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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Watch The Inspiring Movie ‘CODEGIRL’ For Free On YouTube Until November 5th

Watch The Inspiring Movie ‘CODEGIRL’ For Free On YouTube Until November 5th | Competitive Edge |

Alphabet, which backs diversity in all facets of technology, is helping to shed light on a specific project...a film called "CODEGIRL". It comes via filmmaker Lesley Chilcott, who you might be familiar with from her work on “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Waiting for Superman.”

As an extension of Google’s “Made With Code” project, the new documentary is being shared, free of charge, on YouTube until November 5th. The film will be in theaters in the next few weeks.

Read more, click on image or title.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

There is a tremendous shortage of #coders all over the world. #Women have a great opportunity here. Watch the documentary.

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Is Your Product Roadmap Just Burning Your Money? - Enterprise Irregulars

Is Your Product Roadmap Just Burning Your Money? - Enterprise Irregulars | Competitive Edge |

The number 1 mistake I have seen companies of all sizes make is to let the customers, sales people, engineers and tactical product managers decide the product roadmap by adding one feature after another.

If you have product market fit and are doing more than a few million dollars in ARR (annual run rate), you don’t need new features to sell your product. If your product is good enough for a few customers with little marketing then it is reasonable to expect that there are many more customers for whom the product is good enough.

Your sales people will complain when they lose to a competitor because of feature X but will likely not be ready to commit to a bigger quota. This is a tell tale sign that this is not a true gap.

Given my experience with 10+ startups and at, here is my key learning: most product roadmaps do very little to move the needle on growth.

Ask the Hard Question: What if we did no new features for a year?

The way to tease out what is truly strategic and important is to start by framing the problem differently. Think of it as zero based budgeting. – you don’t assume that you keep doing the old stuff, you question everything.

I usually ask the management team – CEO, VP of product, VP of sales – to individually assess the change in top line revenue 1, 2 and 3 years out if we stopped building all the new features except bug fixes and just plugging gaping big holes.

The answer is usually shocking – most startups (and big companies) spend most of the R&D budget building features that are unlikely to move the needle.

What would you build to increase revenue 24 months from now?

There is very little that a product can do to truly change the revenue trajectory for a post product-market fit company in the short term. But if you invest in the right areas, it should impact your longer term roadmap. For example, HubSpot adding CRM to its feature set is definitely going to impact its TAM (total addressable market) unlike adding lots of bells and whistles to email marketing. Workday needs to build all the HCM features out but real top line growth from R&D comes from building Financials or Supply Chain products.

Great companies and great product leaders are naturally good at this. They intuitively understand what the market wants and deliver it.

We all intuitively know this for companies that ship hardware. Everyone is asking for the next iPad, the next iPhone – not just a slightly better Macbook. Its important to finish what you started – and there is whole blog post on this – but its important to know that the two buckets are different.

You will never build an iPhone by incrementally improving your Macbook. 

Similarly, a software company that keeps adding features to its one product without thinking in terms of new editions, new product lines or new go to market – will end up with a bloated product not a richer set of products that can alter the future of the company.

I leave you with this thought – what features are you building today that will truly significantly change the your future? Are you building the next iPhoneor are you just adding the 10th button and the 7th app on a Blackberry?

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Is Coding the New Literacy? - Mother Jones

Is Coding the New Literacy? - Mother Jones | Competitive Edge |
Is Coding the New Literacy?
Mother Jones
In the winter of 2011, a handful of software engineers landed in Boston just ahead of a crippling snowstorm.

In the winter of 2011, a handful of software engineers landed in Boston just ahead of a crippling snowstorm. They were there as part of Code for America, a program that places idealistic young coders and designers in city halls across the country for a year. They'd planned to spend it building a new website for Boston's public schools, but within days of their arrival, the city all but shut down and the coders were stuck fielding calls in the city's snow emergency center.

