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Tag: user experience

What’s Wrong In The Blockchain Industry

No, I’m not going to write about what the naysayers are already saying about the blockchain. We have heard these objections ad nauseam: tokens are made out of thin air, it doesn’t do anything we can’t do already, no use cases, every token is a scam or Ponzi scheme, cryptocurrencies are not real currencies, crypto can’t become too big to fail, etc. 

Rather, I’m writing about a constructive critique in terms of weaknesses that need to be addressed if we want to see the blockchain/crypto industry prosper to greater heights. That’s why the title specifically says “IN” the blockchain industry, not “WITH” the blockchain industry.

Here are the issues that need to be fixed, in my opinion.

1/ Become Regulation Friendly 

I’m not saying the industry needs to blindly surrender to established de-facto regulation. The regulatory field is complex and nuanced. Whatever the end-game is, crypto needs to be compliant with it, and then prosper within those rules. Regulation shouldn’t be suffocating innovation. So, that doesn’t mean that the industry needs to stop lobbying for, and educating legislators about the right way to evolve some parts of the current rules or create new ones. Ideally, we need to see updated regulation that is more friendly to crypto. 

2/ User Experience Matters 

No technology has gained mainstream experience without espousing absolute simplicity and ease of use. Today, many products and services (including wallets) in the blockchain space have horrible user interfaces and user experiences. As if they were not designed with the mainstream consumer in mind. This needs to change. I am longing to see crypto products that generate a “Wow” effect from a user experience point of view. 

3/ Standards, Standards, Standards

There are two types of standards: de facto or industry ones. De facto standards just happen because of adoption success. Industry standards are developed by competing industry players that agree on common ground principles that are neutral to their competitiveness. Sadly, I do not see enough de facto standards emerging in the blockchain space (especially across chains), and I see no cross-industry initiatives at the technical level. That brings us to the next topic. 

4/ Inter-Industry Cooperation

Related to the point above on standards, the industry needs to collaborate more on important infrastructure or middleware related technologies because these are the enabling blocks for creating the ultimate applications that users will be attracted to. As it stands, there is too much competition, and not enough co-operation. In the non-technical realm, yes, there are some “blockchain associations” counting several industry members, but I firmly believe we can do better and more in this area in terms of effectiveness and results.

5/ No-Code Solutions

The reason we now have 5 billion Internet users is because it’s so easy to get in and start using it via the many on-ramps such the ones provided by social media, email applications or e-commerce. Behind the scenes, what also made this possible is the wide availability of “no-code solutions” that allow anyone via a few clicks and some common sense to create something worth attracting users to. For e.g., in the area of publishing, WordPress or Tumblr (previously) lowered the bar for creating a personal website by enabling anyone to do that without the help of a developer. Shopify allows anyone to start selling their products online, just like that, with a few clicks. We will need similar types of no-code solutions that allow anyone to create new experiences that depend on the blockchain.

6/ Better Industry Voices

Last year, the mainstream media was too heavily focused on painting Sam Bankman-Fried as the perfect poster boy of crypto. Today, we know where that story led, and we are still overhung by that unfortunate head fake from the previously (arguably) most popular crypto cheerleader. Industries need cheerleaders to advance, just as for example Elon Musk was that special charismatic voice for the Electric Vehicles industry. There are lots of good and smart people in crypto, but we need more of their voices to be heard, and we need the mainstream media platforms to find them, respect them and amplify their voices while they give less airtime to the promoters, speculators and wannabes.

These are all strategic issues that will take time to get fixed. But we need to work on them.

Venture Capital, Entrepreneurship, Marc Andreessen, B2B, SaaS, Growth Hacking, User Experience – Roundup #20, Nov. 24 2013

Startup Management is a manual selection of 15 article links from the hundreds of weekly articles being curated. Previous issues are available here. For regular updates, please visit the website’s River of news (as a stream), or Magazine view (by category).

Venture Capital and Global Ecosystem

A lot of good articles this week in the Venture Capital and global Ecosystem categories. Rather than list them here, here are the direct links for these categories: Venture Capital and Ecosystem.

Marc Andreessen

Here’s a transcript of an insightful interview of Marc Andreessen by Andy Serwer of Fortune, Inside the mind of Marc Andreessen. Must read. He talks about the state of IPOs, building long lasting companies, disruptive models, the shared economy, and where advertising and marketing are going.

