Software applications and resources that can allow business owners to reduce their overhead and operational costs may be a resource that few startups can afford to do without. Resources that can allow you to more easily and effectively track your electric consumption, curb demand for costly utilities or help you find the best , electric companies in Hamilton Texas, and surrounding regions have many benefits for smaller businesses and startups that are seeking to reduce the cost of their energy usage. Finding and making use of the best apps can ensure that your business is able to make use of more competitive utility rates and reduce costly waste and excessive energy consumption.
Choosing the Right Energy Provider
Paying too much for any resource could be a serious misstep, one that a business operating with fixed or limited financial resources may not be able to make. Sorting through your options and comparing electric providers and utility services in an effort to find the most cost-effective options and the greatest values can be a daunting task when you lack for the right resources to aid you in your search. Applications able to provide real time pricing information and easier navigation of the providers you have to choose from can ensure you are able to find the most beneficial options for your electrical service.
Tracking Consumption for Greater Energy Efficiency
Having to keep tabs on the operational habits and costs of powering your business is a labor intensive task, one that may rob yourself and staff of energy that would be better spent on more important matters. Software that can speed up or automate the process will ensure that you are able to stay informed about the level and cost of power consumption your operation is resulting in. Superior information may be required in order to more effectively and successfully curb your consumption.
Reducing Electric Waste
Fixtures and appliances that are not as efficient as they could be, devices that are being powered when not required and other habits and situations that could be costing you more than you might realize are all situations that can be more effectively remedied when you have access to the right information. Tracking your electrical consumption with a software application can allow you to target and identify any aspect of your operations or working process that could be made more efficient. Using less energy will reduce your utility bills and overhead expenses and may allow your business to become more profitable as a result.
Finding the Best Resources
With a number of applications to choose from, finding and selecting the best of them could seem like quite the challenge. Conducting a little research and finding the applications and software resources that will be of most benefit for your business will ensure that you do not lack for a superior resource. The tools you need to ensure your business is able to be made more efficient and less costly could make a big impact on the results and success of your efforts.
This question is not a simple one, so you may not expect a simple question. If you read about this blog post, Uncle Bob Martin is a big fan of TDD, even for startup. I would say, for any startups, or any company, the technology process has to be aligned with the business process, which means it has to satisfy both the short term and long term goal of the business.
Think of any business you know, think of their products. If you serve a bigger, long term goal, the team will be given more money and time, otherwise, it will be given much less. If their products are the main cash cow, it is the long term product, otherwise, if it only built to last a couple of weeks and months, it is not.
So, startup, even though not a mature business, still needs to deal with this problem on a daily basic. I think the best approach for any startup is to determine how long the project would need and reconsider their decisions every few months to make sure they are still on track. When the startup thinks that the product is going to last long or the number , they need to add more tests into it, to refactor the source code, to raise the source code requirement. In economics, it is an important concept that “in the long term, everybody dies”. So, who cares about long term if we are going to die tomorrow? But, if we live for 10 years without a plan, I am sure that you will die within the next few weeks. The matter is how long you think your product will live.
And of course, if you keep the same plan, or the same process for the startup when the product grows, you sure gonna die. That’s the job of the executives to keep teams aligned with the business goals. And any company cannot do this will not survive for long.
I normally hear from Windows developer to say that their Windows market share is much bigger than the total of iOS and Android together. And the sales of Windows 8 has bypassed all the sales of iOS and Android from the beginning to now.
It is quite unfair to compare the whole Windows 8 with iOS or Android. And if we do take that demand into PCs and laptops, then why the hell we do not compare the supply side? It is very clear that if Windows 8 could be a shared platform between PCs, tablets and phones, then all the old software, all the old games would have beome compatible to the Windows 8 system in the short amount of time. And many apps for tablets and phones would be quite different than the ones in PC. No, I don’t mean technology, I am talking about the business model, the purpose of the software.
I don’t mean that iOS and Android is a better market than Windows Phone for indie business. These markets have become very competitive and continue being so. You either have to figure out a market niche or be very lucky.
