Guillaume Lerouge
Andy Swan • Having a core
Just discovered Andy Swan’s blog thanks to @fredwilson - great read.
This post rang close to home:

Defining your core is extremely important. The result is simple, but the process can be very hard. Sticking to it is even harder.

Your core should boil down to one sentence that defines WHO your client is and what BENEFIT you will bring to them.  

It absolutely should contain no technical terms, no buzzwords.

This is the sentence that you can etch into marble today with the intention of it being placed above the entrance to your corporate HQ skyscraper 50 years from now.


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Ron, this one’s for you
Improving Quora feed content
I started using Quora more intensively a couple months ago, getting hooked by the notifications and credits mechanism (as aptly described by Marc Bodnick [1]). I love using the service, but for one shortcoming.
Right now, the feed I see when going to the home page doesn’t surface that many interesting questions and answers. Accessing it on the go from my smartphone when I want to kill 5 minutes often results in a sub-optimal experience, without much interesting content to look at. What’s surprising is that, on the other hand, Quora’s “top content for you this week” email often gives me content I’m happy to read (about 80% accurate in predicting my centers of interest). Why cannot the same type of filtering be applied to the home feed?

I’m guessing the main reason why my homepage feed isn’t very interesting probably is that I am not following enough interesting people / topics / boards for more interesting content to appear into my feed. However, I’m not really sure who to follow, and some of the topics I’m interested in (say, “Sales” or “Startups”) seem to have a lot of posting taking place in them. I’d like to avoid subscribing to too much noise.

This would seem to indicate that there’s an opportunity to improve discovery of people and topics to follow. I guess that based on whose answers I have upvoted in the past as well as the answers those people have upvoted, there should be ways to identify and surface people and topics that would be interesting for me to follow.

Side note: I see Quora more like Twitter, where people follow others based on their centers of interest, than Facebook, where you’re more likely to interact with real-life friends (as outlined by Dustin Curtis [2]). Of all the people Quora automatically suggested I follow when I joined the service, virtually none posts interesting content for me.


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Comic for August 16, 2012
Pick one to be the decider
> Rather than have the indecision of 18 people, pick one to be the decider as the very first action. Trust me, that person feels the weight and authority when they own the decision. They’ll get a ton of input… rather than having endless discussions. Group decision-making makes people fearful of engaging with the concern that it will never end. When one person’s in charge… they want to hear it all. And fast. And get it right. And crisp. And done! From…

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What if? - Robot Apocalypse
What people don’t appreciate, when they picture Terminator-style automatons striding triumphantly across a mountain of human skulls, is how hard it is to keep your footing on something as unstable as a mountain of human skulls. Most humans probably couldn’t manage it, and they’ve had a lifetime of practice at walking without falling over.

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Fighting with Giants
XWiki SAS isn’t a big company. We’re a team of about 30 committed and motivated individuals working together to bring our Open-Source enterprise wiki solution to market. 
About 6 months ago, we moved one of marketing guys to sales. We hoped he would be able to help us move early leads faster along the sales cycle and increase our overall sales volume. Unfortunately, things did not go as well as expected. He did have calls with many potential customers, but often came back with a complaint: they’re already running Sharepoint.

Some context here: in the collaboration tools arena, Sharepoint is the current scarecrow. Pretty much every other solution provider either competes or integrates with it. Huddle has a whole section of their website explaining why their solution is better [1]. Atlassian has built a Sharepoint connector for Confluence [2]. Alfresco implemented the Sharepoint protocol as part of their product. Pretty much every provider positions itself in relation to Sharepoint.
Take our example: XWiki software has many, many differentiating factors that separate it from Sharepoint. Its pricing is different, its distribution model is different, the way we build apps on top of the plateform is different, the features are different. We have several customers who are using both Sharepoint and XWiki to meet different needs. Yet our guy wasn’t convinced (he ended up leaving the company).

Here’s what happened. Giants have money. They have impressive, online demos, armies of pre-sales people and entrenched positions in lots of accounts. They can seemingly address all of the use cases any company could ever meet - and then more. They’re going to try and make you feel inadequate every step of the way. Going against giants takes a special kind of mindset.
First, you have to believe in your product. You have to be fully convinced of the value it can bring to users that bigger, larger, feature-richer solution cannot bring. To compete with giants, you have to be willing to go places they won’t go. You have to be patient and tenacious. You have to exploit their mistakes. You have to be aware of your differences and how they make you stronger. You have to look for the use cases potential users express that you know are going to be better suited by your solution than by the larger one.

In a way, it’s a bit like playing Rafael Nadal at Roland-Garros. You know it’s going to be a tough, long-winded fight that you’re likely to lose. You’ll have to run a lot and he’s going to counter most of your shots. You’ll have to manage amazing returns and stay at the top of your game for hours straight. Last but not least, you have to love the fight in and for itself. To give it your best so that when you get off the court, whether you won or not, you know you gave it all you had.
To go fight with giants, you have to start by believing in yourself. If Robin Soderling could do it, why can’t you?

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Comic for June 25, 2012 - @vmassol , WDYT?
Article: Surface tablet intro no Moses event for Microsoft
So Microsoft is vying here for second place and the comparison that really counts is with next week’s Google tablet, not the iPad.

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