Category Archives: Business

Project Roles and Responsibility in an Enterprise

I worked a long time in a financial company (one of Fortune 200) in the US.  It’s quite a complex process to start a project, or you can say, make some changes or create something new.  Once I had an idea of a new project which I was very excited about, and I pitched it to our team’s VP at a gathering, he was very excited about it as well.  However, to my surprise, his first question was: “does your project have a customer?”  Since I clearly did not, he explained: “every project has to have a customer”.   That’s quite an interesting learning experience.  It turns out that in addition to customer, there are a number of other roles in a typical project in an enterprise, the table below lists out their roles and responsibilities.

Role Expectations
Program Sponsor •Influence strategic direction
•Serve as tie breaker for major decisions
Steering Committee •Set strategic direction•Approve major decisions

•Review progress of program

•Provide guidance and feedback on plans

Program Customer •Set conditions of satisfaction•Approve decisions not requiring executive review

•Review progress of program

•Provide guidance and feedback on plans

Program Manager •Ensure program governance (Project Management SME)•Program status updates

•Impact Assessment/Process Navigation

Leads •Provide LOB requirements & timelines•Provide resources for Core Team activities

•Resolve cross-functional and cross-organizational issues

Informed Stakeholders •Review & provide feedback on program scope and delivery plan

App Store Marketing Tips Shared By Todd Moore

The following are some notes taken on MoDevDC event last night on App Store Strategy, Todd Moore (founder of TMSOFT) gave some insightful tips on mobile app marketing from an experienced developer perspective.

Product development:

  • paid app or free app, Which kind of app is more valuable? He prefers freemium model inspired by Instagram
  • Using latest iOS features in the app will increase the likelihood of getting featured

App store strategies:

  • top choices are Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and Amazon Appstore
  • Try app in browser feature on Amazon Appstore is impressive because it reduces return rates
  • Ranking has a couple of hurdles to cross, for example 51 to 50 is a key hurdle
  • Strategies on improving rating: Todd felt that free apps are more likely to be attacked by distorted negative ratings than paid apps
  • Naming your app in a search friendly way (shared by SavvyApps CEO): which means you need to put all important keywords into your app.  However, usually you won’t know the best keyword after testing performance of a number of keywords on a search marketing campaign, but you may run into approval issue if you try to change app name at that time, also even if you change App name, the permalink will stay the same.  So it’s kinda important to choose a good name at the beginning

Marketing strategies:

  • Spend all your marketing budget in a way that can build momentum, timing is important (he prefers the time when the app already got some organic momentum for example, just got released, reviewed or new version upgraded),
  • most of momentum building marketing dollars won’t come back in a measurable way.
  • It’s not recommended to allocate low amount of marketing $ in a long time period
  • Search campaigns: always come up a couple of slogan combinations (Todd usually comes up with 10), you will be surprised of how differently they perform even though they look the same to you.
  • Top ad agency choice: AdMob


Technology that brings magic to human life

Recently read an article about Steve Jobs being involved with developing the iPhone model that is to be rolled out after iPhone 4S.  Although the AI application SIRI is a feature in iPhone 4S, the article still speculated Steve Jobs’ involvement with that feature, as SIRI’s technology is consistent with Steve’s philosophy of product design: “simple to use technology that seemingly brings magic to human’s life”.   I am not an apple fan, actually I own no apple product myself, but I do acknowledge that Steve Jobs is the beacon of designing consumer products, and that piece of his philosophy will keep on inspiring more geniuses in the future.

B2C vs C2C market comparison over 10 years

AMZN and EBAY are both eCommerce platforms which sell products online, however EBAY does not manage any warehouses because it operates the platforms only, its major challenge is to ensure the quality of products listed there and help establish a credit system for sellers, while AMZN manages huge warehouses as AMZN itself is the biggest seller on its own platform, quality of the products and the credit of seller is lesser problem for AMZN, its major challenge is to manage the cost of inventory and warehouses and deliveries.

Using market cap of AMZN and EBAY as proxy for Business To Consumer (B2C) and Consumer TO Consumer (C2C) market, this is an interesting chart of their dynamics over last 10 years.   It shows that at the early Internet years, C2C market is bigger and peaked first, while B2C market catch up later on and exploded in exponential rate a few years after C2C market’s peak.   EBAY or platform only model has an early and fast win because it quickly reaches wide variety of products, while in early days, the fact that number of sellers is small ensures a balance between quality and profit for sellers.  However, as more and more sellers enters the market, competetion becomes more intensive, it becomes harder and harder to maintain high profit margin for high quality sellers on C2C marketplace, so those sellers and their products leave the market, leaving the low quality sellers who sell fake products which will turn away consumers.  While in B2C model, quality is guaranteed as AMZN itself is seller.  This chart reflects that over long term, quality of products at reasonable prices are what attract and keep bringing back consumers to a marketplace.

Machine Problem Solving: Watson’s Approach

This is how IBM is using computer models to create an inference engine that has problem-solving capabilities:

“What’s really going on under the hood is that Watson is taking input, generating hypotheses, and trying to prove them based on what it thinks it has understood about the clue, the category, even the surrounding clues. For each possible answer, Watson tries to find all the material that supports or refutes that answer. Then it analyzes that evidence to come up with a set of the best answers. That’s exactly what you do when you try to solve a problem, whether it’s differential diagnoses in medicine or a technical-support question or financial analysis; you look for the conditions in which a particular situation might occur. What the computer is helping you do is organize all that evidence for the possible answers — the possible diagnoses — from a huge amount of content.”

-David Ferrucci, Principal Investigator – Watson Project