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A Startup Perspective to Service and Software Development

This is a talk for the WAUS forum (Workshop on Advanced and Usable Software) I've presented on Dec 14th, 2012 @ National Cheng Chi University, Taipei, Taiwan

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A Startup Perspective to Service and Software Development

  1. 1. Danny Lin Managing Director, PlurkWorkshop on Advanced and Usable Software (WAUS)Dec 14th, 2012 @ Taipei
  2. 2. Danny Lin• Software Developer, Cartoon Company• Movie Screenplay Writer• Product Manager @ various scale of software companies• Columnist @ various magazines for over a decade• Operate a BBS (FidoNet) for more than 8 years• Head of Communication Products, Yahoo• Lead Product Manager, Google• COO, Online Game Company• Managing Director, Plurk
  3. 3.  Founded by 3 co-founders in Toronto, Canada in 2008. Officially launched to public on June 2008. Anonymous (virtual identity), horizontal timeline, emoticons, karma/badges We wanna make it funny and easy.  It can be your meme  It can be discussions  It can be chitchat  It’s social. 100% using open source software  Our team members are also open source contributors  We have open source projects:
  4. 4. What is a Startup?startup is a company or temporary organizationdesigned to search for a repeatable and scalablebusiness model. my 2 cents:  Very limited resources  Everyone is multitasking.  Scalable. Flexible.
  5. 5. Exponential Growth v.s. Linear Solution
  6. 6.  Almost real-time.  Tons of requests inEarthquake!!! queue.  User experience.
  7. 7.  All your metrics are growing in a positive way, and you’re happy with it. A exponential problem.timeline data size Life is good, But hard. number of users
  8. 8.  How many money do you have to support the growth?  I don’t have so much money. I need to feed my team for the next 12 months.  I don’t wanna kill myself or the service. Do you still want your users to feel happy?  Off course. I truly do.  I hope they feel no big difference if a change is needed.
  9. 9.  Spend $$$$ Buy new servers NO. Don’t do that. You’re not Google or Yahoo.
  10. 10.  Re-architecture? Rewrite your code to get better performance, handling more requests? GOOD. Not perfect. And it takes time. New changes might screw up everything.
  11. 11.  Look at how users are using your service! female (59%) , male (41%) Heavy (10%), Medium (85%) Low (5%) 85% users posted more than 8 new messages, 20 responses, read approx. 30 messages per session. CONCLUSION: They care more about timely responses than getting a huge number of updates.
  12. 12. Don’t wanna spend too much $$$$. Not buying new servers. Make minimal code changes.Users feel no big difference. Limited size of updates list. Satisfy 80% of users’ need.
  13. 13.  Limited size of updates = 80+% of user need A linear solution to an exponential problem.timeline data size Life is better, And cool. number of users
  14. 14. From Marathon to Sprints
  15. 15. control your breath I might quit. well-equipped  You need a race “strategy”  You need support  It takes time to practice and It’s a long journey preparePhoto courtesy of Nordea Riga Marathon, under Creative Commons License.
  16. 16. It’s a quick run. Need to quick react, and be really solid. just do it, no perfect “plan”. just less than 1 mins, and it’s done.  Unload unnecessary concerns.  A short race at top speed.  Better cycle to fix things.Photo courtesy of abby chicken photography, under Creative Commons License.
  17. 17.  Grassroots effort -  Users are your customers  At Plurk, every employee is also a customer care staff.  Users are your friends  Directly and immediately  Users are your collaborator responsive to the needs and  Users are the best beta testers wishes of the people involved.  What do they get in return?  In the end, it’s about sensation.  A badge, an official thank, being appeared on your page, something they feel cool, or honored, would be seen as a reward.
  18. 18. TranslatorsContent Moderators You getlanguages translatedfrom the community.  36 the help from users by Plurk users worldwide. TheyThey love to contribute.  understand what the community need.  They feel honored, in return, get a Plurk translator badge They are real people, not robot. shown on their profile.
  19. 19. “Agile”
  20. 20.  Quick React.  Fix critical ones first. (what users cares the most)  Unload unnecessary features, learn from users and data.  Release tiny features frequently, less than 3 at a time.  Do something funny and sometimes crazy instead of following the rule.  Don’t follow every move your competitor did.
  21. 21.  Think Out of the Box  No one define rules for you. You rule it yourself.  Explore new needs from users and data.  Trust your new idea. Do not hesitate to try. Take it easy. Make it simple.  Enjoy the complaints.  Don’t try to release 100 features at a time.  Simplify development processes.  Simply your product designs.
  22. 22. CONTACTDanny Linemail: danny@dannylin.netblog: http://dannylin.netfacebook: