A Time & Place For All Things – Why Mobile Web Apps Can Be Better

Hybrid apps, web apps,native apps, mobile web apps and mobile-optimized websites, talk about a mouth full! In our modern and technological society online applications otherwise known as Apps are multiplying at an astounding rate, and it’s no wonder so many people are struggling to keep up or even make sense of what everything is.

Where once our greatest achievement was the internet and launching a website, now there is literally an app for almost anything from ordering food, delivering goods, checking the weather even step counting. Like walking into an exotic bazaar it’s easy to get lost in the sights and sounds and lose sight of quality over quantity.

So what is the correct time and place for an App? And more importantly how do our popular mobile apps rate against older giants like websites?

To clean up the mess that surrounds the various types of apps, you should make an effort to better understand the key differences between them.

mobile web apps

Time Old Websites VS Progressive Web Apps

Ever heard that saying “Back in my day…” If things are judged according to their lifespan then websites will win hands down. In truth it’s a human’s nature to cling to the familiar and name it indispensable. Because of this there are many that still swear by websites and refuse to budge on the matter, as they say ‘if it ain’t broke, dont fix it’. However as the times are changing and the young take over web apps have become a steady trickle mixing with the tides of trend, it has become common to see a website as an internet resource that passively gives you information, not really interactive but informative nonetheless.

This is where web apps show their greatest differences and possibly their greatest strength. Suddenly you not only have a resource for information but the jovial experience of interacting with that resource while you learn. User engagement has become the wind propelling our industries forward. Quizzes, questionnaire, puzzles, online chat forums. Suddenly the web is no longer something you can only look at and store things on, you’re becoming a functioning part of it!

Localised Native Apps

Mobile web applications are an interactive feature-rich and responsive website that exists in your mobile device browser, and can be easily found via a search engine which doesn’t have to be installed on the device you want to use. Its efficient, convenient and a great example of it would be News 24.

This differs to a native mobile app which is a piece of software written specifically for a target mobile OS in the OS-compatible languages and installed on the storage of a mobile device. For example WhatsApp.

Mobile Websites VS More Modern Mobile Web Apps

So just to get one thing straight, just because they have gone and put “mobile” in front of the word website, doesn’t actually mean that the original concept of websites has changed. They are still the before mentioned resource that passively gives you information. In Fact the only difference between a “normal” website and a “mobile” one is that you may no longer be confined to your desk and desktop by extension, now you can find and use that website on your phone’s built in browser.

This differs from Mobile Web Apps in the sense that it is a client–server computer program which the client runs in a web browser.

Hybrid Applications

As a simple definition check will tell you the term hybrid is used to describe a thing made by combining two different elements. Similar to a web app, this type exists within a browser but doesn’t have a complete and free access to the device its being used on. The perfect time in choosing to develop a mobile hybrid app instead of a mobile web app would be if you want to drive more engagement by asking users to install it on their devices, enable offline-use and have a possibility of sending push-notification. Great examples of hybrid apps would be Instagram or Snapchat.

Progressive HTML5 Web Apps

As one of the world’s leading programming languages, it’s only natural that it would lead to web app development. Being coined with terms like web app revolution these types of apps enhance functionality and bring out existing advantages of other regular mobile web applications.

For example, while still being discoverable via a web search, progressive web apps can also be installed on a mobile device. The technical capabilities of HTML5 apps are fast surpassing those of hybrid apps now and are approaching native app functionality. It has now reached the point where any HTML5 app is capable of push notifications, offline work, read all data input types and access functions on a device like the earphone, voice record and camera options.

Implementing Web Apps In The Name Of Success

Web applications have come a long way since they were first created, they have become the leading forum of interaction and outreach, changing the way things are done and helping create a more convenient world. There are many reasons why one should invest in app development and make it a part of our daily tools. Our future is not only bright but exciting as well! Who knows where we will be in years to come, perhaps a tech savvy populous evolving on the applied advancements of our current minds and capabilities of the future ones.

