Category Archives: Learning

Competitive Advantage – how to make it last

In the last 2-3 years, iPhone development has been my advantage when I stepped into the area early. It brings me many good results. But, that’s over. You hear it correctly. I don’t mean iPhone development will decline, but the growth of the market is significantly slowed down. And the number of good developers in this area will significantly grow when more resources are available.

Long-Lasting Success Requires Non-Ending Efforts

Competitive Advantage

Competitive Advantage

To be successful, a company or a person has to get some competitive advantage. The problem is sooner or later, every other companies/people will improve themselves to gain your competitive advantage. It may take them 3-5 years, but in this technical world, it would be even less. This advantage can never generate a long term plan. No matter how you protect it, no matter what cost you pay to protect it, people will soon be leveling your advantage. Don’t dream and don’t sleep on the victory. Long term and scalable model requires lots of building efforts to generate more competitive advantages.

I have never tried to protect my knowledge about iPhone development because I know the market controls itself. I see enough of stupid people trying to protect their knowledge to gain advantage in company promotion.

To be successful in long term, the same for personal or company, you need to build a culture that motivates new innovation, i.e creating new values. These new values, new knowledge or new understanding will bring you more competitive advantages or guarantee with you a long term success

Online Education and Interaction

Education Video

Education Video

Coursera is cool. Online Education is cool. Content is cool. But do you know what is not? The interaction. It is damn boring to stay focused in 3 hours for a video lecture. Recently, my wife and I tried our best to study Introduction to Finance and Financial Computation Econometric. The interaction environment in the normal classroom is not always interesting, it is even worse in an online course. Maybe we haven’t used all the resources we have or we haven’t tried hard enough. But to make the model more successful, interactions would be the key.

Offline watching has its benefits: people can watch anytime, anywhere and any videos you like. It sounds good until it comes to practice. People get lazy, some of them are watching half the video and have to stop to do something else. When they come back, they lose time to get into focus again. It takes more time and efforts to really focus and learn quickly with offline video.

Obviously, they are still free, I have no complaint about a specific site. What I mean is “Hey, this is my problem and may be others’ problems, hope you guys can fix it”. I think we need to give more benefits for people, as gamification and gaming theory often do, to let them spend a specific of time in their schedule to finish the video, to really focus. Maybe these sites offer some chance to chat with the professor, some small quiz that can be both challenging and rewarding.

In the long term, I really think that solving this problem is the business key and competitive advantage for any company.

Reality is Broken – Why Game Matters (part 1)

Reality Is Broken

Reality Is Broken

This book offers me a novel approach and surprising idea of thinking. I am influenced by my country’s media on how bad the game can affect people and students’ mind and how bad games are. But this book challenges my long-time sticky idea, and it does a good job. It sounds like a gamification book or articles that me can read somewhere on the Internet, but it actually gives me more than those boring theories.

Good theory of gamification
It provides me a good understand, not just the theory of gamification. How game designers think, how they plan and write stories that are attractive, human friendly and feel very personal to you. The game challenges you, the game rewards you, the game praises you and welcomes you, the game gives you chance after chance when you keep failing.

The book author makes a good comparision with the real life. The real life challenges you, no rewards, punishes you for being wrong, makes you feel like shit when you fail and noone ever cares about how you feel.

The book makes me stop here and start thinking and observing people around me more. People are worried too much about their future, their failure and their life. Games give them what people actually dream for. It actually explains to me how people are addicted to game. It is not just people want to be fun and entertain, it is normal that people are seeking for respected, value recognition and a better life.

Understanding about sociology and psychology
The book also gives a deep understanding of how Massively Multiplayer Online Game works, how it can be used to resolve real world problems. It is quite interesting for me when the author analyzes the World of WarCraft to demonstrates how gamers actually collaborate, get to know each other and together do something to achieve the goal.

Many other examples are also useful and interesting: Wikipedia is a big multiplayer online game, where people try to collaborate, edit and create better articles to achieve a big goal together. Or this fun and interesting game: FreeRice (http://freerice.com/), where you try to achieve your goal and also help to heal the world.

The author analyzes many different aspects of a game that help people to try to achieve their goal, stick to their purposes and try again and again until they got the goal. If we know how to design a good game, we can make people work together to reach one really big goal.

World Of Warcraft  

World Of Warcraft

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

Education would be the next wave

This is our research about the electronic education market, as the CMU Assignment

To look at the whole report, you can read it from here:

In short, we are seeing the new trends in technology, business, politics and market landscape is moving to allow better competition and creates better platforms.

In technology, we have better network bandwidth, better cloud computing, better consuming device (ipad/iphone) and better content generation tools like iBook Author.

