Too many startups that don’t really start!

A thought struck me just today when I was thinking about a guy who pitched me an interesting idea in the education sector. He was young and was almost finishing up college. He had a team of five guys who were all going to work together to put out a working product in a short time (like six weeks). Then I never heard from the guy and later found out that nothing really happened.

We live in a time where startups are a sexy thing. Now I am not sure if it had always been this way or it’s just more ubiquitous now. Either way I see and hear about too many interesting startups that never even make it past the idea stage. I think larger part of the problem is this perception about starting up. Everyone wants to do it because it is cool to be a entrepreneur or a startup guy. Rarely you see a guy who really wants to solve some specific problem and truly care about the end user having that problem solved.

Startups are hard. Really really hard. Really really really really hard. There are too many times and reasons where giving up seems like the right thing to do. There will be people around you, sometimes your team, sometimes your alter-ego telling you that it’s time to pack up. And then it will happen again the next day. And the day after. To be able to persevere through all that every other day is when you even have the probability of succeeding. To have this sort of perseverance you truly need to be passionate and care about your solution and your customer who needs your solution.

So here’s something to think about. Next time you wanna tell someone that you are doing a startup you better be sure for yourself that you actually are doing it! And that is not because you had an idea, not because you started working on something, not because someone said your idea/product was cool or interesting, not because you got selected to a competition or accelerator, and even not because you launched! It has to be because you had some real validation. Real validation is when someone will put money on the table for your work (customer or investor), not because they are your rich cousin but because they don’t give a flying rats ass about you but they have fallen in love with your work!

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Gmail is sending me other peoples mail!!

I have been receiving few emails from a guy about some book order. First time I saw it naturally my thought was SPAM. However today when I go a message from the same guy I had a proper look at it since it was showing up on my “Primary” mailbox again. It actually is a mail that is supposed to go to some guy/girl who has the address “hira.ash@gmail.com”. Now I own an email address which is pretty much the same but without the dot (.) in the middle. I have the mail forwarded from that particular account to my current email address.

It seems like this particular person has mailed someone about a book on the classified site http://www.kijiji.ca. The seller however when replied to the mail saying its not available it landed in my inbox. Today I got another reply saying the book is available for $45. Now the craziest thing out of all this is that the to address of both of these mails show as “hira.ash@gmail.com” which is not my email address.

I have just reported this to google and also forwarded the mail to the address that is supposed to receive it. Below is the email trail and the mail detail which shows the to address.

The mail trail:

wrong_email

The to address:

address_proof

This is quite a scary thing to see! I sure hope my email is not lading in someone else’s mailbox!!

UPDATE:

I think I was too soon to post this. As I searched I found the following article which clearly mentions that Gmail does not recognise dots(.). This clearly means that someone has misspelt their email address.

https://support.google.com/mail/answer/10313?hl=en

Mac App Store is just not going to work!

So I’m going to have to take back my fan boy tweet I made about Mac App store weeks back when it was announced. The whole idea of a Mac App Store sounded great having seen the iOS store and all other marketplaces that allow you to find apps that fit your requirement, much easily. However there comes a point when your requirement of an apps marketplace turns complex and not one provider is keeping up (at least for me). This is typically the case when it comes to anything new. Initially you are new to the idea and your requirements around the idea are not too complex. Over time when more implementation of the idea are experienced, your requirements start to grow. For any product to keep up they need to cater to these requirements.

However let me get to my disappointment of the moment. So today when I was beating myself up to get more work done over the weekend I realized that I needed a short break before I could go on. So I was wondering if I could play a game. Short after that thought I realized again that I didn’t have any games on my mac. So I went to the place where I could find something fast and get it over with – The Mac App Store. As soon as I went it to the games category, my eyes spotted the “Space Roads” game. Quick description on Space Roads – This was a 3D MS-DOS game that I had gone nuts over back when I was a kid where computers still had green screens and you’d be lucky to spot a full color screen. So I got excited and went right in to check it out. The screen shots pretty much looked the same and it was only $0.99. So next thing I know it was downloading to my mac. Few minutes after I opened it up to enjoy some serious old-school gaming and I was literally shocked by the quality and user experience. I couldn’t believe that not only someone couldn’t build a game to exceed the quality and experience of  a game built decades before, but they couldn’t even get anywhere closer to matching it. I was super pissed.. not at the guy who made the game but at Mac App store for listing it with a price tag on it. So I go on to the store again to find a way to cancel this purchase and guess what… you cant do it. Tried the apple site, still no option. Its not so much about the $0.99 but the feeling of getting screwed 🙂

Now to the topic of my post. Why won’t the Mac App Store work?

  1. No way to trial a App before buying. How can one pay for something that they have no idea of how it feels to be used. If trial is so hard to have, how difficult is it to have a video/screen-cast to demonstrate it.
  2. People have options when it comes to Mac applications. The whole problem with Apple is that they got carried away with the success of the iOS App Store. It was so much of a success not because of anything else but the first reason being users of iOS devices had no other choice. App Store was the only store iOS device users could get apps from. Then there is jail-breaking which is not something everyone can do or wants to do. So Apple applied the same model on Mac App Store and for their dismay the whole world didn’t come running wanting to sell their apps on the Mac App store. So it is not the ultimate place for mac apps (at least yet!)
  3. I can’t cancel a purchase! Yes its great that the process of buying a app is one click away but you would also want to undo it with not more than one. At minimal a policy for the provider to have a money back period would make things much better. But still I haven’t found a way to do this without contacting Apple.
  4. Mac apps are not so cheap as iOS Apps, at least when it comes to proper apps that get something useful done. So put together the previous 3 points and your decision of buying a app becomes relatively critical.

Image from: Lifehacker.com