Web Scraping Services: What's So Great About 'Em?

Somewhat of a clean up and gathering crew, web scraping is a term used for gathering information off of websites on the Internet. These services are geared towards clients with specific goals in mind, namely information extraction, gathering statistics, or comparing facts.

Like harvesting the honey from a honeycomb, these services are becoming more and more attractive to businesses around the world, especially those in major admin roles.

So when there’s tons of data on your forum, who you gonna call? Web Scrapers! (Perhaps not the most elegant way to insert the Ghost Busters theme song, but we do try…)

web scraping services

Why People Use Web Scraping Services

There are many reasons why people use web scraping services on a regular basis, proficiency has always been the aim of the game in the working world. Over time society has become adept at finding ways to streamline even the most common practices including information gathering.

Some of the most common uses for web scraping services include:

Research Purposes

In many ways research is the syrup that makes any topic worth consuming, it is essential to get relevant, accurate research on which to base your writing upon. By using web scraping services you are able to achieve this relatively easily. Instead of combing the web for facts and information yourself, you could try using web crawling software instead.

Marketing Purposes

The analysis and management of working relationships. Marketing is a business process of creating relationships with and providing to customers. Because its main focus is on the customer, it is a fundamental aspect of business management. By using web scraping services for this purpose one is able to scrape pricing and other information on products from eCommerce websites, thereby providing the best content for any business approach or package.

Stock Or Cryptocurrency Rates

Cryptocurrency has become a major means of security in the vast wide web, and when working with replicated, shared, and synchronized digital data geographically spread across multiple sites, countries, or institutions you need to be able to navigate between them quickly. In this sense web scraping is an advantageous tool.

Transferring Data From The Old To The New

As technology improves and businesses grow, it is becoming more common for companies to create bigger and better websites to facilitate their gleaming new empires. In this scenario there is always mass data that needs to be collected and moved over to the new platform. With web scraping tools one can identify specific data and move over information seamlessly while keeping all relevant details together.

Tools Of The Trade

Now when one thinks of scraping, you tend to picture taking icing off of a cake or evenly spreading concrete when building, and just like these instances web scraping also uses specific tools designed to make your job easier. Called web crawlers these seek and find software programs are like little spiders that travel the web like well a web and help do the work for you.

Web crawling tools can be broken up into two groups namely custom web crawlers and web scraping software.

Custom Web Crawlers

Typically built by programmers in a variety of languages, including JavaScript and Python. Custom made web scrapers or crawlers can be tailor designed to meet any specific needs, also when the creation of a custom web scraper is outsourced to programming professionals you are  able to save time.

There are one or two downsides to these custom makes though, they can be difficult to maintain if you do not have any programming knowledge, and an entirely new scraper will have to be created for each website.

Web Scraping Software

There are many different programs available today that allow the user to scrape the web for information without any needed programming knowledge. These programs are pre-written according to specific website types and capabilities and so it simply comes down to which one suits your needs best. These programs include: Portia and Diffbot.

The downside to using this option is that some software can struggle with more complex websites, and in some cases there is some programming details one will need to learn in order to use the more complex versions or functions.

Reasons Behind Web Scraping Popularity

The global demand for Web Scraping is high and is increasing with each financial year. A web search shows that there are currently over 833 web scraping jobs available on the net, this is understandable as the 21st century has been labeled the time of technology and intelligence.

The main benefits behind this process are speed, accuracy and data monitoring. Because time is money and everything needs to be fast web scraping does give one that added advantage in keeping in step with father time.

  • A scraper can scrape as much data in a day, as a man could have in a year

  • If you are using a good web scraping service, you can count on accuracy levels, that even your best employee can’t guarantee.

  • Bad reviews or a bad incident can close a company, because of this you need to keep an eye on what is happening regarding the name of your business. By using web scraping software, you can scrape media sites to check if your company got featured in any stories, positive or negative. Maintain a good public perception and possibly predict a future path for your company by comparing stats.