In business, we have seen recent trends in education, from traditional education, to distant learning with the materials downloaded/sent to you via DVD, and then to e-learning when you can get interactions with teachers in the online place. The e-education would bring it further, to help you with more interactions with the teachers, with other students, and you can study wherever and whenever you like.

Domain + Tech + Design

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We can see the new hype about education, health care or photography. I believe that in this new era of technology startup, it is time that we are innovating in each industry, to transform the industry into a better format. We have technology there, we have social network there, we have better design there, in iOS or Android platform. The technology industry have gone quite far comparing to other industries like education, healthcare, design, news, food, lifestyle.

We have seen innovations in Education with Coursera, Ucademy, Khan Academy… We have seen more innovations is coming in Healthcare with Misfit Wearable…News is already transformed with iPad, iPhone, social network and how we share news together….

I agree with the article:

The only way out of this innovation gridlock is an expansion in founding team diversity. I believe the missing piece from the DNA in the founding teams of transformational companies is now the domain expert, who has deep insight into the industry they are trying to disrupt.

I think we will see more innovations in each industry, rather than just technology improvement like the last few decades with Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.

In the meantime, our project team in CMU has spent a significant amount of time to produce a quite good report on the Education Innovation.

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/assets_c/2012/07/map-of-value-creation-thumb-580×482-1971.jpg

Suggested Frameworks for iOS

Here are some suggested frameworks for iOS development, since I have used all of them quite a lot. I think they are good frameworks/libraries that you may need to know. It could save you a good amount of time in researching and reinventing the wheel.

List of Frameworks/Code Snippets for Objective-C:

List of some good components

CorePlot : Core Plot is a plotting framework for OS X and iOS. It provides 2D visualization of data, and is tightly integrated with Apple technologies like Core Animation, Core Data, and Cocoa Bindings.

Core Plot Graph

Core Plot Graph

iPhone Cocoa Http Server:

CocoaHTTPServer is a small, lightweight, embeddable HTTP server for Mac OS X or iOS applications.

Sometimes developers need an embedded HTTP server in their app. Perhaps it’s a server application with remote monitoring. Or perhaps it’s a desktop application using HTTP for the communication backend. Or perhaps it’s an iOS app providing over-the-air access to documents. Whatever your reason, CocoaHTTPServer can get the job done. It provides:

 

Steve Jobs: What I feel about him

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

I finished this book quite a time ago, but I didn’t feel to fully understand and let all the information and knowledge penetrates into my mind. There are conflicts, there are debates, there are loves and hates from everybody. It is so easy for people to judge emotionally and I didn’t think that I understand everything to start writing it out.

There are many lessons inside this book, and each single person takes his own belief from the book. I have my own lessons, hope that it is not emotionally biased and spend time thinking through it for a while.

 

 

Autocratic, it is so necessary in the success of the company. People may believe that Steve Jobs was fired due to his wrong approach of management or people favored a salesman too much more than the product guy. I think it was mainly an organization politics problem, Steve Jobs was right but he did not get enough power and networks to back him up. I believe in his autocratic, as much as I believe in Mark Zuckerberg’s autocratic system. Forecasting an uncertain future is too hard to convince everybody to follow the leader. It is wasting both time and efforts. It was a quite shock for me while reading this article. I agree with the Jeff Bezos’s style of management in this article: https://plus.google.com/112678702228711889851/posts/eVeouesvaVX

Steve Jobs is not a genius, sorry for any of his fans. I don’t underestimate his talents and efforts but no success comes overnight. He was in a hard time after leaving Apple, building NeXT and then Pixar Animation Studios. There were up and downs in his life but he chose to stick into his core value and keep moving forward with innovative ideas. He has a great mind to recognize the great ideas, a great mind on how to make a product perfect. People may say that many ideas are not original by him. If they look deeper into the product development process, there are 2 things people must understand: the possession feeling and a great care of details. I love the ways Steve Jobs take an idea as if it is his own, as if it is his baby. That’s how passion and great care for the products are made from. If the product manager doesn’t have the feeling of the product as his own. Steve Jobs took this possession to a great level, and ignores the original owner as a whole.

The last great thing that I learn from Steve Jobs is details matter, a lot. I learnt from my own product development, from writing my own book. Details matter, a lot. People may not care about how great most of your works are, but they quickly recognize your mistakes. It is part of how people’s psychology works, they would assume you need to produce a great product so the great parts are normal. And negative emotion has a bigger impact than positive emotion.

