1ManTeam

From napkin plan to mega-zillion product. About technology, usability, entrepreneurship and start-ups.

Lately I’ve been hearing the word “hacker” more and more, spoken with pure admiration. People seem to romanticize the notion of a start-up entrepenuer hacking away at his product day and night. I entirely agree that an entrepenuer needs a hacker or pirate mentality. She/he needs to be able to learn, adapt, move fast, and react quickly. But when it comes to software development… well, hackers are not such a great fit.

I’ve been working in software development and leadership for more than 20 years and I can tell you that good sofware requires good engineers. I’ve probably reviewed thousands of code files and worked with more than a hundred software developers over the years and if I have choice I always try to avoid hiring cowboys, hackers or “mad scientist” personalities. I prefer excellent, creative, dedicated engineers.

Software is not art, products are art, software is good craftmenship and engineering.

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Today I came across an old e-mail which I wrote to a friend about a year ago. It goes like this:

“It seems that about 70% of users have registered the old fashioned way, without Facebook at all, so putting it only on Facebook would have closed it up for many users. Furthermore, only about 3% invited friends using the many mechanisms and incentives that we built! But some seem to have copy and pasted and sent the link by e-mail. I have a disturbing feeling that Facebook virality is mostly hype and that 90% of user never share a thing. The “social sharing” stuff is something everybody talks about but not many actually do it. That’s my impression of late. Another theory is that the “sharing” phenomenon slows down with time as people become indifferent and tired. What do you think?”

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Why focus matters so much:
1. A start-up has limited resources, focusing more firepower on one problem or one market makes more sense than spreading thin.
2. Knowing your target market makes you sharp. You need to be able to imagine your client and his needs. If you can’t do that, you’re shooting in the dark.
3. Your company needs to get to market as soon as posisble. Focusing on one narrow segment or vertical will let you cut features and focus only on the things that mater most.
4. You need to prove your product idea has traction in order to succesfully raise investment. Thus focusing on the most likely to pay potential clients, makes the most sense.
5. Looking at history, companies trying to be all things for all people usually fail.

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Tweet Abstract: Facebook games are extremely successful, because they are actually “casual” games with built-in viral distribution mechanisms, and not because they are really “social”. You are playing near your friends, not with your friends. I’ve been playing computer games since 1986 and I’ve been occasionally developing games since 1991. I’ve played almost every conceivable genre and I’ve worked on many games and gaming related projects, including 2D, 3D, isometric, single-player, multi-player, casual, MMORPGs, Facebook… you name it. In recent years, like everyone else, I’ve been playing various “social” games on Facebook. Games like Farmville, CityVille and Mafia Wars by  [ Read More ]

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Over the past few years, I’ve been working on the development of several Facebook applications/games, working with several Facebook focused companies. Back in October 2010 Facebook launched an initiative entitled “Operation Developer Love”. They planned to improve their responsiveness to newly reported bugs as well as deal with the huge pile of outstanding bug reports. When they launched the program they had 4,514 open bugs in the repository. This week, 3 months later, they have 4,524.
Facebook developer love bugs over time graph

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I am generally considered a perfectionist. Unfortunately that’s not always a good thing.
Trying to get everything perfect, fixing all minor bugs that a user is not likely to encounter in 100 years or adding all newly requested features to the work scope, would most certainly lead your project to go over time and over budget. And more importantly it will considerably decrease the project’s chances of completion and success.

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Tweet I’m going to start a series of posts for entrepreneurs about running their business. Here we go… Using this tip and a few others we achieved a 20% (!!!) conversion rate (registered to paying users) on this song licensing service. Start-ups sometimes tend to be caught up with building up buzz, getting traction and with churning out features that they forget one of the most important facts of life: The user is the center of your start-up, it’s all about the user and it will always be about the user. Pleasing the user has many facets; one of them  [ Read More ]

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Hello there! Thank you for stopping by my blog.

I’ve been planning to start a blog for over a year now, but having too much work and giving this a low priority had its toll. Finally I found the time to go ahead and do it, and here we are… you reading this, me planning my next posts…

As a freelance CTO (Chief Technology Officer), I work with many start-up companies and entrepreneurs, spanning many domains and industries. I get to examine and learn interesting new stuff all the time and I’d like to share. I plan to write analysis, tips, insights and pitfalls from my day to day experiences. It should be fun.

I have a lot to say, and if you are interested in my thoughts and knowledge, I suggest you click the subscribe button… thanks!

Click below for more…

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