Sunday, 25 June 2017

Building Bashfully - a brief background

The first guest post here on "Part of the Process" from Martyn Osborne as he explains the Infrastructure side of bashfully, a parallel concern to testing the vision.

Since we've recently publicly unveiled Bashfully, it seems prudent to run through the technology stack and why we chose it.  I’m hoping it may also at least partially explain why starting a side project was appealing to me!

Backend stack

Naturally, there were some elements I wanted to focus on when selecting the language:
  • Fun.  As it's a side project (in addition to a full-time development job), I wanted something interesting to play with in my free time.
  • Different.  During the day I spend most of my time in C#, F# and JavaScript in Windows-land.
  • Functional.  I love F# and the paradigm, so that was the direction I wanted to go.
  • Web sockets.  This project is a toy - and I wanted to play with them at some point (of course, when appropriate!)
  • Practical.  Yes, I wanted a toy.  I also wanted a project that will eventually materialise!

I had been keeping a close eye on Elixir for quite a while, and Bashfully seemed an excellent excuse to use it in anger!  Elixir also has an excellent web framework with Phoenix, and an exceptionally helpful community.

So far, Elixir genuinely makes me happy.  I personally think that’s high praise, and I may dive into more detail there in the future.

PostgreSQL suffices for persistence.  Elixir has good support with Ecto, it’s easy to run on my machine, and Heroku allows remote PSQL sessions.

Frontend stack

To be honest, I battled with the idea of making Bashfully an SPA for a while (and I have some expertise in that area).  However, I now believe that would have been overkill; especially at what is essentially a prototype phase.

Instead, we’re primarily using Phoenix to render pages on the server side with Vue sprinkled throughout where advantageous.  I’m not particularly attached to Vue yet, but it’s sufficient and I am eager to explore further.

Hosting
                                                        
On the hosting side of things, Heroku has been fantastic.  We’re using GitLab CI to build, test and immediately deploy Bashfully to our Heroku staging environment;  we can then promote that build to production with Heroku’s pipeline feature.  This was working well within an hour!

Even though this setup was primarily to make my own life easier, it also had the interesting effect of allowing Neil to easily make design, wording and content changes to the application (via GitLab’s excellent editing UI) and have them deploy to staging without any technical barriers.

Security

This bit is pretty important.  We have worked on a similar web application for a while and have learnt several lessons along the way; these lessons have been incorporated into Bashfully.

We decided from the very beginning to go passwordless and use third-party authentication providers (Google, Facebook, etc).  This was trivial to set up (we’re using Ueberauth) and means we don’t have to process or store credentials - very helpful in the age of data breaches!

Site-wide HTTPS has also been implemented courtesy of LetsEncrypt via Heroku.  

My advice

For anyone else attempting a side project (and with the intention of going live in a reasonable timeframe!), I would suggest:
  • Don’t pick any technologies too esoteric.  Make sure they’re fun, but also practical!
  • Do pick some technologies that you are familiar with.  Writing good quality idiomatic code when learning one technology is hard enough - don’t try it with too many.
  • Keep the infrastructure simple.  I toyed with the idea of building the infrastructure myself on AWS;  but not doing so let us concentrate on the mockups, journeys, and the application itself!
  • Define your vision early on.  Staying focused on building the right things is critical, and a vision helps (especially as a developer!).
  • Break the project up into smaller chunks.  Something like Trello is a great help.  I would argue that this is a critical skill for any developer and one that a side project can help with.

Thanks


If you made it this far - kudos!  I will probably be expanding on these topics in the future, so keep an eye on this blog!

To add to this, not only was I using the GitLab UI but I have created, merged and squashed feature branches. I have even wired up some page handlers unaided without knowing any Elixir or Phoneix!

