless, i launch the AirSpace to start the App, I cant not do anything. Perhaps, I may have tried to explore more if i had more Free apps????

So ???? : As a Computer Science engineer and a MBA, LEAP Motion is freaking cool technology and has some cool usecases. Usage of the cameras, infrared sensors to create the 3D space and manipulating the apps is great. But, I (as a user) was not too sure what i can do with this device.

I would definitely imagine there are lots of use cases in the 3D modeling space. Especially in the Construction Industry, this can be used to do the BIMs (building information models) and model them collaboratively. I can also imagine the use of LEAP Motion in Education/Schools/Medical Schools, for kids to touch and interact with the virtual body parts. In addition, they can build great FREE Apps for kids. My daughter would love to interact with the objects in the air and dress up Dora and all her favorite princesses.

I will definitely re-visit LEAP in couple of months and hopefully I can find some compelling usecases. But for now, it’s not for me!

Gesture Recognition Leap In Action Leap Motion App Gallery

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LEAP Motion – Interesting HCI paradigm

OK, finally i was able to play with my new Leap Motion . Pretty cool technology that detects your hand motion and transfer it to your computer screen.

Some notes on Day 1:
* Setup is freaking simple! Plug it in, install the Leap Motion and go!
* Leap Motion is small in size and fits on most desks
* This is a new way of interacting with the applications
* Current FREE Apps are *NOT* enough to explore.
* I would like to see more FREE Apps. I don’t want to buy Apps! No way!
* Hopefully I should be able to control the whole desktop (not just the Airspace App) with hands.

Am I excited now? Yes. Will I be excited the Day 10? Not sure yet.

Leap Motion and USB Connector Leap In Action Gesture Recognition Leap Packaging

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New Product Development : Lessons learned from Google Glass

On 20th February 2013, I entered Google’s #ifihadglass contest on Google+ #ifihadglass i would create better family connections across continents and live the moments. Never miss a happy moment in family and friends”. After couple of months Google announced the winners and I did not get selected (anyway, that’s not important). Starting fall of 2011 and especially during the Google I/O  2012, I was very excited to see the Google Glass concept and its endless possibilities.  Now that 2013 Google I/O is over, I had observed some smart moves by Google and below is summary of observations relevant to new product development. I really think they are “smart” moves considering the fact that there is NO real product by name Google Glass and you already see so much of excitement in the market, consumers (businesses and users), developers and partners.

Be Audacious : Larry Page always talks about “doing something no one else had thought about” and this is true with Google Glass. Except in the science fiction movies, the wearable technology has not talked or worked by any major company publicly. In the world of the incremental innovation with the mobile phones, wearable Glass that could be more smarter and powerful as a today’s computer is never heard of. It never made sense for many people at that time (and even now).

Your ideas can improve what is existing today or create something totally new.


Build the Eco-system: I am a Google TV user and i should say Google’s execution sucked. The Google TV partner Logitech left the race early on and wrote off much of their Google TV division. I am left with a devise with no support and most apps are not compatible with my Logitech Revue Google TV (i am not surprised if you have not heard of it). My feeling is that, by now, Google learned the importance of the eco-system and started building the eco-system early on for Google Glass.

Early adopters, influencers, app developers, hardware partners and media partners are very much needed to create the market and generate/manufacture the need for Google Glass. The strategy is much more different as there is no real market, Google needs to discover users and create the usecases to solve “some” problems.

Anything significant is not achieved alone. Understand and build your eco-system early on in the product life cycle.


Create the Market : Yes, create the market, see how to segment the users, profile the users, understand whats makes the product tick. Google is now educating the whole eco-system about the Google Glass on the future possibilities. This is highly risky and time taking task. There is always a risk of someone else coming up with a better “Glass” like product and use the already created market, but Google is spearheading this effort anyway intending to reap the benefits.

Your idea may or many not have a market. Be willing to create the market.

Crowd source the use cases: If I dont know what to do with my car, ask others and they will show me what to do with it 🙂 . Google did this very smart and intelligently, with their “#ifihadglass” contest. This is really the discover phase on what people intend to with this such a device. At least looking from outside, people left so much data that can be used to understand the usecases and area of application such as education, home, entertainment, retail, etc… Google would surely understand the demographics of the users and how they might use it. That’s a wonderful information which usually companies would have to spend good chunk of money. But for Google they got it for “free”.

When you don’t know what to do with the concept/product, ask users for ideas.

Know your friends: Right from the day one, looks like, Google knew that they have to focus on the photography, tech journalists community. How would you make the product associated with the youth and teens ? Only by making early entry into the fashion industry and provide the trendy perception.

Know your friends and take their help to get early wins in the journey.

