Just got access to latest version of Google Analytics for RightBuy. It looks great, here are things that I like. You may not be able to experience the screenshots as I do, because I have selected the date ranges that don’t have any data on purpose.
I must say it is blazing fast as compared to current Google Analytics. Looks like they re-did whole infrastructure for it to usa AJAX just like Gmail. Existing Google Analytics took really long for pages to load and reports to generate.
They have widgetized the new Dashboard, more like iGoogle. They have also added ability to add more dashboards.
I also like the way Google Analytics changed their top and right sidebar menus. They made the labels non-metrics-geeks friendly and has better categorization. I also like that they took out “Intelligence” out of the menu and made it a separate tab. My guess is we’ll see a lot more of the “Intelligence” like features which will help automating the marketing reports and other alerts.
I love current GA’s motion charts, but they had them hidden in Google Analytics. That has changed, Motion Charts is now a type of graph that you can choose for some reports!
How many times have you seen cool looking, yet very generic pictures and text on websites? I for sure see it often, generally on B2B sites. If I was to get a penny every time someone read the word “cloud” on marketing copy for any website, I’d put Bill Gates to shame with my philanthropy. Are all those people who write or approve the buzzy copy morons? Not usually. I have done that myself more than a few times (I am usually on border line of moronity). The problem I see is that while working on our products we lose touch with the end customer. We get influenced by competitors and end up believing that our customers want to read/hear the buzz words, we’ll look smarter if we add “cloud” to our marketing copy. And oh, there is always that SEO – the divine power that requires the sacrifices of simplicity and user experience.
Yesterday I was looking at The Resumator – a service that helps “Make Great Hiring Decisions Faster”. Wow, I always wanted to make great hiring decisions faster. I can “Discuss, rank and track job applicants efficiently with The Resumator.” sweet! I have already spent about 10-15 seconds on the site and I try to find how are they going to do all these great things for me? Do they have a pool of candidates that I can just send my job post to? How does it really work? I have seen several other companies trying to leverage social connections to source candidates and few other ones that host the job listing page and give me credits for passing resumes of candidates I don’t select. Is it like those? Filled with all these and a lot more questions, my eyes go down to a graphic on the page. Graphics are best, they tell you everything about a service within a few seconds. I start reading it.
I first publish the job, promote it, then grow my applicant pool and finally hire! This is great, but wait…wouldn’t I do this if I was using Craigslist or LinkedIn? Still not sure how and what they will help with. They have a bunch of text and links below, don’t really feel like reading it. Then I spot logos of a few companies I admire. This helped me not close the window, but give it another chance….I scroll up. I see the button ‘Request Demo’ bring my mouse to it and click it….praying that it is a label error and the click will lead me to a demo of the application. My worst nightmare comes alive when I see the dialog box asking for my name, job title, company email and phone number with a promise of scheduling with me a guided tour ASAP. People who know me also know how variable my ASAP is. Judging them by my own standards, I don’t think I want to take on that offer.
I then remembered that usually B2B startups have 2-3 other links in the header like plans & pricing, etc. I got lucky that I found a “Tour” link. On clicking that link, I see the same graphic as homepage (see above) and some text, I check my browser’s address bar to make sure if I actually clicked and landed on the tour page. I don’t know what to do….I click on the first heading which looks exactly like the other text hoping it is a link.
I get to this page. I click on the tiny screenshots, but guess what they are not clickable. They are there just to tease people. After reading the next line “Turn your resumes into a searchable database.” I feel like I have found the holy grail of the website. This was my aha! moment. I Scroll down a bit and read some stuff, try to click more teasing pictures and get another aha moment reading “Send personalized, automated messages.” It took more more than a minute to understand what a couple of things they offer. I am sure, there are more features hidden inside the page that I never got to.
I am not trying to pick on this specific company (which I actually did), but the intention here is to have this post as a reminder for me and others to make things easier for the end users. Now that I know a bit about theresumator and that other great companies use them, I’ll most likely end up using them. I do want to mention a couple of companies which I think do a kick ass job at product demos are InDinero and ChartBeat.
