Thoughts about Strata, Big Data, Data Science, D3.js and Data Visualization

Von roger @ 18:14 [ KAYWA ]

„Create more value than you capture.“
Tim O’Reilly

From 19th to 21th of November, Una, Miroslav and me from Kaywa Zurich and Belgrade were in Barcelona. This was our first time at an O’Reilly’s Strata +Hadoop World conference which is mainly about big data and data science. Strata takes place 4 times per year twice in Europe, twice in the US.

Attendees at the Strata Conference in Barcelona

In Barcelona, the weather was impressively sunny and warm, the huge conference location was within view of the Mediterranean, the food was delicious and the programme was packed. It took me over two weeks to digest and to write about it.

A main takeaway was: data science, data visualization and big data are still nascent and the US dominates it so far (at least at this conference). Well acquainted with big data are the finance & insurance sectors (some since the 1980s), as well as retargeting, real-time bidding advertising companies. One could call them the Data Doers in comparison to Data Hoarders from IT, Data Mixers from the creative sector and Data Deniers to be found mainly in manufacturing and retail. Maybe this is why Tim O’Reilly was so insistent to exhort the audience once again: „Create more value then you capture“.

God is in the details

Data Visualization
On Wednesday it was tutorial day and I choose Communicating Data Clearly by Naomi Robbins and the D3.js Tutorial - D3 For Everyone! by Sebastian Gutierrez from DashingD3js.com.

Prior to the conference, we already wanted to switch from Google Charts to D3.js to create the data visualizations (line and doughnut charts) for our QR Management. There were two reasons for this: first Google Charts are not as flexible as Mike Bostock’s D3, second Google Charts do not work in Hong Kong nor Mainland China. We had only discovered this recently as some of our Hong Kong clients told us they would not see the visualization of the data and asked if we are using Google’s products. At that time we did, so we saw the D3.js workshop as an opportunity to learn and then to embrace D3.js.

Before D3.js, we went to Communicating Data Clearly where Naomi Robbins showed us first bad chart examples and then offered some good common sense advice:„stacked bar charts are difficult to read, grouped bar charts are almost always better “, „be aware of pre-attentive processing and use it to your benefit", „reading length charts is easier then area charts and area charts are easier then volume charts“ and I could go on. After the first one and half hours however her talk became hard to follow, as my brain was saturated by the amount of data she was throwing at us. In retrospect, I also miss not having been to the Spark workshop by Paco Nathan.

Finally came Sebastian Gutierrez D3.js Tutorial, which was hands-on and therefore great. D3.js is a JavaScript library that enables you to create data visualizations on the web. Major news services like the New York Times, the Guardian, Bloomberg, Reuters use D3.js for their interactive infographics. More technically D3.js is about manipulating the DOM (the document object model) of a webpage, it is data-driven (via JSON, cvs) and it uses visualization components like CSS and SVG.

Superpower Supermom

After a short introduction, we opened a file in our Chrome browsers, opened the JavaScript console and worked then through the huge amount of examples. This way we all could understand step by step what we were manipulating and changing.
Sebastien told us repeatedly: „data visualization is a super power“, and this might well be true. The more complex and big the data, the more essential visualization becomes, so that we can understand it, discover patterns, detecte anomalies, etc.

The tutorial gave us the knowledge to accomplish our goal: replace our Google Charts with D3.js. Our new charts are now online at http://qrcode.kaywa.com. And we are looking forward to do more creative stuff. We are also open for suggestions, so let us know if you have any idea in regard to data visualization.


Modeling on the Right Side of the Brain

Von roger @ 22:52 [ Diverses ]
event, role, party or place or thing, description

Check out : Modeling on the Right Side of the Brain from @nicholasjhenry and the video from the Railsconf 2014 that goes with it.

Here is the abstract:
"Since your first web application, you have struggled with identifying domain objects. Assigning business rules and services appears to be a talent that only other developers are born with. Fear not! Object Modeling is a learnable, teachable skill. This talk demonstrates the five essential skills you need for modeling objects and their responsibilities. Think beyond ActiveRecord and your database, and learn how color and patterns will help you explain, maintain and extend your application."

