Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The book about Ron Conway

Recently I picked The Godfather of Silicon Valley

That is the book about Ron Conway with no doubts the most prominent angel investor in Silicon Valley.  I like to read biographies as they can be pretty inspiring.

That was a different book.  I can't really describe it, neither I can say that I loved it, but I "ate it" in just two days.  Not a typical biography-book.  However, it change my view of Ron Conway.  Unfortunately, I had no chance to meet him personally, yet, so my impression of him is solely based on typical TechCrunch- and Hacker News-type of a stories (which I tend to accept with a grain of salt).  This book gave me a chance to to see him as a talented businessman, but a not as a all-wanna-be-entrepreneurs-God-whatever.  And his networking circles can't leave you unimpressed anyways. :)

If you have got a spare few hours, I highly recommend this one.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Leaked iPhone 4 troubleshooting guide

1. Keep all of the positioning statements in the BN handy – your tone when delivering this information is important.

a. The iPhone 4’s wireless performance is the best we have ever shipped. Our testing shows that iPhone 4’s overall antenna performance is better than iPhone 3GS.

b. Gripping almost any mobile phone in certain places will reduce its reception. This is true of the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, and many other phones we have tested. It is a fact of life in the wireless world.

c. If you are experiencing this on your iPhone 3GS, avoid covering the bottom-right side with your hand.

d. If you are experiencing this on your iPhone 4, avoid covering the black strip in the lower-left corner of the metal band.

e. The use of a case or Bumper that is made out of rubber or plastic may improve wireless performance by keeping your hand from directly covering these areas.

2. Do not perform warranty service. Use the positioning above for any customer questions or concerns.

3. Don’t forget YOU STILL NEED to probe and troubleshoot. If a customer calls about their reception while the phone is sitting on a table (not being held) it is not the metal band.

4. ONLY escalate if the issue exists when the phone is not held AND you cannot resolve it.

5. We ARE NOT appeasing customers with free bumpers – DON’T promise a free bumper to customers.

Seed copy with keywords for SEO

Writing that’s direct and strategically suffused with keywords improves the odds that searchers will find your site in search results, consider your page relevant to their needs, click through, and engage with the content they see.

In this example—a webpage from a fictional site that sells baby clothes—see how a shy piece of prose can be made over to sell itself.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

How to get 40K+ Facebook fans in 4 days

Whether you are a consumer packaged good, non-profit, or small business, many of these technique will work for you. You might not be able to drive 631 fans for under a dollar, but you can certainly do a LOT better with proper Facebook ads than you’re doing with Google alone.

Dennis Yu comes up with 8 rules to increase the number of fans of your Facebook page. Very decent writeup.

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How to Get Taxed 87% in America

Under the conditions described so far, if the company you invest in earns $100 on your behalf and wishes to send it to you as a dividend, you'll end up with $28.44. How's that? Corporate taxes at the maximum federal and average state rate will take $39.10. From the $60.90 that's left, federal dividend taxes will take $24.12; state and city taxes, $6.03; and Medicare taxes, $2.31. That leaves $28.44.

This post is probably a good reason for not moving to NY. Ever. :)

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

HTML5 must read

...many early adapters (web developers and geeks) started creating some cool stuffs wtih the cleaner HTML5/CSS3 codes. In case you wanted to be one of them but don’t know where to start, here are list of useful HTML5 tutorials to get you started.

Ten first steps to master HTML5.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Review of the Rework

I just finished reading Rework by two co-founders of so-popular-nowadays 37signals company.

Well, the book had its own auditory before it even appeared.  That's a crowd of news.yc.  Quite a crowd, I should say, so it would be stupid not to monetize (sorry, not to make money :) from them.  And that what they did.

I don't feel like discuss the ideas of the book.  But "forget everything what they taught you and do the opposite" wasn't the main idea (as considered by some reviewers).  Authors just restated the same ideas they were idolizing before and put them all together.