Google Glass augmented reality eyewear

Users pay for testing and development: This is a smart thing Google did with Google Glass. Google can not think of all the usecases and applications. Even if could, it needs to build the ecosystem to survive in the long term. One of the ways is to excite the developers and users to pay PREMIUM price ($1500) and use the Google Glass. The exclusivity will lead some potential users to wait for the Google Glass and at the same time current users will in turn increase the excitement (0f neighbors, friends and colleagues). On a relative scale, Google does not spend more money to find developers for app development and users would in turn evangelize the Glass.

Users pay premium price to develop and test applications. They also evangelize.


The future of the Google Glass really depends on the “perceived trendiness”, “pricing”, “app availability” and “connectedness”. Whether Google Glass is successful or not, there are many lessons to be learned in these initial phases. In the end, “there are no gains without risks”. But this time, I really hope that Google takes  Apple approach to the HW+SW and provides an integrated approach to users. I would really hate if Google Glass becomes another kind Google TV disaster.

Images : Courtesy of Google Image Search

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Is it love or branding?

I have been stacking up the iPhone and iPad packaging for a while. Each time I take them to throwaway, I am so in love with the packaging, I keep them back. That’s called Branding and emotional attachment 🙂 How can companies make products and dreams that would make you keep the packaging? The more I think about it, the more I appreciate Apple to lead the way for other retailer and tech companies.

For any product manager, this is a very complex problem to solve and everyone wants to live up to create that brand. In my view, there are couple of things that Apple does very effectively.

  • Focus on 80% of the use cases and find simple solutions (not on the other 20%)
  • Manufacture the need and love for users (be it iPhone or iPad)
  • Do something audacious (market research is not always the answer. Market research can only provide ways to incremental innovation)
  • Provide integrated marketing experience (emails, Apple Stores, Apple Website, TV Ads, Billboards, Blogs)
  • Provide the human aspect of the problem (and don’t focus on the product itself)
  • The end-to-end user experience counts (product information, demo, packaging, website, buying process, insurance, warranty, service and others)
  • Provide use cases that user has not thought about (provide endless possibilities and make customer appreciate the design and thought process that has gone into the product)

I follow Google very closely and I use many internet products from them. I think What Apple if for Hardware, Google is for Software. I really hope there are more companies who takes care of the customers, design and the integrated experience.

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Be mindful of types of people and behavior in your life!

People are people! We deal with variety of people in our community, work place, family, friends and many other random places. While we know some people close enough to get around the unpleasant nature, with others we get into trouble because of unmet expectations. A topic of interest for me is how people behave and why they behave in a certain way.

Why should you care? Each of our tolerance levels vary and we all are vulnerable to ill treatment by others. We want others to treat us with respect and dignity and vice verse. While we can not totally avoid “bad behavior” people, realizing them early in the game helps us to minimize the losses (emotional, psychological and economic).

Below is a summary of types of people that I encountered. Of course, some people might have a mix of several characteristics embedded in them, but for the sake of clarity, I want to distinguish each. If you see other types of people not in this list, please contribute. I want to learn too.

1) People who are always with you no matter what happens to you
2) People who are with you only when you are happy (or celebration time)
3) People who are always with you when you are in need. These people give you emotional help. They are there with you days and nights when in need.
4) People who are always with you and want to see you regress (or downfall)
5) People who are praying for your downfall from behind you; You don’t see them. But they are watching you.
6) People who puts you in trouble. They are smarts who always know how to escape a situation to put you in the hot seat.
7) People who brings you out of trouble. These people differ from #3. They suggest you what to do and may also work with you to bring you out of trouble.
8) People who praise before you and bitch about you from behind. These are dual personality people who you would not even think tal bad about you. But shit happens.
9) People who always hates you no matter how nice you are to them. Dont know why but they are there.
10) People who think you are good and want to see you grow personally and professionally. They believe in you and they stand by you.
11) People who are role models for you in some categories of life.
12) People who use your relationship (with them) to get their work done. They neither like you nor hate you but you are a means to their end 🙂

Surprisingly there are many good people who pass around the positive aura. So, don’t get depressed about negative people. Remember that just you being positive is not enough and will not sustain for a long time. You need to choose your company (of people) wisely.

Stick to your values; Be Happy; Do Good;

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Startups in India – a report

A country’s culture and background (a predictor of course) pretty much decides the direction of the growth in this modern world. India is a risk-averse country and people are not ready to take risks. The younger generation is coming out being more entrepreneurial but still it lacks the big impact on the society. I only wish that the politics and government policies become more open to embrace the modern infrastructure and standard of living. This will hopefully encourage the brain drain and helps smart people to stay back and for Indian origin people elsewhere in the world to go back to India. I am hopeful!

Below is a wonderful study and results on the Startups in India.

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UC Davis GSM : Classes that made a difference to me!