Inspired by: Peter Coad's 'Modeling in Color'

Git Workflows

Von roger @ 10:13 [ Diverses ]
Git Workflows
- Centralized Workflow
- Feature Branch Workflow
- Gitflow Workflow
- Forking Workflow
- Pull Requests

See also: Git Reference


Conceptual landscape underpinning a modern, competent web developer using Rails

Von roger @ 16:52 [ Diverses ]


Nuggets from Hiring your First Sales Person as a Startup

Von roger @ 07:28 [ Diverses ]
Hiring Your First Salesperson

Gia Scinto: Never use the title Chief Revenue Officer. If I would be a customer, I would feel strange to talk to the Chief Revenue Officer. Head of Sales is just fine.

David Obrand: What you want in a Sales of a Startup
1) Intellectual Horsepower
2) Technical Aptitude
3) Passion for your Customer's Success
4) Loves a frantic environment
5) Can live with delayed gratification


Important: When hiring a sales tell them the long term opportunity/story. Not just what the company is now.

You need to listen to customers, what problems they have. Asking hard questions.
Only then can you create a bridge in the mind of the customer from their problem to your product

Backchannel references about a Sales
References from the Sales Rep itself are normally not worth exploring. There is always a guy telling nice things.
Instead ask a former customer of the Sales Rep: Would you buy from them again, and why?

Remote Sales Reps is a no-go
Startup: NEVER work with a Remote Sales Rep. Companies need to be together


Also worth watching:
John Doerr: What To Look For When Joining a Company


Kaywa Inc : Inside Sales / Customer Care

We are looking for an Inside Sales Specialist and/or Customer Care Officer for Kaywa Inc in San Francisco. Send a mail to contact at kaywa dot com if you are interested.


Kaywa in San Francisco - Part II

Von roger @ 02:03 [ KAYWA ]
Cyril from Swissnex just asked me to write more about my first talks with people here. So I try to do that right away.

It’s almost impossible to meet somebody who is not working for a software company or is trying to found one or is in other way part of the ecosystem (see below). The other day I was down in San Jose for a Iaido seminar and I was basically sitting with people from Zynga in a car.
San Francisco and the Valley: this means you constantly tell your story and others pitch theirs to you and you check if there is a personal or business fit or both. This also means ideas are swarming around you constantly.

My first kind of business focused talks were with some people at the Social-Loco Conference. What became apparent is that there is an ecosystem regarding the mobile space, and for us more specifically the QR Code/EAN/NFC space, There is a market and there is data and there are competitors and analysts and investors (angels and VC’s) and lawyers and now also crowdfunding (Kickstarter). All this works hand in hand.

This is one of the first things you notice here. Whereas in Europe we often tend to hang loosely in the air and have to establish the market ourselves through the seller-buyer relationship, here your backdrop is always the ecosystem.
The ecosystem is the base and new markets emerge in it and get established quickly. And because the US market is so huge in itself, even niches can be one billion dollar markets.

The ecosystem extends also to founders and cofounders. I met several people who had a vague idea of what they want to do and looked for a cofounder. Or founders who looked out for an idea. This kind of behaviour I guess is only possible when the ecosystem is around for it.

In Europe generating revenue quickly is considered more important then creating a huge market and dominating it, so our european business models tend to be much more short term focused in general. And it seems almost impossible to create a market in Europe as size really matters.

This was very obvious in discussions I had with my first hosts who happen to be entrepreneurs, lawyers and biz dev people. They tend to favor the free model to get more potential future customers later. This almost always means you need a lot of cash before you can cash in. And here in the Valley, it is possible to get seed funding of 2 Mio USD. Where else is this possible?