More the strategy book, rather than a guide.  However, the guide is still coming.  (I guess.)

Few notes: 
  1. Starting a business on the side while keeping your day job can provide all the cash flow you need.
  2. You might learn what not to do again, but how valuable is that?  You still don't know what you do next.
  3. Working more doesn't mean you care more or get more done.  It just means you work more.
  4. A business without a path to profit isn't a business, it's a hobby.
  5. And what really matters is how to actually get customers and make money.
  6. Do everything you can to remove layers of abstraction.

It's a good book.  Go for it, if you hadn't yet.

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Free to paid through obstacles

I'm facing a dilemma here and would like to ask for some advice.  

Say, I'm operating a resource, which was free for some period of time, has established community of users and monetizes through other means (ads, sponsors, etc).  Management has decided to start offering paid plans to users (although, with no good sounding plan on table, yet).  Meanwhile, I've spent some time researching the needs of visitors and came up with a list of things that would definitely make users happy.  

However, I'm hesitating to proceed with those changes, as the management is afraid that some of those changes (most of them being minor though) might be used as a tool to push users towards a paid plan.  And once they are offered free, the users might be less happy moving into paid, and would be angry to know that we're taking something away from them.

So, the question is

  1. How should we deal with taking away something that was free (for a while) and making it for-pay, and 
  2. Should we consider bundling up minor changes to make a good reason for people to upgrade their plans, while not offering much else?


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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sign Up Forms Must Die

I believe we can get people engaged with digital services in a way that tells them how such services work and why they should care enough to use them. I also believe we can do this without explicitly making them fill out a sign-up form as a first step.

An old (2008), but still actual post by Luke Wroblewski about new look at the sign up forms (still a way to go in 2010). He also has a section on gradual engagement solution, which implementation showed nice results in many companies (ie. Twitter).

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Quickie about Uservoice & KISSinsights

I had a chance to run few experiments with Uservoice ( and KISSinsights (  Let me share the results with you.

Well, to start with, what is KISSinsights?  To quote the founders:

KISSinsights makes it ridiculously easy for you to ask questions and for your customers to answer them. [...] The surveys look pretty sweet, too.

Basically, that's it.  Nothing new, but the fact that KISSinsights was brought by the same team as KISSmetrics, which are quite known, gives them few extra points (or maybe not).

And Uservoice is sorta different thing (what you can't probably say from its tagline):

Your customers have great ideas. Are you ready to listen?

Typically, from the first sight, they should not be compared directly.  Uservoice is there for building communities, heating up discussions, cultivating ideas growth and soliciting (some) customer feedback.  KISSinsights is also can be good with ideas solicitation, and, basically, that's it.

However, I still found it reasonable to compare them. 

Few words about the setup.  I've run Uservoice for about a month on the majority pages of the site.  KISSinsights was installed on only one of the most visiting pages, appears only after 10 secs, asks only one question and doesn't show up (I believe!) for those who have already participated in it.  Oh, and one more thing, I'll be talking about free versions of both products.

Now, the results:
  1. Uservoice has generated some amount of feedback within the first several days of being installed.  I believe this has something to do with early adopters, who can visiting the site often and reacting quickly to the changes occuired.   It started low, peaked on the next day or two, and then went down to nothing quickly after that.  KISSinsights was installed for just a few days, and started to generate feedback right away.  It started low, and than went gradually up on amount of feedback solicited.  As for now, after running for just a week (comparing to 5 weeks of Uservoice), KISSinsights has solicited three times more feedback than Uservoice.
  2. No on was every bothered by Uservoice button (or did, but decided to stay quite on that).  However, we've received some amount of complaints for "annoying box" quickly after installing KISSinsights.  Frankly speaking, I still think this is good, because it's better be loved or hated, than be in the middle.
  3. KISSinsights quality of feedback is much better, although my original impression was that Uservoice tends to make your visitors leave much more detailed feedback.
  4. There is no way to follow up with visitors through the KISSinsights directly.  I don't know if this is good or bad, but you should sacrifice with something.  Otherwise, torturing visitors with email/registration forms, might drive the real value away - ideas and suggestions how to improve the product.  But Uservoice provides a decent mechanism to follow up with visitors.
  5. KISSinsights allows to pass some information along aside with answers to survey.  Uservoice is quite limited on that.
  6. I didn't observe any increase in bounce rate after installing either KISSinsights and Uservoice, but I found the average time spent on the page higher by 20% after installing KISSinsights.