OK, now I am done with my MBA, many current students asked me about my personal preference of classes at UC Davis GSM. I have posted all of them in “UC Davis Class FAQs” and for those who like to see it in a single place, see below 🙂

Markets and the Firm (Victor Stango) – I never studies economics before and Victor brings in many many practical examples in the class from various industries. I only wish it was a case study based class but never the less, his class really was my foundation for future classes and I apply the basics everyday.

Data Analysis for Managers (Roger Edelen) – Simply put this is a statistics class. But with a twist of how to represent the numbers in spreadsheets and present it to senior management. I like the practical aspect of using the spreadsheets and getting things done. Don’t miss the Bayesian concepts : it just becomes so important as a manager.

Organizational Strategy and Organizational Behavior (Gina Dokko) – Covers the fundamentals of the strategy and human behavior and biases. This class is case oriented and this makes it much more lively and enjoyable. Everyone in the class has a different opinion. That’s OK. There is tons of reading and there is a lot to learn in this class. In my view, this strategy class is foundation for anyone going into (or planning) general management.

Negotiation in Organizations (Joseph Radzevick) – Negotiations is part of everyday life and this class makes you aware of various techniques. Irrespective of who is teaching this, the material and the class interactions makes it worth. At least when i took it, every class had at least 2 negotiations with fellow members using the techniques that i learned in previous class. I highly recommend (again, if you don’t practice it’s of no use).

Mergers and Acquisitions (David Petroni) – My time and money was well worth for this class. David is a industry veteran with a lot of M&A experience and brings in the financial, organizational, cultural, legal and industry aspects to M&A. He brought in many speakers who lived through M&A and that was very insightful. Most interestingly, I was involved in two M&A teams after that.

Executive Leadership Seminar (Jim Wundermann) – This class is very different compared to what we have in GSM. This class has two parts to it. First part is to make you realize your strengths and leadership style. Second part is that you get a perspective on various industry leaders. CEOs from various industries (DELL WYSE, PG&E, Virgin America, Silicon Valley Bank, Citi Bank California, etc…) talk about their leadership challenges and experiences and you get a chance to ask them questions too.

Product Management (Marcus Lowe) – This class needs a *lot* of work. Pick a good group that you can work with. This is a highly analytical and quantitative class and a must for anyone who wants to do product marketing, product innovation (R&D) and new product introductions. Though i do product management for work, the markstrat simulation puts you in various phases of product life cycle that one many not always gets exposed to.

Multi-Channel Marketing (Rubel, Olivier) – Olivier is very knowledgeable and one of the very few professors who presses you to think “as a decision maker”. I have got a lot out of his multi-channel marketing class.

International Marketing (Peters, Kay) – This is a very interesting class for people working with international firms and looking for global expansion of products. This is a one unit class and Kay provides a wonderful framework to think about the international product marketing. This could be a three unit course and get into more details of the nuances of the international marketing.

Technology Competition and Strategy (Hemant Bhargava) – People get what they want to get out of this class. Due to the inherent nature, the class discusses a lot of technology companies and products. This is a must class for anyone building the technology products in startups or corporations. The modern nature of the platforms (internal or external) and network effects makes it much more challenging for the survival of the technologies and this class addresses exactly that. This class provides a framework to think about when building products. Its difficult to appreciate this class if you have not faced any challenges to promote your product or standard in your firm.

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Facebook is no more a social network but it is a sentiment!

Facebook is the only social network with 955 million active users and operating in 70 different languages worldwide. Privacy issues did not stop Facebook’s growth. Neither users nor investors see any issues with privacy. Whenever there is a huge outcry about the privacy issues, Facebook simply adds more controls and people seem to be happy about it.

Facebook with its recent IPO made me think about “How the heck does the valuation really work ?”. I am an MBA and I surely understand how the companies are valued. But with Facebook, I had no rational explanation to value the company close to $100+ billion on the first day of the IPO.

Investors were happy to see the value going up the first day and everyone thought that this is the start of the rise of the FB stock. By now we have seen the reality and the value came down by 50%.

“The company said its revenue for the quarter climbed to $1.18 billion, from $895 million; most of it came from advertising. The company reported a net loss of $157 million, or 8 cents a share, compared with net income of $240 million, or 11 cents a share for the same quarter last year.” – NY Times 07/27/2012

For Investors : So, how investors saw the value of the company is something that I don’t get. If it is 10x the revenue then the value should be $10 billion. If it is based on the advertising, the world of the Google, Yahoo and other local internet businesses, how on the earth can Facebook earn humongous money on ads ?. Facebook at this time has no viable revenue streams based on subscription model or licensing model. The only way at least Facebook can benefit is form the “Network Effects” from close to billion active customers on the desktop and mobile devices in the world.

