Saturday, May 23, 2015

Measuring In the moment happiness (InMoHap) with moodles (Mu)

This post is in progress to help me flesh out my progress -- feedback please! 

TL;DR:  Moodles, abbreviated Mu, is a measure of in the moment  happiness" (InMoHap), which is extremely helpful when exploring positive computing. 

The case for moodles. 

The goal of positive computing is to make users happier, which means we need to measure happiness to tell if users are happier.   The current methods to measure happiness have limitations (details on request) , so we'll define a new ideal unit for in the moment happiness (InMoHap)  called the moodle, abbreviated Mu.

The properties of the Mu is it can be objectively measured at any moment of time with minimal  user interruption.    For example, just as a fit bit can transparently count your steps through the day, a Moodle-O-Meter can measure your InMoHap throughout the day.

Examples of using moodles. 
To get a good understanding of InMoHap and moodles the following graphs show some typical events through the day -- I'll flesh the below out with InMoHap graphs

Example #1: going through your day and getting triggered when you get a nasty gram from your Ex wife

Example #2: going through a normally grinding day

Example #3: Getting a surprise love letter from your partner.

The things that make InMoHap confusing: 
Even though moodles are a step up from our current measures, they have a few confusing properties:

First, the relationship between moodles and satisfaction is complicated (details on request).  For example, you might spend an entire vacation doing nothing but being drunk, this may high moodles, but does not improve satisfaction.

Second, moodles are the measure of an experience at a point in time.   The moodles a situation produces for the experiencing self, may be different from the moodles as experienced by the remembering self.

For example, imagine today at 5pm Bob is running and in pain, having a low Mu.  Tomorrow when Bob remembers the run as a great experience and remembering the experience of running he has a high moodle count.

Approximating Moodles with existing tools and measures
Sadly, moodles don't yet exist. However we have some ability to measure happiness which I'll describe here.

Friday, May 22, 2015

StartupVille: Testing vs Optimizing

TL;DR - Optimizing, is figuring out how to do make a result better.  Testing is checking if something is so good it doesn’t need to be optimized, or so bad you're better off doing something different.

Founders spend a significant portion of their time comparing alternative to see which is better and why. For example how to make a landing page more appealing, or what price they should set for a product. This process is incredibly important and called optimizing.

Optimizing is often expensive so before you start optimizing, test to see if something has so little traction it's not worth starting to optimize, or has so much traction there's no need to optimize.

For example, imagine you have a customer acquisition cost (CAC) budget of 5$ and you run some search ads and get a 0% click through rate.  In that case, instead of trying to optimize search ads, you are probably better off trying a different channel like social network  ads.  Now, imagine when you try social network ads you find your CAC is only 2$, in that case, you can skip optimizing completely as you’ve already achieved your goals.

A few final thoughts on the topic:
• Testing is essentially optimizing relative to the null hypothesis
• A side effect of optimizing rigorously is you describe why a change is important.
• You can always optimize after testing, in fact if it's important you certainly will.
• If it's trivial to do some optimizing while testing, go for it.

Soft Skills: How to suck less

Do you want to suck less? I do, here is some great advice from Jeff Atwood:

1) Embrace the suck - you'll keep sucking until you don't.
2) Do it in public - that way you can get feedback and learn how to suck less faster
3) Pick stuff that matters - the more important it is, the more motivation you have, and feedback you'll get.

This blog is a great example!

Positive Computing: Technology making us happier

TL; DR: Positive Computing is understanding how computing can make normal people happier.

Psychology started life as a science dedicated to helping people reduce mental illness.  Recently some psychologists wondered how their craft could help normal people be happier.  This new branch of psychology is called positive physiology.

Similarly computing started life dedicated to making people be more productive.  Many early computer engineers expected the increase in productivity to increase happiness. But, while productivity soared, happiness remained flat.   Recently some computer engineers wondered how their craft could help normal people be happier.  This new branch of computing is called positive computing.