Reaping The Rewards Of Successful Web Scraping

Whether you’re setting up a new business or growing an existing one, accurate data storage and insight is a necessity when walking the road to success. Be it information about your latest competition, statistics on company growth or pitfalls, stock exchange or industry potentials the fact is that these are all things that make up the working body of business and chances are your corporation is already doing it in one way or another.

So just because you felt that great sense of achievement upon completing your latest project having manually found all the interesting facts and showcasing them yourself, doesn’t mean you wouldn’t have achieved the same level of work with a little assistance.  Web scraping software works for you, in fact one can go as far as saying it will even improve how things are done in your daily grind. More time means more freedom to concentrate on the other aspects of your business.

As they say, work smarter not harder and let those little crawlers do the leg work for you.

Web Apps Are Only Getting Better, So Make The Most Of It

The web wasn’t always the massive, interactive sprawl it is today.

When it was first created, it was basically just a collection of hyperlinked documents and the beginnings of its interactivity started in the early 2000s with the hype of “Web 2.0”. From the early IRC chat boards and plain HTML pages, the Internet evolved to its current form, in which users can shop, email, work and collaborate, all through the use of web apps such as Gmail, Twitter, Google Docs, Slack and Trello.

Some of these apps allowed collaboration or traditional desktop apps to move online, while others such a Slack and Twitter’s embeds, retained the nature of a hyperlinked document.

Despite the interactivity they’ve added to the web, the golden rule of web apps is that the native version is probably better.

Currently, native apps – the apps that are specifically designed for platforms such as Windows, iOS or Android – have many advantages over web apps, because no matter how many JavaScript is piled onto an HTML document, there is no way it could ever match the quality and performance of a native app. Though building web apps is quicker, and distributing them is simpler, those advantages mean very little in the face of the advantages native apps offer.

However, the web is a constantly evolving thing, and certain upcoming web technologies could give native apps a run for their money.

iPhone X beside MacBook

Progressive Web Apps

Essentially, a progressive web app is a website with a ‘manifest’ file which dictates the app icon, name of the app and whether it should show the browser UI or take over the full screen, which basically allows users to add the website to their home screen or start menu and launch it like a regular app. Instead of loading from a website though, PWAs are typically cached on the device to provide some form of offline functionality – from saving the CSS and Javascript to allow the website to load faster, to saving everything a user does locally, just like a traditional app.

 PWAs also support push notifications and other background work thanks to ‘service workers’ which sync local changes to remote servers and cache new content – meaning the app is as up-to-date as a web app, but as responsive as a native one.

The best example of a progressive web app right now is the Twitter Lite client which is minimal, fast and comes with a toggle to minimize data usage.

Though Microsoft’s February announcement of Windows’ support for progressive web apps made a big splash, iOS added PWA support in Safari 11.3, meaning they can be created and shipped to Chrome OS, Windows, Android and iOs.

The caveat at the moment is that Google and Apple seem to have different visions for how much a progressive web app should be capable off, and Apple’s support standards are scattered and incomplete.

WebAssembly

As computers have become faster and JavaScript performance has been optimized, the scope of work you can do on the internet has expanded from emails and writing text documents to creating music and intense graphic design.

However, an app written in Java or Swift for Android or iOS, or written in C or C++ will be much faster and more responsive than anything written in JavaScript. The speed of an app’s underlying code defines not only how responsive an app feels, but also limits what the app is capable of. Even something as simple as a Snapchat filter utilizes massive amounts of CPU and GPU power, and JavaScript just can’t compete.

WebAssembly, a binary format for the web, is beginning to change that. Being a binary format, it isn’t translated to CPU understandable machine code “Just In Time” like JavaScript is. Pre-compiled before being shipped over the web and full compiled by the browser once downloaded, parsing WebAssembly code isn’t as much of a burden on the browser, allowing it to run at near native speeds and almost as consistently.

