Corporate Warrior Steve Yegge: Presenting to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos

You should fight for what is right and challenge bad ideas. Propose to test ‘hive-mind’ assumptions and support your logic with detailed data. Live on the edge and be ready to get fired every day. Here is another Google Plus post full of wisdom from a Google employee that went viral with thousands of readers:

Amazon War Story #1: Jeff Bezos

Over the years I watched people give presentations to Jeff Bezos and come back bruised: emotionally, intellectually, often career-ily. If you came back with a nod or a signoff, you were jumping for joy. Presenting to Jeff is a gauntlet that tends to send people back to the cave to lick their wounds and stay out of the sunlight for a while.

I say “presentations” and you probably think PowerPoint, but no: he outlawed PowerPoint there many years ago. It’s not allowed on the campus. If you present to Jeff, you write it as prose.

One day it came time for me to present to Jeff. It felt like… I don’t know, maybe how they swarm around you when you’re going to meet the President. People giving you last-minute advice, wishing you luck, ushering you past regiments of admins and security guards. It’s like you’re in a movie. A gladiator movie. (more…)

Steve Job’s Icon Ambulance

Vic Gundotra was lucky to work with Steve Jobs, and he shared an experience with Steve that highlighted an attention to detail:

Icon Ambulance

One Sunday morning, January 6th, 2008 I was attending religious services when my cell phone vibrated. As discreetly as possible, I checked the phone and noticed that my phone said “Caller ID unknown”. I choose to ignore.

After services, as I was walking to my car with my family, I checked my cell phone messages. The message left was from Steve Jobs. “Vic, can you call me at home? I have something urgent to discuss” it said. (more…)

A Start Up Philosophy – An Inspiring Leaving Message from a Facebook VP

I love and believe every word of this inspiring goodbye note by Chamath Palihapitiya as he left Facebook:

i leave with incredible hope for how you will continue to make this place awesome. every tuesday, i talk to the n00bs. and i generally tell them the following, which i leave for you as a reminder:

its easy to get distracted. everyone thinks we are much better than we actually are. be humble and honest about the fact that more is left to do than has already been done. keep moving quickly and don’t get bogged down in the things that don’t matter.

we risk becoming like everyone else. the only chance we have is the discipline and resolve of the silent majority who needs to and MUST become more vocal as the company gets bigger. fight for the culture the way it should be…not the way it was or the way its becoming. (more…)

‘Growth Hacker is the new VP Marketing’ via Andrew Chen

Traditional mass marketing is dying. There is a new breed of badass marketers coming up in the world; these guys are a mix between marketing and engineering. Conventional marketing campaigns take time to yield results, while engineering an experience built for growth or engagement is newer, faster and the future of marketing. Growth hackers manage to leverage ‘superplatforms’ and acquire millions of users within an extraordinarily short time.

These guys understand and see past technical capabilities and limitations. For them there are no dead ends, but exciting opportunities to get their hands dirty to start making, coding, hacking and delivering. When these guys integrate user experience, analytics and a viral marketing mechanism within the use of the product itself they expose their product to millions of users. Andrew Chen’s article supports this growth hacking revolution by an impressive case study of Airbnb and a Craigslist hack integration.

The Craigslist integration for Airbnb is geniusly integrated into the user flow, a simple bridge between the old and new way of finding a place to stay. Integrating a bridge between the old (your potential users) and your new service within a user’s flow, creates a viral engine of growth that operates every time your service is used.

How do you become a growth hacker? Read Andrew Chan’s follow up post here.

Exposing your service to these superplatforms is the key to quickly increasing your reach. But how did these superplatforms grow themselves? Contact importing was a key contributor. The most successful and fastest growing social networks in the world leveraged the superplatforms of their era – email contact lists.

A main acquisition priority is getting existing users to send invitations and referrals by enabling them to import their contacts then collecting, analyzing and tweaking each stage/action of the invited user until they sign up. A member of the Facebook growth team, Andy Johns, provided some valuable insight to the strategies they used over on Quora: Facebook Growth & Traction: What are some decisions taken by the “Growth team” at Facebook that helped Facebook reach 500 million users?. Another interesting answer by Andy summarizes the core expertise behind the growth team’s approach to the challenge, 1 billion or more active monthly users.