I have a long support for open source system, the open standard, a more open and shared data in the web. 3 years ago, I thought that the win of Android is obvious and the reality has proven me right. I was confident with my knowledge and guessing until I read a long fan boy of Apple. Yes, he is a fan boy of Apple, and the article has really favoured Apple. But he made an important point great product wins. Not the great product in terms of technology, nor in terms of openess. It is a great product in users’ minds, either by its value provision or by good marketing.
By opening the platform, Android opens the door for more hardware suppliers. But that openess means nothing if the operating system sucks, it means nothing if the compatibility and the user interface are not good. Looking at Linux and all the free open source operating system. They are more opened, easier to adopt into the hardware by the suppliers, but they suck. Either the UI, the lack of applications and features, but they suck.
I think this article gives a very good point of view as well.
It is quite surprising for me to see how Excel rules the world of business. I know that many people in different companies, big or small use Excel for their daily jobs. But, until recently, I have understood how much impact Excel does have in the business world, and why it is the case.
These 2 excellent posts describe most of the use case of the Excel, why people still use it in the professional world, even in JP Morgan. I think Excel will rule even in the next few years, due to its ubiquitous usage, and many people support it (or its format): Microsoft (of course!), Google (with Google Docs).
People love the idea of cross-platform development for iOS/Android or try to use a familiar language to develop apps for either or both platforms. There are many solutions and platforms out there and each of them has pros and cons, here we will try to name a few and analyse them: MonoTouch, Appcelerator, RubyMotion, PhoneGap, HTML5, Java2ObjC…
The cons are quite depending on which you choose to go with, but we will analyse them in some aspects: easy for maintenance, native performance, delay for update, community support, pricing/bankrupt, talent hiring…
1. Easy for Maintenance
One thing that most cross-platform framework has problem is that it adds another layer of complexity into your system. If some bug happens or something does not run as intended, you have three times of works. You have to check if the bug is your bug, is your framework’s bug, the interaction between the framework and the iOS/Android platform, and finally, if that is a bug of iOS/Android. Let’s take a simple example:
iOS had an old bug with rotation and I encountered that bug when I tried to use Appcelerator to build my simple project. It took me the whole day to find that bug was an Apple bug, there is a work around in Apple way but that is not well supported by Appcelerator….
2. Native Performance
When it comes to native performance, I can say that most of the third-party frameworks do well in this area. However, HTML5 is not an excel when it comes to this, or at least, not yet. Facebook has shown us an important lesson with its decision to be back to native to improve its performance. I think that in the future, when the WebKit, the hardware and the requirement for a good app has matched each other, more and more apps will be developed using HTML5 and other open web technologies. Simply, because it is open.
So, if you are building something simple and may grow well over a long time, you may consider the hybrid approach to combine HTML5 and native code. This could work well with if you can integrate it with the web service at your backend.
3. Delay for update/community support/pricing
All of them come to the same problem of third-party frameworks, that middle complexity layer that you add into your project. Most of the frameworks will update quite fast when Apple release a new version, except many minor bugs. I used to have code that is working well with Apple in the iOS4 release and stop working when iOS5 is released. The problem gets worse when most iOS5 beta still works well with my apps. So, when I try to run our app on iOS5 final release, I get panic. I don’t know what is wrong with my code, is it the middle framework, is it just Apple’s release has changed something. I finally figure out that Apple has changed some rules in their API and that affects the old way the middle framework is working. I need to wait for their update to get it work.
Most of the middle framework has their premium supports but you either have to pay more or you have to wait a hell long of time. And most of the communities are a fraction of either the iOS/Objc communities or Android communities. At there, at least somebody has worked with your problem, somebody tested and figured a work around.