B2B Marketing

There is a certain grind to B2B marketing in the early stages of growth. In Five Content Marketing Growth Hacks for Enterprise Startups, Ross Simmonds outlines 5 of these activities: 1) Webinars, 2) Presentations, 3) Videos, 4) Case Studies, and 5) Content.

VC/Entrepreneur Relationship

Brad Feld says to Create Structure out of the Gate and You’ll Thank Yourself Later, via a guest post by Ari Newman, where they advocate to treat your early debt investors like board members and institute structured governance expectations from them.

Raising Venture Capital

Alex Turnbull, CEO/Founder of Groove has 5 questions you need to ask yourself prior to taking VC money, in Why I Turned Down $5 Million in VC Funding. Bottom line is that your goals and the VC’s need to be aligned. There’s a good discussion in the comment section of that post, and on USV.com.

Employee Equity

Andy Rachleff of Wealthfront had a long post in First Round Review, The Right Way to Grant Equity to your Employees, where he lays out a process, some principles and formula. Fred Wilson responded, mostly agreeing with Andy, but pointing to a difference in how equity is to be calculated, in Employee Equity.

Product Management

Top Hacks from a PM Behind Two of Tech’s Hottest Products from First Round Review is a long read, but contains some really good nuggets of practical advice in product management from Todd Jackson who worked for Mark Zuckerberg and managed the fine line between Mark’s vision demands and the product development realities. “You can’t leave any chance for misunderstanding, or for even one person to walk away from a meeting with different conclusions.” And “When engineers are motivated, even if they run into something they don’t know how to do, they’ll say, ‘We can totally figure this out. We’ve got this.


Ellen Gottesdiener and Mary Gorman explain How do you Turn Competing Stakeholders into Collaborating Product Partners. You’ll need to figure this out when you have customer partners, business partners and technology partners, each with diverging goals and priorities.

SaaS Strategy

There is a gem of a chart in this article by Indy Guha, The race for growth: Why SaaS marketers are feeling the pressure. Developed by Bain Capital Ventures, and named “The “Revenue Pit-Crew for Cloud Apps Growth”, the table breaks the key enterprise SaaS tools by the various needs and outcomes: 1) qualified leads, 2) initial buy experience, 3) churn reduction and upsell revenue, and 4) cash for growth management. Must read if you’re in the enterprise/SaaS market.

User Experience

How do you provide design feedback when a team gets together to review a product? Jake Knapp of Google Ventures has Nine Rules for Running Productive Design Critiques. Not surprisingly, tact is as important as substance. And Frank Guo says to Create Great UX in an Agile World by Conducting Lean UX Research, if you’d like to inject agility into the user experience process.

Growth Hacking

Brian Balfour outlines 3 phases of evolution in Traction vs. Growth. They are 1) Traction, 2) Transition, and 3) Growth. They correspond respectively to 1) product/market fit, 2) discovery growth levers, 3) turning up growth levers. It’s a great read, and includes the metrics you need to look at, for each phase.

Software Development Choices

Should you build mobile apps in native or cross-platform code? “40 percent of developers have started building native, only to switch to HTML5, and 31 percent have started building cross-platform, only to switch to native” says John Koetsier in HTML5 vs. native vs. hybrid mobile apps: 3,500 developers say all three, please. However, Ravi Pratap says there’s and alternative to responsive design, in Responsive Design vs. Adaptive Delivery: Which One’s Right for You? “With adaptive delivery, the most significant difference is that the server hosting the website detects the devices making requests to it, and uses this information to deliver different batches of HTML and CSS code based on the characteristics of the device that have been detected.” Finally, a third article from Abhay Parasnis on a related topic, Native, Web, Platform: What’s the best way to build a new app?, where he lays out the pros and cons of each approach, from a developer’s perspective. That SUMs it up! Don’t forget to share on Twitter,  add us to your Feedly, forward to a friend, follow on Twitter, read in Flipboard, or just visit the website often and daily. To sign-up, please click here. William Mougayar Founder & Chief Curator Startup Management]]>

Roundup #17 Nov 3 2013 Conversions, VC/Entrepreneur, Content Marketing, Venture Capital, Marketing, Unicorns