Designed to work intraoperatively with JavaScript, web apps can have the majority of their logic written in JavaScript with only the speed sensitive parts such as the image processing algorithms running in WebAssembly.

One of the benefits of WebAssembly is not having to learn an entirely new programming language, as high performance code written in C and C++ can be compiled to WebAssembly, with even Unreal Engine and Unity having been ported to WebAssembly.

While many web technology proposals can sometimes get stuck in standards committees for years, or only enjoy spotty support, WebAssembly is already supported and shipped by all major browsers apart from Internet Explorer, and who uses that anyway?

Houdini

Though not many people say that native apps look better than websites, it is a fact that they do look different, and even if PWAs performed just as well as native apps, they would still look and feel like a website because web apps are limited by their CSS and HTML.

One of the web technologies that has, unfortunately been stuck in standards committees for years, Houdini is a set of features that would allow developers to talk directly to a browser’s CSS rendering engine. Rather than creating a set of style rules and letting the browser handle it, Houdini would allow developers to create custom styles, animations and layouts.

To understand just how powerful this might be, look at Google’s Flutter app development framework. Flutter simulates the feel of native apps with pixel-perfect accuracy, though it’s not for websites, it’s for making Android, iOS and Fuchsia apps. Fuschia uses the Skia graphics library, the same engine that powers Chrome’s browser rendering to do that styling and animation.

When creating a website, the content is defined an HTML and the style in CSS, but rendering engines such as Skia paint the pixels – meaning you can tell the browser to create a blue circle, but it’s up to Skia to decide how.

Houdini allows you to talk to these rendering engines, but instead of writing custom Skia code and shipping it as a native app, the CSS and Javascript can be written to talk to each browser’s rendering engine.

Houdini’s code will coexist with traditional CSS, providing another option should you need something to look a specific way.

Unfortunately, most of Houdini’s specs are still in the air and only Chrome allows you to test many of the ideas, but if web apps are ever to mimic the feel of native apps, Houdini is probably how.

To recap:

  • Progressive Web Apps offer home screen icons, push notifications and offline support

  • WebAssembly provides native or near-native performance

  • Houdini will provide the fancy style

What About Native APIs?

Native apps will always have a place, and native apps can take advantage of platform-specific advantages from Google’s Visual Core chip, Apple’s ARKit, native graphics APIs and all the other features which keep operating systems competitive.

However, for apps that value convenience and ubiquity, web apps are set to grow in both number and importance., though it’s difficult to predict which next-gen web apps are set to make the biggest impact.

While Twitter Lite is a prime example of Progressive Web Apps, lightweight WebAssembly-built games might soon be everywhere.

15 free online tools for marketing and sales professionals

Our 15 top recommendations for anyone within sales and marketing to improve their productivity and improve customer acquisition. 

1. aytm.com   Conduct Primary Surveys with a panel of 25m people
 2. profound.com  Purchase research by chapters from 200 research publishers
 3. companycheck.co.uk   Check who is the director and address of a UK company
 4. spyfu.com     Find competitor’s SEO / PPC strategy
 5. semrush.com   Keyword analysis of competitors website using Google Adwords
 6. www.domaintools.com  See who owns the website
 7. BuiltWith.com     What technical tools the website is built using
 8. rapportive.com    Verify emails right into your gmail
 9. voilanorbert.com    Find anyone’s email addresses
 10. freeconferencecall.com   Free global conference call facility
 11. answeramerica.com   Inexpensive phone answering service
 12. ninjaoutreach.com    Find influencers in your industry
 13. onalytica.com     Find influencers for the article you have written
 14. numbeo.com     Compare eco-social conditions between 2 cities
 15. copyscape.com    Review where is the content copied from

PACER, Inbound meets Outbound. How to rapidly grow your business l

Step-by-step guidance on how to go from Zero to first 50 customers in any business, existing or brand new. Whether you’re looking to start a new arm of your business or start it from scratch, we’ll shed some light on how you can set yourself up for success. All of our techniques are based on what we have used to grow Goodman Lantern from $0, with no investment raised, to where we are today. We bootstrapped it all the way, and so can you!