Finally a useful list of some great strategies recommended by Andy Johns for conversion optimization, also on Quora. Grow much and prosper. ;p

Viral Marketing: Integrating NFC tech with Social Media

I believe in a bright future of integration of NFC technology with social media marketing by bridging the gap between the offline and online world. First give your flock incentives to allow social privileges to an NFC device. Next, have them tap this NFC device to gain access to events, products, services, features or functions instead of using tickets, vouchers, coupons and IDs. Every time they tap for access, the system will write to their social circles, and if you get creative by adding a live photo booth, video or other catchy creative/feature – their network will start interacting with that media. It’ll definitely add to the feed chaos, but your presence will spread virally, and unfortunately, that’s what matters at the moment. Check out the examples and links below.

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A Cartoon Introduction to Mental Model Diagrams

One of the most important aspects of UX and product management is to be aware of and keep up with your users’ mental models. I found this interesting cartoon introduction to  Mental Model Diagrams on Smashing Magazine.

Mental Model Diagrams by Indi Young & Brad Colbow via Smashing Magazine

Mental Model Diagrams by Indi Young & Brad Colbow via Smashing Magazine

Apple’s Advertising Style Copied

French Fry a la Apple Ad Style via Gizmodo

French Fry a la Apple Ad Style via Gizmodo

This hilarious post on Gizmodo showcases the dangers of copying, and how minimalist Apple’s ads really are. It brings Pablo Picasso’s quote on copying to mind, “Good artists copy, great artists steal”. If you don’t understand the inspiration behind the development of the concept, then you won’t be able to incorporate a fresh perspective that portrays the original essence along with its newly adapted meaning. Check out the rest of the ads (more…)

The Wallpaper Connoisseur Presents The Legendary Collection for Free

Long Drive

Long Drive

Having a great computer wallpaper is like having a home or office with a great view. It gives your mind a break, provides some motivation and inspiration, reminds you of the principles that drive you to kick ass and is great for small talk and breaking the ice in meetings. I’m a connoisseur of fine wallpaper, I’ve spent endless hours seeking the right artistic balance between colors, contrast, noise and meaning. Read more to check out the collection and links to the resources. (more…)

Portraits Made Using People as Pixels

Marilyn Monroe by Craig Allen

Can you imagine the logistics and imagination needed to pull off the portrait above? There are plenty more created by Craig Alan, an artist we should all aspire to.

Proof Good UX Sells the Most Useless Products

How much would you pay for something completely useless? I’d pay nothing. Yet, the dudes over at thinkgeek.com have offered ‘The Useless Box’ that does nothing for $40. They even market it as useless, “Turn it on, so it can turn itself off… silliest electronics kits ever.” I went to buy one as soon as it showed up on my screen and it was already sold out. I live in Dubai, so it would cost me twice as much to have it shipped here, yet I’m heartbroken. Turns out there are 117 Facebook comments on the page, with similar reactions to mine, I’m not the only idiot out there drawn to an awesome yet useless experience:

“Shut up and take my money!”

“It’s the most useless and stupid thing I ever seen. I want it now…”

“I want to see the disappointment in my moms face when I spend 40 dollars on this.”

“MUST… RESIST… AAARRRRGGGGHHHH! This is the DUMBEST THING I have ever seen yet, I want one to put on my desk!!”

and so on…

Watch the video below and if you’re as dumb as I am, you can sign up to be notified when the Useless Box Kit is in stock again on ThinkGeek.com.

Update: I couldn’t actually buy the useless box. After a long thread of pleading emails with ThinkGeek.com’s customer service where I begged them to take my $40 dollars, somehow their poor business rules, checkout QA or UX won’t let me order one. And they didn’t really seem to care. I order things from American online stores all the time. I live in Dubai, use my UAE credit card and have things shipped to my friend’s address in the states. This is the first company of ‘geeks’ (yeah right) that I’ve had this problem with in 3 years. #fail

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