Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ericsson Evolution Blog: Cloud Storage for Big Data

Ericsson Cloud Storage – Part 1

Rio - Sending a message.tif_2
This is the first of two blogs about Ericsson Cloud Storage written for a large audience. The result is a collective effort in the Accessibility team from Cloud Product Team: Hans Haenlein, Johan Carlsson and myself.  We started by asking what is Big Data? This is one of those terms we believe we know, but we need to look closely to really understand.Continue reading

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Why Fortune 5000 companies are generating almost all the wealth

In the previous entry, Startup As a Commodity I wrote
In 2014, 803 US Venture Capital firms spent 48 billion dollars investment, played games with a mere 0.03% of US GDP 
I discovered the scholarly paper from 2013  Startup Businesses and the Growth of Real State Gross Product from  Sacramento based Pacific Research Institute (for the readers outside US, Sacramento is the capital of California). The author is Benjamin Zycher, Ph.D  Here is his main conclusion

Dr. Zycher 
 A two-stage econometric model estimated with a database of 49 states over the period 1977-2010 yields the following central empirical findings: An increase in the number of startup firms does not affect state gross product or its growth rate, but an increase in net job creation
This is a puzzling conclusion. Startups are great for job creation. But these are not  always the steady jobs that bring betterness, Yet startups contribution to the Gross Product is negligible.

Re-inventing older Fortune 5000 companies to operate at maximum potential, this is the real source of GDP increase, Large companies becoming entrepreneurial themselves are the real source of wealth creation.

 From Focus on breakthrough products to heal Europe and US economies
In a memorable lucid and prophetic  blog, titled Entrepreneurs, not the government, will save Europe’s economy, Dries Buytaert the co-founder and CTO of Acquia, a Drupal shop and  in Europe writes:
Dries Buytaert, $0 speaking fee
 If Steve Jobs was adopted by a Belgian family rather than an American family, it’s extremely possible he may have ended up working in a bank instead of co-founding Apple.
Why? Because starting a company and growing it is hard no matter where you are, but the difficulty is magnified in Europe, where people are divided by geography, regulation, language and cultural prejudice.
What Europe should do?
Focus on creating large companies. Between 1975 to today, Europe which has double the population of US, produced 2 companies in the top 500 worldwide, while US has produced 26 such companies. This means creating EUR 25 billions companies, not only EUR 1 billion companies, the predominant maximum in Europe
Level the playing field. Compared to US, the entire Europe is Balkanized  "European work regulations can shackle the growth of startups. Taxes are high, it’s hard to acquire a European company, severance packages can be outrageous and it’s extremely difficult to fire someone... It only gets worse when you attempt to operate in multiple European countries"
Change our  (European) culture.
" The biggest thing entrepreneurs need is the belief that it can be done, that it’s worth taking the risk and putting in the hard work. Having the right culture unlocks the passion and dedication necessary to succeed."
 I would say also a change in the American pop mindset, who believes that startups will create hundreds of IBMs worldwide. It is much easier to promote inside entrepreneurship in a large corporation. It also requires a different CEO's skill: driving a transatlantic is not as easy as driving a Fiat 500.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

What you should know before hiring UX designers

When I talk with some startup founders I wonder how many people in the street understand what they are doing. They all hire UX graduates, and consider that's all it takes to become understood and loved by users, real or imaginary.

This is  like hiring a hairdresser in a team climbing Kilimanjaro

One of the articles I most like comes from psychologist and cognitive scientist Dr. Susan Weinschenk .  She is the founder of TeamW, and her firm's goal is to "give organizations deep behavioral science insights and clear direction. We combine behavioral and brain science with practical experience."

Here is a condensed summary I extracted for anyone who wants to have an intelligent conversation with the UX designer she is about to hire.

Because a bad company, can make a good designer bad. And a good company can make a young unknown designer a star.