The name of the game is being tactful. It’s not about inbound or outbound marketing; it’s about standing out and building trust. You can’t build trust with customers if you haven’t made contact with them yet. If you’re merely relying on blogging, Facebook, or Twitter to pull in the punters, we have some bad news for you: outbound tools, like email, see an average click-through rate of 3.57%, compared to 0.07% for Facebook and 0.03% for Twitter.

If you’ve previously heard that inbound was the only way forward, it’s worth looking at this:

  1. In an interview with Jeb Blount, author of Fanatical Prospecting, he mentions that he “was sold Hubspot on an (outbound) cold call ” (scroll to 42.30). The term “inbound marketing” was coined by HubSpot, yet even they engage in outbound marketing.
  2. Tony J. Hughes, in his blog post, talks about a company which went “full bottle” social selling. They removed phones from the sales floor and tanked their top and mid-funnel.

Why Isn’t Inbound Marketing Good Enough? 

Before we identify why inbound marketing isn’t sufficient on it’s own, it’s worth exploring why people don’t have success with it as an alone-standing approach. It’s worth noting that inbound works very closely with content marketing. The top reason why companies are likely to give up on content marketing, says Roman Kniahynyckyj, is due to the length of time it takes for the benefits to kick in, driven by these factors:

  1. Google indexing: The bottom line is that you need Google to index your website fully. Unless you are an internet phenomenon, based one experience, you are looking at a minimum of  3-6 months.
  2. Time to learn: Writing content takes time and you probably won’t get it right the first time, so you need to maintain a trial-and-error approach.
  3. Building content: Once you have mastered the art of content creation, you need to build enough volume so it starts to snowball and you begin to receive leads.

Inbound is good but it’s slow, outbound is quick but it’s pushy. What we are proposing is to take the best of both inbound and outbound, making the latter a dialogue. The key is to make outbound part of the 6-8 touches required to convert prospects into customers.

Our focus with this campaign is to rely majorly on email. Why email? 

  1. Email marketing alone drives as much revenue as all other digital channels combined, according to a survey of US marketing execs.
  2. Email is 40x more effective for customer acquisition than Facebook and Twitter combined.
  3. Marketers generate 174% more conversions with email than social media.

The Inspiration

Where did the idea come from?

I will be the first to admit that the idea is inspired; it came from an email which I received in 2016 from Laura Hannan. It was probably the most well-crafted email I have ever read and I had no option but to respond asking for more information.

Subject: Goodman Lantern’s Role in the Future Smart Home

Hi Raj,

I’d be interested to understand if you have a view on where Goodman Lantern might sit in the future smart home.

The smart home future marketplace is not properly defined yet, so JM of EC (Wiki page) has created an ecosystem of organisations who want to lead or participate in this exciting field.

Members include utilities, telcos, insurance, property, manufacturers, digital enablers and start ups.

They share insight, ideas, and by utilising each others strengths, technology and consumer bases, they co-create and test applications for the future smart home.

Can we please set up a call to discuss?

Laura

This email was doing the following:

  1. Selling me an opportunity to be part of an elite group in exchange for a phone call, without spelling this out.
  2. Qualifying me to see if I’m in the space of smart homes.
  3. Testing if I’d be interested in transacting with other members.
  4. Finally, it’s up to me if I’d be interested in a phone call.

This is a push form of marketing where I have to request or ‘pull’ information. Now, here is the backdrop to this information: the person referred to as JH is someone who I know, as she has been on various business websites / social media sites, really getting her inbound marketing right.  As a result, this combination of inbound and outbound marketing worked. Had there been no email, I would have never signed up. I would have never reacted to this via a Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook ad etc, as I wasn’t searching for it.

So how did Laura find me and get in touch? What is the process?

