Competitive Edge
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Competitive Edge
Creating your Unique Value Proposition to gain your Competitive Edge.
Curated by Marc Kneepkens
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Prototyping Just Went to the Next Level With Framer

Prototyping Just Went to the Next Level With Framer | Competitive Edge |

The latest version of Framer brings closure (well, that’s my opinion anyway) to the ‘should designers code’ argument. Never has there been a greater opportunity, as a visual designer, to get your hands dirty with code.

With this version, the awesome folks behind Framer have married the relationship between design and code perfectly. If you’re a seasoned user and want to stick to the original format of Framer, and hand-code all your interactions? Go for it. If you’re coming from a more design-orientated background and prefer to use the application from a more visual standpoint, do it that way. Want to walk a line between the two? Framer is going to make you very happy indeed.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to take a couple of screens from Sketch, and then import them into the latest version of Framer, with some handy little tips along the way. This is a perfect introduction to Framer for all newcomers. Hopefully, you’ll come out the other end of this tutorial with more of a ‘this Framer Tool ain’t that scary no more’ attitude. Well that’s the plan anyway. Read more: click image or title.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The perfect match for #designers dealing with #code.

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How the Apple Watch could reinvent fashion as we know it

How the Apple Watch could reinvent fashion as we know it | Competitive Edge |

The most important thing that the Apple Watch has already tapped into, and has in common with the fashion world, is our imagination.

On one of the coldest days of the year, a smartly dressed woman, defying the elements, stands at one of the last remaining newsstands in Manhattan flipping through the voluminous bible of fashion that is the March issue of Vogue. Amid the pages of waifish models blissfully tossing aside $1,000 scarfs and tableaus of beauty products promising transformative powers she happens upon something completely different: another, mini-magazine, devoted to the Apple Watch.

The message contained therein, all visual, no text, is obvious: The illusion of luxury, of another, better life — one filled with glamour, the right look and the people and places that go along with such trimmings of success — now includes a smartwatch.

It's an old message, aspirational luxury, but one made new by technology playing the starring role. But all stars aren’t created equal. And even the most brilliant sometimes fail to capture the public's imagination.

So now, with companies like Apple, Nike, Under Armour and many others betting billions on the chance that the marriage of technology and fashion might produce a hit, there's a key question that needs answering: Is wearable technology ready? And will the Apple Watch be the catalyst that takes it mainstream? Read more:

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"No matter how small a company may be, we believe that Growthink’s standard of excellence does not change from one client to the other and we would certainly welcome the opportunity to work with Melissa and her colleagues again."
Shannon Lindsay
Southern Beauty Magazine

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Design can make or break your product and company. Apple has proven this very well, successfully. Will the Apple Watch be a success? You bet.

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3 Reasons You Can’t Just Ask Customers What They Want | TechCrunch

3 Reasons You Can’t Just Ask Customers What They Want  |  TechCrunch | Competitive Edge |

Do you like apples or bananas? Coffee or tea? Pepperoni or cheese pizza? Simple questions result in simple answers which, when researching and developing a product is every product owner’s dream. “Just tell me what you want, and I’ll make it.” Quick. Easy. Simple.

But herein lies the problem; product development isn’t normally quick, easy or simple. Asking these types of questions, as tempting as they are to ask, bring about certain dangers that can result in skewed results, missing information, and, potentially, failed products. Listed below are the three primary reasons why asking customers direct questions can be a very dangerous endeavor.

The Customer Doesn’t Always Know What They Want

The first reason you can’t just ask customers what they want is that they aren’t always attuned to what they really need. Steve Jobs famously said, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

Typically, it is easier for people to review and comment on something that is placed in front of them rather than asking to imagine something that doesn’t yet exist. This can mean anything from developing a fully functioning prototype to a clickable presentation, or even simple, hand-drawn “screens” to help customers get a sense of the experience.

Additionally, it is also difficult for customers to articulate what it is they want or need, especially if it relates to a topic that is not something they often think about. People have a tendency to use what they know, which is why user adoption for certain products may take longer to catch on than others.

The Human Desire to Develop Patterns and Habits

The second danger in asking customers direct questions is the human desire to develop patterns and habits. Sigmund Freud called this phenomenon “repetition compulsion,” in that humans seek comfort in the familiar as well as a desire to return to an earlier known state of things.

What is even more desirable than returning to an earlier state of things is the desire to maintain certain habits. In the book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg spends much of the book describing various examples of products and adjoining habits while using a simple “Cue –> Routine –> Reward” diagram that illustrates the psychology behind how habits are formed and maintained.

These habits are sometimes formed over long periods of time, which makes trying to break or introduce new habits an extremely difficult and delicate process. During our user research phase, we try to avoid asking questions about potentially disrupting a customer’s current habit, instead asking questions that are related.

