Monday, October 5, 2009

Testing Google Wave

Google wave is one of the top innovations of 2009.
I have been organizing Google wave meetup from June , 09 and have been witnessing it's amazing growth. If you are interested in building wave applications and like to watch some exclusive google wave development/demos check out the meetup website.

Y'day I was playing with jWave ( JQuery plugin) to embed some test wave in my Blog. Not yet successful, will attempt it again.
However , I could develop my first Wave Robot at the Hands on workshop -

Thanks to Lawrence Wong and to Solomon Wu , who helped me out.

Could deploy the Robot to Google App Engine and make it running.
It is good that App Engine is ready for J2EE apps. Python would have been a pain.
Looking forward to PHP support as well.

I saw Google wave demos on Healthcare apps and on Wiki improvements which are good Use cases.

A very interesting article on how enterprises like SAP , Salesforce are building
Google wave apps . Check out here

Excerpt below on SAP's Google Wave Business Process Modelling Tool.

"Alex, Kathrin Fleischmann (SAP Research) and Soeren Balko (SAP NetWeaver BPM development) built a demo that highlights the power of the Google Wave platform to make complex tools live and collaborative. In the video, many team members collaborate in real time to build a model. Each piece of the model is colored based on the person that added it. The team discusses the model. Someone adds another participant midway through the development. That person uses playback to catch up on what they missed. And there is even a robot that checks and fixes semantic errors. In the end, a manager checks the work on her iPhone."

More common Use Cases:
-Ribbit's gadget for telephone conferences.
-Lonely Planet's trip planning tool.

Excited to explore more Usecases and applications for GoogleWave.
As a Product Manager, I am inclined to explore the possibility of using Google Wave
as a good collaboration tool and maybe build a Wave server with neat XMPP services for small enterprises.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Will HTML 5 Break Apple’s Stranglehold on Apps?

GigaOm's article on HTML 5 being a threat to Apple apps.

"But HTML 5, the next big standard for the web, will dramatically reduce this (apple's)control by creating a new generation of web sites that look and feel like they’re iPhone apps."

I cannot agree with this view. It seems to be a poor researched stuff and jumping to early conclusions.

Just realize that , out of the 2 main HTML 5 editors, one is from Apple and the man is David Hyatt.Check out.

David had made significant contributions to safari, webkit and co-created firefox as per wikipedia. If HTML5 expert is from Apple , will Apple's offerings be lagging ?

Usually standards/specifications progress is slow with different vendors having different view points. Example is the web services specification being battled still by IBM, MS, SAP,Oracle(earlier sun, bea were in the game ).

Apple will ensure that it’s technology or rather it’s offering is delivered through a good ecosystem and will be miles ahead of a pure technical progress such as HTML5.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Top 4 lessons from Solar Products @ Solarcity

Interesting points from Ben Tarbell, Director of Products, Solarcity, at Silicon Valley Product Management Association .

A quick and dirty post in 15 mins due to a commitment of 'Blog it, while it's hot'. Iterate and improve later.

Have a virtual portfolio of Solar stocks and all are down by 75 % , the Chinese companies had created massive production capacities and overestimated the demand for '08 to '10.
So on a personal level , it was interesting to check if this Solar market will be back, does it make sense to invest in them and as how these solar products are marketed and developed.

SolarCity 's core Offering is a turnkey Solar Power system.

Key points culled and summarized by Tags.

1 - Get a buy-in
Community based Programs to educate customers and government about a new product/technology concept.
( Tags - New prod development, customer education, influencing key decision makers)

2 - Innovate in extended User engagement
Innovative financial options to customers by introducing Solarlease to reduce ownership cost and to move the risk to the company. Solarcity formed a new financial structure or organization to fund this. Side effect was to create a Lease calculator to demonstrate energy savings.

( Tags - Low Barrier for customer, Going full speed to setup the echo system, Minimised risk for customer and created a win-win, copied by competitors, financial demo, understanding user's decision making process and helping him )

3 - Create Systems and track Metrics to deliver benefits.

Launched SolarGuard™, a graphical, Web-based energy monitoring system ,Monitoring is done through a wiressplatform.

( Tags - Efficient Monitoring system to help customers with enbergy savings, to track metrics and to optimize distribution and performance, provide proactive customer support, wireless is a smart leverage of tech, great dashboard not only for admin but for end user)

4- Identify the customer's cost components and Go beyond your own product's benefits.
Reducing ownership cost is a mantra and is a cliche by marketers without diving deep into the
cost components incurred by customer.
Solarcity suggests users to go for a mix of both conventional utility and solar so that the customer can be in lower tier and incur lower rates .

( tags : honest about product's offerings in reducing TCO and building a solution with other complimentary products)

Ben's experience in reputed product design firm IDEO is certainly reflected in these innovative solutions and ideas. But as he acknowledged too, Solarcity's competitors are catching up and moving ahead with social media . It would be interesting to see the next moves by this company.

Friday, June 5, 2009 on My Yahoo - Go Mint !! on My Yahoo..
This is one of those events , which wakes me up and inspires me to write a blog.

I have been using for some time as a user and also tracking it as a Product Manager.
As a user , I find it awesome . Fell in love with it's aggregation and budgeting features 1 year ago.
Bank of America and Wells Fargo had these features ( thanks to Yodlee's aggregation engine) , but the usability and the promotions were lacking .
I was introduced to Mint by founder Aaron Patzer's at a SVPMA, Silicon Valley Product Management meeting.

As a Product Manager , I find that these folks define and redefine the concepts of elegance and usability. Can't stop admiring the light weight , non-invasive and the guided features. It' application's improvements are a steady stream of tutorials for any Product Manager. It's exponentially growing user base and growing repeat usage are testimonies of Mint's excellent idea generation and flawless execution. on My Yahoo

It's a delight to know that is now available on My Yahoo. More users can benefit in this recession by tracking expenses on all credit/debit/trading/retirement accounts and by increasing the savings with mint's budgeting and spending analysis tools.

My Yahoo deal is another great accomplishment by Mint folks and I must say, a smart move by Yahoo. It seems Yahoo is at last making the right moves and trying out new stuff !!

So here is my visual appreciation and cheering for

Mint on Yahoo Finance .. why not ?

It would be more better for Mint and Yahoo if Mint's application is made available on Yahoo Finance or integrated in some manner.
Be visible at right place, right time.

Not many use My Yahoo , I am a google addict , but cannot live without Yahoo Finance. As Techcrunch captured it right "Google Finance, still can't touch Yahoo Finance after 3 years"

Mint's recommendations feature - a lot to improve still !!

Aaron mentioned about forthcoming datawarehousing and analytical tools that will yield amazing benefits to end users by providing smart recommendations on cost savings.

It seems the datawarehouse engine is still being used for their internal analysis .
I am yet to experience an 'aha' kind of engagement while checking the recommendation features of cost savings . In fact, I even stopped looking at the recommendation page .

How many new cards can one apply even if says that it can reduce my current costs by 5 %. How many times can I look at Discover's credit card features and APRs ? Hope they are working on it. Aggregation and budgeting are the best features meanwhile.