Do you know about other companies that either do good job with their sites or worse? Please post in the comments.
PS: We are hiring.
Silicon Valley is an amazing place, everyday we wake up with TechCrunch reporting millions of dollars of funding to startups, acquisitions and a lot of screw ups. Almost all of my friends have talked about starting something new at one point of time or another. Some just talked about a cool idea and are not sure if they really want to work on it, while others go after trying it out. Like my friends, I have also started several projects and shut a lot of them down. I am responsible for shutting a few of my projects prematurely, but I learnt from each of those instances. I learnt what not to do next time and so far have not repeated my mistakes.
Late last year I was toying with yet another idea and this time wanted to make it more than just a project. While I was talking with potential customers and friends, I met Gagan Biyani from Udemy. He had a lot of good things to say about Founder Institute (FI). I vaguely knew about FI via TechCrunch post that they wrote when it launched. I knew there were other incubators but wasn’t really planning to join one. I thought I knew about startups and wasn’t sure what value an incubator will add. However, I knew about one of my weaknesses – starting up. Reading about latest technologies, startups, meeting amazing people is all good but the hardest part of a startup is starting up (at least for me). There was something in Gagan’s recommendation to Founder Institute, it seemed more than a recommendation, something that truly came from heart.
I took a leap of faith and took the exam for FI about a day before the last day for submissions. I got in and met other 50ish people who were in a similar boat. First day Adeo Ressi mentioned in his unique style that starting a company is not that easy, it will take several years and based on statistics you are most likely to fail. He offered an additional $100 for people to drop off the session. That is when I decided that I have to get through this session. From that point onwards, the semester became a survival game.
Being the programmer/tech guy I underestimated the things required by a successful founder. Some of which are research, formal presentations, ability to clearly articulate your idea and most importantly building a company not an app. I realized that how my initial idea lacked the right team for it and that I most likely won’t prefer to work on that idea for several years if I had to.
I had another idea that I was passionate about it and started researching about it. FI creates “peer groups”, some of the members in my group were instrumental in making me think and work hard on solidifying the idea to be a meaningful company. I got harsh criticism from some of these mentors mostly about my presentation. At that time it wasn’t the happiest moment in my life, but it helped me evolve my whole presentation a lot. Thanks to the mentors, I am now happy to say that my presentation is 100X better (still needs work) than what I presented the first time.
On 23rd Feb 14 companies graduated from Founder Institute’s current batch and I am pleased to say that I along with 13 great founders survived and added a lot of value to our companies. Fortunately for us things don’t end here, but begin. Talking with other graduates from Founder Institute and my experience so far point that all the amazing people I connected with in FI and FI itself will add a lot more value to my company while its way to success. My friend and one of the graduating founders Brajeshwar has a great compilation of all the companies and lot more.
Starting up is generally not easy and I believe founders do need a catalyst that can shorten the learning process by a lot. I would highly recommend Founder Institute as that catalyst.
I didn’t notice if they were down for me, nor was I watching a show on Netflix when they were down. They still sent me this email. I think it is a great thing from a company to acknowledge if something broke (shit happens). I also liked how they wrote
“If you attempted and were unable to instantly watch TV episodes or movies yesterday, click on this account specific link in the next 7 days to apply your 3% credit”
They don’t know who was trying to watch Netflix when they were down. They are showing their trust in the customers to do the right thing – that is take the 3% credit if customer had inconvenience. Am I going to click on that link and get 30 cents or so from them – No, because I didn’t even know about the issue till they send me the email. They would have paid more to users if they applied the 3% credit to all the users. I think that is brilliant from a company’s view.
I’d be curious to know what % of users not claim the 3% credit. I was talking to a Paypal employee at X Innovate and he mentioned that they only charge transaction fee for Paypal-to-Paypal transfer only if there are certain options are picked when paying the money (ones with a business intent). He mentioned that a huge percent of users pick the right options.