For example, in attempting to understand how a person organizes a party or trip, we may ask them to tell us how they typically go grocery shopping. This way we can begin to understand from a contextual standpoint, whether they are more strictly organized (have a specific list of items written down and go directly for those specific items) or they are more casual and spontaneous (venturing up and down each aisle and choosing items as they go).

Rather than asking individuals to “imagine a new world” that would alter the current habits of their lives resulting in potential resistance, we are able to gain a better understanding of their natural tendencies, current mentalities and preferences, which results in more rich and insightful information.

Our Overwhelming Need to Please Others

The final risk is people’s overwhelming desire to be a part of something, to be well liked, and the need to please others. While this is a slightly easier peril to overcome than the others, it is still important to understand how this behavior can influence individuals and skew results or information.

Often during interviews, customers will attempt to answer a question the way they think they should answer the question or provide an answer they think is “correct.” One of the primary causes is the asking of what are called “leading questions.” In other words, questions that are asked in such a way that there are only one or two answers that a person can respond with.

Likewise, questions such as, “Do you like coffee or tea?” leaves little room for original thoughts or answers because the question is too rigid and the answers too pre-defined. These types of questions establish a barrier to discovering how people truly feel about a subject, which can be counter-productive and result in unusable information.

Interviews are treated as more of a conversation than a survey or interrogation in order to build a rapport with customers so they feel comfortable enough to share the stories and events of their lives. It is through these stories that we uncover an individual’s thought processes, how they react in various situations, and additional insights that point to how they truly feel about certain products, applications and experiences.

The dangers mentioned in this post are not to say that “this-or-that” questions are completely useless. In certain situations and settings, such as AB usability testing, these types of questions can be quite valuable and informative. It is during discovery research, when you are trying to understand customers’ needs, desires  and pain points regarding a product, that these questions can be detrimental to a project.

So when you’re looking to improve an existing product, develop a new experience or enter a new marketplace, remember there are no quick and simple answers when it comes to understanding what customers want or need.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The classic question: "What do you want" does not always result in the right answers. People need a choice or see what's in front of them...

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400 Awesome Free Things for Entrepreneurs and Startups

400 Awesome Free Things for Entrepreneurs and Startups | Competitive Edge |
All the free tools to start and grow your startup and business.

Here is one more to help create your Business Plan:

Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km

Via StartupYard
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Find some free #tools in this amazing pile of #resources. Freebies for #Business, #Marketing, #Design and #Code, #Productivity and #Learning.


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I spotted an Apple Watch on the train this morning, and now I'm a believer | VentureBeat | Gadgets | by Mark Sullivan

I spotted an Apple Watch on the train this morning, and now I'm a believer | VentureBeat | Gadgets | by Mark Sullivan | Competitive Edge |

The watch has the effect that other blockbuster Apple products have had on casual observers. When you see it, something somewhere in the corner of your mind clicks on, and then you realize you want one.

The man to whom I gave a gentle push so that I might fit inside the crowded commuter train this morning was wearing an Apple Watch.

As the train stopped in a tunnel, the man apparently received a reminder on his wrist, and when he raised his wrist I got a clear view. No, it wasn’t one of the knockoffs they were selling at CES. This thing looked like a luxury item, and it had the now familiar “bubbles” Watch user interface.

I saw a text reminder on the screen, and then, briefly, a map. It appeared that the guy had been using the Watch for some time and was pretty used to it. The product is supposed to go on sale in April, but Apple gave Watches to a number of its employees to gather feedback and fix bugs. Read more here:

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"Thanks for your note....KEEP THE ADVICE COMING!

I studied the Truth About Funding program (video)...and it really helped me focus on the steps we need to take to move and expand our business into LA."

J. Mack

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Apple has the edge combining design and finding ways to deliver what people want.

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Develop an experience, not just a product | The Venture Company

Develop an experience, not just a product | The Venture Company | Competitive Edge |

My 3-year-old daughter uses my iPhone to play music videos and YouTube videos and has not touched a PC (or better, a Mac) yet. With the same content available on either she's obviously seen me operate my Mac and looks over my shoulder now and then, but finds all the keys and even the "Magic-mouse" complicated. Clearly a usage experience is more important to her than sheer processing power. Sounds familiar doesn't it? Nintendo anyone? What I see in so many early business plans today is the old-fashioned notion of deep technology expertise, something most traditional investors still harp on. I see too many BMW engines being developed without attention being paid to the development of The Ultimate Driving Experience®. True, you can't build the driving experience without great engines, but BMW, like no other vendor understands that the total experience is the selling point. In the end, technology will become commoditized and its differentiation will be determined by the way it interacts...

To read the full article, click on the title or image.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent observation. Keeping this in mind will create very loyal customers. This is an older article, but still very essential for any kind of business.

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