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Announcement: Kick-off meeting – iPhone Intensive(May 20, 2009)

iphone_developers
Plug And Play Tech Center
 is sponsoring an iPhone Intensive meetup for Developers on May 20th, 2009. 

WHEN

Monday May 20th 
6:00-9:30pm

WHERE

440 N Wolfe Rd
Sunnyvale, CA 94085
408-747-7332 

 AGENDA

6:00-7:00pm Arrive &amp and socialize 
7:00-8:00pm Intro to native iPhone App Programming – Julio Barros 
8:00-8:15pm Break 
8:15-8:45pm Using the iPhone as a Prototyping Platform – Bob Free 
8:45-9:15pm Next Generation iPhone Game Development – Travis Hopkins

Hope to see you all there.

Registration($10 for Refreshments): Click Here

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May 18, 2009 Posted by | Announcement, game, iphone application, mobile application | , , , | 1 Comment

Announcement: Monetization Meetup (May 18, 2009)

 

389916_PeanutLabs_LogoPeanut Lab’s is sponsoring a Monetization meetup at Google Hqrs on May 18th, 2009. 

WHEN

Monday May 18th 
6:30-9pm
Network for the first 30-45 minutes then have a few speakers speaking for 10-15 minutes each with Q&A time after each speaker.

WHERE

Googleplex (Bldg. 43)

1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Tunis Conference Room
Mountain View, CA 94043

 

SPEAKERS

The speakers for the evening listed below will discuss best practices around monetization in their respective companies :

  • Jonathan from EA
  • Michael from Justin.tv
  • Ali from Peanut Labs
  • Sergio from Norwest Venture Partners
  • Shanti from Three Rings
  • Lars from Frogster
  • Paul from (he’s too cool to be associated with any company… just yet) 

Hope to see you all there.

May 17, 2009 Posted by | Announcement, facebook application, iphone application, mobile application, open social application, web application | , , , , | Leave a comment

Zappos CEO – It’s all about Happiness

Zappos_LogoTony Hsieh, CEE of Zappos, gave an opening Keynote at Tiecon 2009. It was a refreshing start for a long day at the conference. He attributed that the magic sauce behind the great success of his company are:

  1. Company Culture 
  2. Customer Service 

He talked about how he tries to have a company culture where every employee is treated as a friend. In fact, the hiring process has a mandatory Cultural Fit interview conducted by the HR which needs to be passed apart from the technical interview conducted by the relevant department. All new hires go though a 5 week training where they are taught about the company’s history and customer service. The customer service representatives are encouraged to have a bonding with their customers and often create a ‘WOW’ factor by helping them and often surprising them with a Free overnight delivery. It’s all about making your employees happy who in turn make your customers happy. I definitely recommend going over his PowerPoint embedded below :

May 17, 2009 Posted by | User Psychology, web application | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Twitter: We Will make money by the end of the year

twitter-money-300x225Santosh Jayaram, VP of Business Opertaions at Twitter was a panelist at a Social Media Monetization Session at TieCon 2009. He talked about Twitter’s huge growth and how it has become a part of a a 24-7 bi-directional(or multi) communication. He says ‘Engagement’ is the central mantra and that they owe a lot to the developer community that has build hundreds of applications on top of their platform.

In terms of a revenue model he mentioned that they just started to collect data and are experimenting with about 4 or 5 different ideas. He confidently said that they will be making ‘Money’ by the end of the year. One of their monetization strategy is to have ‘Promotional’ Accounts.’  These accounts will be able to establish communication with their customer and fan base.

Santosh cited a lot of examples where consumers who vented out frustration about about a service/brand by tweeting were often directly contacted by the concerned brand to make up to them. He thus a sees a lot of bi-directional communication between the consumers and the services that could be tapped by Twitter. I hope they do make money. Good luck to them. What do you guys think ?

May 16, 2009 Posted by | web application | , , | 1 Comment

Experience at Startup Weekend SF 2009

full_teamStartup Weekend hosted a event from Apr3 – Apr5 for all the tech minded and entrepreneurial people to come to one place and start working on a product to deliver a prototype by Sunday Night. There were about 200 people that had showed up for the event. I was among that fortunate list to have participated in the event.

The venue had started to gather people from 6 pm onwards.  I was amazed to see the number of people that had turned up for the event. Andrew Hyde (founder of Startup Weekend) kicked off the event around 7pm and introduced some of the well known VC’s from the Bay Area. They all had some good suggestions for the audience of about 200 people. 