Thursday, 22 June 2017

MEETUP: "A look into what every Product Manager forgets " at ProductTank Brighton

Three varied viewpoints and interesting talks at tonight's ProductTank, around what Product Managers usually forget. First up was Mark Rodgers sharing how they overlooked things in the first iteration of the new image search functionality at Brandwatch. I can completely relate the situation in my own work. That thing where when you see the product with real data and a real usage situation you suddenly notice something and think "how did I miss that?!", since it now seems so obvious. This made me feel a bit better that if someone, as experienced with Mark and with his team at Brandwatch, can make that mistake it's not surprising I do.

Next was Ben Sauer from ClearLeft. His talk was a more abstract look at companies culture. For example, how it is all around us but that we don't notice it. And consequently (or maybe because of?) we don't discuss it enough. He recommended a couple of books to read Creativity, inc  by Ed Catmull and 
Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall Rosenberg that I am looking forward to reading. Especially as he said the lessons of applying NVC to his life had improved his relationships. One particular piece of advice that stuck with me was to use comedians for change. That is if you are using videoed user feedback to convince "higher ups" that something is a bad idea, get someone funny. He put forward the suggestion that it helps if people can laugh at themselves when admitting a coursed of action was wrong.
The final talk was Tim Stamp from Rakuten talking about security and how this can damage business reputation when done badly. I know that I have thought about user permissions a step too late in the design process before. One piece of advice he gave was to get someone in with a security focus when discussing the user journeys so that they can suggest how attackers could abuse the system. A related point that Ben made in the panel Q&A after, was that we don't have discussions about security/usability tradeoff enough. So get security in at the user journey mapping should help that happen as well.

It was also very satisfying listen to Tim talk about passwords, and if possible avoiding them by using single sign-on. Exactly the approach, and for exactly the same reasons, why we have avoided them on my side project!

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Introducing bashfully

So in my last post on the "untitled side project" I said that I would elaborate more on the idea. When we started the project we had a strong idea of the kind of project that we wanted to do. And after settling in the area I started doing some reading around and thinking about who we could help. What change were we looking to make in the world? How were we looking to alter behaviour? (a litmus test for innovation) 

The project is called Bashfully. Partially a play on the concept of being bashful and shy about talking about your achievements. Partially because the name could be part of the domain in the .ly TLD ;-) This project is to provide an online resume to help people shine in ways that the current sites do not. To help them be proud of what they have achieved. Finally, to allow them to see their career development as a journey and set their own narrative.

The Trello card entitled "what are we hoping to learn?" says:


MVP is to test the hypothesis that there is a market for a resume site and network for people in a creative role or within 3-4 years out of university. These people are not currently served by either LinkedIn because the format is quite restrictive/unispiring or Facebook because it is too informal and basic. Although both sites offer good networking and the target demographic are already somewhat established in at least one of these.
As the first step to sense check this I created a survey and shared on social media. Around the same time, we created a landing page. This had two purposes, 

  1. to share awareness of the project, including the survey 
  2. to build up the functionality iteratively
The first part of this functionality was the registration of interest. This is the foundation of the user authentication that the full site will use. It allowed us to explore the different APIs that we wanted to use and actually integrate with them.

The initial results from the survey were great. One idea suggested was almost word for word how I would describe it - with the caveat we need to be careful of confirmation bias! Another respondent gave us an idea that was brilliant and we hadn't thought of. 

The output of looking at these survey results also helped firm up the vision from the initial hypothesis.This was a vital thing to get in place. Any project and especially product needs to have a clear sense of:
  1. Who you are helping?
  2. Why you are helping them?
  3. How will this help them? What is the positive outcome for them?
Without this, any sense of prioritisation or ROI calculations that you will hope to do are likely to be a mirage at worst. At best you'll have a useful proxy, but that can change without you noticing. This is as true for a 2 person side project as it is for any commercial organisation. Probably more since we are doing this for fun and not profit, and launching is part of the fun!

Thanks for reading. The next instalment is likely to be on crafting the user journeys and mockups to test with real people (aka "users").

Further reading


Friday, 16 June 2017

Is "addictive" app design ethical?