In conclusion (which I'm hesitating to make, as I've just started experimenting with these products), I do see that "intruding" way of KISSinsights works better, even if it irritates some of the visitors.  And, generally, I am strongly believer that it's better to have emotions on the site, than the flat, emotion-less interest.  

I'm going to give both of them a longer run, and review them again.

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Mixpanel v. KISSmetrics v. Google Analytics

I didn’t see a clear winner after poking around with the three tools so I decided to try all of them together. I’m really glad I did because this is the comparison table (based on my experiences from above):

Mixpanel KISSmetrics Google Analytics
Tracking Events Great Poor Poor
Measuring Funnels Poor Great Average
Analyzing Traffic Poor Poor Great
Real-time Yes No No
Setup Difficult Moderate Easy

They’re all great at different things! And since what you need to learn will change over time, you really need more than one tool in the long term.

Arthur Klepchukov has posted a nice comparison between Mixpanel, KISSmetrics and GA. While I believe that GA can be quite good in everything, with a little bit of Mixpanel sauce, it's still a decent pros/cons table to consider.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Review of the alibaba story

I just finished reading the alibaba: The Inside Story Behind Jack Ma...

That was a nice book.  It didn't keep me all that hooked about what happens next, but I blame editor for that.  Organization is not that good, especially, keeping in mind that there was quite a story to tell.  Anyways, it's a good book.

One point to take from the book: there are markets that can't get owned by foreigners.  There is such a thing as mentality, that is a tough competitor for the theory, no matter how good is it.  Sometimes you have to live the life of those whom you're working with, and whom you're selling to, to become a leader.  You can hire the best minds, however, not having the same mentality will drive you wrong way (or will make you slower than others).  

An extra point: there is often a huge sales force behind a thing that gives a first impression as a social platform.  

Once nice quote: "Ten years ago, I applied to come to Harvard. I applied three times and was rejected three times. You all didn't even look at my application, I believe - you just turned me down!"

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Гимн России


white@iwhite:~> dig -t ptr +short {200..225}

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Friday, June 11, 2010


P.S. I am only wondering how this picture will look like on iPad. I guess - terrific! :)

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Новый налоговый кодекс Украины

Після ухвалення нового податкового кодексу підприємці не зможуть здіснювати рекламну діяльність за спрощеною системою оподаткування.

Про це йдеться в проекті податкового кодексу.

Так, спрощена система оподаткування не поширюватиметься на  суб'єктів господарювання (юридичних осіб та фізичних осіб - підприємців), які здійснюють:
а) діяльність у сфері грального бізнесу;
б) обмін іноземної валюти;
продаж товарів (послуг) через Інтернет, надають послуги Інтернет-провайдерів;

зовнішньоекономічну діяльність;

- Что нужно сделать чтобы корова меньше ела и больше доилась?
- Нужно ее меньше кормить и больше доить.


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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Google Analytics can be more than just counter

Google Analytics comes with two very useful tools that aren’t enabled by default: Site Search and Event Tracking. When used, these tools can help give more meaningful statistics about users on your site.

Mike Takahashi briefly describes Site Search and Event Tracking features available in Google Analytics. It's also a good thing to take a look at Ian Harris' intro in extending Google Analytics with jQuery (>

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Don't let you site slow down

Nice post on relation between the slowness of your site and page rank (and many business metrics, actually).

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