December, 2014
Archive

  • How Do I Find A Co-founder For My Startup

    Who Is A Co-founder?

    A co-founder is a person who shares the same or similar passion, zeal and commitment to work with you on a project. You can think of the contract between you and your co-founder as an intellectual marriage to build and nurture a project and see it grow into a company.

    Why Do I Need a Co-founder?

    Bringing a co-founder on board is a good idea as you can use his skills and also have another source of feedback for your idea.

    Working on your own can take you so far. You will need a co-founder to work with you take take your product to the next level. If you are a technical founder, then i recommend that you take on a non-technical co-founder who is primarily a marketing and a sales person, as marketing is one of the most important parts of building a product. Developing a product will be easy for your, but unless you do not have the marketing and sales guy your product will not be of any use, if it no one knows about it.

    Physically there is also a limit to what you can achieve individually, and if you team up with someone it will allow you to divide your work among your selves.

    Your work will increase in quality by that much because you will get regular feed back from another set of eyes which is a breath of fresh of fresh air for a founder who has been working alone on a project.

    You two can also conduct brain storming sessions among each other and come up with new ideas to work on.

    One of the most important ways in which a co-founder can help you is be there with you during the roller coaster of building a startup. No matter what any one says, the only person or group of people who go through this roller coaster and understand this are those who who have at some point in their life tried to build a company from scratch. There are times when you are on cloud 9 and you will think and have hope that your business is doing really well, but then the next minute you will coming crashing down and loose all hope and plan to exit the company which you have so lovingly built. Believe me, trying to build a startup is not for the faint of heart. You can not predict when you will have such feelings.

    The media shows us the glamour and not the grit, and hard work which is required to build something of value. You will need someone by your side who will also experience the same or similar experiences with you so that you to can comfort and console each other.

    You and your co-founder depend on each other to survive. If you build a healthy relationship, you will be able to build a successful team which will be able to overcome all obstacles.

    You and your co-founder depend on each other to survive. If you build a healthy relationship, you will be able to build a successful team which will be able to overcome all obstacles.

     

    Finding A Co-founder

    Finding a co-founder is like finding your life partner. There are many ways a partnership in a startup is quite similar to the partnership which a married couple have.

    Trust is a very huge part of this relationship just like in any relationship. If you feel you can not trust the person you are going to partner with, then i believe your relationship will not last long.

    You will also have to kill your ego. Ego is one of the most important factors which causes relationships and partnerships to fall apart. It is belief held by people that they should not start businesses with their friends as eventually both the business and friendship will be ruined. I have analyzed why this occurs and the conclusion that i have come to is that one of the partners in the relationship fails to kill or reduce his ego and fails to see the bug picture, that they are building something of value.

    I believe that the partners should sit down and discuss all of their concerns and also legalize their partnership so that it becomes difficult to break up the partnership. I am recommending this is because the partners will prefer to sit out and resolve the issues first than to go through to legalize the break up. It is not like you just stop working together one fine day. Furthermore, legalizing the partnership and your startup ensures that your and your partner’s rights have been determined and that no matter what happens even if the partnership fails the other partner can demand for his rights in the legal system.

    I believe that it was important to address the dark side of finding a co-founder and partnering up with one, as this is something which is quite possible to happen if you do not be careful.

    Your potential co-founder can come from anywhere. He can be your best friend, a co-worker with whom you like working with, or someone you met with on a networking event.

    There are also online communities where you can join and find a co-founder. However, you have to be careful in who you decide to team up with because you have to make sure that you and your co-founder are comfortable with each other.

    How Do I Know That They Will Suit Me?

    When you want someone to become your co-founder, it is obvious you will not immediately offer a place. You have to build a relationship first. Follow the person on social media sites such as FaceBook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

    Find out about their skills and their personalities. Remember do not stalk them and do not overburden them with yourself.

    Suppose you are a blogger and write articles about a certain niche, and want to team up with him, build a relationship first. Bring something of value to him and his readers. Share his blog posts and comment on them. The more you will do it, the more they will start to recognize you and be familiarized with you.

    Also share your own content, but be sure that it is of value to them and their readers. Do not share something which is not related to your potential partner and his readers.

    Furthermore, try to team up with people who are in your or a related industry then it becomes easier to find a common ground with them and you can build a relationship based on that.

    Do not partner too quickly, get to know your potential co-founder first. What are his likes and dislikes. What is that makes him go and what is his motivation. Talk to those close to you who know you and can give you advice. Remember this is a major decision that you will be making.