Many years ago I used to live with someone who commuted an hour longer than I did. This was way before smartphones, social media, or even cheap laptops. So I used to do the washing up as part of my evening ritual of winding down from work - luckily she was also as relaxed about leaving the washing up as I was.

Thinking back to this time the main method of communicating online was via forums around interests. So Eurogamer, Get Your Boot On, and North Stand Chat for example. Here the conversations are around topics. The nature of content on the sites is discoverable and predictable. I could easily see new information that I was interested in. I could also easily show someone else something interesting later.

Fast forward a decade with smartphones and pretty widespread internet connections I can get a notification ping up on my phone instantly alerting me that someone I know has posted something for the first time in a while. It will probably be a cup of coffee. Do I really need to be that connected?

Don't get me wrong, in my line of work at 15below creating alerts for people on the move, who need really timely information about their journey, can be the difference between missing or catching a flight. The ROI of the joy of making a flight you would otherwise have missed is hard to capture, but I'd certainly call it progress.

What I wonder about is the switch from the topic based forums I used to frequent, to people based "social networks" that are a virtual stream of consciousness. Sure they can be easily discoverable. They can put people in different countries who have never met in real friendships. However, they can also be unpredictable. Feeding that part of our lizard brain that feels rewards for novelty. 

The worst for this is LinkedIn. I almost feel like the second I see something I have to like it, read it or share it. Otherwise, I will never see that post again. This actually makes the experience stressful. If I see multiple items of interest when I open the app it's a race against time to complete them before I move on.

It's a similar story with Twitter or Facebook. Constantly refreshing or switching between searches to see what's "new". Sometimes I even fall into a zombie-like state, swiping and refreshing. When I stop I'm exhausted falling into a daze. This undoubtedly has an impact on real life relationships. With mental health. Is the disruptive nature of the curated timeline worth the ads it allows the platforms to push in our faces? Because social networks are becoming so interwoven into our lives that not being present there can be just as isolating.

My Sunday morning last weekend really brought it home to me. When I got up, instead of the usual coffee and social media routine, I did some housework. I unloaded the dishwasher. Washed up some fragile glasses. Put some washing on the line. When I had finished and sat down with my coffee, I felt much more awake. I was also more relaxed.

As product people do we have an ethical duty to consider the impact of our creations on people? I use the term "people" here deliberately rather than "users". This is probably an enabling term that allows us to distance our actions from the impact.

I will leave you with this thought from the Pope - and whether online or in real life keep your interactions meaningful.
Sorry for the rant. I know it's not overly original. But I feel it is important. We need to be more aware of the issues and avoid them.

Further reading


Friday, 9 June 2017

CONFERENCE: TTI Summer Forum 2017 – Getting to Grips with GDPR

This week I was at the Travel Technology Initiative's Summer Forum. The subject was the new EU (and UK!) data protection laws. These are due to come into force in May 2018. It's a large topic where the individual member state's laws and guidance are evolving.

There were three main points that I picked up from the presentations. First from Dai Davis, GDPR expert at Percy Crow Davis & Co. His lively presentation talked about how a large part of the change is in how rights communicated. Before this was by "fairness" through registration of usage with a central body. The shift is to transparency by informing individuals directly.

This means that the consumer mindset could then shift to match how legislation is framed. For example, with the repetition of many companies holding personally identifiable information now having to inform what they are collecting and how they are processing it. Currently, awareness isn't high and the compensation not high enough to make it worth pursuing.

The next salient point came from Steve Dobson, IT Security Director, ATCORE Technology. He talked about how the new regulations move more accountability to data processors. So as IT suppliers we need to care more about data controller behaviour as it can comprise us as data processors.

The final point I'd note was that consent is key. Additionally with the rights of subjects to knowing what data is held you need to check that the request is coming from the individual in question. Also that you have the consent from them. This can be an issue on travel bookings. For example, where multiple passengers could request data held on the same PNR.

