Archive for the ‘events’
This may also provide some additional insight into our team operated,
particularly for those not familiar with web development.
1. We began by setting the structure of what we needed to do through
out the weekend. Brainstorm, Wireframes, Backlog of tasks,
Development, Testing, Deployment, Presentation. Marketing would happen
in parallel with wireframing.
2. Brainstorm – In the first two hours, we worked out what our idea
was and our direction. We had a general brainstorm, then a targeted
2. Wireframes: By the next 1-2 hours, we had our wireframes (layout)
done and the developers had already started grabbing all the tools we
needed. The wireframes were initally drawn up on the white board by
hand by myself and Allen. Once we agreed, I drew them up on the large
butchers paper, in a story board fashion and put them up on the wall
for everyone to see. My role was more of a product manager, as I sat
between the developers and the business guys.
3. The wireframe/story board also helped to explain it to anyone new
coming in, so they were quickly able to jump in and help. Whenever
anyone new came into the room, I took on that responsibility as “front
of house” and answered any questions they had. I then walked them
through our wireframes.
4. Development – It was amazing to have two dedicated and hardworking
developers, including James who had gaming experience. We went and
found existing tools we could use so we didn’t have to do stuff from
scratch. We also developed it in Ruby, which is great for rapid
prototyping. I focused everyone on creating a good product first, then
we focused on monetisation. I used to think the other way around but I
kinda had the sense that there was a business model around it, that if
I created something useful, people would pay for it.
5. By 2am, we had it done and deployed.
6. Testing – The next morning, the business guys tested it while our
developers kept working. We wrote our consolidated feedback on the
whiteboard. Then everyone debated which features we would prioritise,
sorting them to P1 / P2 / P3 (P = Priority). The Devs then addressed
P1 & P2, and covered all of them. Some of them, we did on the fly
(e.g. make this pic smaller).
7. MVP – I knew that we didn’t need to develop everything for an MVP
(Minimum Viable Product) to win. We made screen grabs / photoshopped
the other sections as needed.
8. While this was happening, the business guys started debating
monetisation models. There was a lot of vigorous debate happening
across the room, so I made them get into a corner and discuss it so it
didnt affect our developers. I trusted them to work it out, while I
started doing the presentation with the vision and opportunities.
9. By approx 4pm, development pretty much stopped. We all focused on
doing the presentation and giving feedback.
10. One final thing, I kept hearing about the other teams and I pretty
much blocked it out. I needed to focus on our project. But
ocassionally, someone would say “Feel@Home has this killer idea,
they’ll give us a run for our money! Or Group X has a 3D
presentation”. That just made me double down and work harder.
I devised 5 problems for people to work on. The problems weren’t as important as the interactions between the group members. The idea was to stimulate discussion from people that were completely foreign to each other and to exchange ideas. It was similar to the workshops that I had run for Next Digital and my involvement with Deloitte’s Innovation Cafe. Hopefully, they can use these workshop ideas for their organisations and products.
The process was that each group had a specific problem and was assigned a leader with experience in that area. For 15 minutes each group brainstormed, wrote down their thoughts and came back to present to the wider group. The leader for each group gave a 4 minute presentation with their results to the Product Camp audience.
Workshop #1: Launch a new smartphone for Nokia
Question: A well known OEM for handsets (Nokia) is fast losing ground in the smartphone race. What new phone/services can they introduce to regain market share? Led by Yoo-Jin.
I chose this question, because I have read a lot about this area and I use to run an Android blog. I knew the problems that Nokia was having to stay competitive. I’d also just finished writing an article for work on Android vs iOS the day before.
Top product suggestions:
- Focus on UX (be more like the iPhone – of course!)
- Get back to their roots – simplify the product
- Consider creating burners. These are throw away phones used by the drug dealers in the tv series The Wire!
- Create a simple product for kids – a phone with three buttons. One button for home, school and emergency. Apparently a similar type of phone used to exist.