Here is a step-by-step guide on how this can be achieved over a 3-month period:

1. Develop tool or content

2. Develop list of emails

3. Send out emails

4. Monitor results / compare with the industry

5. Repeat

PACER

We call this technique the PACER (Promote > Collect > Email > Analyse > Repeat)

PACER.png

Promote

According to Eric Worre, Go Pro: 7 Steps to Becoming a Network Marketing Professional, you need to give away something in order to invite people to your network. To start your promotion, you need to give knowledge, webinars, software tools, and other freebies to get your target market interested in what you’re offering. Some call it Inbound marketing, others Karma, but the fact of the matter is that genuine promotion is about giving, not taking.

Collect

Once you have done your promoting, you need to find a way to collect the email addresses of your target market and proactively email them. This is very much an outbound tactic, and yes, you will approach them cold. If you have done your promotion right, they would already have heard of you.

There are various tools in the market that enable you to collect email addresses. Alternatively, you can use data marketing agencies to buy lists. In a bid for shameless promotion, we also offer a free tool to help you generate a B2B list of leads including phone numbers and email addresses.

Email

Once you have collected the email addresses, you need to carefully draft an email and send it out using a mail merge tool. Be warned: please don’t send out newsletter or HTML emails, the default option on Mailchimp.

This section has three parts:

1. Drafting emails which generate high conversions

2. Sending out the emails

3. Developing effective landing pages

Analyse

This is probably the most import aspect of the campaign. You need to make sure your campaign actually reaches the goals you’ve set and that you get responses. The best outcome of the campaign is that you receive several positive responses, mostly in the form of signups or a direct response to the email.

This email campaign will generate a much higher response rate than the industry email marketing statistics. Our previous campaigns on average have the following responses:

Open rates should be 45-60%
Average open rate is 9.2-20%

Click through rate of 4-11% and
Average CTR is between 1.25-5.13%

Conversion rate of 2-5%

Repeat

Now repeat the process with new data and keep doing this recursively till you find a target market.

Let us know in the comments if this worked for you. We are always keen to hear success stories

The Piggy Back Hack📱: 4 Guaranteed User Acquisition Techniques for Apps

How did Snapchat, YouTube, Airbnb, Instagram and WhatsApp ‘piggy-backed’ acquisition of new customers?

These days, it seems like some tech companies go from zero to a million users overnight. The growth of these firms like Snapchat and YouTube can seem magical… but it’s not. 
Did you know a small tweak within the platform can make all the difference between being a million or a billion $ company? 

This the ‘piggy-back’ growth hack to gain users, We call this the ‘piggy-back’ hack, as these platforms rode on someone’s shoulders to grow their user base.

4. YouTube’s Embed Code Hack
Back in 2005 – 2006 YouTube chose to focus on MySpace as a means of reaching its target audience. At the time, in 2005, with nearly 25 million unique users, MySpace was the top social network, particularly for bands and their fans, but sharing videos on the site was next to impossible.

Other video sites like YouTube had avoided allowing blogs and other sites to embed videos on their sites. To avoid paying substantial hosting costs associated with supporting traffic to other people’s sites. Instead, YouTube shouldered the cost in exchange for a huge boost in brand recognition and grew average users to nearly 20 million visitors per month. That initial traction helped it grow into the powerhouse it is today, with over a billion users. 

3. Instagram’s Cross-Posting to multi-platform
Launched in October 2010 it quickly became a fast, beautiful and fun way to share life with friends and family through a series of pictures, beautified using filters. Instagram took the platform hack to another level. They made it quick and easy for users to cross-post to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, and more by push of a button. 

This was undeniably good for users, who struggled to post mobile photos to Facebook in those early days, but it was also good for Instagram, whose distinct-looking photos started popping up across various social platforms, serving as a free advertisement for the app.