It was a great learning experience for me. I had primarily gone with the intention of developing an application based on either facebook platform or the Twitter Api. There was more interest with respect to Twitter, and so I mingled around and talked to people with ideas related to Twitter.

Team Structure

    1 Idea/Business Guy ( php/mysql experience) 
    1 Sales/Market Guy.
    2 Back End Developer (1 Full Time 1 Part Time )
    1 Front End Developer with Flash.
    1 Front End with Java Script. 

Day 1

There were a couple of ideas that we pitched to each other. Among the group it was apparent that not all members were very familiar with the features/power of Twitter. Also the level of engagement and used cases were different for the people that already had accounts on Twitter prior to the StartUp Weekend. The positive outcome of this arrangement was that we were getting different outlook for the same service. However, the drawback was that as some people were not very familiar with Twitter, it seemed that there was no scope for the project to be developed beyond Sunday. I and another member needed to catch the train to South Bay, so we and the group dispersed without finalizing a project but sticking between two ideas.

Day 2

The day started late for the team. There was a little confusion regarding the timings of our team to show up the next day. There were only 3 members of the team around 12 Noon, so we decided to just stick with one of the Idea (Analytics) and start working on it. At this moment the team comprised of an Idea Guy(with some php/mysql experience), Back-End(me) Developer, and a Front End Developer. I had been playing with the Twitter Api using Python(for App Engine) for my own Twitter based projects over the last few weeks. As, currently it seemed like a 3 member team, I decided to use PHP and use some of the Php Client Libraries listed on Twitter (Bad Move).

Soon, the other Developer also came in and then I discussed with him the project we were working on and my decision to use the Php Library available from the Twitter Docs. He was familiar with the Perl library and mentioned about it. So there was a slight confusion if we should now move guns to Perl. Finally he suggested that as he will be working on his another project for the Startup Weekend, that I should continue with Php and he will help us as and when needed.

Finally I downloaded the Php library to my Macbook and started to look into it. But, unfortunately by now we were having connectivity issues as all the DHCP licenses created by the wireless router at the venue were full. Thinking it will get fixed soon also cost us a lot of time. We then decided to go to some Coffee Shop but could not find a single Free Wireless place to go. One of the team members then offered to take us to his work place. More time lost.

Finally, at his office, I started to test the calls to the Client Libraries. Soon, it was apparent that the libraries need Pear to be installed. So, I downloaded Pear to my machine and was trying to get it working. It was having some issues; the other developer also was not much familiar with Pear. Search after Search for solutions in Google, we finally decided to move to Python (context switch) and I started writing code in Python. In the mean while, the Idea guy who was at the Venue pinged us and said that Internet is finally working.  We communicated to him that we will be using Python, but he interjected saying why can’t we just call the Twitter Api’s in XML format and just parse it (Good Point). However, the main reason we were trying to use the libraries were to leverage code reuse and authentications.

Finally, we had the leave the Office, as this team member had to leave by 7pm or so. We then walked back to the venue and then we were back to using PHP but no external libraries. I started writing the code and was done with functions that would parse, compute and the then return the output to the Front End Developer (using Flash). He would then use the output from my functions to display it on the page. In the meanwhile, when I was writing more code, the other members decided that since the Twitter Api returns the output in XML format, maybe let the Front End Developer handle and display it directly while the rest brainstorm for other possible metrics for the demo. At this junction, we called it a night and decided to meet up early in the morning.

Day 3

As planned, 4 of the members met up early and after grabbing breakfast, we headed back to work. I was now partially working with Front End guy regarding the logic that needs to implement in his Action Script code. In parallel, one of the other team members also developed a version in PHP. So, by the end of the day we had TWO versions of the same application.

Lesson Learned

–          Finalize Idea on Day 1
– Day 2 Start Early, Design and Divide Work Responsibility
– Day 3 Final Touches, if time adds more functionality.

Conclusion

Overall, I would call it a great success as I networked with a lot of people with similar interests and passion to work on technology. A real life experience building a team with strangers and the challenges involved in finishing the product. The best part is that I will now be working with one of the team member from the weekend in one of my applications for the Facebook Platform as a co-founder.

May 15, 2009 Posted by | web application | , , , | Leave a comment