Workshop #2: Brainstorm new features to monetise Linkedin
Question: Given that Linkedin has an $8BN warchest after their IPO, what features could they introduce to generate more revenue from existing users? Led by Nick Coster from Brainmates (ex-eBay product manager)
I floated between all the groups and this seemed to be the most intense group in terms of discussion. I knew the LinkedIn website fairly well from being a heavy user and following their IPO news. I also heard LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman speak at SXSW earlier this year and got to ask him a question during the Q&A session.
Interestingly, in this group of 10 people only one person actually paid for a Linkedin Subscription. There were some really good ideas that came out of this group.
Top feature suggestions
- Data mining was the key – ability to sell this data to advertisers and organisations.
- Creating organisation charts
- Knowing employees sentiment (are they happy)
- Ability to view an organisation’s turnover rate
There were many more suggestions, these were only a few. If Linkedin had these features, I’m sure they’d have a greater conversion from free to paid.
Workshop #3: How can we improve Gmail?
Question: How can Gmail improve its service? What new features could the Gmail product team introduce to make email more productive? Paul from Google Docs lead this workshop.
I know the Gmail product fairly well, and I assumed that others did as well.
Best Feature suggestions
- Game of gmail: Getting points or a badge to display you were a gmail guru to your network. You might be able to display this on your Facebook or linkedin profile and people could ask you questions.
- Quick Image preview
- Rather than Gmail priority inbox guess which emails were more of a priority, the user could set this up.
Workshop #4: Create new features for a photo sharing application?
Question: Instagram has grown exponentially over the past 6 months, acquiring more than 2 million users. What features could they introduce to start monetising over the next 12 months?
This was led by my friend Alvin Singh, Funkworks / ex Solution Architect @ True Local.
Top Feature Suggestion
- Ability to recognise brand pictures and provide a brand a feed of their pictures similar to the Twitter firehose API. These pics could then be livestreamed onto a billboard. The group gave an example that Coca Cola. Live Coke pics could be streamed onto the billboard at Kings Cross.
- Game scavenger hunt – Look for pictures in a city and win prizes based on completion.
- Licensing photos to photo publishers like Getty Images
Workshop #5: Generate more revenue from in-flight purchases
Question: Travel margins are decreasing, oil prices are increasing. So how can Airlines like QANTAS generate more in-flight revenue?
This was a really specific question, which I hear a lot of people in the travel industry talking about (margins decreasing). Fortunately we had a few people in the audience that had travel industry experience.
Top feature suggestion
- Massages: I heard the word “priority” mentioned!
- Group buying platform: Ability to auction off business class seats that were empty just before people got on the flight
- Ability to target ads at specific travellers
The workshops turned out better than I could have imagined. It was really hard getting people to finish up and get back into the room! I knew that with such a room of intelligent and experienced people, that they had the ideas.
This workshop format also encouraged some people that might not have had the chance to speak, because of the limited number of speaking spots available. It gave them the ability to voice their opinion in a smaller group setting, and let more people present in the 1 hour.
They only needed some encouragement to think laterally and I lit that fire in their creative minds.
Tweets from the audience
Yesterday, I spoke at Product Camp Sydney on the following topic: “Ideation: Brainstorming Ideas For Products & Features”. Basically, I wanted to talk about brainstorming.
Background to my talk
Rather than talk at the audience for 10-15mins, I decided I would hold a brainstorming workshop. My approach is that people learn the best from doing something as opposed to someone talking at them.
I actually wrote up my talk on the 40 minute train ride into the city and devised the problems. I hadn’t had time during the week, as it was my last week at Next Digital.
When I arrived, I heard that my talk was the highest rated talk by the audience. During the week I knew that Nat and I were in a race with another topic (in fact we’d been emailing each other about it!).
As mine was the highest rated talk, I had the entire 1 hour time slot to myself. Not only that, I had a room full of 50 experienced product managers! It was also clear that were too many people and we needed to split up the group into at least 5 groups. This meant that I needed 5 problems. So I came up with 2 more problems on the spot, just a few minutes before I spoke. You may have seen me madly writing on my notepad, whilst at the same time talking to people to recruit them as workshop leaders.
