We’re moving the weekly round-up to Monday, so you can read it as you start your week. This week, here are some social media updates you should know of.
Did you know that you can now tag (mention) people on LinkedIn the way you do on Facebook or Twitter? I’m so glad they finally rolled this out. Even Google Plus had this!
Facebook changed their guidelines to remove restrictions on using calls to action or contact info on cover photos. Now you can say “Buy Now”, “Like”, or “Call us!” in your cover photo if you want to.
Facebook also introduced threading of comments, so that replies are bunched together. In itself, this is a great idea, but people are complaining about the replies being ordered by popularity/relevance instead of in chronological order. If you are a Page owner, this might make your life a little more difficult.
Facebook announced changes to the news feed last month, which are being rolled out to users. This article gives you the five coolest changes: I especially like that mobile usability will improve and we’ll see more content in chronological order.
On to Twitter: the new Twitter cards (that allow you to add rich content in a tweet) have interesting features. For developers, the app card looks really cool. The Gallery card lets you include up to four images in the same tweet. Most interestingly for e-commerce businesses, you can embed product details right inside a tweet.
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We just released an update to Markitty with several significant (and a few not-such-a-big-deal changes). We’ve focused on adding more stats and recommendations that you can use to make marketing decisions. We have tried to format tables consistently throughout the site, and made some UI changes that we’re pretty excited about.
We’ve also added a Help page that should answer some of your questions and explain the data we show you. When you’re signed in to Markitty, the “Help” link is on the top right of the menu bar.
On to the details.
This weekend’s links are all about starting startups and working in startups.
If you’re just starting out, Daniel Tenner has advice for you. It’s awesome advice — even if you don’t agree or decide to ignore it anyway, read it.
Leo Widrich offers ten myths about startups. I found #1 particularly eye-opening: but it makes sense that deadlines don’t work “when you’re trying to do something innovative and new; when you don’t have a manual to refer to on how to perform your tasks.”
Rob Heaton tells you to check that you’re wearing trousers first, that is, try simple solutions first. This paragraph is key:
It’s a pleasant delusion to believe that all our problems require hard solutions. This way we feel interesting, get to do challenging things and become more attractive to members of our preferred sex. If you’re constantly feeling tired it’s tempting to become concerned about your iron levels, consider painting your ceiling a relaxing shade of ochre and look into buying a new pillow that fits your personality better. But you probably just need to go to bed a bit earlier. Perhaps on some level of consciousness we find it hard to believe that anything simple could possibly make a dent in our problems, which as we already know are of course really difficult and can only be solved by a super-genius such as ourselves. But there will always be simple things you are doing badly that you should look at first, especially in a startup where you deliberately ignore 90% of things so that you can do the other 10% really, really right.
Joel Gascoigne’s thoughts on building a minimum viable product (MVP) also made me sit up and think, especially as that’s in line with what we’re trying to do with Markitty.
Speaking of Markitty, if you haven’t yet read Nilesh’s account of our journey so far, do it now.
Unmana wrote about how we decided to get started with Markitty: here is my account of the product development so far.
I had done a bit of coding more than 10 years back, but since then my exposure to the technical side was limited to managing software projects, data analysis, and occasional experiments with SQL or Excel macros. Building a SaaS product of our own was a task I had never imagined taking up.
Outsource or build in-house
We didn’t have a lot of money to hire a great outsourcing vendor or to hire a senior technical lead. We did try looking for someone who could be a technical co-founder but that was not going to be easy.
Unmana and I had both worked in geographically distributed teams for a long time and understood the communication overheads and leakages that need to be dealt with in such a setup. So we were very clear from the beginning that we wanted to have a local team and dedicated developers who can work closely with us. Apart from the cost, culture was the biggest driver behind this decision.
Unmana is out of action for a few days due to a small accident so I am bringing you this weekend’s reading. This one is going to be a mix of personal and business: hope you will find it useful and enjoyable.
If you feel you are always busy but still stress out for not doing enough, you must read Rethinking Productivity by Amber Naslund:
“Productivity, at its essence, means being able to bring things about. But sometimes, making that happen is as much about what you don’t do.”
And similarly this old piece by Paul Graham explains why some of us feel our whole day is wasted even if we have to attend one meeting.
Don’t hate me for including this one in a weekend reads list: Joel talks about the need for hard work and uses some interesting celebrity examples.
Read this hackathon experience of our hacker, Virendra, if you haven’t gone off to work by now and are still with me.
And a replug of our earlier post if you missed the announcement — we are live with Markitty Beta. Go sign-up now and let us know what you think of Markitty.
Have a good weekend!
Are you considering outsourcing your product development or marketing or HR? I wrote this piece for YourStory.in about things you should consider before outsourcing your product development. But most of these points also apply when you are looking for a marketing partner or a web design company.
But unlike other functions, in outsourcing product development, the cost of a wrong decision is much higher. Correcting your marketing messaging or website design down the line is not that difficult: but your cost and pain will be much higher if product development goes wrong. And since it is difficult to recognize problems until it is very late, when it comes to choosing a product development outsourcing partner, getting it right the first time is your best bet.
Outsourcing is an obvious option to consider when you have an idea for a software application but don’t have the technical expertise to implement it yourself. You bring in the domain expertise and take care of the business side, and outsource the technical aspects to experts in that field. But this is easier said than done, and there have been many stories of product development outsourcing gone wrong. So what do you do?
You will find this useful if you are considering outsourcing as an option, or are an outsourcing vendor yourself. Read the full post here, and do share your feedback in the comments.