Wednesday, November 4, 2015

(13) Probably the Final post before Steps

After much debate, our team decided to changed our project title to Griddit. I would think that Griddit fits better to our idea because you can really play around with our sites, creating whatever you want, even a collection of maybe say Taylor Swift MVs.

Progress report 2
Once again, consequence of not reading the PDF. Sigh, my team didn't know that the presentation was graded until we got the feedback. My lack of energy due to my my flu did not help definitely, so we suffered quite a bit for the presentation component. Oddly, there weren't any questions after our presentation except for one on how we did the synchronised Youtube video. But there were a few issues raised in our feedback and I'll address it below.

(1) Not Mobile friendly
- Difficult for Griddit to be mobile friendly. When you have many things going on, the small mobile screen size is really not ideal. Furthermore, our key widget is video. Typically, mobile will launch the full screen video when played, so it defeats the purpose of Griddit. So for now, we will still focus on desktop experience.

(2) UI is bare
- Uhm yeap, it is. Improvements of layout coming along the way! :)

(3) App is only useful for bigger events
- Yes i agree with you. Smaller events wouldn't need livestream due to lack of demand and think of the logistic cost of livestream for these smaller events, it's simply not economical. Also we need to consider why people create events. They create for people to be there. People adds on to the atmosphere. So a scale is necessary to justify for a livestream.
- Think of why people need livestream -- Geographical distance (Football), and lots of attention (Elections).
- Weddings is not really possible because once again, logistic cost (if you are streaming your wedding for overseas guests), and also why would you want your guests to be hooked onto their phones? And Griddit is not meant to be mobile friendly due to the nature of its idea.

(4) Legality of streaming
- Yes, it has been an area of concern. So to keep it simple, I think what we have been doing so far is to prove there's a demand for this and people would use it. Judging by the fact that 1 line of marketing could get us 115 live users, even I myself was taken aback by the numbers. In the long run, working with event organisers will really be the way to go. It will be exciting if that happens!! :)

(5) Uses for other people
- We did not illustrate this well enough. But because of the customisability, the website can even allow you to create a collection of Youtube videos, say Taylor Swift's MVs. Like a pinterest of your favourite videos. We touched and go on this, and could have talked more about it!
- Sync youtube videos allow you to connect with your LDR partner! No more "1,2,3... PLAY!" haha..

Alright, that's it for this post. Looking forward to STEPS day! :)

Mei Lan

Monday, October 26, 2015

(12) Carousell sharing

I'm a frequent user of Carousell so it's cool to be in a talk with the founders about the company.

Monetization was one of the key issues I have with this app. They currently do not have any way of getting revenue, and their "asset" is probably the massive user base. But apparently, they have monetization plans! Some of their plans as below + my own views:

(1) Taking a cut from payments on Carousell
Pros: For convenience sake, people WOULD pay, as long as they do not overcharge. For instance, 1% of $20 is only $0.20. And given the amount of transactions, I think it's a pretty solid source of revenue.
Cons: Hmm, to move from free service to freemium is always risky. Furthermore, there's actually a lot of young users (yes, xiao mei mei especially) on Carousell, so these small little charges may turn them off and still opt for cash payments. However, I don't think this is a big issue because given that all the xmm and xdd (xiao mei mei & xiao di di) today owns a smartphone and even personal laptop, $0.20 to them should be negligible.

(2) Charging for listing luxury expensive items like cars and houses.
Pros: Lucas suggested $10 - $20 for such listings. This sum is really small compared to the sale price of the cars/houses, so people will be deterred to pay VS paying an agent to sell for you.
Cons: Ehhh.... Selling huge luxury items like cars and properties on Carousell seems unsafe and weird. And it may run into legal issues because of the transfer in ownership. I feel that keeping it to normal, smaller items is better. I definitely wouldn't like Carousell to be like Taobao, selling all kinds of things including BAD DEBT. omg.
Definition of bad debt: A debt that is not collectible and therefore worthless to the creditor.

It's quite amazing for Carousell to reach such scale and success, given that everything was done over a summer holiday. They did intensive marketing, really really intensive marketing. They strategically used their identities as students to market to students via school camps, and have a lot of support from NUS Enteprise as well. And honestly, I even saw their sticker in the toilet cubicle haha.. Don't think this is the same in Male's toilets? Since 70% of Carousell users are Female. heh. I attribute part of their success to their aggressive marketing - they made it so pervasive such that you can't miss it. Abit spammish and can irritate, but well, it worked :)

Mei Lan

Saturday, October 24, 2015

(11) 2nd consultation

It's been long since I posted anything. I admit, I have been delaying CS3216 project for a bit due to job applications and interviews, networking, my other school projects and FSP that requires me to also go out and speak to companies and people.

