My Readings For the Week

A wise man once told me that if you need to market your product, THAT product  sucks. Well, that’s a sweeping statement but has some nuggets of wisdom especially in a fierce market where there is so much noise.

If you love “listacles” (short for list articles), here’s another one that compiles predictions on how marketing will be in the future. Read up on 25 Predictions on What Marketing Would Be Like in 2020. Here’s a great quote from Chris Brandt, chief marketing officer of Taco Bell: “At Taco Bell, we look at three approaches to content: Create, Co-Create, and Curate. Create is our own content, co-create is content created in partnership with consumers, and curate is taking the user generated content we like and showing it to more people. The most important ingredient in all of this is authenticity.”

The future instrument is a mix of creativity, engineering, design and software. Check out this instrument that got $80,000 in commitment through Kickstarter in 6 hours. Invented by musician Mike Butera who has a PHd in Sound Studies at Virgina Tech, this instrument, dubbed INSTRUMENT 1, is set to go sale anytime soon, after the group was able to demo its prototype.

I stumbled upon this minimalist & curated site called “Defringed.” It’s a term that many designers would know. What is this site about? It’s an online destination for creative content, chosen by their editors. The site, which I discovered through Ello.co, features design, photography, art, typography, architecture, etc. If you’re tired of the messy, cluttered social networks, bookmark this site. It’s worth your while.

Other alternative sites that I have discovered: Fusion.net (a site supposed to be designed for millennials); mic.com, which features news catering to the young people. Both sites are not as loud as Buzzfeed.com, but they also offer fresh insights and perspectives other than what you’ve grown tired of seeing on click-baiting websites.

5 reasons why you should start a blog

Who blogs these days?

Today, I’ve asked my PUBLISH class to start their own class blog as part of a requirement in class. It is surprising to find that many are no longer blogging. (Blame Facebook and Twitter!)

Why do we still need to blog? I will offer several reasons.

1. Blogging helps you become a better writer. It is one way of publishing your thoughts without noise. You own this space on the Internet. Nobody can tell you what to write (unless you decide to sell it to the highest bidder–the devil!). It’s your personal space in cyberspace. Facebook and Twitter are designed for  consumption and connection. Blogging is about creation.

2. Blogging gives you voice. Want to say something, blog about it. If you want to rant, take it to your blog, and explain it well. Blogs can be your venue for stimulating debate and discussion on topics of choice. It’s up to you to engage people.

3. Blogging helps you establish your online persona. I am often impressed with people who own and maintain their blogs for reasons that are non-commercial. Blogs establish your cred online. Buy your own domain name — do it. Having trouble deciding what to blog, use it to document your passion, your journey through life or through the digital space. You will make mistakes–some spelling errors, and sometimes (God forbid!) some grammatical lapses. Don’t fret. You can always revise and update it. And that’s the beauty of self-publishing.

4. Blogging makes you think.  Try writing one entry a day. Isn’t that a lot of work? Yes, of course. Writing is all about thinking and articulating your thoughts in words, images, and videos. As the medium dictates, this is NOT just for the nerdy types–or for the word lovers. You can use photos, videos to communicate what you think. Be creative. You’ll be surprised years later to see what have you done.

5. Blogging keeps you disciplined. Starting is easy. Keeping at it for years without pause is not. This blog has seen less and less updates. And it has always been a struggle to keep the juices running. So yes, blogging keeps you focused and disciplined. It is sometimes cathartic.

So if somebody asks you again why do you blog, remember these five things, and add one more that is unique to you. It’s also fun seeing people realize that, “Yeah, you’re right!”

Blog away!

Designing for mobile

Here’s a nice infographic that you can use as reference when designing for mobile.

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See the complete iOS and Android Designs Guideline Cheat Sheet

Kinvey Backend as a Service

Slideshare Find: A Startup Experience

Found this presentation. Captures the essence of starting up.

This presentation was done by John Strott, a Senior User Experience Designer focusing around improving and creating exceptional products.

His Slideshare profile adds: “John has a future friendly approach to design, implementing mobile first and responsive designs in a lean UX environment. His work has been featured on Yahoo!, CNBC, large social networks and e-commerce platforms.”

Boot strapping, are you ready?

A situation in which an entrepreneur starts a company with little capital. An individual is said to be boot strapping when he or she attempts to found and build a company from personal finances or from the operating revenues of the new company. (Source: Investopedia)

Starting a company is not easy. It takes a lot of patience. Imagine pushing yourself to wake up in the morning and accomplishing stuff that you’re not even sure will fly or not. Some say the journey is the reward. Yes, I agree. But fighting the emotions of giving up and just pushing on, is just draining sometimes.

Every entrepreneur will tell you to plan for the worst. You also need a lot of support — emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. You will judge yourself everyday. You will tell yourself if you’re doing a good job or not. These are stuff that are expected. No one said it would be easy.

I learned about the word boot strapping after reading books on entrepreneurship. As defined, it is using your own resources to fund your own company–no venture capital, no angel investment. How far can you go boot strapping? Not too long. Which is why many startups will soon require additional funding.

Investopedia explains further:

Compared to using venture capital, boot strapping can be beneficial as the entrepreneur is able to maintain control over all decisions. On the downside, however, this form of financing may place unnecessary financial risk on the entrepreneur. Furthermore, boot strapping may not provide enough investment for the company to become successful at a reasonable rate.

As you can tell, boot strapping may work a while until it puts a toll on your own financials. It’s a big risk to go boot strapping early on. But this move will also show your potential partners that your putting more “skin in the game.”

What about you? What are your thoughts about boot strapping for a company your building? Is it a good idea? Is it a crazy idea?