My Ideation Talk
1. My work experience to date
I’ve worked at Deloitte, Next Digital – Australia’s largest digital agency, winning Australia’s first startup weekend and starting with Airbnb.
2. Deloitte’s Innovative culture
I was part of something amazing at Deloitte, which was their push into innovation. They created an Innovation Zone, which was an intranet where we crowdsourced ideas from the entire organisation and people voted on the ideas.
I was one of the firm’s first batch of innovation champions for my department. I was quite engaged with the innovation zone, having submitted a few ideas and rated some as well.
Deloitte used innovation as a means to differentiate itself from their competitors. Which worked well, as Deloitte is smaller than their competitors in Australia and were able to move faster.
3. Ideas can come from anywhere
I came across this Chinese Proverb recently in my Mandarin studies:
My understanding of this proverb is that you must be receptive to suggestions and new ideas. If you close your mind, you are closing off listening to valuable feedback. Take suggestions from your engineers, customers, stakeholders and new employees.
4. Try something new
In advertising school, one of the guest lecturers challenged us to try new things. If you do the same things everyday, you will have the same ideas.
Try to eat a new dish, walk a different way to work, read a book you wouldnt typically read, talk to someone you wouldn’t normally speak to. The purpose of this is to expand your mind and be open to new ideas.
5. Innovation Workshops
One activity we did at Deloitte was hold Innovation Breakthrough Cafes. These were sessions held at lunch time where people from all different service lines would gather and try to solve problems from around the business.
People from IT, Consulting, Legal, Accounting, Tax would be presented a problem. We would be broken up into groups. These problems could be current client problems or fictional ones. The whole point was to encourage brainstorming and generate opinions from different viewpoints.
After 15 mins, one person would stay with the problem (usually the scribe) and the rest would switch. I really liked the format, so I adopted it for my talk. See part 2 for more details.
6. Innovation Horizon
We spoke about Innovation happening on 3 Horizons at Deloitte. This concept came from Mehrdad Baghai who joined Deloitte. Mehrdad was previously the worldwide leader on the growth practice from McKinsey and had written several books on this topic.
Innovation happens along the following horizons:
- Immediate (what we can see now)
- Next 3 to 5 years
- Whitespace (5 years +)
See part 2 of this blog post for the workshop problems.
I’m helping to organise Product Camp Sydney this saturday (4 June 2011).
What is ProductCamp?
In the spirit of BarCamp (www.barcamp.org), ProductCamp Sydney is a collaborative, user-organised professional conference that focuses on Product Management and Marketing topics. At ProductCamp Sydney everyone participates in some manner: presenting, leading a discussion, showcasing a best practice, or sharing their experiences. Others help with logistics, securing sponsorships, organising sessions, setting up or cleaning up. This is a self-organising collaborative event that is designed to be fun, rewarding and a unique experience.
ProductCamp Sydney is a great opportunity for participants to learn from, teach to, and network with professionals involved in the Product Management, Marketing, and Development processes from all industries around Australia.
We’ve listed the topics on Uservoice, so you can view the currently submitted topics and vote on them. Vote for my talk here.
I met the Chk Chk Boom girl, Claire Werbeldoff at the Adknowledge Social Media Conference. She’s a nice person but an accidentally superstar. Said some crazy things and gained international fame via youtube and viral. The question is whether she can maintain the momentum.
I’m out like chk chk boom,
Next Digital and Jennifer Frahm Collaborations are hosting an event called Social Media and Online Marketing Masterclass. It features an international best selling author, David Meerman Scott who will be coming from the US to lead the sessions.
If you are interested check out the widget below or hit me up for more info =)
A few weeks ago I went to TEDxSydney. One of the videos we watched was the one above from Seth Godin. It’s quite good. Its about how change no longer comes from mass marketing, cheaper labour & faster machines, but rather tribes. Tribes can be used to start movement and connect people.
