More goofy support email replies…

I had this one the other day ::

Having to test a lot of devices I usually find most are not ready for prime time.

Here is one from a streaming TV box – sounds like a rinse and repeat answer:

Let’s power cycle and reset your ****** to factory settings:

1.Press and hold the reset button on the bottom of the ****** for 15 seconds.
2.Once the ****** comes back on, unplug the power for 1 minute.
3.Plug the ****** back in and press and hold the reset button on the bottom of the ****** again for 15 seconds.
4.Once the ****** comes back on, unplug the power for 1 minute.
5.Plug the ****** back in and turn on the ***** and go through the setup.


I don’t know whether to laugh or cry…

I always tell my team that since we aren’t managing money or routing ambulances that mistakes are okay. Nobody died and we didn’t accidentally drain someone’s bank account.

I do however expect more from big companies who are managing money.

This support email killed me:

1. Select the add account button under payout settings.
2. This time, I am advising you to register just a “DUMMY BANK ACCOUNT”, meaning, you may input random numbers in the specified fields.
3. Once you have done that, then the next thing that you can do is to set it as your primary bank.
4. Setting it as your primary bank will give you the option to delete your “REAL BANK ACCOUNT” that you’ve registered before.
5. Once you have deleted it, this is the time for you to re-register your real bank account that includes the IBAN and BIC number.

U  must be kidding me?

Dissecting Bubba

Digging this post by Bubba and wanted to respond to some of it.

#1 – Totally agree. More importantly I think for any startup, unless you find some biz model I don’t know about, there is no point developing for old phone ecosystems. They are dead. Please also add Rim to that list – if you think they are coming back you are in denial. Also the old Nokia ecosystem is also dead.

#2 – Is interesting. I tend to group them together but that might change down the road.

#3 – Very true but all depends on what you are building and how. However all that aside the fragmentation is real and  a pain in the ass. It translates to having to have more resources on Android than iOS for a similar app outcome but at the same time the revenue is clearly lower on Android by a large margin.

#4 – True but how does one get around the AppStore in iOS? We all know that users want the buy button in the app and doing anything to get around that brings the Apple wrath. In some sense you can do it all around mobile web but it is more work and less transactions. However at least with the App ecosystems payments are easy and people use them. This is brining the carrier billing costs down – hardly any carrier can look at you with a straight face and ask for more than 30% these days. It is changing fast. I don’t know where real disruption will come from unless people like Google or Apple allow it to enter the ecosystem. I am doubtful.

#5 – I guess if you mean user generated content but I think building for Apps is better than building web for the way I work.

#6 – Don’t know but I think only the power users need it since most peeps are consumers and even struggle at times with the basics. I think we will be in constant evolution and iteration but it might take a new player to disrupt the current UX. iOS 7 is changing some things but they are not rocking the boat much. I personally hope voice gets much more powerful.

#7 – Probably true. I am only working on video ads and even that is a total pain in the ass. huge disruption could be had across all the ad stuff but so far I am not seeing it. Yahoo could do some cool things if they applies it worldwide but I am not holding my breath yet.

#8 – Speaking for my work experience I think people will pay for content if it makes it more convenient, broadly accessible and a great quality experience. We see it happening with Spuul but takes time to evolve it. I think the global payment issues are one of the big stumbling blocks more than user willingness to pay.

#9 – Good point. I think what happens is the big incumbents like to buy the mobile play to take it out or fix their own mobile play. I think this will change at the big guys check their own mobile boxes but it will take time to build something big and standalone.

Great article though and hoping for more from Bubba!

Discussing lean…

Since I am working on 2 startups,, and the munchkin – I rarely read enough these days. I want to read. I instapaper a mountain of things, I have a stack of books, but generally by the time I have worked, spent time with the family and get through a weekend Financial Times – I am out of time.

However when I came across this, I have made the time to even read it a few times. There are so many angles and thoughts to cover in it. Not even sure where to start.

The one thread I am picking up on and sometimes would agree is the discussion about the Lean Startup movement and it’s impact on the world’s startups:

For an opportunist, it’s all about speed. Get the product out there as fast as possible to start gathering feedback and iterating, then iterate as fast as possible, pivot when you’re not seeing enough traction or when you have a better hypothesis, and give up when you don’t think it can work anymore, or when you run out of money.

If it doesn’t work out, opportunists are not going to double-down and throw good money (and time) after bad. They are honest enough with themselves to acknowledge check-mate. Or, as our Anonymous Founder put it, when they’ve “run out of moves”. There’s any number of things that may have gone wrong. Self-reflective opportunists learn from these mistakes. Either they misjudged the circumstances, or executed wrong, etc.

The Anonymous Founder is an Opportunist. I’m not even sure it was a conscious decision. He is the product of the culture of Silicon Valley, a culture that the Lean Startup Movement created.

The Lean Startup Movement has been the dominant school of thought in Silicon Valley for too long. I am an outspoken critic, because although it has given us a valuable tactical framework, it has removed from the conversation casus belli. For years now, Silicon Valley has talked of nothing but battles, and forgotten about war.

Now, we have an imbalance in the ecosystem. Visionaries are few and far between. There would be more, if founders followed their instincts, but they get drilled into the dogma of the Lean Startup. Which is fine, if you want to build a Lean Startup. But not if you want to build a big one.

The Lean Startup has taught us, wisely, not to be too attached to how we do things – to allow more room for qualitative feedback and data-driven experimentation in our development process. But it has also brought with it, unfortunately, a culture that discourages founders from becoming too attached to why we do things.

Starting a company is like going to war. You are declaring war on the status quo. War is costly and painful. Why would you do it?

Powerful thinking. It is not really that I am against the lean methods or the Lean Startup but sometimes I think it can become too formulaic and might lead people to lose a little of their passion. Not to say you should work your ass off on a dumb idea or one that bears no fruit but sometimes I think that based on your experiences, your team and your leaders that you might just have to stay focused to see something bear fruit. It might take time, it might be painful and it might not come with everyone patting your back but if you think it is the right thing to do, if your internal stats are showing some progress – then you might be on to something.

It still might take time. This means that all of your learnings might not be easily or quickly validated or disproved but being on the inside you should see some signs from your stats and customers that you are getting warmer or maybe you are getting colder. Sometimes you might have to make a gut call or a fly by the seat of your pants decision. This is how it works sometimes. This is what makes it fun and exciting.

For me it is like Lean Startup++ . Somewhat modified so that I take some of the best lean ideas, marry them with my experience and then combine them with the passion from the founders/investors to create something that I think is better but maybe not as easy to diagram.

Lots to think about. Lean or not. You have to just do it.

Meaningful Public Stats

You see the media all the time doing articles on Startup Stats as I call them and usually they mean nothing.

App downloads…


Page views…

So here is an example of a startup doing a meaningful stat. Registered users and MAU. Simple but effective.

Not every startup has to release stats in my opinion but if you are going to – make them meaningful.

Bold move on Buffer’s part.