A few online service feature givens

When developing an online product, I see a few "givens" or obvious elements that are sometimes overlooked in many online services:Superior, elegant design - Because catching a user's eye shouldn't be taken for grantedClarity and great UX - Without it you set up barriers to all of those great features of yoursMarketing and persuasion - Because some of the best products are hidden behind sloppy marketing practicesGood customer service - When all shit breaks loose, customers feel stranded, frustrat...

Why researching your competition is critical

Lots of business books tell you not to spend too much time researching competition. I think this is wrong.The goal of researching potential competitors is not only to see if there isn't already someone out there who has done what you want to do. But also:To find out what competitors' customers are saying and what they like, don't like, their pain pointsTo see if your market is overcrowded, hard to stand out fromTo give you an idea what you need to do to size up or compare to themTo see what they...

Agile vs. Waterfall - Which Works Better For Web Design Companies?

37Signals was one of the companies that made the Agile method popular. I love 37Signals, their products and their books.

However after doing some research, reading some insightful articles, I've come to a different opinion on what 37Signals teaches as the best method to use in web design projects.

Using the Agile method, we would first form an idea, start designing, write some code, test than repeat the process. Long term plans, or any plans at all, are merely guesses&m...

Solve Your Problems First: A Word on Scratching Your Own Itch

The main problem most online entrepreneurs(and entrepreneurs in general) have is starting a business they don’t believe in. Building applications is not an easy task. If you can pull a useful product out of the thousands of lines of code you’ve written, you might be a success.Building a service that nobody needs. It’s a common trend. Learning how to test the market before you spend 8 months coding your next app idea will not only save you time, but the money you could be mak...

Everything is Like Programming

Coding makes you start at the bottom and build from ground up. Where there are no short cuts, no easy steps and where you have to be a fast learner.Learning to code is an easy decision. Spending years improving, debugging, repeating trial and error tests millions of times, is a much harder descision. You make the decision every time you attack a new project.Programming will make you think. Probably a lot harder than you ever have about anything. It challenges you to visualize scenarios, gear up ...

Marketing is like programming. Our audience is the compiler.

I went backwards up the latter. Focusing deeply on code, and ignoring things like design and marketing.In fact, I wish I would have understood from the start how important really digging into marketing was.Most developers fall into the trap. We have a knack for writing advanced SQL queries, faster executing code, more flexible frameworks and so on. We learn our tools really well.Then a few of us decide to move away from the client-developer side of things and start building online products. We c...

To be a Winner, be Obsessed

Obsession is a prerequisite to achievement.Life is hard. Making a living is hard. Creating an awesome life is hard.Being distracted is easy. The answer though is very simple.ObsessionIf you're obsessed, you're always thinking, always focused, always working towards mastery in your obsession.Obsession will get you past those years of testing, learning, trying and failing and turn it into fun. Being obsessed prevents you from being deterred and ignites your passion daily....

10 Powerful Steps to The First Trickle of Traffic at Your New Blog

Be inspired and start "shipping" content

Probably the hardest part of starting a blog: getting content out the door.

You don't have to be great to start. You do have to start to be great. Blogging takes a lot of practice. Unlike the writing you took in school, you actually have to be interesting.

If you don't start writing, you're not making progress. Just start, and worry about what comes next tomorrow. Start and then improve. Each post you write, read a f...

3 Steps to Achieve Mastery in Your Craft (by using the scientific method)

What is achieving mastery all about?
If you want to gain success in your chosen field you need to learn how to become really good at what you do. To do that, you need to find your flywheel, as Rob Walling calls it. Finding that one effective area, metric, aspect, muscle, move that makes all the difference to focus your energy on.

For example, a marketer would focus on conversions and creating successful campaigns. A blogger would focus on gaining the highest number of subscrib...

4 Actionable Steps to Market Testing Your Web App Idea (That anyone can do!)

I'm going to share one of my very valuable lessons that you can adopt. Once I learned this one key point, I felt like I suddenly understood why I was always doomed to failure in the past few years.

All of my startup ideas failed from the start. Most of them I never launched and when I did I always did something to screw it up.

What I learned was this: a startup is a test, a test to see if your value proposition can function and succeed in the real world.

Fo...