Spoke to Colin and received quite a number of useful feedback, and also he managed to connect my group with some of his connections to seek feedback from. Thanks! :)

Issues with Marketing
(1) Eventspark basically has no specific target audience
This has been extremely tough and it's giving us millions of problems. So it means, if we have a football event, we need football fans. If we have Taylor Swift concert, we need Swifties. Marketing efforts are diverse and massive when you manage the events yourself. Cost wise, it will not be effective. But at this CS3216 scale, it does make some sense. But it's quite a gamble-- we have to choose the events wisely to attract enough interest.

(2) How about Marketing to event companies?
Speaking to companies without legit prototypes...... I don't know how will they think. I am hesitant definitely (well, I don't want to get blacklisted by the events industry haha), but based on my experiences, the number people who are willing to talk and share always far exceeds my expectations :) Colin said something quite interesting- pitch, and not say "what do you think of this idea?". The latter automatically launches people into a critical state to critique your app than to think of the possible use/integration with their company.

(3) Number of Live events
It has to be live to justify the chat there. Hmmm, but how many live events are there exactly? Quarterly results of companies maybe. But probably will get banned. Why not go global? Okay, so I went on to check out what kind of events people do. Usually for popular events, the number of people watching Live would be around 2k-3k. But these events, oh man, Karbala religious event in Iraq. HMMMM. Ok. I'll focus on sports events.

I have to be honest that I doubted the idea a little more than once. How often do we have a live broadcast event, with people wanting to chat online, and people want to monitor the tweets, etc? And our live streaming gets banned by some organisers too.

Sigh, I'm having a very incoherent day. Will come back with better thoughts.

Mei Lan

Monday, October 5, 2015

(10) Paypal + Updates on Final Project

Today's sharing was by Paypal's Lawrence and Prof Anderson on data security. Lawrence breezed through his work at Paypal and gave us his take on monetizing our ideas. This was the feedback for our group:

  1. Paid widgets
  2. Tickets for livestream of paid events (work with event organizers)
  3. Product placement adverts
(2) is pretty cool. We have not really thought of making specific events private for certain event organisers and make it like having a ticket. This will really be amazing if there's a market for it. Imagine, livestream ticket sales for Taylor Swift concert. It targets on people who are more budgeted (e.g poor students like me) yet wants to have the closest thing to actual live. And the chat widgets will allow these online viewers to interact amongst themselves. I'm pretty sure this is a market that is untapped. It will be profitable for the companies as well because the margins is quite attractive + can sell merchandise online as well, just have to put in effort for live filming so that nothing goes wrong. There will not be seats issue, and people can join anytime they want to, even buying the online livestream ticket 1 min before the show or even when it's ongoing! This can attract many spontaneous and last minute purchases as it maximises the buying time for people.

Final project updates
Hiccups along the way.

(1) Definition of competitors
This got me thinking. How do we actually define who are our competitors? 
I was frustrated with myself when my group actually got stuck at this fundamental question. We got stuck because we were thinking about who else offered the same services as we did. Then things like "But we are completely a new idea, so technically speaking we don't have competitors!" pops up and I'M LIKE "NO". and YET I didn't know how to put myself across clearly in explaining this question then. I went home to think, and this was my verdict in defining competitors-- competitors are the ones who are serving your customers.
I came up with a simple thought process of knowing who's your competitors.
- Who are your target audience?
- How are you going to get them?
- WHERE are you getting them? 
The 3rd question is the most crucial. WHERE. Not geographical wise, but which other services are they using now and you can provide them with more, so they will switch over to us. Then think of your core product/service. For us, our idea's core is events video streaming, and therefore competitors would be Twitch and Youtube and not our widgets like Twitter and chat rooms. 

(2) UX
Lol. We spent like 1.5 hours debating whether to provide layout templates. There's very different perspective of what's easy or difficult for the user. Shall see what's the feedback on Wed consultation.

aww double chin never looked so cute hahahaha

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

(9) Assignment 3: TL;DR

My team of coders has been working so hard for TL;DR. Link:

TL;DR is basically an mobile friendly Web that helps to make casual reading better. It extracts out the subheadings of each article and collapse into tabs that you can expand if you want to read the content under the subheadings. It's just like a content page for articles. One glance you can see what's all the article about and only expand those you are interested.

Saves time, minimise title baiting, and make reading more efficient.

Conceptualising this idea was quite a challenge. My group mates aren't into reading (lol) so they didn't quite resonate with the app at first. Furthermore, I didn't know if it will work, crawling information from websites, and breaking down into subheadings. Reading is something that depends on flow and context and thus choosing the right articles sources that can be suitably crawled was extremely difficult.

The app had a lot of bugs initially. To the extent I even felt paiseh that to complain non-stop to the coders (lol) what I didn't like when I was testing it. Hahaha whoops. But I'm really appreciative that my team were really nice and funny Hahaha. They will fix it and they did eventually Hahaha.

