Tuesday, 15 November 2011

About Value

Say, you gave birth to a kid who's very talented in music. However, you do not have the money( or else) to find a great musician to teach the kid. Just then, a local musician sees the talents of your kid. He is willing to teach the kid for free, on the condition that the kid will have to stay with the musician forever(of course you have to right to visit the kid any time). The musician is not a talented,  but at least he can teach.  Will you make the deal?

It's the case with our final project, Yun Reading. We're facing the problem with the future development of this app. Our money is dying out and our team mates will probably be too busy to continue with the monetization part next semester. We know our app is having a great potential, like a talented music kid. But we've got no time and money to make the talents shine. A ebook publishing company seems to be envision the value of this app in the future. The company want to acquire this app when its value is still unseen to others. 1500SGD/ person is offered. Shall we accept it now then?

1. Can we commit that we will make a lot of time and efforts to make the app a full product in the next 2 years?

Honestly, the main difficulties for the further development of our app lie in the contents and copy-right issues. For our tech team, it won't take too much time and efforts. The problem here is very difficult to solve by our own efforts. We've got to work with publishing companies. A lot of stuffs may involve. Hu Qiang is taking CS3217 next sem, Yingbo is busy with her two degrees, Aldrian is busy with Urop, I'm going for SEP...
It might be easier if we let the company operate the app and we only provide some tech supports. But our value is definitely underestimated.

2.How to create value?

Money<> value. I personally think if we only make this platform use by one company, it creates values to the company. But whether it creates values for the readers, it really depends on the company, whether it wants solely make money out of its customers or really create values to them.

When I sit in Central Library today, I opened my ipad and try to use our app. Yes, I like the app, except I would like to get some books I myself love to read, not books that are very popular in the market but not fit my taste. Reading is a personal thing. I think Hu Qiang's suggestion of make it a personal ebook library(like a dropbox for epubs) would be a nice idea. It may not bring instant money to the retailers, but it do create values to the readers. If I were the reader, I would like to have such one in my device.

Yes, creating value is more important than making money. That's learnt from CS3216.

3. Competitors.
I'm sure a lot of cross-platform ebook reader are coming out in the next two years. Some of them will be from big players. I would like to work with everyone instead of competing with others. I think competing is not the right way for success, collaboration is. But big players seldom know you, that's the reality. So we've got to establish it ASAP to China market to make it known to everyone. Hopefully people will come and get to know us. I heard Singtel launched the first Ebook Platform in Singapore today. Well, honestly, I think we are better, just that we are not complete yet. But we are not competing with them, we're focusing on the China market.

4. How about funding?

I know from Prof.Ben that there is a $50,000 grant. That's a lot of money. If we can get it, our plan of dropbox for ebooks will probably become reality. Currently, our plan is still under discussion. We'll probably explore the plan in two different strategies in PARALLEL. First way is to make a dropbox for epubs(probably the English version) and the second way is to sell ebooks(Chinese version). We can let the publishing company use the Chinese Version in China as they are only interested in selling their own books. But we can continue developing the english version and make it a dropbox for epubs. We reserve our right to use the English Version and they can use our Chinese version and sell ebooks in that platform. Don't know whether the plan will work or not, but we'll try.

We'll need a lot of help from friends in CS3216 if we're really taking the step out. Thank you in advance, great great people here in CS3216:-)


  1. Stick with your talented-kid if every one of you truly believed in the project.

  2. Thank you, Joshua. We believe we can create more value to readers, thus we decide to continue. But I'm not sure how long every one of us can stick with it. Will you be interested in further developing this app with us? Maybe we can work together during the holiday:-)

  3. good to hear that you've decided to continue. remember the reason why you all did this project in the first place. don't stop till you achieve it.

  4. Thank you for your encouragement, Zulhilmi:-)

  5. Don't sell it now; what is $150 anyway? there is more you can do with it.

  6. Why don't you get the company to sell their books on your platform and charge them for every successful transaction made? This way, you won't confuse the readers by having two different version - English and Chinese, which are maintained by two groups of people.

    And I don't think you should be worried about Singtel. They are going into everything because they don't wish to lose out. But honestly speaking, they don't stand a chance with you guys if you focus on making the product better.

    Hope to see you guys carry on working on it :) And all the best for your exams!

  7. Thank you, Darren and Alan:-)
    We talked with the publishing company again. They seem to be pretty interested to work with us as a partner. One entrepreneur even want to join us and help apply for funding and establish the company!
    After talking among ourselves, we realize there are much more we can do with the platform. We can not only partner with publishers to help promote their books,but also allow writers to publish/sell their books in our platform. In that sense, we will create value for readers,writers and publishers. That's even greater.

    The problem with our current platform is that it is not well-designed in high-level architecture and it's not really very scalable. We may need to start over again this December and truly make it a great product to readers.

    Before the new version came out, we'll continue promoting the app this December using the old codes.

    All the best for your exams, too!