2. Airbnb’s Craigslist Cross-Posting
Yet another example of a platform hack is a simple yet brilliant tool within Airbnb, which allowed users listing their properties on the app to cross-post them to Craigslist in one click. They asked the user to post their home that they wanted to rent out by filling a pre-filled form. It made it simple for the user to cross post their listing to Craigslist. (Image: https://www.quora.com/How-did-Airbnb-avoid-liability-when-they-implemented-their-growth-hack-with-craigslist-1)

Taking advantage of Craigslist’s well-established user base not only allowed Airbnb to get its name in front of as many new users as possible, but it also helped to ensure that the properties they listed for rent were booked more often—making listing with them more lucrative for users.

1. Snapchat’s Snapcode
Snapchat launched Snapcodes in early 2015 after they purchased a QR code company called Scan.me. While brands and marketers attempted to make QR codes hip for years, it was Snapchat who ultimately turned them into influencer currency. Snapchatters could then easily add friends by taking a snap of their profile picture. 

Also, By changing a Twitter profile picture to a Snaptag, users were able to encourage their Twitter following to add them on the new instant messaging platform.

Periscoping – Live Action Streaming is Here to Stay

Periscope is taking the live events sphere by storm. The app was launched earlier in 2015,and since then “Periscoping” has become one of the biggest event trends of this year. While live video certainly may not be a new concept, there’s something about Periscope (and its competitor, Meerkat) that has the world of social media spinning just that little bit faster.
It’s all about accessibility – knowing what’s happening right then and there. Periscoping goes hand-in-hand with the transparency that modern consumers hanker after so much. There’s a rawness to it that people seem to crave. It’s the unedited rawness of live streaming video with none of the touch-ups or filters that the media world has come to rely on so much over the last few decades. This is what globally conscious consumers are moving towards; they want to connect over the truth.

Online Video is a Long-Term Phenomenon                            Online video content is popular and according to Articulate it is here to stay:

  • By 2018, video content is expected to account for 79% of all consumer internet traffic
  • In emails, the word ‘video’ boosts click-through rates by 65
  • YouTube is the now officially the second largest search engine in the world
  • Video is shared more than all other types of content

No More FOMO

The “fear of missing out” is one of the things that drives modern consumers more than they would like to admit. We do, however, live in a world where trends matter. People want to be a part of something bigger, something better – and when they can’t have that they will settle for being a part of the live action in some way. It’s all about interconnectivity. People are fuelled by the desire to connect with other human beings over shared interests and experiences. That is what event organisers need to hone in on.

Not only do app users have the ability to view these events live, but they can also provide feedback in real time. This makes the experience all the more real. People want to have their opinions heard. It’s that simple.

A Peek Behind the Curtain

Periscoping offers users the chance to get a behind the scenes view of events. Smart marketing is all about showing viewers something unexpected; something that makes them feel like a part of the bigger picture. Brand transparency is going to keep growing as one of the most important factors in a consumer’s decision-making process, so it’s really about time that event organizers get with the program.

Why hourly (Agile) consulting projects deliver better results

As a business and digital consultant for more than a decade. I have often had long debates with customers if they should pay by the hour (days) or a fixed price, which is agreed upfront. Having a software background, in our world, we would call it Agile i.e. focus on the end objective but not how we get there. This also comes bundled with adaptive planning and short cycles of planning/implementing. The other method is Waterfall , generally  pre-planned and has series of steps all agreed in advance.

Most customers prefer Waterfall

There is no doubt that customers love ‘no’ surprises. Its widely believed by customers that a supplier has a magic wand to come up with precise pricing. In reality though, no two projects are the same. Even if two projects have exactly the same specification, the founders are different and hence they have different expectations and experiences. Hence the project will inevitably be different. No company, can precisely predict the time and cost involved, its therefore known as an estimate.

How does a supplier counter the unknown?

The supplier generally knows that its rather tricky to come up with accurate time estimates, hence they add a contingency or buffer. Its not abnormal for this to be 25-50%. In fact , a good supplier should have a large buffer to give the customer what they need. In my previous business, I used to add 40%, making us expensive but water-tight.