Starting your business and pivoting is considered normal. Pivoting is also the only way to avoid failure. And therefore there is a lot of tryin out as a business mentality. In Switzerland we tend to have almost 5 year plans after the soviet model. The absurd cult of the business plan in Switzerland is striking in this regard. Here you just have to nail it somehow and then you are starting to get interesting.
Also the time horizon is here significantly shorter – one year tends to be a time span that people consider as normal – as they all know that within a year everything can change.

One of the more striking things in comparison to Switzerland is how fast meetings are set up. Whereas we tend to have agendas that push meetings back to one and half months easily, here meetings happen today, tomorrow or at least in the same week. And nobody aks for references but intros or your story has always to be good.
Naturally the attention span is accordingly – but how could it be otherwise.

Regarding customers this also means the reaction time should be as short as possible. And this is why we need to be here.

In the last three weeks, I have only seen one powerpoint deck and it was halfway hidden by a curtain at a conference and showed only about 5 slides.
So how ideas are presented? – It’s all in the talking.


First Days in San Francisco

Von roger @ 22:50 [ KAYWA ]
Frenzy is the good word to start, as it all started with an adrenalin bump as my AirBnB place was canceled only two days before I wanted to move in. So on Saturday morning, the day my plane would take off for San Francisco, I still had no room. Fortunately my plane was delayed and using the mobile ticket service from SWISS I was warned by SMS – one of the huge benefits that mobile offers - , I could dedicate a bit more time to find a place. As AirBnB also uses SMS I finally got one in time in South Mission. And a wonderful place too, but more about that later.

Once I had a room, I needed a bike, the easiest way around town even in hilly San Francisco. At first I started renting one. On Monday it fell apart. The next I tried, got stolen at Harrison/5th street. In between my host Lisha had also offered me one – but it was too small. Good for her. Finally I bought a city bike at Valencia Cylery with helmet and a way better lock.
So far – fingers crossed - my bike performs as it should and brings me from SOMA 2nd street to the Mission on 22nd street within 20 minutes.

On Monday, June 18th, I was at the Social-Loco conference which was a bit like watching american television. Lots of discussions and according to your attention you glean something here and there.
Coming from stiffy and formal Switzerland the thing that hit me immediately was the californian informality of such an event, best illustrated by VC Dave McClure coming in flip flops on stage.
And obviously mobile comes first here. And I repeat it again: nothing, but MOBILE FIRST.

At the end of the conference, I already was on my way out – jet lagged to death – I came back the moment the organizers were announcing their last giveaway: an iPad3.
And the winnner is...- „ah a business card with a QR Code“ - ... Roger Fischer. Uups, that’s me. How did that go?
As my brain was changing gears from very slow to normal speed, I vaguely remembered having thrown my bizcard in a pot earler in the morning. Lesson here: A QR Code can win you an iPad.
Not only was the iPad a kick that woke me up instantly, it also was an ideal connector at the Cocktail Party. Finally after a Boston Analyst of the whole QR Code/EAN Barcode space, I met two South Africans who want to set up business here - "this is the place to be!" - and we went to Burma Superstar in chilly Richmond. The famous tea leave salad and all other burmese dishes were delicious and were well worth the freezing 1 hour wait.

To be continued... (hopefully)


Kreislauf 4+5 mit DokoDare/QR Codes + Kaywa Reader on the iPhone

Von roger @ 14:09 [ Zürich ]

Kaywa Reader fürs iPhone herunterladen: Scannen - Bild antippen oder drehen - Website öffnen. It's a Darb!


Stadt Zürich und EWZ mit mobilen Seiten

Von roger @ 13:34 [ Zürich ]
Die Stadt Zürich hat unter m.stadt-zuerich.ch und m.ewz.ch einen mobilen Webauftritt lanciert. Dort findet sich ein ausgewählter Teil des städtischen Informationsangebots.

Stadt Zürich

QR für Zürich


EWZ Mobile


Wo ist das? Die Antwort via QR Code

Von roger @ 13:48 [ Zürich ]
Wo ist das? Scan den QR Code

Auflösung via Scannen des QR Codes

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