There are quite a lot of third-party frameworks around, and I am quite sure many of them will go bankrupt or stop working after a while. Or the price can go up, or the support rate gets slow down. You don’t know what the hell is waiting for you there. If your product is very important, be careful, you don’t want to throw tens of thousands of lines of code away and start all over again. These middle frameworks code, unfortunately, are not much reusable. You can generate Objective-C/Java code from them and then continue working from that. But, believe me, reading, understanding and maintaining those generated code are as twice as hard as you write it from the beginning. I don’t say all of them may have problems, but be careful which framework you pick, how long your project will last, and make sure there is a good match. If your project is pretty longer than 3-5 years, maybe thinking deep about it…
5. Talent Hiring
This is a people management, a project management issue. I remember 3 years ago, finding a good iOS developer is as hard as hell. Although it is easier now, it may not make sense to have a whole team of engineers in Ruby/C# and 1 guy in iOS and 1 guy in Android (or 1 guy for both iOS/Android). That means you have to feed 2 more guys, training them with company’s culture, to understand the domain knowledge that you have. And when things grow, each of these 3 teams grows. Another solution is that 1 of the web guy need to learn both iOS and Android development. That’s why it may make sense for you to reuse your team’s talent. It is also a good thing to consider to have a guy with HTML5 to approach the app in hybrid (HTML5+native code) model.
It is always an interesting time to see a good company to make a bold move into a new market. I was looking at the Apple while they released the first iPhone and keep improving it until today. It was nice to see Netflix to make a bet into original content, as HBO or other channels are doing. This article is quite good and explains most things, in terms of possitive look at the Netflix’s move:
Just read this fantastic post on Quora feeling that I might have some further thoughts about it. I have seen many people obsessing about getting things right at the first time, and if they cannot, they think things are too late. However, what I see is that chances and opportunities are almost everywhere and after every couple of years, those chances and opportunities will come back.
Should I switch what I am doing?
I was once asked by my friend, a developer, if he should switch to Business Analysis or not. He feels like it more than programming but if he tries it and he does not fit it, he would waste 2 years of his career. And this kind of switching is raised a lot by my friends and other people. “Should I switch from a big company to work for startup/startup by myself?”, “Should I switch and try doing this/that?”, “My first job/internship was terrible, it would affect my career…”. The answer is you should not worry.
Any Experience Counts
Any experience that you learn, either from a big company, from a small company, from another job or career would bring you a unique point of view into the new career. If you work as sale and now want to move to programming, your sale knowledge is unique, 90% of programmers I know have no knowledge in sales. Understanding sales and customer would bring you a competitive advantage that most don’t have. And vice versa, if you work as programmer before and switch to be business analysis, you really understand the programming work, you understand the technical difficulties and you can help the customers and programmers to talk better. Any experience counts, any unique experience counts twice.
Yesterday, I have just done a very good job. It is very good because I spent almost a year keep thinking and trying to solve the problem but I couldn’t really solve much. However, the solution yesterday was so easy and short that I was shocked. It reminds me of the following story:
1 guy with a car broken going into a gargage. The repairer asks him for 100$ and it took him the whole day to fix the car. However, the car gets broken again after just a few days. The owner was so disappointed and tried with a new repairer. This new repairer, an elder, just took a quick look at the car and blow the hammer 3 times into some specific place. He then charged the owner 500$. This time, the owner was shocked, “How can I pay you 500$ for just 3 hammer blows?”. “1$ for 1 hammer blow and 497$ for me to know where to do so”.
It just shows me how much matter the knowledge, the thinking through the problem matters, not how much the efforts. Of course, experience and knowledge comes after efforts, but always think before doing
Just found a brillian post, says all I need to say for most of my friends or people. And a good advice to people, please think through and not so disappointed if some developer does not want to go with your idea. The #1 item is the most important thing, imo:
- Ideas are easy, execution is hard.
- People approaching developers often dramatically underestimate the amount of development work, or the complexity of it.
- Proposing a revenue share means the developer has to take as much risk as the idea guy (for very low pay, given the point above), and trust that the business will receive the right amount of marketing/sales follow-through.
- There’s an opportunity cost to working on someone else’s idea instead of for paying clients.
- The idea being proposed is often very unrealistic (and the developer, having worked on a number of such ideas, can tell).
- Developers have their own ideas to work in anyway.