    You also have to take into account what is it that you can offer him. Building a relationship is a two way street and both of you have to offer something in return. If you can offer him equity in your business that is great. A personal connection and the bond that two business partners share is extremely invaluable. You become one and are in tune with each other.

    What Skills Should The Co-founder Have?

    Essentially your co-founder should complement you and your skills and should make up for what you are lacking. so if you are a technical founder, then try to get a marketing guru as your co-founder, and vice versa. It also depends on what kind of a startup you are building. If you are building a product then the above is a good formula.

    However if you are building a startup which is primarily an out sourcing company where you develop software for other people, then you can bring on more than one co-founders who can both help you in marketing your company, and also help your build the software for your clients, but do note your equity will get reduced further.

    Do note that you as a founder will also have to learn many skills such as business development.  I myself am a technical founder, but all of my business partners are technical as well, and now we have too many technical founders and no partner who can handle the business, marketing and sales side, and brining anymore partners will dilute the shares, but since i have an interest in these areas, i am self learning and trying to build the business though it would have been really good if i had an experienced partner with me in this field.

    How Much Equity Should I Give?

    This depends on what level of commitment and skills your co-founder brings to the table. Is he willing to come full time with you? Will he be there with you all the way. I believe and have experienced this that giving equity to your partner builds a sens of ownership in them and they tend to work even more hard and passionately with you, and become more responsible for their work than they would be other wise. This is something interesting that i have discovered in my experience so far.

    There is no fixed formula, but do note that there will be time where you will be tempted to break up your partnership because you want the whole pie for yourself, and at that moment you have to look at the big picture. As mentioned earlier you have to kill your ego. You can not let your ego spoil something beautiful. You have to constantly tell your self that what you are working on is something larger than you.

    When i brought in my first partner, i gave him half of my company. I was putting in more time, and effort than he was, but i knew that i could not do it alone. I had tried it for 2 years and i could not take my ideas to the next level without his help. I was at a constant battle with myself, to look at the big picture and mind you this takes a lot of mental energy and leaves you exhausted.

     

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    December 27, 2014 • Entrepreneurship • Views: 3711

  • App Review: Do Now Time Management App

    Introduction

    There are many time management apps available which help us manage our tasks and our time. Time management is a very valuable skill which every one must learn and practice in their lives. Once app that i have found goes by the name of Do Now which is available from Google Play Store for free. This app is a bit different from other apps, i have used before.

    UX, Design and Ease of Use

    The theme of this time management app is good looking with colors light blue, and orange bars, which light gray buttons.

    With apps of the same category as of this app, we usually expect that we can schedule an app and set its date and time, and set an alarm. With Do Now this particular feature is different. When you add a task you just specify the duration of the task, and not when it is to be done. What this means is that the app is only for managing the tasks on which you are working now, though you can a list of tasks, but you can not schedule them. This is not in the use case of the app, hence the name of the app is Do Now.  When i first started using this app this is what i was confused about. I was looking for the date and time fields, but only found the fields for setting the duration of the task as mentioned above.

    The association with scheduling of tasks that we have with apps like Do Now have caused the time to learn and understand how to use the app to be a bit more than an average app. Other wise the app is easy to use.

    Usefulness

    As mentioned above the app allows the users to add the duration of the task(s) being worked on. When you start working on a task press the play button and then the timer will start to count down. The good thing about this app is that the tasks are executed one by one, which is logical as well.

    Once the task is completed the alarm is rung and you are given options of if you want to ignore the alert, snooze the alert or complete the task.

    There three lists being used in the app. The first is the unplanned list which contains the list of tasks which you have not planned and are working on at the moment. You can add new tasks at run time in this list.

    The second list is the planned list, which is similar to the unplanned list in some ways, but differs in others. The user interfaces and controls of the two lists are the same and you can also add a new task at run time in the planned list just like in the unplanned list.

    The third list is the routines list which you can create. Routines are repeatable tasks, or you say planned tasks. Do you see the link? When you create a new routine which can contain a list of tasks (which you create in the routine) and when you will start the routine (play the routine, means starting the tasks in the routine) the tasks will be added to the planned list. This is where the unplanned list and the planned list are different from each other.

    The planned list is linked with the routines list. As mentioned above, when a routine is selected from the routine list to run its tasks are copied to the planned list and not to the unplanned list. This i feel is quite intuitive, and well thought out. The user does not have to manually transfer each task.

    However, i also found one thing which does not make sense to me. You can manually load the tasks in a routine and into the unplanned list. Now does that not sound contradicting from above? This is also quite possible for the planned list. I have no idea why have this when the developer has already made a link between the planned list and the routine list. Why is there a need for this?

    You can also save tasks in your planned list or unplanned list into either an existing routine or create a new routine. This feature i found quiet useful.

    You can also reorder the tasks by dragging the up and down. In order to do so you have to press onto the task where you see three gray vertical bars and then you will be able to move the tasks. You have to select individual task and move it. If you press anywhere else on the task it will not move.

    Do Now time management app also gives a statistics screen given which shows how many tasks you have completed and when you the completed the task.

    Conclusion

    I recommend this app for those users who want to track the time they are spending on their current tasks. and will surely help them manage their time. I have started to use this app myself and will continue to do so, as my style of work suits the use case of this application. I assign a fixed number of hours to my tasks for my daily work and have created a routine. I believe this will help me get more productive and get more out of my work.

    • Do Now Time Management App Review
      Do Now Time Management App Review

     

    December 7, 2014 • App Reviews • Views: 3959

  • App Review: Flow Free for Android Game Review

    This game was recommended to me by a friend and is a puzzle/strategy game. These type of games make me think and visualize the resulting actions that i am to take if i make a particular move. Free Flow is such a game which is available for many platforms, but i will be reviewing the Android version of the game.

    Free Flow is a simple game with a simple aim. Connect the pipes, but at the same time all of the squares on the grid must be covered within a fixed number of moves. In other words even if the player manages to connect all of the pipes, he will be penalized in one form or the other as per determined by the game.

    Free Flow consists of a number of different packs which then contain boards of different sizes. The smaller boards come early in the game and are easy to complete, but as the game progresses the boards increase in size and become much more difficult to complete.

    Flow Free Game Review Regular Pack 7x7 Medium Level

    Regular Pack 7×7 Medium Level

    The following are the board sizes which the player can play:

    • 5×5
    • 6×6
    • 7×7
    • 8×8
    • 9×9
    • 10×10
    • 11×11
    • 12×12
    • 13×13
    • 14×14

    The player can also purchase more levels if he wants to.

    It is recommended to players that they take breaks between the levels and boards as the player will end up spending too much time playing the game. This developers of the game does not force the user to wait for a period of time after playing for a while as we have seen in many mobile games.

    The graphical art is quite simple, nothing too flashy. It is as if no custom art has been used at all, and simple shapes are all that have been used. Despite the lack of flashy graphics the game play is what attracts the user to this game, reiterating the fact that graphical art is not what makes a game. Graphical art is part of the whole package. It depends on what type a game is, and in this case sophisticated and complicated art was not required. In fact such art in these types of games, just gets in the way of the user.

    Flow Free Game Review

    Flow Free Game Review

    Apart from free play which is just based on the number of moves that a player has to take, there is also a time trial.

    In this mode the player can select the size of the board and the time limit within which he has to solve the most number of boards that he can solve. This particular mode makes the player think fast as he has limited time.

    Do note that the small boards tend to become a bit boring as it is quite easy to solve them. It is the bigger boards which pose a much tougher challenge.

    To conclude if you are looking to play a puzzle/strategy game then i recommend this game, but do note as mentioned above the earlier levels can become boring, but if you keep playing then you will get tougher levels.

    • Flow Free Game Review
      Flow Free Game Review

    December 5, 2014 • App Reviews • Views: 4831

  • App Review: Hive URL Shortening Service

    Introduction

    There are times when you want to share links, but they are too long or the place where you want to copy have length restrictions. Made popular by Twitter URL shortening services such as bit.ly and tinyurl.com come to mind. There is another service by the name of Hive which pretty much does the same thing, but in a beautiful way.  Hive also comes with an Android app which you can use, but apparently it is a stand alone application and not connected to the website.

    UX, Design and Ease of Use

    The website’s overall user experience is well thought out and does not have any unexpected jerks. The design is also pleasing and easy on the eyes. The graphics, theme and layout of the website are attractive and the design team has done a good job. The website is relatively easy to use and the learning curve is quite shallow. Most of the controls have been laid out onto the dashboard for the user to use.

    Usefulness

    One of the interesting features of this neat app is the password protected links. You can set a password to your link and then share that password with those whom you want, and only they will be able to see what the link contains. You can also set description for the link as per you see fit.

    You can assign aliases to the generated links and use them instead of the randomly generated link created by Hive.

    The statistics provided by Hive are pretty comprehensive as the following information is shown:

    • recent activities which specify which link has been clicked
    • top links
    • number of clicks per link
    • the countries where your links have been clicked

    You can also create bundles and set them to either public or private to only allow those people who you want to be able to access the bundle.