Half a semester is gone. I've learnt really a lot in this module. What's more relevant for me would me conceptualising of ideas, marketing and also communicating with others. I remember finding it real hard to understand what the coders were talking about during Assignment 1. Too much technical terms that I find it hard to keep up. But now it has become better. This is really a bonus for me. I never thought communication could be a problem until I started working with people of different background and realised all of us speak different languages. Besides this, I also managed to check 1 thing off the "what I want to learn from CS3216 list" and that is to understand what's technically possible and what's not. For someone without technical knowledge in programming, you really won't have an idea what's feasible and what's out of reach until you witness the process and see ideas come alive.

Mei Lan

Monday, September 14, 2015

(8) Internal Pitching Party

Just ended our Internal Pitching Party.

External pitches
Quickdesk - Gamification of sales... Unfortunately, as much as I think the platform is awesome, I don't quite buy this idea. I think, salespeople are/should be naturally driven to get more sales and they wouldn't need gamification to spur them to create more sales. Perhaps they can have a collaborative tool to show team sales effort, whether they have hit their KPI collectively.

Tindon- Hahaha, i really lol at this. I think it's really quite interesting but sad that it doesn't fulfill the matching part because I would foresee so many people will just use it to enjoy the couple offer. Two girls can also use it, (well celebrate LGBT....), so it's kinda just an Entertainer app.

Internal pitches
Travelplanner+ - I need to say. This is my dream app for like 1-2 years? I have been dreaming of an app that uses algorithm to optimise travel plans. However, after travelling for so long, I realised such apps defeats the purpose of traveling. Hmm, but I need to say, for those who loves an itinerary, this may be the perfect app for them. Anyway, there's a site that does optimization of travel planner- Triphobo, so maybe the group can improvise from here because Triphobo seems to have good partnerships with other travel sites.

My group's pitch- Okay lah, we kiasu. We pitch 2 ideas hahaha.. Jingwen's idea has received really positive reviews and excitement, hahaha... I still remember that elections night where our chat went crazy haha. Alright, seems potential. Hahaha my only concern is that they may not be enough such events and streaming live broadcast may infringe copyright. For instance, Apple event is pretty exclusive. Maybe get blocked. 
The other idea AnswerMe was a half baked idea that we thought of in the morning itself.  Hahaha, the feedback generally was that it is difficult to compete with search giants like google. Perhaps we didn't evaluate the user behaviour when it comes for solving some problems. Sometimes, people just want to know answers. And it's difficult to get people from Reddit. It's a very closed door community, because granted that Reddit's UI sucks so badly and yet they have such a great community, the loyalty is real strong. And I learnt that community management can be more difficult than app development. Which is painfully true.

Mei Lan

Thursday, September 10, 2015

(7) External Pitching Party + Assignment 3 updates

Cool to see what are some apps people out there want to make. 
Some pretty unrealistic. Some there's potential.

Tuition apps:
Okay, I have been tutoring for past four years and I understand what kind of gap they are trying to address... But if a small scale pitching party has like 2-3 different people pitching the same idea.... Chances are, it's probably an idea many people has thought of... In fact, NTU students already started Hace like few months ago... And why keep forcing kids to go tuition............

I was quite interested in one of the ideas pitched. The one that is similar Zopim. I spoke to Gerald, the incharge, more about the idea, UI problems for consumers, consumer behavior in putting the reviews things on websites, and also privacy issues when you crawl reviews from social media. Honestly, I am positive about this idea. I see a lot of potential in influencing customers at point of purchase. 

Oh btw, our classmate Vicky wrote a blogpost on one of the ideas pitched. Okay la, I'm biased. I mention it because I really agree with her hahahaha. Exactly same sentiments when I was listening to the pitch.

Rant from the pitching party:
Don't create an app/website BECAUSE you want to exit with a buyout. You should be focused on creating something that's good enough to be acquired. Focus on the product, not the end point. And so, don't try to bs us students that it's all about buyouts, get a few millions and we spilt money and retire, enjoy life.......

Working with 3 coders this time round. So it means, I'm taking up the designer + business role.

✔ Idea settled.
It's quite a practical app. Pitched the idea to some of the fellow CS3216, seems okay to them too.

✔ Logo done
Simple logo ftw.

✔  Mockups
The idea this time round is much simpler than Assignment 1 Exchangehunt. Exchangehunt has SOOO many things. Unless I'm missing out anything.... hahaha. Anyway, my mockups are 75% done? I've already written down UI stuffs that I want to clarify with my team next meeting. So should be on the right track.

✔ Front end + backend
Coders working hard. Thanks dudes.

CUTENESS BONUS for the long weekend ahead!
A photo posted by KATSUO (@isokatsuo) on

Mei Lan