Biggest challenge

Almost any good project has a changing finish line or scope. Most supplier deliver projects in stages or by milestones. As the customer sees the progress, new thoughts kindle and Project definition changes. Projects worth $100,000 become $250,000 by the time the idea turns to reality. In fact, organisations like IBM make a significant amount of money on project change management.

How should a client protect their interest?

Keeping all these factors and potential cost of change management, how should the client plan their project? In my opinion, the ideal way to work with consultants is to:

1. Divide all the tasks into large headings, ideally produced by the supplier. Obviously, only after you have given them a proper brief or detailed explanation over the phone.

2. Now let them tell you in a document as to what they have understood. In addition providing milestones and phases for the project.

3. Award them the project and track the hours they are working.

4. Monitor them and their work, daily or every couple of days. Make sure they deliver what you had in your mind.

5. If they get it, results will be fairly evident. For smaller projects the results are out in the open within 7-14 days. If they don’t get it, explain, correct and try again. If they still don’t get it, fire them and find someone else!

That’s how one finds a good supplier and gets work done on tight budgets

Learnings from successful 'technology' Kickstarter projects

Kickstarter is now used by various sectors to raise funding, technology is no exception. In the PDF below find the specifics of the leading companies who raised several times over the amount they were set to raise. For instance First Domestic Robot That Tracks Intruders! raised 24,952% over the amount it was meant to raise to make it’s project a reality. Here is an analysis of what’s common between the various successful companies:

To Raise Over $10k
Pre-requisite: You should be building something truly revolutionary. Like a 3D printing pen, smart-home
⁃ Making life truly easy for everyday tech i.e. home devices, keyboards, flashlights and more
⁃ Empowering everyday people to do amazing stuff at low prices. Eg: 3D printing, coding for real devices (for kids),
⁃ Become healthy with quantifiable results. Eg: vest burns up to a pound of fat per week (500 calories/day
⁃ Available for most devices. It was observed that most oversubscribed projects were universal i.e. they worked on most devices. Even if they were only for mobile devices they supported iOS and Android.

To Raise under $10k
Pre-requisite: The item is in-expensive to buy for the end user
⁃ Applicable to a large audience irrespective of gender, profession and age. Example: Yoga classes, home safe of intruders and 3D laser scanner
⁃ Fun to have or use, could be a potential hobby. Example: guitar hero for real instruments, 3D scanners for

Other observations:
⁃ All the companies that raised money via Kickstarter in the technology section had great descriptions. They were able to define their product in under 10 words. Example: The World’s First 3D Printing Pen, Calorie Burning Vest, Cool-Ink 3D Pen,
⁃ Had a wow-factor in it’s description. Example: Designed by a NASA scientist, The world’s first and best 3D printing pen and Winner of the 2015 CES Best of Innovation

Analysis based on companies:  

Why APAC is ESSENTIAL for any mobile Startup in 2015?

It’s common knowledge that Asia Pacific, often referred to as APAC is growing fast. China overtook USA as the biggest economy, just a few weeks back. Although there is more to it, the population of China and India put together equates to more than third of the world’s population.  This with the increasing buying power implies more consumer goods. There is no better example of consumer behaviour than mobile phones in the twenty-first century. The mobile phone penetration is growing and so is the data consumption, in APAC mobile data grew by 12x between 2013 and 2019.
APAC market today and tomorrow

It’s clear from the above graph that Asia Pacific is and will remain the biggest market for mobile subscription in the world. Bigger than the rest put together. Hence any startup looking to target mobile should look at APAC. This applies to software, apps and also products which can be sold online.

Asia and e-commerce

Today Most customers in China (74%) and India (62%) compare prices via smartphones compared to 43% globally. 37% of Asia-Pacific respondents likely to purchase goods and services through mobile devices. Both statistics show how much are customers reliant on mobile to make purchases even within stores.
Tomorrow By 2016, 40% of worldwide B2C online sales i.e. $856bn will come from Asia-Pacific.