    There are a number of plans from which you can choose. The basic plan is free to use provides

    • Detailed analytics
    • Powerful dashboard
    • Access from anywhere
    • Simple link shortening

    The Pro plan costs $3 per month and offers

    • All of the basic plan features
    • Additional link optimization
    • Custom splash pages
    • Data export

    The pricing of the business plan has not been specified and it offers

    • Pro plan features
    • Branded domains
    • Advanced analytics
    • Linked team accounts

    The Android app is a simple app and is a bit limited in terms of features. You can add links to shorten, and favorite them. You can also see their statistics, which takes you to Hive’s website. You can also see which links are popular from the links which you have created from the App.

    Problems That I Found

    In order to add a link to a bundle you will have to do some work. Go to the dashboard and scroll down to your links. There hover the mouse over the options link and a menu will be shown. If a link is already in a bundle then the bundle’s name will be shown, but if it is not in a bundle then the phrase “Add to bundle” will be shown. Upon pressing this a popup modal will open with the controls to add the link to the bundle which itself is a bit difficult to use.

    So far i have found this to be the only way to add the selected link to a bundle. I recommend the development team to improve the user experience of this such that it is not so difficult to do so. Also i recommend them to add the controls to add a link to the bundle in the area where new bundles are created. The discovery of how links are added to bundles was by accident and i had thought that the development team had missed this important feature.

    Furthermore the Android app is not linked with the website, that is the links shortened on the website are not downloaded to the app, and the same for vice versa is true. There might be some form of linking as there is an option to add an API key into the Android app, but i did not see any change in behavior of the app after entering the API key. You can get the API key from the settings section on the website after you login. I also did not see any login capabilities into the Android app.

    Conclusion

    Hive is an interesting piece of software, and this can give the big guys a run for their money if managed well. I recommend the development team to fix the issues pointed out above and they can have a good , well oiled service on their hands.

    • Hive URL Shortening Service Review
      Hive URL Shortening Service Review

    December 2, 2014 • App Reviews • Views: 3938

  • App Review: Wallet Finance Management App for Android

    Introduction

    We all live lives care free without a very concern for how much money we spend on our daily items and our pet peeves.

    Then when we find out how much we have spent we panic and start to look for ways to either monitor our spending habits or start reducing on spending altogether.

    I believe that managing our finances is the way to go and to begin hoarding and not spend any money is not. An app that I have found which helps me manage my finance goes by the name of Wallet and is free to use, however the app does offer a premium version as well.

    UX, Design and Ease of Use

    The home page shows the total balance, a graph of the balance for the last 30 days and the last ten records. These help the user get an overview of the health of his finances.

    The app is easy to use and the art being used is easy on the eyes. The app uses the standard Android design layout using the Android Action Bar which further helps the Android user easily use the app.

    The menu slides from the left side of the screen as per standard UI controls provided by Android and the menu contains different features available for the user to use.

    The controls for entering the data are self explanatory, and easy to use.

    Usefulness

    This app also comes with the cloud, where after creating a free account the data entered by the user is stored in the Wallet cloud, and can be accessed from the website.

    The app provides with built in categories for which expenses( or income) can be added such as car, groceries, eating out. You can add your own categories as well and also assign an image to that category. You can also add a form of payment used to make the transaction such as Cash, Debit Card, Credit Card, Bank Transfer, etc…

    You can even add a picture of the receipt which you can take at that moment via the camera or upload from the gallery. I like this particular feature because it allows me to back up my expenses/income with proof. Date and time of the transaction can also be added.

    For basic users this app is pretty useful, in helping them manage their expenses and also their income. If you use this app for a period of time, you will be able to analyse where you are spending and where you need to cut down in order to control your finances.

    The app is not all numbers. You can see the data in graph form as well, and filter the data based on the preferences provided.

    The app also comes with different modules such as a module to manage your debts. shopping lists. and warranties. In debts you can add the debts that you people, and also those debts that people owe you. Pretty neat uh?

    In shopping lists you can build lists of what you want to purchase and you can even add the total amount spent on this list, which is then added to your expenses list. I would have liked to be able to individually add the price of each list item, so to get more control, but then i can add them in the expenses list of the app.

    The warranty module allows me to add warranties of the items that i have purchased and it tells me how much time is left after i enter in all of the details.

    Conclusion

    Looking at the usefulness and easy to use nature of the app i highly recommend this app for those users who want to start controlling and monitor their finances.  This app is just a first step. To further help you manage your finances either you can hire an accountant or a finance consultant to help you further stay on track, but then only do this if you have enough money to spend on these professionals.

    • Wallet Finance Management App for Android Review
      Wallet Finance Management App for Android Review

    December 1, 2014 • App Reviews • Views: 2918