As a Product Manager for an IT supplier in the travel industry I also picked up some product ideas, but those are for my backlog not my blog ;-)

Further Reading

Monday, 5 June 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Product Leadership By Richard Banfield, Martin Eriksson, Nate Walkingshaw

I've had this book on preview as each chapter came out and I've finally had a chance to read the full release version. So before it gets officially launch at MTPCon on June 13th here is my round-up...

Formats: Paperback, DAISY, ePub, Mobi, PDF

Where can I get it? From O'Reilly, Amazon or .... any good bookshop, although I think there are currently only 500 physical copies left world wide!
  
Who is it for? Anyone involved in a software product development team or a startup founder thinking about which roles to hire next. 

What's it about? Product management, product leadership, not just the overlap but also the differences. How to grow your career as you grow into product leadership and how to hire the role for senior management.

What's the book like? The book is divided into three sections:

  1. The Product Leader
  2. The Right Leader for the Right Time
  3. Working with Customers, Agencies, Partners, and External Stakeholders

The first section concentrates on the different areas of product management, the skills needed, artefacts and processes required, and what success looks like. It might be too "meta" for some, but I liked the way it applied treating the role as a product that needed managing. For some of the lessons of moving from practitioner to leader I wish I had this book a few years ago as I stopped coding being a tech lead on projects! But it was useful to relate my experience to how the book presented information, I felt this gave me a kick start to absorbing the later lessons. It really gives a good flavour of the many different hats that you need to wear as a PM and how that evolves as the role gets more senior.

The second section goes into more practical advice and anecdotes around the kind of leader needed for each stage of an organisation - from start-up to emerging organisation and finishing with enterprise organisations.  This is useful in being aware of which skills to develop as your organisation grows so that you aren't caught out by that growth.

The final section starts off with trust and value, before covering topics such as when to hire consultants. One bit of advice I found surprising was to hire for either short or long term engagements, so either give an injection of new skills/views or to implement a new strategy. Anything in-between is likely to lead to the partial implementation of any strategy. There is also a good discussion of the opportunity cost and value when looking at short-term vs long-term needs.


Further Reading


Monday, 1 May 2017

Challenges in travel technology - a holiday makers perspective

I love travelling, not because of going to new places - although that is great! - but because I enjoy the journey. Mainly because I'm a travel and systems thinking nerd. My latest holiday was a chance to look at airlines and airports in a different way. Scheduled flights to hubs for business are one thing, package holidays to small airports proved another thing entirely. In fact, comparing Gatwick airport to Heraklion it is a good example of this quote
The future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed. 
William Gibson
It got me thinking about two major challenges to objectives of the IATA fast travel program being the norm across the whole industry.


Culture


The first is customer culture. Self-service common use technology is still in its infancy. Previously there has been a consistent expectation for example of what travel means, and how desks work, this is now being replaced with different tech and varying security rules. For example, even a large hub like Amsrerdam can have its issues


So far every "self-service" experience I've had at an airport has been slightly different. The only constant factor are there being a number of staff on hand, who are there to tell you how to use it. 

There is also the difference in business vs leisure/package travellers. For example, what use are home printed bag tags if your holiday rep is picking bags up and checking them in. So, all you have to do is go to security gate (best case) or if you have children you need to tag push chairs etc

Business travellers are also likely to have more idea about the self-service capabilities of the airlines and airports that they use most often. So giving leisure or infrequent travellers awareness of the airport facilities to prepare them can only be a good thing. 

But still, the experience and expectations vary greatly between airports. For example, a smaller airport like Heraklion where not all the check-in counters even take the luggage, here you have to get the bag tag from a counter and then take to the x-ray machine. Here it is not a simple case of installing a few kiosks and some software, there is a much larger infrastructure and business process improvement project to consider. Which brings me onto the next challenge.

