Archive for the ‘Business’ Category:

Mobile: Native or Web App?

November 6th, 2012

Before trying to build a mobile app, this should be the first question you should ask yourself.  And by native, I mean an app that runs on Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows Mobile, or Blackberry. And by web app, i mean something that runs in a mobile browser.

Short answer:  If you got deep pockets and lots of developers (like Facebook), and you want features HTML5 can not provide, go native.  But really it depends on what you’re trying to do and what resources you have.

The right answer only happens after goals have been identified, both short term and long term. This blog post will not cover all the details needed to answer the question, instead it will provide a few links that cover the details.  Note there is also a third option of building a hybrid apps (native apps that get the latest content from the web).


Trend towards HTML5 (aka web apps)

Still want native

Option 3: Hybrid

HTML5 Facebook Announcement, Sept 2012

For techies: The details

I hope the links above helped. Remember not to confuse whats best for your app with what other apps do or how they do it.  If you’re still not sure, one approach is to design a web app first, and if it doesn’t meet your needs (which should be fleshed out during the design phase), then go native.


Fluent Conference Wins

June 4th, 2012

I just completed one of the best tech conferences i’ve ever been to – Fluent javascript conference in SF. O’Reilly did a great job of providing many opportunities to learn more about various facets of the javascript world. These include business, mobile, gaming, tech stacks, detailed in the very useful fluent schedule. There was also tons of buzz around web apps (code shared on client and server), backbone.js, node.js, among other things. It was well organized, with usually about 5 parallel sessions, and enough breaks to consolidate notes, meet other attendees, explore the exhibit hall, or just catchup with email. There was also a few organic meetups at night, but I did not make it to any of those.

I was happy to see discussion around business side of javascript, mainly due to the rise of web apps and HTML5. Even though javascript has been around for 17 years, only in the last few years has there been an explosion of js frameworks and libraries. This is partially attributed to mobile explosion, apple not supporting flash, and a really great dev community (yay github). With all these new tools available, companies can focus more on the bits they care about, allowing them to get new apps, features, and fixes in front of their users faster than ever. Web apps were a very popular discussion area, from the business and develpment side. Specifically two sessions highlighted this. First was how business are “Investing in Javascript” (pdf presentation by Keith Fahlgren from Safari Books. The other was by Andrew Betts from, discussing the financial time’s web app which allows users to view content offline. Most people know that traditional newspapers are dying, but I liked how Andrew points out “newspaper companies make money selling *content*, not paper”. Also Ben Galbraith and Dion Almaer from Walmart had a fun-to-watch Web vs Apps presentation (yes, its true, tech isn’t always DRY). The main takeway from them (which was echoed throughout the conference) was that web apps are better than native apps in most ways except one – native can sometimes provide a better user experience (but not always). Of course you may still want to build a native app using html5 and javascript, and there are 2 great ways that people do this, using Appcelerartor’s Titanium or phoneGap (now Cordova, apache open-source version). One of the coolest web apps I saw at the conference was from clipboard.comWatch Gary Flake’s presentation (better look out, pinterest).

For the uber techies out there, there were lots of insights on how companies successfully used various js libraries and frameworks (in other words, whats your technology stack). This is important to pay attention to, since not all the latest and greatest code is worthy to be used in production environments. You should think about stability, growth, documentation, and community involvement. Here’s a few bits I found interesting

  • Trello (which supports IE9+ only): Coffeescript, LESS, mustache templates, jquery/underscore/backbone
  • jquery, less, node.js
  • new soundcloud: infrastructure: node.js, uglify, requreJS, almondJS .. served using nginx. Runtime: backbone, Handlebars
  • twitter: less, jquery, node.js, more twitter tech stack
  • Riak, Redis, NGINX, jQuery, Node.js, node.js modules
  • pubnub: custom c process faster than memcached and redis
  • picplum tech stack: coffeescript, backbone.js, rails 3.2.3, unicorn + resque, heroku postgres, heroku (nginx), AWS couldfront & S3
  • stackmob: uses backbone, mongoDB, Joyent and EC2, Scala and Lift, Netty and Jetty

Finally, here are a few other cool tech-related tidbits from the conference. There was soo much good stuff, this is not a complete list, but just a few highlights from my notes

Understanding Green Business

March 5th, 2008

“Understanding Green Business” was my goal last fall. As i mentioned in Green Abort, it was a project that involved (a) me learning about green, and (b) creating a little web site to share what i learned. As I said, I aborted it, because I realized I’m just too new to the space to say something significant in a website. And being the efficient perfectionist I am, I don’t want to waste time doing what others have already. However, there a few things I learned which I will share with you now.

One of the first things i researched was schools and getting a Green MBA. I realized MBA programs fall in 2 categories – these new green-to-the-core schools, and those from standard schools that integrate “social and environmental stewardship”. For the first, there’s basically 3 – Presidio MBA, Bainbridge MBA, Dominican University of California MBA. These schools are fairly new, so its hard to track how good they are in the traditional sense (practical business knowledge), but they do have a green and sustainability focus built into every class. This is in contrast to the second group of MBA programs, which generally have just a few classes in things like sustainability and green business. Most MBA programs reside in this second group. Instead of listing these (I will say Stanford is number one), I will bow to Beyond Grey Pinstripes ‘Top 100 (way awesome). They do a more thorough job then I could ever do, a must read if you are considering a MBA. After I bit of uncertainty on whether i should goto MBA, I decided to wait.

Around this point I came to differentiate between the Green Movement and Green Business. I volunteered at the Green Festival in San Francisco (November 10, 2007) where I was surrounded by the Green Movement. I’ll define the Green Movement as more grass roots and consumer driven – people buying because “it is green” – organic and/or sustainably produced goods (food, coffee, hybrid cars, etc). Green Business is more business first, green second – about operating a business in a green way, applying standard business practices but always aware of the green impact. These consumers or clients may not even know about the green-ness. For example, a restaurant may recycle their water and buy organic, but you may just go there cuz the food tastes good. These groups do overlap in some areas, but not always. What’s important is that Green Businesses should be able to be competitive with non-green businesses, preferably better in ways besides just “Being Green.” Here I concluded I’m interested in only green business. Maybe I *should* get a green MBA?

The rest of what I learned, and I am still learning, is that there are tons of green sites out there – news/blogs, portals, social networking, business related, etc. I could try to categorize them, but being the thorough guy I am, I wouldn’t want to list a few guys and miss an important one. That said, I will say that all people interested in green business should check out these

That’s it. If you’re really bored, you can check out the unfinished green business site