Very inspiring video. There’s more here. I’ve been watching them all night. There’s lot of really cool videos on music, design, technology. Other diverse topics include health, education, etc.. It’s more about innovative ideas.
I’m out like tribes,
On arriving at the Civic Hotel, on the corner of Goulburn & Pitt St, everything was calm and as per usual. We headed downstairs and were told we needed to be on the guest list. I thought to myself, how many people would be turning up to Charmaine Bingwa’s EP launch?
After telling the door staff we registered via the web, we pointed to our names. Much darker than upstairs, we wandered in as the sounds of old school 90′s rnb tunes wafted through the doors. To my surprise, the place was 3/4 full. I wandered around looking for my friends and found them in the “pit”, this dancefloor area sunken into the ground, with raised bar around it. There was still nothing on stage, so we went to get some food on Pitt St.
On our eventual return to the Civic, the place was packed. Couldn’t even move around. As I brushed past the bodies, I made by way back to the pit. There definently was some buzz in the evening. Most people had RSVP’d via the facebook group or on Charmaine’s website. I suspect the majority of the crowd were friends or friends of friends. I came because my friend Neha (@twittledeeps) was a backup singer.
Charmaine came out the blocks with a Beyonce cover. Full of energy, she had that vibe goin’ on! She did a couple more tracks including her own stuff and pulled out her red guitar. Sang and strummed the guitar at the same time. I always like it when a singer plays an instrument – she’s legit.
Oh yeah, and did I mention she had some crazy sneakers on – blingin sparkling aqua sneakers from General Pants.
It was a pretty good night. She definently has some potential, though not sure about the strength of her voice. I don’t think her tracks show off her range. It’s mostly “funk,rock, snap, crackle and pop” as she describes on her website. She’s been gigging for a year now and has an EP out. Something about her – she’s got the buzz.
After she did her final song and walked out. I told G that she’d be back, he looked at me and said “nah, she’s done”. To which I responded, “if she’s worth her salt, she’ll come back out”. After a few minutes, some chanting, particularly from the groupie girls next to me, and a sneak peek through the curtain, they came back out. Charmaine did two more songs and called it a night. I’ll let her have the final word on the night:
She then came out and hugged some of the people, and I think some of the guys I was with were disappointed they didn’t get a hug too =p
I heard on the grapevine that she’s actually Zimbawean (G did a google search before he came).
$64 million dollar question – who does Charmaine Bingwa look like?
She’s a dead ringer for Brandy – in fact some other people told me independently. Its the dreads and the chocolate coloured skin. In case your wondering – she is hot.
I’m out like the Civic underground,
Inspiredworlds aka Matt.
On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to attend Wiki Wednesday at Google HQ. When I was RSVP’ing, I noticed that the format was short round robin talks of 5 – 15mins. One of the suggested topics was “How wiki’s integrate with Enterprise 2.0 tools such as Yammer and Blogs”. I thought to myself, if I am going to be there, I might as well do a short presentation on Yammer.
I had originally planned to talk about all 3 and how they work together. Given the time restriction, Peter (@HubertusB) suggested that it would be best to focus on one topic. So I decided to focus on Yammer, the concept of microblogging and presented a short case study on how Next Digital was piloting its use.
Check out my presentation below:
I enjoyed all the presentations and I particulary liked the interactive exercise we did for “sharepoint v wiki”, and the insights we gained from that. I had fun presenting and I hope it was of interest to everyone on the night. The presentation has been uploaded onto slideshare for others to view it. As I actually have to do another training presentation on Friday to show everyone how to use Yammer, it was killing two birds with one stone =)
I also got to check out Google HQ, and it looks like a pretty cool place. Also, thanks to Jamie, Vincent, Walter and Aaron for coming as well and providing some moral support!
Here are some various twitter feedback and comments on the night.
I’m out like Wiki Wednesday,