 

My 1st lesson – Altitude

Second Prize Medal

Second Prize Medal

The picture is the medal that I got for the Second Prize in Ho Chi Minh city Mathematics Olympiad. It has always been in my desk since that time. Not because it is the greatest thing I have ever done. It is there to remind me of one of the biggest failure in my life. It is there to remind me what I did and felt when I was in 11th grade.

 

 

 

 

My feet were off the ground
The second highest winner in the Southern Mathematics Olympiad turned out to be a bad motivation for me. It killed my love with maths. It made me feel that I am too special. It made me overestimate myself. I believed that I couldn’t fail. That was a big mistake.

I didn’t prepare well enough and didn’t try hard enough on the next city contest. The result is: I couldn’t step into the next round. My friends and family wouldn’t know what happened. But I knew what was wrong. I put myself off the ground!

This failure led to the next big failure.
Depression

Now, imagine that everybody is looking at you; the next second, nobody gives you a shit. That was what happened to me. I felt totally useless and lose my orientation. I did not know what to do next, if I should continue studying maths or focusing on other subjects to pass the university entrance exam. I did not know what to do when losing all the attentions people gave to me. I was thirsty for that fame.

This made me lost my focus, forgot what was good for me, what I would like to do. It cost me 4 months living in jeaulous feeling with winner guys before I could realize what was meaningful to me. It was maths! Not the prize, but maths! I felt good that I recognized it early enough to be back on the right track and focus on what I love.

Both of them gave me a difficult time, and always kept reminding me of what is my true value, what I should aim for.

The purpose of this post is to try to remind me of what happened in the past. I know that people are talking a lot about me right now, but keeping my feet on the ground, being focused on my long term goal was the highest priority work.

Me in RMIT and Vietnamese Newspaper

You can read the Vietnamese version here



Many software engineers and IT professionals dream of developing a ‘killer App’ for popular products like the iPhone, which will make them rich. Other people dream of one day having a book published.


Not many achieve either – and even fewer do so in their early 20s. But Vo Duy Khang (formerly student 3184092), an alumnus of RMIT Vietnam’s Bachelor of Information Technology program, has hit the jackpot with success in both of these areas – and now has the makings of a successful business spanning both Vietnam and Australia.


Khang graduated from RMIT Vietnam in November 2010 and travelled to Adelaide, Australia, where he is now completing a Master of Information Technology with Carnegie Mellon University, under a full scholarship.


With the benefit of the scholarship, Khang has been freed up to apply his own financial resources fully to get a small business off the ground while he also continues his studies.


His hard work and talent have been recognised by US publisher Apress, which has just decided to publish a book by Khang on how to build better iPhone applications. Khang’s book, Pro iOS Apps Performance Optimization, fills a need in the market for more practical guidance in this booming area of consumer technology.


Khang’s creativity and expertise has also been applied to a new business start-up in this field which already has five people on staff in Australia. Khang has been visiting Vietnam in the past month seeking further talent from Vietnam to join his operation.


Almost all his development team to date are RMIT students or graduates.


“They speak English well, and they all have a good understanding of what is needed,” Khang says.


According to Khang, the basis of a good user experience of any iPhone or iPad App is good performance. There is enormous potential in helping social networking applications such as Facebook to provide a better user experience by moving data in a quicker and smarter way over the net.


Apress has been impressed by his thinking in this area, as shown on his own website and as shared amongst the online community overseas.


One of Khang’s mentors has been Barend Scholtus, Academic Services Manager for the Bachelor of IT program, and the two continue to discuss shared interests regularly.


“We hope – in fact we are pretty sure – that Khang’s learning experiences at RMIT Vietnam have made contributions to his achievements to date, and we hope the best is yet to come.”



 





Khang (sitting) sharing knowledge with friends in Barcamp 2011


 


Khang’s book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Apps-Performance-Optimization-Professional-Apress/dp/1430237171/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321662306&sr=8-1


Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/vodkhang
Contact info: Phone +61 478146872 
Email: vodkhang@gmail.com


 

iTunes U – a great learning hub

Stanford in iTunesU

Stanford in iTunesU

 

It would be so surprised for me that very few people ever knew about iTunes U. Come on, what’s wrong here? It is a great place for you to study through Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford and Carnegie Mellon. And all courses are free. Many people dream about these universities, so I think it is worth my efforts giving an advertisement and some introduction.

 

 

 

 

1/ Open iTunes and choose iTunesU

General iTunesU

Select iTunesU

 

2/ Select the university you want to learn

iTunesU

iTunesU

3/ iTunesU has a lot of cool universities: Harvard, MIT, Stanford, CMU

iTunesU Schools

iTunesU Schools

 

4/ Courses at Yale

iTunesU Yale

iTunesU Yale

 

5/ Download the video you like

 

Yale - Game Theory

Yale - Game Theory