Avoid this major obstacle to launching your product on time (or ever)

29th of June 2018 ~ tagged project management

 «On s'engage et puis… on voit» ~ Napoleon Bonaparte.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is one of those concepts which everyone says they think is a good idea at the beginning of the project, but when push comes to shove, they find it very easy to forget. And nothing could be more natural, you want your product, your precious idea, your baby, to be perfect before anyone gets to look at it and to judge it. 

City Super is doing everything it can to discourage customers from shopping online

28th of June 2018 ~ tagged e-commerce, site review

That a company with the brand-recognition, prestige, and (presumably) budget of Hong Kong's esteemed posh supermarket, City Super, should have opted to use DIY-online-store-building platform, Shopify for their e-commerce website, surprised me - I'll be honest.

I have nothing against Shopify. Awon Golding's beautiful millinery website uses Shopify. Plenty of perfectly nice-looking e-commerce websites use Shopify. But Shopify tends to be what you use when you're testing out a new product (or a new market). It allows you to get your products up for sale fairly rapidly, and with minimal set-up costs. In return for this you pay some punchy ongoing and transaction costs, and your wings are somewhat clipped in terms of the features your website can include.

Trello and the beauty of simplicity

26th of June 2018 ~ tagged project management

Trello has changed the way I work.

Inspiring in its simplicity, it is extremely powerful when you get to know it. Its list-based interface lends itself cleanly to multi-stage processes such as sales lead tracking and bug management. Drop incoming sales leads in at one end, and then shunt them into successive lists as things progress, the lists I use on my Sales board are as follows:

  • Active conversations

  • Proposal sent

  • Deposit paid

  • etc. 

The board gives me at-a-glance a summary of that whole potentially-complicated area of the business. So perfect for the job that it could have been created to be a sales lead tracker – but it wasn't.

Is social media about to destroy Civilisation?

25th of June 2018 ~ tagged social media, books, productivity

I had definitely heard of Jaron Lanier, and I knew he was an Interesting Person (turns out he more or less invented Virtual Reality and was part of the team which scaled the early Internet. Heavy stuff). From occasional glimpses on YouTube I'd had him pegged as something like the comic book guy character from the Simpsons (or perhaps as a brainy Ignatius J Reilly – I mean this nicely, of course). Clearly very clever, faintly rambling, right-on, with a TED talk (or two) under his belt.

When I saw a reference to his new book, Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, I downloaded it with interest. The reference was in a book about productivity (Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport) so I was expecting his ten arguments to be related to the (very real) fact that constant checking of social media trashes your attention span and ruins your ability to read whole paragraphs – as a grumpy forty-year-old this stuff is now very much my turf.

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