People Don't Want to Work or Think More Than They Have To

People will do the least amount of work possible to get a task done.
It is better to show people a little bit of information and let them choose if they want more details. Only provide the features that people really need.

Provide defaults. Defaults let people do less work to get the job done.

People Have Limitations

People can only look at so much information or read so much text on a screen without losing interest. Make the information easy to scan.

People can't multi-task. The research is very clear on this, so don't expect them to.

People prefer short line lengths, but they read better with longer ones Know that people are going to ask for things that actually aren't best for them.

Both Users and Designers Make Mistakes

Assume people will make mistakes. Make it easy to "undo." The best error message is no message at all.

Whoever is designing the UX makes errors too, Allow for time and energy for iteration, user feedback, and testing.

Human Memory Is Complicated

 You can trust what users say as the truth only a little bit. It is better to observe them in action than to take their word for it.

Memory is fragile. It degrades quickly and is subject to lots of errors.

Don't make people remember things from one task to another or one page to another.

People can only remember about 3-4 items at a time.

5. People are Social

People will always try to use technology to be social. This has been true for thousands of years.

People look to others for guidance on what they should do, especially if they are uncertain. This is called social validation. This is why, for example, ratings and reviews are so powerful on websites.

If people do something together at the same time (synchronous behavior) it bonds them together

Laughter also bonds people.

Research shows that if you want people to fill out a form, give them something they want and then ask for them to fill out the form, not vice versa.

 We are programmed with our biology to imitate. If you want people to do something then show someone else doing it.

You can only have strong ties to 150 people. Strong ties are defined as ties that with people you are in close physical proximity to. But weak ties can be in the thousands and are very influential


People are programmed to pay attention to anything that is different or novel. If you make something different it will stand out.

People are easily distracted. If you don't want them to be distracted, don't flash things on the page or start videos playing.

People Crave Information

Dopamine is a chemical that makes people seek… food, sex, information. Learning is dopaminergic—we can't help but want more information.

People will often want more information than they can actually process. Having more information makes people feel that they have more choices. Having more choices makes people feel in control. Feeling in control makes people feel they will survive better.

People need feedback.  The human needs to know what is going on.

Unconscious Processing

Most mental processing occurs unconsciously.

The old brain makes or at least has input into most of our decisions. The old brain cares about survival and propagation: food, sex, and danger. That is why these three messages can grab our attention.

The emotional brain is affected by pictures, especially pictures of people, as well as by stories. The emotional brain has a huge impact on our decisions.

Both the old brain and the emotional brain act without our conscious knowledge.

We will always ascribe a rational, conscious-brain reason to our decision, but it's never the whole reason why we take an action, and often the rational reason isn't even part of the reason.

People Create Mental Models

People always have a mental model in place about a certain object or task (paying my bills, reading a book, using a remote control).

The mental model that people have about a particular task may make it easy or hard to use an interface that you have designed.

In order to create a positive UX, you can either match the conceptual model of your product or website to the users' mental model, or you can figure out how to "teach" the users to have a different mental model. The latter is much harder

Metaphors help users "get" a conceptual model.

The most important reason to do user research is to get information about users' mental models.

Visual System

If pages are cluttered people can't find information. Use grouping to help focus where the eye should look. Things that are close together are believed to "go" together.

Color can be used to show whether things go together. Be sure to use another way to show the same info since some people are colorblind.

The visuals and the clicks are the competence of a User Interface designer. These skills complement - but do not replace - the skills of an User Experience professional,

The original article is here

Appendix: UX: a Process or a Task?

This is an excellent reference written by Marli Mesibov  You may want to read it next:
Gene is an interaction designer. During a sales call, he’s asked if he “does UX.” He assures the client that he does, and the client asks why he isn’t a “UX designer?” Gene explains that either term fits his work. The client wants to know if Gene will conduct usability testing, and Gene says no, he works with a researcher who will do that. The client is confused: if Gene “does UX,” doesn’t that include both design and testing?... Continue reading

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AI and ML for Conversational Economy