Technology


The second issue is with technology roll-out. I don't see a major engineering problem needing solving. Additionally the problem isn't consumers, after all most "industrial" tech stacks a behind the consumer experience from finance and insurance to health and travel. It isn't the airlines, who although they have legacy systems largely in place there are providers that can deliver modern communications. It's the airports. Or more specifically the spoke and small leisure destination airports. IATA acknowledge this in their risk assessment:

Business case: Airports may be reluctant to invest and implement such solutions as they face the dual challenges of differing customer requirements in terms of technology and process as well as the lack of a coherent proposition that reduces airline costs while at the same time maximises value for the airport. Global industry standards help to minimise the impact and are at the core of the Fast Travel solutions offered by the service providers and vendors.
IATA Fast travel strategy

Part of the problem is the aping of consumer technology, but always being behind, so user experience is not consistent with the expectations set. Consumer replacement cycles are within two years but enterprise IT roll-out projects still take that long to complete; so it stands to reason that they will always be behind the curve. 

Two trends that will help here are firstly modular systems using off the shelf components pushing the "specialised" part of the system into software. The second is BYOD, having dumb infrastructure that again pushes the business rules and experience into a place where it can be easily updated to keep pace with consumer expectations. I don't think iBeacons and apps are the answer just yet, but I do think that they show a glimpse of the future way of working. 



Airlines probably stand to gain the most here from reduced ground handing cost and the airports that are going to be the laggards are in poorer areas. So it seems bonkers to me that the question of "who owns the customer" is heard as a blocker to both parties working closer together. 

Isn't the better question "what provides the customer value?" - so do more of this - and "what detracts from that value?" - so do less of this if possible. I saw a great example of a creative answer to the second question at Disney World, where young children can be made to queue for an hour during busy periods. So, they have themed play areas, with buzzers to maintain queue position, in the busy rides. The children are not only kept entertained and also out of the blazing Florida sun. 

I'll sign off with a couple of questions ... What would a creative solution to this look like for say security queues? Or maybe how could airlines share more data with airports to benefit from reduced costs?

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

What I've been reading w/c 17/04/2017: Diversity and Ethics

Slightly delayed post due to going on holiday!

My week's reading started with Hofstadter’s Law and Realistic Planning By Jane Collingwood where she outlines how "pessimistic-scenario generation is not an effective de-biasing technique for personal predictions.”  this got me thinking about how much of what we do in our lives is shaped by the people who provide us with the services and products that we use.


This article by Monzo is a perfect example of ethical product design should be done. They have thought about what their mission is, who their users are and what issues they might face. Compare and contrast with stories of how Uber use psychology to exploit drivers to see the negative face of "disrupting industries" when that is the sole aim. 


Again working conditions can have an impact even in subtle ways. There is a case here for Product Design and OS professionals to  provide more support on reporting usage to users. Computers are much better at this then humans! Could more thinking like this be a baby step on the path to more development teams thinking like Monzo? 


Next on my reading list was a great post on the difference between basing your business around the vocal 5% and really using feedback for process improvements. So, it's important to make sure to include diversity in customer feedback as well as on your team to avoid systemic bias.


This systemic issues is why diversity in IT is so important. As algorithms control more of our lives the bias of people writing them matters -  the world economic forum has also come up with a list of 10 ethical issues with AI  one of which can be summed up by Blay Whitby "Autonomous Vehicles don’t need to solve the Trolley Problem: but maybe we do" ... which means for a fair outcome for all of us, we need to make sure the people solving the ethical issues are representative of who they will impact. 


Which led me to a good write up of recruitment and diversity by @ashedryden: The Ethics of Unpaid Labor and the OSS Community -  As open source contributions are used as part of hiring process, we need to be careful this doesn't lead to an echo chamber of sorts. Ashe explains this much better than I could so well worth reading her work. 


Looking around at the different groups product design needs to consider I was pleasantly surprised that Microsoft has an awesome body of knowledge on inclusive design. 


