Unafraid of experimentation | Entrepreneurship on the Silicon Roundabout
What I love most about working with emerging online and mobile technology is that it allows us to create incredibly exciting products in a relatively short space of time. It's possible to go from a single far-fetched idea to polished final product in a matter of days.
I founded Fixdit in 2009 to act as a conduit through which I'd be able to push new ideas to market and be unafraid of experimentation.
On this basis I've always felt it important that Fixdit's main focus be on it's in-house work. This hasn't been to the detriment to our client orientated projects however. Every experiment we undertake off our own back is designed to push our knowledge base that bit further and allow us to offer something completely fresh to our clients.
Wotsisname? app is a great example of the success this workflow has had for us. This in-house project was our first expedition into the iOS app market. We'd been excited by the prospect of plugging the power of social networks like Facebook directly into a mobile game for a while. The app was originally born in an English pub during a round of the classic board game Guess Who?. A friend playing at the time said:
"Wouldn't it be cool if this used your Facebook friend's faces in the game instead of the cartoons?".
I instantly knew the idea would make a fantastic mobile app. Nothing like it existed at the time and I became incredibly excited by the prospect of it as a reality.
The numerous hurdles we overcame to make it happen pushed Fixdit's knowledge base and experience further than we could have ever imagined. Undertaking a project like that was invaluable and what we were able to offer to our clients post-release couldn't have been acquired any other way by a scrappy start-up like ourselves.
Using the front-end of Fixdit as a laboratory doesn't mean we neglect client-oriented work, it means we're able to exceed their increasingly sophisticated needs. This approach keeps us hungry and our clients smiling.
SiRoundabout | Entrepreneurship on the Silicon Roundabout
"Starting out on the Silicon Roundabout."
Is the description on my @SiRoundabout Twitter profile.
It's billed as: "A young guy starting a new tech business on London's Silicon Roundabout. This feed will document my journey."
As well as day to day tech start-up business stuff there'll be nuggets of advice as I learn along the way and hopefully a lot of inspiration.
Corona SDK Hackathon
We are primed and ready for a hack-a-thon.
A few of our most skilled of coders are as we speak taking part in the Corona SDK mobile app Hack-a-thon held in San Fransisco today.
Follow our progress on Twitter: #coronahackathon
As well as on the live stream: UStream video feed
Time to go hack some app!
Jobs Done | Entrepreneurship on the Silicon Roundabout
I remember 16 years ago at the age of 10 being handed down a second-hand Macintosh 128k computer. I recall being pretty oblivious as to what I might actually be able to achieve with it at the time. However, just the aesthetic itself sent my imagination wild. That excitement Steve Jobs encapsulated in all his products became the benchmark for the industry, yet nobody could touch what Apple were doing. His vision, penchant for secrecy and eye for elegant design has completely disrupted the technology market. The 'iPhone', 'iPad', and 'iPod' are all household names; a claim few other tech firms can make. Through Fixdit, I have always attempted to emulate what I see as being at the heart of Apple's success: People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
For example, most companies communicate with their customers like this:
- Here is our new computer, it's fast and user friendly…
…Want to buy one?
- Here is our new car, it's got leather seats and a great sound system…
…Want to buy one?
These companies believe that if we say how we're better and what we've got to offer, then the public is going to spontaneously react and want to go out and buy one.
However, companies like Apple with inspired leaders like Steve Jobs at their core communicate very differently:
- Everything we do, we believe will challenge the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. All our products embody this, are beautifully designed, innovative and user friendly…
…You know you want it in your hands before they've even announced it.
People don't just buy what Apple does, they buy why they do it.
Be sure to head over to Wired and peruse the catalogue of posts under 'Steve Jobs MBA' which dissect the legacy in fascinating detail.
I'm more excited than ever to take inspiration from his legacy into my own work, both now and far into the future.
"Death is the single best invention of life." - Steve Jobs
Insight Research Group website launch
Yesterday saw the launch of our latest website project for Insight Research Group.
"Insight Research Group is all about designing and delivering market research that goes deeper and gets closer to what is really ‘going on’."
Insight Research Group's home online required a complete re-design inside and out. We combined complex underlying content management technology, overlaid by a beautifully simple user interface. Insight wanted a clean look that also echoed their approach of looking beneath the surface to find the truth.
Key points met:
- Optimised user interface to perform on mobile devices ( including iPad ).
- Re-constructed and streamlined navigational structure.
- All front-facing content is able to be maintained and updated by any member of staff ( No knowledge of code required ).
- Integration with Insight's live Twitter feed.
Look out for the engaging and occasionally startling photography of Allan Grainger taking centre stage throughout the site. See the new Insight Research Group website in action.
Monetizing tablets at TechHub | Entrepreneurship on the Silicon Roundabout
Yesterday a few members of the Fixdit team and I attended the Making money from tablets event over at Silicon Roundabout's TechHub. A panel of speakers with backgrounds in both the paper and electronic publishing industries relayed their experiences working with the relatively new tablet platform. Sponsored by Pearsons, the event focused on where the industry should look next in the quest to migrate and monetize it's paper content.
The speakers gave great insight into the surprising amount of trial and error big players like Penguin and Pearsons have had to undertake inorder to get any kind of foot hold in a digital market. Tablet consumers of their content want it cheap - if not free. There are a number of revenue collection methods established. However, it proves no truely ubiquitous business model has yet been found and tapped.
Most profitable thus far has been that of the childrens sector. This being probably the most interesting and relevant topic for us as interactive developers; the ability to have full colour electronic book pages didn't exist until the rise of the iPad and numerous other tablet devices just over a year ago. From our own experience in designing and releasing a number of interactive ebooks ourselves we feel strongly that employing simple underlying technology has great potential in supporting early reading.
In conclusion, there is indeed a whole lot of money to be made here. For the time being it's all about finding the right revenue collection method that suits your customers and content.
Publishing on tablet and mobile devices truely is an emerging market. Emerging markets such as this get me excited. It means it's time to experiment and time to out maneuver the established traditional players.
For more on the event and opinions from other attendees, just hastag #techhubtablets over on Twitter.
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