Google Fusion Maps

Posted on 15. May, 2011 by .

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I found the workshop for Google Fusion Tables very intriguing.  It enables me to take a big dataset and create very cool visualizations for data analysis and presentation.  The presenter from Google went through the features and functionalities very quickly.  It was too technical to follow without example exercises.

The most difficult part of is creating interactive controls to manipulate the data.  I think it takes some sophisticated Javascript code to build these controls.  Therefore, I am reluctant to use Fusion Tables for my project.

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Excel workshop

Posted on 15. May, 2011 by .

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We did some fun exercises using Excel to create an income statement.  I feel it is very relevant to entrepreneurship.  Although I know my way around Excel, it was nice to have a refresher class.

For my assignments in Business Fundamentals class, I will be using a spreadsheet to create financial forecasts for my business.  Hence, it’s very timely and appropriate that we learn Excel.

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Daniel’s lucidity

Posted on 15. May, 2011 by .

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Daniel Bachhuber is a great lecturer about technology.  He speaks plain English to explain all that jargon.   He also answer questions from the class about HTML, CSS, and other web standards and how they work together to build a site.

I wish we had more time for him to go over the technical aspects of building a site.  I intend to use most of the stuff he taught us in my project.

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sites: static vs flash vs cms

Posted on 14. May, 2011 by .

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In class we compared static vs flash vs cms powered sites.  I found it pretty clear that CMS sites are the best option.  Flash sites are difficult to update, and static sites are not very useful.  I highly recommend WordPress for journalists to build their site.

I plan to use WordPress for parents to blog about their community.  It allows anyone to easily create and update content.

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Newsgames

Posted on 14. May, 2011 by .

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I enjoyed the presentation about how games can increase engagement and monetization for journalism.  It was based on research and experiments.  Games like crossword puzzles and alternative reality storytelling (A World Without Oil).

I thought about creating a game for Silly Parents.  It would ask parents to get their kids into a select private school in New York.  Kind of like Farmville, they can do various things to prepare the babies for preschool and kindergarden.

The game would be based on tips from experts such as the author of Manhattan Family Guide to Private Schools and Selective Public Schools.

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Stakeholder analysis

Posted on 14. May, 2011 by .

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I found the stakeholder analysis exercise very helpful.  It helped me think about what are the key aspects of product that I need to focus on.  It can feel daunting trying to do everything at once.  This exercise help prioritize the critical path to building Silly Parents and making it a real product one step at a time.

I did the stakeholder class assignment and handed it in a few weeks ago.  It helped crystalize my conception of the key product requirements.

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What design/marketing agencies do?

Posted on 14. May, 2011 by .

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It was really interesting to learn about how an agency produces ad campaigns.  The social media campaigns seem to increase engagement with the brands.  One observation is that it is really expensive to hire an agency to design a product.  Therefore, I think I won’t be able to afford that.

My site Silly Parents will eventually need branding and visual design, but I will build and prototype the functionality first and then add logo and aesthetics after the site is at a point when it is ready.

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Publishing magazines on the iPad

Posted on 14. May, 2011 by .

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We saw a demo of an iPad magazine creation technology.  It was based on Adobe InDesign.  I was wondering if there are better ways to repurpose magazine article and visual content for the iPad.  I asked the speaker about his opinion of Flipboard.  He thought it was not engaging because it doesn’t have the visual bells and whistles.

For my product, I don’t think I will create an iPad application.  The goal of Silly Parents is to provide information to help parents find resources and support in the local community.  Distributing this product through iPads can only reach a limited audience.  Owners of iPads tend to be affluent professionals.  I want to reach as many parents as possible.  Therefore, I plan to focus on a website and email discussion list for distribution.

 

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Porter’s 5 Forces and Strategy for media startups

Posted on 03. May, 2011 by .

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Michael Porter has published extensively about corporate strategy, explicating the 5 Forces framework for analyzing suppliers, buyers, competitors, substitutes, and new entrants.  For a media startup, this level of strategic thinking is important for market research and analysis, in order to identify opportunities for adding and capturing value.

However, strategic think has to be realized by nimble execution and needs to evolve as market conditions and customer behavior change, which is likely in today’s dynamic media landscape.  For instance, when Apple launched the iPad, tech and media companies had to redraw their 5 forces diagram.  But it is anyone’s guess how much impact the iPad will have in the short, medium, and long run.  Depending on iPad sales over time at different price points, a company can over-invest or under-invest in providing iPad services.

Porter says that a company needs a strategy, or a story that ties together all it’s activities.  It needs to focus on providing the best and most innovative solutions.  Management needs to steer to ship in a clear direction.  But they have to make adjustments.  The danger is that need for major strategic shift(s) are difficult to recognize, and the marching orders are tough to execute: innovator’s dilemma.

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Technology Plan

Posted on 22. Mar, 2011 by .

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I plan to build my website using: 

  • WordPress
  • PHP
  • MySql
  • Google Maps API
  • Forum discussion
  • Email newsletter

Read the entire document

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