App Only

Myntra.com an ecommerce shopping site went App only a few weeks ago.

One of the reasons why Myntra went app only was because majority of their user base now shops from their smartphones. There has been a significant jump in smartphone based purchases. Going app only would then mean that Myntra gets to focus on a growing market and user base.

Being app only according to me is a bad decisions for an e-commerce site. Here’s why

1) Prevent’s window shopping

I was talking to a few friends last week and they told me that they no longer shop at Myntra and if Flipkart also goes app only they would stop shopping at Flipkart.

The reason? They don’t pre decide about buying something from these sites. During work hours or over the weekend, as they browse through Facebook and other websites, visiting Myntra has become a habit. Similar to how I visit Reddit quite often.

You check a few clothing items on the website and decide on buying something which you did not actually need.

Being app only means you are giving up on the impulse online shoppers.

2) Less room to explore

Two of friends told me how it was no longer fun buying from Myntra. You could no longer open multiple tabs and look at different options before deciding on what to purchase.

On the app you had to be specific on what you wanted to buy, since the app only allows you to look at one option at a time and going back and forth is no fun.

3) Internet connection speed

Indian telecom operators are not quite ready for 3G as yet. The browsing speed in most cities / areas are really bad. Even in an metropolitan city like Mumbai, I still get switched from 3G to Edge quite often.

While shopping online, you tend to look at a few options before making the final purchase. With the connection speeds right now, the experience of browsing through the app is bad.

I can only assume how the user experience suffers.

I am not sure if Myntra will go back on their decision to be app only, but if other ecommerce websites are thinking of taking this path. Please don’t. Your user’s will be grateful.

Travel Diaries - Australia

I returned from Australia a month ago. Took a while to get back to the daily routine after spending two weeks traveling around Australia.

Me and friend(Mayur / Max) try and visit a new country every year. This year we decided to visit Australia and spend two weeks traveling around Cairns(i still cannot pronounce it right), Melbourne and Sydney. Having travelled quite a bit in the last 5 years, Melbourne was definitely a place which caught my attention. It’s beautiful and vibrant. Would definitely be visiting Melbourne again.

Apart from visiting the tourist attractions in Sydney and Melbourne, snorkeling in Great Barrier Reef and fishing in the river waters of Cairns were the highlights of the trip.

Meeting people from all around the world in hostels was also a highlight of the trip. We met a lot of people in their early twenties traveling alone across the globe. One girl had been traveling since 2 years! Definitely made me want to travel more.

If you have not travelled to Australia as yet, you should.

Laravel

I have spent the last 2 weeks re learning Laravel. I last remember working with the framework in 2011 when it was in version 2. From version 2 to now on it’s 5th version, Laravel has changed quite a lot.

After years of working with CodeIgniter, I now feel the need to move to a new framework. A framework which works with new standards and which continues to evolve. I have long supported CodeIgniter for how easy it is to get started with. I learn’t the framework and was up and running in 2 days.

Learning something new alongside all the other work you have going on can be a bit challenging. Switching from one framework to another can also be time consuming. The easy parts in CodeIgniter are difficult to setup in Laravel. There are different ways you can do things. From packages to writing your own code to making sure that your packages are updated.

I am still getting my feet wet with Laravel 5. Having a project to work with helps a lot. I like how the framework focuses on writing Object Oriented code and making use of code already written by someone else. It is not as easy as CodeIgniter? Yes. But I have to agree, this is a much better way of writing maintainable application.

Building reliable software

Creating reliable software is difficult. When you start to create the initial version of the software, you don’t expect the application to have a huge codebase. Very few software’s have a large codebase. At least if you are going the MVP route.

If your application does move past the MVP stage, adding more features and maintaining the codebase soon becomes a topic of discussion. It’s a good thing though. Very few software projects reach this stage. There is so much to learn when your project gets to this level.

We have been facing this issue at Brightpod recently. Brightpod is my first project which is now used by more than 4500 companies across the world. My previous projects were websites and e commerce sites which never reached the stage Brightpod has.

It’s been great to see Brightpod grow, used and liked by a lot of companies. Improving it over time has been a joy and also pain at times. Fixing bugs now takes a bit longer. We now spend a lot of time testing software. Every feature decision is now thought in terms of speed and simpler design. It’s different from how I built websites and applications before.

Every bug in the software now affects a lot of people and their work day. When a lot of people depend on the software you have helped build, you start to learn more about how to build reliable software.

From not paying much attention to writing unit tests / behaviour tests, we now spend time learning how to do these. Revisiting SQL queries written a year before, refactoring a lot of code and investing in front end browser testings tools.

Building reliable software from here on is a priority.

Do you give up on ideas?

I have been asked this question a few times in the last two weeks. Do you give up on ideas if somebody else is already doing it?

My immediate reaction to this question before would be “No”. No way should you give up on a idea if somebody else is doing it. If the idea is something you are passionate about then you should go ahead and pursue it.

But this thought has started to change the more I work and continue to understand how businesses operates. Now when asked the same question, I usually start with questions such as “do you have competitors?”, “who are your competitors?” and “how are they solving this problem and how do you plan to solve it better than them?”. Of all the people I have spoken with, no one seems to give these questions a thought.

It has never been easier to start a online business these days. There are lot of tools which promote being able to create websites and application in a few days or weeks. Creating though is only step 1. How do you market the idea? How are you solving the issue at hand for your target audience? Questions like these need to be thought of before starting.

Personally I have given up on a few ideas I had. The competition was already doing it much better than I could have dedicated my resources to solve the idea.

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The Ridge

Truly inspiring. Wants me to improve my biking skills and explore the nature more.

Quite period

I used to always wonder what people who worked on software applications did with their time once the initial app was built and people were using / paying for it. Do they really need such a big team? 40 engineers to maintain the API? I had so many questions. Most numbers still don’t make sense to me, as I have not been part of a company with those many people.

Maintaining an internet application with a small team is a lot of work. I work with a very small team to build and maintain Brightpod. We have a huge list of things we want to get done to improve the software and make it better than what it was last week.

The last two weeks, I have been working on a feature which people using the application will not interact with. There are a lot of other features on the list, on which if I spent time working on will make a few customers happy. Yet, I choose to work on this particular features as it is essential that we have it so that we can improve our application performance.

As much as there is a need to add new features and continue to focus on bug fixes, I have realized that there is need to spend time ensuring that the application is maintained. Nothing got released the last two weeks during this quite period of me working on improving application performance, but it is going to help us a lot going forward this year.

Asking is the hardest job

Asking for money is hard work. Asking for money takes courage and a belief that there is real value in what you are selling and the price you put on it is a fair one. It takes believing that there are those to whom this will be obvious and that they are your ideal first customers and that there are many just like them out there just waiting for you to ask. That, people who were once your customers and no longer are likely so for a reason and they are just waiting for you to care enough to ask why. Asking means facing the fear of failure.

A really good article by patrickrhone

Next step

2015 is off to a great start. Of all the resolutions I made ( there were about 15), I managed to make progress in most of them. This got me to think, why was 2015 better than 2014 resolution progress?

The change I realized, I made in 2015 was just taking that “next step”. In whatever I wanted to get done rather than thinking about how big the task was and not starting to work on it, like I did all these years, this year I worked on getting started. This simple step, I realized has got me started on all the things I have set out to achieve this year.

The next time, when you think about how big of a task something is, take that “next step” and the step after that. You might not get to completing the task immediately, but every day you are now one step closer.