I was a Facebook user : I was on Facebook till 2011 until the release of the Google+. I was away from my family for about 14 years and found many of school friends and undergrad friends on Facebook. It was like the wonderful way to connect with family and friends. There is so much of user engagement on the Facebook that I loved posting and sharing pictures. At some point of time, I used to say, “Let’s connect on Facebook” in social gatherings.

Things started changing as Mark Zuckerberg started saying “Privacy is dead” publicly. On Facebook, I could see my friend’s friend’s private pictures because my friend was tagged into it, which would show up on my wall. There were so many instances that my friends were embarrassed looking at my wall because they don’t want me to see those pictures. Another interesting thing was that “everyone” is a friend. Whether it was school friend or someone I met last week in BART, Facebook treated everyone as friends (of course they later changed many of what I discussed looking at Google+ circles).

Finally, I could not DELETE/REMOVE my account. I could only DEACTIVATE it. I wondered why, this is my data and my account. But Facebook customer service said that it is a service that I am using so, it is up to the service provider – Facebook – to decide on the policy. Wow… that’s fair… but at that time, Facebook was the ONLY (useful) solution for the social hunger. I still continued as there was no alternative.

Google+ arrives : I am a big fan of Google (and Facebook too). I use numerous services from Google and integration is a big piece that I love. Google Search, Gmail, Google Maps, Youtube, Google TV, Calendar, Books, Blogger, Reader, Finance, Picasa, Chrome, Android, Docs and Google Talk are what I use everyday. So, it made natural sense for me to try and see how the Google+ was done and if it has a potential to become “Facebook alternative”.

Google+ Circles, Hangouts and other Google services integration is a big hit with for me. I could not ask for more. Simple UI, Intuitive UX and I could be as public or private as I want my posts to be. The photo streams on Google+ was magical on its users.

I soon concluded that Google+ is much more superior to Facebook and I deactivated my account on July 20th 2011. After I used Google+ for a year, “I am a way too disappointed with my assumptions”.

  1. I thought it’s easy to port users from a social network to another
  2. I thought social network users value integrated services that Google provides
  3. I thought users would value privacy settings and data portability
  4. I thought Facebook soon would be doomed (I could not believe at that time that social networks could co-exist and co-evolve).

So, why am I ranting about my decision and Google+…

  1. I have very few family members and friends on Google+
  2. I lost all excitement on Google+ that I used have on Facebook
  3. In the last one year it looks as though I was never connected socially
  4. All friends I talk to say that they shared updates on Facebook and it’s my fault that I am on Google+
  5. My 69 year dad in India uses Facebook and he says it’s too difficult for him to move to Google+ as his friends are also on Facebook.
  6. On Google+, my stream is filled with the photographers, tech news and geeks. I feel Google+ is more of “Tech Social Network” compared to Facebook.

Looking forward : These days when companies (enterprises, retail, consumer and others) talk about social, they talk about Facebook and Twitter. They have become the industry default. Everyones knows about it and everyone loves them.

“Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter” is the new mantra.

Each time I go to retail malls or on the Internet, people do so many innovative things on Facebook and Twitter feeds, it just amazes me. It just makes me feel that I am loosing the edge by not being on the Facebook. May be I need to keep both accounts – Google+ and Facebook – as a user and see which one matures in time. I believe in natural selection and I sure think that the time will tell if it’s the question of “Google+ or Facebook” or “Google+ and Facebook”.

There sure is certain halo effect that Facebook has created. Whether you like it or not, Facebook brand is powerful and you can sure take advantage of its presence. My personal takeaways from this one year of Google+ experience can be summarized as below three points.

  1. Network effect is very powerful. Don’t underestimate the “first entrants” in the market and Facebook is also the company that created that market.
  2. Don’t assume that you could easily switch customers by making great products. You must understand the Halo effects of the existing products on the users.
  3. Don’t fall prey to your own self-serving biases on products. Have an open mind and use the best of the world and don’t exclude one over the other. You never know if certain product sees the light of the consumers.

Is $46 billion the right value for the Facebook ? I am still not sure. I sure believe that Facebook has potential. It can use its close to billion users and make money via various channels. It sure is not going to go away in the near future.

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5 simple questions for a better Feature Prioritization.

A major part of #productmanager ‘s daily life involves a lot of communication, decision making and feature #prioritization among many. With multiple product lines and time pressure, the feature prioritization decisions could become very subjective.

Here are the 5 questions every #productmanager should ask before making a decision.

– Is there a lost revenue if this feature is NOT made ?
– Is there any other opportunity that is more worthwhile than doing this ?
– Did customers ask for this ?
– Does this capability bring you #differentiation in the market ?
– Is the benefit of developing this capability > the cost ?

As +Prod Mgmt group, do you have any other suggestions ? Any other best practices ?

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