Finally Important to remember Women’s History as part of Silicon Valley. There is more diversity than we commonly hear of. The current status quo isn't a foregone conclusion, so it's in our power to change it! 


Thursday, 13 April 2017

"Untitled side project"

So, I've mentioned my side project a couple of times I should start to elaborate a bit more. I won't share the name or details just yet. Not because I'm worried about someone stealing it. Rather the idea, hypothesis, and validation are the next installments of this story. When embarking on this journey as a side project it had to be fun and interesting. A chance to try a different experiment to my day job. Different tech stack, different tools. While being useful to people. So I set to work with a collaborator on something to meet these needs and we discussed a basic idea. The first thing was creating a Trello board. One of the first cards was "think of a name". Next came looking at the front-end stack that was lightweight and easy. A PaaS provider that had a free option and integration with source control. This also needed a free private repo option. And it was vital to have a pipeline that built and deployed a working version of the code on commit. Luckily GitLab and Heroku play nicely together. It seems a little too easy! As an added bonus the Source app means a code change and deploy to a working server can be done on my phone - seems ridiculous but that is easier than updating this blog! One of the key early decisions was "NO PASSWORDS". There are more than enough sites that provide identity services, from GitHub to Google+. The last thing anyone needs is another username and password to remember.

Then in a flash of inspiration, the "think of a name" card was completed! A domain name registered! A Twitter account started! A user journey mapped on the back of an envelope! These were exciting times in "side project land".

Then ... nothing much. Life got in the way. Holidays, illness, and the day job. I would imagine this is a key struggle for many startups and side projects. Maintaining momentum. We found ours in targeting a landing page to launch a user research survey. Then booking in a night to work on it, to make sure it happened. With an actual site and the prospect of visitors. Another no brainer was the importance of analytics. With so many SaaS providers that have starter plans for free there is no excuse. So far we have Keen.io and Google Analytics. Pirate metrics here we come!

Edit: Follow up posts now available

Sunday, 2 April 2017

What I've been reading w/c 27/03/2017: Chatbots and AI

Chatbots are an interesting example of how supporting technology can be the catalyst for innovation. In this case smartphones with messaging apps, constant fast network connections, and an API economy. All these enable comparatively low-tech chatbots to be viable (even I wrote a production text interface to an asset DB in 2000!). So, it's not new technology that's the innovation, it's combining existing technology in ways that change behaviour.

This article in the Harvard Business Review is spot on. AI systems much more like employees than traditional IT. Because it "learns" you often can't just lift the data/business rules into a new system. So you need to start thinking about "handover periods" and "training" a lot more. (Also make the jobs-to-be-done framework about hiring tools to do a job much more apt!)

There is much promise in Artificial Intelligence, this article on what to think about machines that think contains some views around that which don't seem to be common outside academia or TED talks. (So possibly useful for those looking at AI without that academic connection, definitely much more informative than a lot of mainstream press coverage)

Time to go beyond mobile first to AI first products, different personalities needed for different user experience (UX) that the AI driven product will provide. This needs to be considered up front, in the same way that moving from desktop to mobile needed a mobile first approach. 

Interesting that from a marketing POV there is a lot of AI technology around but not many integrations in use. Maybe they need some tools like Wrappup?

Over on Medium a brilliant example of going from technological differentiator to commodity item. Reminds me of a friend's complaint years ago that his hard-won Flash skills were now standard tools. Same thing now with AI, what I learned to hand code is now a cloud-based resource. At least I will have appreciation of how it works (and pitfalls in training ;) 

Finally, Fred Hsu CEO of Agent.ai explains how for SaaS and other tools AI is not only going to change the way we work but also the way our tools and services are priced ... there could be opportunities with both. 


Saturday, 25 March 2017

Tools for taking notes and sharing on the go



Moleskin Smart Writing Set 
As a product person, I am always thinking about unmet needs, ways of working, and pain points. One of those in my professional life is taking notes. I have tried Evernote on a tablet, into Word on a laptop but always come back to pencil and moleskin notepad.

