Author Archive

I miss you guys!

July 6, 2008

I must confess this second week has been pretty crazy for all of us! I have to say we are sorry for the (obvious) lack of feed this week! But don’t worry, it only means we have been really busy working on the beta version of PocketSmith. Let’s have a look of what happened this week:

  1. James went to Auckland to spend some time with his family. It might sounds like good times but in fact, James spent most of his late night rocking piece of code on dial up *sigh* 🙂 Eventually, we bounced up ideas  until 5am to get the first mockup of what might PocketSmith splash page look like! James has this unique perspective on problem-solving, which has proved in many time to be or a great advantage for the team.
  2. Jason has been a good boy and got his Ruby on Rail exercises done! Actually, he has been fantastic (as usual) being able to learn more coding tricks, getting his hands on the beta version, and promoting PocketSmith within his network! I suspect him to have two brains (at least)! He also managed to get an appointment with the National Bank which will become our (lucky) bank! We are just waiting for James to vome back and we can officially open our bank account. First of all, I must confess I have been impressed by the warm welcome from Matthew Elliott, our banker who is professional and friendly (welcome to New Zealand 😉 The funny story is Jason start pitching him about PocketSmith and he seemed really interested by our idea! He understood it and immediatly saw its huge potential…Sounds good ahah
  3. I have been myself involved in a networking event this week as I attended the Dunedin ICT group meeting on Wednesday. Basically, it is an initiative by three agencies: New Zealand Trade & Entreprise (NZTE) ,Upstart and Otago Polytechnic to create an ICT cluster in Dunedin. The idea is to create a brand to promote Dunedin vibrant IT sector. I found this idea very promising and I am looking forward to see what concrete actions this group of CEOs will intend in the future. I believe Dunedin is a great place to start a business, especially if the business is as sexy as PocketSmith 🙂

We all have been juggling with other commitments as well as Jason and I still need to study (hard ahah) to get our final diploma. But I found that the biggest difficulty we have encountered this week has been being far away from each other! Even if we all understand we need to focus on our own missions, teamwork is really important within our small-and-strong team. I personally feel more inspired and motivated to work hard when Jas and James are in the same room!
In conclusion, the three of us will start working at James place after he installs our “super-office” 🙂 Can’t wait!

Simple values matter!

June 28, 2008

In my precedent post, I have discussed the importance of using a step-by-step attitude once you get your objective. One method we have adopted has been to create three free accounts to Basecamp, a simple project management tool that allows us to make do-to lists to keep track of what needs to get done and who is responsible. That helps us to get a better idea of the (huge) mission we have in front of us! In fact, we are only using this feature so far. We might make use of milestones later to track when things are due but it’s not our top priority right now.

There are heaps of project management software or web-applications available for single user to multiple thousands users. Having worked within commercial companies before, I have witness people using such tools in Sales, Marketing or Development departments. My (really modest 🙂 experience push me to say that it doesn’t really matter how flash these applications look and how many features they have. In fact, it’s all about simplicity, intuitivism and needs-fulfillment.

I think the three of us share this idea of creating simple, easy-to-use, web applications that respond to real needs. It might sounds a bit naïve from three “newbies” but we are confident that having these simple values will help us to stay focus. At this stage, I am tempted to say “customer-focus” because I truly believe that we should build something that we will enjoy using ourselves. In fact, we are our first customers 😉

Let’s celebrate!

How to do it right from the start!

June 25, 2008

It has now been two days since we started the company. After so many hours spent thinking about this project it finally comes true! Armed with laptops, Jason, James and I spent these two days sharing ideas and opinions about our product and slowly but surely we are walking our way… However, one question seems to always come back to my mind: How to do it right from the start? The process of growing a digital products company is something I have never learnt at school. Worst, it is something none of us has never tried before! So how are we going to tackle our relative lack of experience?

First of all, by learning from others people’s experience. There are plenty of articles out there about creating a new business and we found some of them really useful (Check the YCombinator Library for useful information). We got inspired by articles such as “Ten Rules for a web startups”; “How to start a start up” and “Building your own start-up technology company”). But you know what? You can read thousands of articles and still feel lost the first days of the creation!

Creating a business is like writing a book, you know what you want to achieve but the amount of work you have to put in seems so massive that you don’t know where to start! Consequently, I had to have a deep thought around what to do first to make things right from the start:

  1. Ask simple but essential questions: What are we? Who are we for? How are we different? What are we called? What are we like? What are we trying to achieve? All of these questions should be answered honestly and shared by people in your organization. It will help to create consistent goals to achieve (Check “Why Do Web Startups Die? Lack of Alphalpha” to read more about the importance of these questions).
  2. Once you have identified your objective and you get a better idea of the big picture, it’s important to adopt a step-by-step attitude. Remember that even the small steps and little victories along your path will lead to great success.
  3. Focus, focus and focus! Once you have a rough idea of what you need to do, just do it. Being honest, it’s easy to say but hard to apply. In fact, it’s all about finding the good balance between sharing, communicating and getting things done. Only experience will help us finding the right alchemy 🙂
  4. Finally don’t forget one thing: there is no better organization and management structure than your enterprise’s own business. In other words, don’t be afraid to experience your own way to do things because that is the way to learn! But make sure to learn from your mistakes, fast 😉

Stay tuned for more experience sharing!