Archive for May, 2010

Whiteboard Animations – Great Method to Explain Concepts

Friday, May 28th, 2010

I’m a huge fan of whiteboards and an even bigger fan of using whiteboards to make concepts accessible and clear.  I saw today on both Robert Scoble’s and Brad Feld’s blogs a video explaining incentives using whiteboard animations.  RSA Animate is a series of videos that you can find on YouTube that take various subjects and show a video of someone drawing out the concepts on a whiteboard while the author narrates.  In the video below, you’ll hear Dan Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, talk about why money isn’t a great motivator for cognitive tasks.  While you hear him explain the science and studies behind the argument for 11.5 minutes, an artist is whiteboarding everything he says in a clear manner.  He even mentions how valuable Hackathons are.  I encourage you to check out the video:


Nook vs Kindle AKA Open Vs Closed

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

The Barnes and Nobles Nook and the Kindle are similarly capable e-readers.  They use the same e-ink screen and both have wifi and free 3g cellular service for quickly downloading books from their stores.  The Nook has a small color touchscreen under the e-ink display while the Kindle has a physical keyboard, but that isn’t the big advantage that the Nook has over the Kindle.

Nook vs Kindle

The main difference is that the Nook is an open system while the Kindle is not.  The Nook is powered by the Android OS, so theoretically you can program whatever you want that works ok within the device UI, and devs have added programs like Pandora to the e-reader successfully.  The Kindle is running a closed OS so the only way to add new programs is if Amazon adds them to the device.  Both devices have a web browser and the Nook also has Sudoku and Chess, which actually work surprisingly well utilizing the color touchscreen.


Bananagrams – Innovation through Easing Scrabble’s Pain Points

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Scrabble is one of the most popular games of all time, far ahead of the many competing word games out on retail shelves.  However, it is not without its pain points, which lessen the enjoyment of the game for many.  Some of the pain points are: time spent waiting for other players to take their turns, luck factor in drawing high value letters, time to play a full game, and the need for paper, pencil and board along with keeping score.  A new game called Bananagrams solves those pain points while still keeping much of the fun of Scrabble.


Incentivize Users to Drive Traffic to Your Site

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

If you want to get a lot of cheap traffic to your site and quickly build up a user base, then incentivize users to spread the word and market your site for you.  Pyramid schemes work because users have strong incentive to attract more users.  While illegal and non-sustainable, they are still a good example of the how powerful it is to have your users work for you.  SEO traffic takes time to build and can rise and fall with competitor efforts and algorithm changes.  SEM traffic costs money for each user and grows linearly.  Word of mouth traffic grows exponentially.  Below are some examples of sites that have thrived from giving users incentive to spread the word and get their friends involved.


HP May Understand Tablets After All

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

I wrote a few weeks ago that tablet manufacturers are missing the point when they use a desktop OS like Windows 7 in order to be compatible with desktop software.  That post was written after reading about HP’s slate, which was a Windows 7 device, so basically a netbook without a keyboard.  I argued that a touchscreen-specific OS and software should be used on tablets; using desktop on tablets has been tried for the past decade and hasn’t worked.  There are two valid OSes right now: iPhone OS and Android.  Unfortunately for tablet makers, only Apple can use iPhone OS, leaving Android as the only current choice.