This then is a bit of faff in finding notes at a later date or sharing with colleagues. Scanner apps that create PDFs help, but I usually forget and take a photo that I then ping off by email.

Imagine my excitement when I heard about the reMarkable tablet in development:


The paper tablet for people who prefer paper. Here to replace your notebooks, sketchbooks and printouts. Paper-like reading, writing and sketching with digital powers.
Sounds great! This has the potential to do for note taking what the Kindle did for eBooks. But it is still only on pre-order and my birthday was this month. So for around the same amount of money I have got two tools.

The Moleskin Smartpen with "paper tablet". This is a smartpen with a moleskin pad that has a tiny pattern printed on each page. The camera in the pen picks up where the strokes land on the page to store in memory. This is then uploaded to an iOS or Android app via Bluetooth.

I have only used this for a short while but what I like already is the blend of analog and digital. It doesn't need a change in working behaviour for me to get some benefit. It also degrades gracefully. If the pen runs out of ink then you still get an electronic copy. Also if the battery dies, still have the paper version.

One neat feature, if you have the app open and place the pen on the mail icon in the top right corner. It will then export the current page to PDF and attach to an email. Not a massive time saving, but a nice connection between the physical and digital actions.

The people behind the smartpen technology - Neo - also have a section on their site where you can download NCode PDFs. This is the format that the Moleskin pads are printed in. This allows you to use full A4 pages with grid, line, and graph patterns.

Another thing that I hadn't considered before I uncovered during setting up the auto sync. With Evernote, Google Drive and OneDrive all supported I get redundant backups for free. This also avoids vendor lock-in. Both things that enterprise internal IT departments tend to love.

Acer Chromebook 14
Following on nicely from this last point is the second new tool I am getting to grips with is a new Chromebook. This is a cloud-native notebook, with limited disk space and based around the Google Chrome browser. Like Microsoft I am a bit late to the cloud party, having grown up with Unix and DOS command lines I'm not afraid of file systems. What struck me was how easy it was to setup. It even brought in my bookmarks from my Android tablet. 

In fact, it was surprising how much was already setup from details used on another device type. For example, my LinkedIn account details were saved in my tablet, so didn't need to log in when accessing site for the first time.

The specs would probably be quite low for a Windows but I find it speedy. One annoyance is a general one from the Google/Android ecosystem. Finding apps that "support" your device. This isn't really an issue in the iOS or OS X worlds, and one of the reasons I stayed with iPhone and Mac Mini. It would have been nice to use the Moleskin M+ Notes app on my Chromebook, given its long battery life. I am hoping that they add Android app support to my Chromebook soon. I don't suppose I need to worry too much with the range of auto sync options available.

My next task is to investigate tools like:

As I see how much of my side project can be done not only using free tools but also a largely online and cloud-centric approach.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Welcome, a re-introduction to my blog

I started this blog over 5 years ago now and it feels like an exciting new chapter in my life is beginning, so thought I share some of this and what it might mean for my humble blog. I started to write about my work and how what I saw measured against the theory.

Although work is an exciting place at the moment. With three projects due to go live in the next three months that will complete the vision that has guided me in the past 2 years. I won't write about them too much here as we now have a much more active work blog that I'm scheduled to write on. Some of the things that we have discovered during this work will lead to new features that I'd also love to talk about, but need to keep under wraps until we are ready to reveal them!

So what will I be writing about? Well, more book reviews and more meetup reports. Also something personally exciting as I am starting a side project that allows me to apply lessons learned from HBX CORe, Impact Mapping, Jolt by Justin Jackson and storytelling in a different vertical from my day job. It's very much a B2C project rather than B2B product, which is also fairly new for me so I might write about any differences that I find.

One major advantage is that I'll be able to write about much more specific examples and lessons learned ... plus anyone who is interested will be able to go and use the product :-) So, I hope that you will continue with me on this new journey.

Further reading