Positive computing is a brand new field, and I look forward to investing in it heavily.  If you want to go deep into positive computing, there are some resources below:

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Typeform: Surveys and data gathering

As an entrepreneur, figuring out what your customers need is your top priority. When you have lots of customers, surveys are a great way of doing this.

If you're doing surveys I strongly recommend typeform. It's simple to setup, and produces beautiful ux on phones and desktops for data gathering. 

When you're thinking of using typeform, don't limit yourself to surveys. For example, I use typeform for sign up forms.  This saved me several hours of initial development, and even more hours when I made changes to my sign up process. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Startupville: Would you tell a single dad he needs a mom for his kid?

If you would, I've got news for you, he already knows, and what you said was futile.

Just as the single father already knows his child would benefit from a Mom and telling him won't help, it's not helpful to tell a founder he needs a partner.

Like a single father, a Solopreneur knows the benefits of a partner are huge, but is wary of settling on the wrong partner.

Having a partner who wouldn't cherish their baby through thick and thin, is far worse then going through the same think and thin alone.

Startupville: The three founders - Hustlers, Hackers and Hookers

To run a startup you need three personas represented by your founders:Hustlers, Hackers and Hookers.

The hustler is the founder who can breaks down doors, she unlocks segments, captures funding, she's makes sure the startup engine never stalls for lack of leads or funding.

The hacker is the founder who builds it. She is a McGyver and can build anything quickly. When there's a technical problem she can get it duct taped and bubbled gummed back up in giffy to keep the technical side of the business running.

The hooker is the least known of the founder personas, but possibly the most valuable. His job is to love the customers. He listens to the customers emphatically and deeply understands what customer need,  even when the customer can't describe it.  This founder figures what should be built within the constrains of the business model and technology.

Often startups don't have dedicated people for each of these roles, but the personas need to covered by the founders to achieve success.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Bluetooth headsets in 2015

Long story short.  Finding an in-ear blue tooth headset in 2015 was hard.  I tried the plantronics M55, plantronics M165 and they both had poor sound quality and poor noise cancellation. 

I now have the jarbra stealth, and so far it works. Comfortable, good sound quality and solid noise cancellation.   

I don't know if there are better headsets (I was getting sick of trying to find them), but this one works as well as I'd expect. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cool Tools: View azure blob storage as a filesystem (Azure Explorer)

Azure blob storage is essentially a file system metaphor.   Azure explorer lets you interact with your storage account as if it was a drive on your local machine.  I use it all the time when I'm working with Azure storage.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Startupville: What's it like running a startup?

Running a startup is hard. Soul crushingly hard.  I suspect if you haven't done it before, you can't understand it, but I'll try to explain it with an analogy:

Imagine you decide to row across the Atlantic  alone. You don't get a GPS, you don't get a map, you don't even get a compass, all you can do is navigate by the stars.    Oh yeah, you do get a one way radio you can't turn off.

At first, as you leave your home filled with confidence. You know you're a strong rower,  you think you know where you're going, and you  you feel great!

But then it gets dark and cloudy,  you can't see the stars, you have no idea where you are, you have no idea if you're going in a circle or heading back to where yous started, and you're tired, rowing is hard work.  You become filled with fear and doubt.  Even if you wanted to go back to a place you thought was safe, you don't know how to get back. And did I mention rowing is hard work, and you've been rowing a long time, and you're tired, very very tired.

While you are it in your boat alone, in the dark, anxious, exhausted and demoralized, you still have the radio, the radio you can't turn off.   The radio is a stream of people give advice like:  "You're going the wrong way", "Turn Back", "Go Left, "Go Right",  "Turn around", "You're crazy to think this will work", "This is dumb", "you're doing it wrong".

But sometimes , the clouds lift, and you see the stars, and you realize you are making progress, you realize you are a stronger rower then you where when you left shore, and you fill with hope. You recharge your mental batteries  you remember why are on this journey,  and most of all you remember you can actually make it!

Happy rowing!