If you’re using technology — to shop, communicate, or find information — the results of data mining are all around you. Just think of the influx of recommendations of items to purchase, shows to watch, and friend suggestions on social media. Data mining allows companies to take the giant pile of consumer information generated daily and analyze for relationships and patterns. When it comes to big data, the possibilities for exploration are nearly endless.
Have you been thinking about learning HTML? If so, you’re not alone: These days, it seems like nearly everyone — including New York City’s former mayor, Mike Bloomberg, who tweeted his New Year’s resolution to learn to code a few years back — is intent on learning programming languages. If you want to learn HTML, a fundamental building block for front-end web development, there’s no need to delay. Workshops and on-demand classes make it easy to learn HTML, regardless of your budget, schedule, or prior knowledge.
When you’re crafting content for the web, how does the browser know to place a break between paragraphs? For that matter, how does it know to make a page’s background one color, and the navigation bar another color? HTML and CSS are the answer: Browsers read HTML, a markup language, to determine what shows up on the page, and where. CSS, or cascading style sheets, determines how content appears throughout a website. That is to say, HTML will tell the browser “this is a header” and CSS will say “all headers should be green.”
Breaking news. Celebrity goofs. Hashtag memes. Catchup and conversation with friends. We turn to Twitter for all these things and more, revealing a lot about our interests and demographics in the meantime. It should be no surprise that advertisers flock to this medium that’s so deftly captured the world’s attention. If you’re considering advertising on Twitter, find out what works — and what doesn’t — before you make the dive.
“If you build it, he will come,” is the famous line from the film Field of Dreams, in which those mysteriously whispered words convince a farmer to replace his cornfield with a baseball diamond to draw people to use it. But while that may have worked in the film, it’s not necessarily the case when it comes to new apps, products, and services. How can you make sure you don’t invest your life savings in a business idea that users don’t want? That’s where the lean startup philosophy comes in.
If Eric Ries, blogger, entrepreneur, and author of The Lean Startup, were in charge of the cornfield, he would have tried something less drastic — like taking out an ad or building a web page — to find out if there was a need for a new stadium.
Reis’ philosophy is that instead of creating elaborate business plans and bringing fully fleshed-out products to market, it’s best to follow (and repeat) a three-step process — build, measure, and learn — to test and validate ideas prior to a major investment of time and resources.
The following three strategies will get your business on board with the lean philosophy in no time.
For introverts, attending a networking event may be unappealing and nerve-wracking. While shyness doesn’t always go hand-in-hand with introversion, introverts tend to have at least one thing in common with shy people: Large groups and conversations just aren’t their cup of tea. See how to succeed and shine during networking events and interviews, even if your introverted self would prefer to sit them out entirely.
Does the idea of answering questions on the fly, spending days in meetings, and having frequent work-related group outings make you uncomfortable? If so, you’re likely an introvert. At the office, many situations — conferences, drive-by questions, and after-work drinks — play to extroverts’ strengths. As Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking comments, “Introverts feel most alive and energized when they’re in environments that are less stimulating–not less intellectually stimulating, but less going on.”
But despite this, it’s easy for introverts to flourish in the office, given their dedicated, focused approach to work, and their ability to listen closely to coworkers and bosses. Discover ten ways to thrive in the workplace as an introverted person.
More than five years ago, Chris Anderson wrote in a seminal Wired article that, “The Web has become the land of the free.” Since this declaration, there have been some extraordinary freemium success stories including Dropbox, Spotify, CandyCrush, and Evernote.
But detractors have also emerged, such as Dmitri Leonov, who feel that for many companies, the freemium model doesn’t make sense. Leonov, a VP at Sanebox, wrote in an op-ed for Mashable that “by charging nothing for your service you’re actually anchoring that value in your customer’s mind, making it harder to raise the price later.”
So why would users ever opt for a paid product, instead of sticking with the free option? Before your freemium launch, take a look at how limiting features, space, and the number of users can provide a clear incentive to purchase the premium version.
Freemium gets my vote for being the ugliest portmanteau in existence. But despite the unlovely combination of the words free and premium, the freemium business model, which gives away a core product, app, or service, but charges for upgrades, features, and additional space, is hugely popular. When the model works, it can be wildly successful: Think Gaming estimates that the addictive game Candy Crush is raking in $975,000 in revenue a day. But what works well for one product, doesn’t necessarily always lead to success–discover some of the key characteristics of profit-making freemium apps and products to help determine if freemium makes sense for your idea.
CC Image Courtesy of Ritesh Man Tamrakar on Flickr
Susan Feldman, cofounder of shopping site One Kings Lane, attributes the company’s success to not aiming to build the next big thing — she recommends “that if you have an idea and you want to do something, starting small is okay.”
Feldman’s advice mirrors the wisdom many companies follow when introducing their product or service to the market: begin by testing interest and enthusiasm with an MVP, or minimum viable product. This “barebones” product has just the necessary features to receive money and feedback from early adopters. Not only will this provide you with constructive criticism from your core audience, but a strong user reception validates moving forward with a product. Look to these five success stories to see how companies have used their MVPs to float their product to the marketplace.