SUM_ScreenshotThis weekend’s Roundup #17 from Startup Management is a manual selection from the hundreds of weekly articles being curated. Previous issues are available here. There are 15 article links in this edition. First, I have an announcement. We have revamped the Startup Management website with a new look, and expanded the scope of curation coverage according to 11 categories: Advice, Marketing, Venture Capital, Product, Ecosystem, Growth, Management, Market Data, Technology, Transactions and Think Tank. To get a feel for it, please visit the new home page, where you’ll see the magazine style, or river of news format. If you are already subscribed to the existing RSS feed, it has converted to the firehose of articles, about 30-40 per day. The feed for my blog posts only will be at http://feeds.feedburner.com/wmougayar. Also, every category or tag page will have its own RSS feed that you can access from the respective pages. Please send me feedback. We are still working on smoothening the experience, and have additional features coming-up this week. Feel free to also try it on your smartphone. User Experience Denis Duvauchelle reminds us of the 500 milliseconds rule, in Don’t lose users for eternity in the first 5 seconds: How to survive the blink test, based on a 2006 study that still holds true. He goes into details, explaining how to quickly retain users attention. My favorite part is about the “halo effect”. “The halo effect refers to how even though something has some minor flaws, the overall effect is positive and reassuring – and most importantly, trustworthy.” VC-Entrepreneur Relationship Fred Wilson and Matt Blumberg wrote a pair of related posts depicting each side of the VC/Entrepreneur relationship. In The Role of Personal Chemistry in Investment Selection, Fred explains the 4 stages of the process of getting to know an entrepreneur: first impression, subsequent meetings, reference checking, and negotiation. In Selecting Your Investors, Matt has 7 tips for ensuring you end-up with the best long-term partner as an investor. Lessons in Conversions Here are 39 tips from London Conversion Conference. It’s a bulleted list from practioners, on pricing, conversion, copyrighting, mobile, and testing. Y Combinator Startup School 2 follow-ons are worth a look. YC Startup School Mashup is a collection of speakers quotes. And Gregory Koberger has put together a visually pleasing notebook, Startupnotes, summarizing each presentation with creative graphics. Content Marketing David Armano has laid the law on The Five Content Archetypes. They are: Curated, Co-Created, Original, Consumer-Generated, and Sponsored. The drivers of attention are Mobile, Social, and Search. It’s a good framework to think about when looking at your Content Marketing practices. “The first wave of social was dominated by engagement and how to engage at scale. The second is dominated by engaging at scale plus content distribution and integration with marketing programs.Alexis Ohanian Interview If you’re a fan of Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian (who isn’t?), here’s an hour long video interview with Jason Calacanis on This Week in Startups. Growth Hacking VC Chamath Palihapitiya Says He Has Cracked the Code for Making Startups Grow, and has a team of growth experts that he parachutes into portfolio companies to help them grow. Unicorn Story Only if you were under a rock during the week-end, you didn’t hear about the Unicorn Club article at TechCrunch that spurred a follow-on post from Fred Wilson on AVC. Here is a link to a tagged list of related posts, and you’ll experience the power of our new semantic tagging on the new Startup Management: http://startupmanagement.org/tag/unicorn-analysis/. Venture Capital Boris Wertz picks up on the fact that Funding is now global: location is no longer your financing destiny. This applies equally well to startups that are getting financing from outside of where they are located, and to VC firms who are crossing their traditional geographical boundaries to invest where ever there is a good opportunity. The world is getting smaller for tech investments, and that’s a good thing. Charlie O’Donnell says Don’t Send the Deck, because it’s like allowing someone to play your story on mute. Instead, go for the face-to-face meeting when pitching a VC. Marketing Debbie Laskey explains the realities behind The Blurring Lines Between Marketing and Technology. The battleground? Data. “At the core, the tension between the IT and marketing departments has grown because the two own important data.The Internet of Things The Economist Intelligence Unit has a special report, The Internet of Things Business Index, a quiet revolution (pdf). It’s a great read, and includes coverage by industry and geography. And Sarah Guo notes that 2 companies in this segment already have huge valuations: Nest at $800M, and Jawbone at $1.5B, in The Internet of Venture Dollars, Tethering the “Internet of Things”. That SUMs it up! Don’t forget to share on Twitter,  add us to your Feedly, forward to a friend, follow on Twitter, read in Flipboard, or just visit the website often and daily. William Mougayar Founder & Chief Curator Startup Management]]>

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