Friday, 21 December 2012

About Memory

Today, I went for an Evernote Sharing event in an incubator named Blk71. The event is more on user feedbacks and marketing. There are three thoughts to be highlighted.

1. Attending this kind of entrepreneur events is a very good approach for reaching out more contacts. Many people who have their own businesses or plan to build their own startups will come and attend this kind of events.There is one entrepreneur who shared his experience of how he used Evernote to design his own app. He got the chance to advertise his own app while sharing the experience. Another software developer shared how his company integrated Evernote's public API. He indeed shared a lot more on his own product rather than Evernote. During the break, I talked with two entrepreneurs. One is a NUS computer engineering alumni. He is now running his own retailing company on baby products. It works well as there weren't competitors in Singapore when he first started his business. Though there is no relationship between baby products and software engineering, it was good to know that he liked doing it. Another entrepreneur is a PHD who invented a sensors-based jacket which helps parents monitor their children's body temperatur by remotely control the jacket temperature. It doesn't sound to be a right problem to solve. But at least they utilizes both hardware and software, which is pretty cool. At the end of the events, there are also quite a number of entrepreneurs who shared name cards with the presenter. So it is a pretty nice way for sharing contacts and knowing more people.

2. Psychology matters. My friend who invited to this event is an Evernote fan. He has created almost 1,000 notes since he started to use iPad few months ago. He is very interested in Psychology and he raised several questions for Evernote in a Psychological point of view.

First question is about privacy. Unlike Google and Facebook which publicly utilizes users' data for targeted advertising, Evernote is more of a filter for a bunch of private data. That's why it makes more sense to utilize free-premium model rather than to sell advertisements like the big brothers. However, as the cloud is never secure enough to protect every data, it will never be trustful enough when a cloud-based company claim itself never use the users' data for commercial purposes. That's part of the reason why Instagram lost so many users when they changed their terms and conditions.

Second question is about memorising. Evernote's CEO once said that the company's mission is to help people "remember everything". In a psychological point of view, simply"remember everything" is not enough. As claimed by some psychologies, human brains are similar to computer which allocate information in segmented memories. If people stuck their minds with too many things, it is likely that they cannot retrieve information very effectively. A good information retrieval mechanics is somewhat more important than memorising. An efficient data mining technic is needed to get the information instead of just memorising the information.  Thus collaborative data and public data are necessary to be integrated to the system if the company is going to grow beyond just"remembering everything". That's why self-learning should be accompanied with peer learning and etc.The company cannot jump out of the box if they keep training the private data(login user's data) without making use of other user data in the system. However, that's a contraction with their own privacy policy. This raises another question, which is"how the company is going to grow". The CEO said they want the company to be a "100 year old startup" which is a fairly big dream, but very hard to accomplish. Today, the world is more openly-connected. Software companies can make use of talents all across the world to make great products. That's a great opportunity. But how the company can grow to be both a big company and a startup, it requires a lot of wisdom. I've read an article which introduced how Spotify scale in an agile approach which is really interesting. Other startups may learn from them.


3. The combination of both the online stuffs with the offline stuffs(OTO). It was very interesting to know that Evernote worked together with a pen&paper company named "moleskine" which utilises color tags and convert them with digital tags. Digital applications are making things easier, but not necessarily making us smarter. There are some reasons why traditional medias cannot be replaced. One of the reason is that the smart devices are not able to provide all the possible functionalities a traditional media can provide. Human can receive a lot of rich data from their own sensors(eyes,ears,etc). Some of them are much more advanced than the digital sensors. However,there are a lot of restrictions on our own sensors which digital devices can help make into reality,like geolocation. That's where the augmented reality concept come. I may work some apps related to augmented reality in the IOS class next sem.


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