Notes on hiring (Startups)

Verbal interviews are optimal for gauging the applicant’s personal culture and communication skills. Applicant should be the one who does most of the talking. Gold flags for us includes a well-maintained blog, personal projects, teaching experience, volunteerism, leadership experience and demonstrated passion in the field. Some examples of demonstrated passion include giving talks in conference/meetups, contributing to an open source project, the type of content shared in their social media accounts, the type of extra-curricular activities in school and the likes. Red flags include predominantly negative social media postings, absence of career related social media postings, unwillingness to expand on answers in interview. PAID audition work is best to measure how fast they work and the code quality. Can be done remotely or on premise. For the Audition – a 1 multi-dimensional task for 5-7 days should be enough to assess. For the Audition task, it should have an accompanying list of criteria such ...(Read More)

Notes about efficiently building a great social product.

We have been building social products for several years now so there was a need to commit the lessons learned on a more permanent medium besides my brain. This post will be updated from time to time as more lessons will be learned while we approach the launching of Lifebit. Idea Choose between 1 to 1 (Skype, Whatsapp, Snapchat)  –  1 to many (Twitter, Secret) If possible go after a baseline human need. Level 0 human needs = communicating with friends, gossiping, stalking, entertainment Level 1 human needs = eating, reading, communicating with family or partner, dating level 2 human needs = reading news, getting money, buying/selling Level 3 human needs = expressing oneself, productivity, efficiency, file management, discounts/savings Level 4 human needs =  finding great X, curation, travel Level 5 human needs = exclusive items, charity, Find an offline concept that is very close to your concept. (Facebook > the face book paper book ...(Read More)

Categorise your startup or die

Nowadays everyone and their mothers are calling their projects a “startup”. This makes for a problematic scheme where words of advice or play books are constantly misapplied. In a young business’ life a slight misapplication will wreak havoc in the long term trajectory of it’s journey. A secondary problem would be the misalignment of founders, employees and investors. The last problem would be mis-prioritising what to focus on in the early stages. In a very resource constrained condition this could be fatal. These are why I have always thought its important to categorise startups. Startups, I think, have a good number of dimensions that determines their classification. This attempt on such a deep subject will undoubtedly require time but in the spirit of lean I will do my minimum analysis on it and improve it over time. First to consider would be the startup’s primary goal. The founders should state ...(Read More)

Takeaways from Google’s Rap Genius slapdown

Before I dive back into our big product revamp. I would like to write down takeaways from a notable recent startup news item. RapGenius traffic goes down 80% after it got caught doing black hat SEO. Oops is the word. Rapgenius is a music lyrics site that features an annotation tool to attach interpretation of specific lyrical lines. It got caught soliciting links which is a violation of Google’s TOS hence a Black hat SEO technique which costs you a major ranking penalty in search results usually from 1st page to past 6th page results which only old Uncles clicks through. Takeaways: Do not mind that its founders talk in a very weird bro/hiphop/gangsta wannabe fashion – it does not matter. There is a thin line between growth hacking and black hat SEO so only do them when you are in Google top 10 Ad spenders like Expedia. Be careful with ...(Read More)

SPUDSCOP: Task communication framework

Over at Lifebit, we really care about productivity.  Shiki uses the Pomodoro technique, some teammates work in flexible hours, some work at home, while the rest of team in the HQ works on a compressed time range that allows a more concentrated focus. Part of my job as Chief “Everything else” officer is to pinpoint bottlenecks and trouble spots in terms of the overall productivity of the team. We recently did a survey of the team on what the management can improve and it seems that one of the major productivity drain is the lack of clarity about a feature or a task. We use a fairly rapid non-style of just describing what needs to be done, writing whatever in the description and attaching mockups if any. Now, I have worked with Agile methodologies and one thing is for sure – I really hate how verbose and time consuming it is ...(Read More)