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

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Via Bonnie Bracey Sutton, Gebeyehu B. Amha
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The ways we think are changing. Computational thinking explained. Interesting article.

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Hire the Right Recent Graduates for Your Startup With These 4 Tips

Hire the Right Recent Graduates for Your Startup With These 4 Tips | Competitive Edge |
You may find yourself with an influx of applications from new entrants to the job market. How do you find the best?

One of the most important tasks you will face as a business founder is the recruitment of your first team members. Many founders struggle with this task -- I did when I started my company. Industry veterans might command a salary that you can’t afford, or candidates whose impressive skill sets you can afford may not align with your core values.

Your search for the ideal hire may be further complicated by the rapid influx of recent college graduates into the job market. In the weeks following their May and June graduation ceremonies, you may find dozens -- if not hundreds -- of graduates applying for open positions at your company. Given their relative lack of employment experience, how can you identify the college graduates who are best suited to the swift pace and constantly evolving nature of startup life?

Impressive candidates can come from all sorts of experience levels and ages, so you should try not to limit your search to just one group. If you do, however, choose to pursue recent graduates, here are four pieces of advice that can help identify the right ones to join your team. Read more: click on title or image.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Hiring great people is a very complicated process. This article provides a few general tips that help. If you're looking for great developers/programmers/engineers... contact me on Linkedin. You can't afford mistakes when it comes to hiring for a startup. Mistakes right at the start can be fatal.

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10 Things Great Talent Always Does

10 Things Great Talent Always Does | Competitive Edge |
Recruiting top performers for your company can multiply its success.

Finding amazing talent is a tricky process. Making talent recruitment a top priority can multiply the success of an organization.

To recognize great talent, hiring managers can look for the following signs instead of paying attention only to resumes and cover letters.

Here are 10 things people possessing great talent always do:

1. They talk about their long-term goals.

Talented candidates aren’t afraid of their future. In fact, they’re excited about their career and what’s in store.

Ask candidates about their long-term goals during a job interview. Those with great talent will talk about their prospective future with the company and what they plan to accomplish if hired.

2. They’re resourceful and prepared for anything.

Great talent is prepared for any situation. The ability to think and act on the spot is a quality few people have.

People with top-notch talent know their resume inside and out, have their portfolio ready and can answer interview questions without stumbling over their thoughts.

3. They display confidence in any situation.

There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance when identifying top talent. Confident individuals, however, can handle any situation and accept the reality that it’s OK to be wrong.

During the interview, ask candidates about their weaknesses. Look for a candidate who can confidently speak about weaknesses and explain the lessons they have learned.

4. They market their versatility.

Individuals who are truly talented possess a wide range of skills and can transfer them to different roles and succeed.

Ask candidates about a time when they had to try something new or apply their skills in an unusual situation. A good candidate will be able to share an experience or two.

5. They prioritize results.

Talented people care about results. They have a burning passion to accomplish their goals, both in their personal life or career.

Those who possess top talent will talk about what they want to accomplish once hired without the interviewer having to ask.

6. They ask smart questions.

Bright individuals are curious people. Because of this, they’ll ask questions to learn more about an organization and how it functions.

During the interview, a talented candidate will ask questions about what he or she is expected to accomplish if hired. They will inquire about the attributes of the top performers at the company and about what it takes to drive results.

7. They’re extremely flexible.

Many organizations continuously update their goals and implement new strategies. Top talent can adjust to such changes without becoming derailed from success.

Ask candidates about a time when they had to quickly adapt to a new situation and what happened.

8. They’re comfortable with taking risks.

Risk taking is involved at any business. Talented people aren’t afraid of pushing the envelope to discover new ideas.

Ask candidates about a time where they had to take a risk. Their response should provide enough insight about whether they can take big enough risks.

9. They bring passion to the position and organization.

This might seem like a cliché, but passion is a quality that sets apart those with great talent from lackluster candidates.

When a talented person is passionate about what he or she does, that individual is not afraid to tell a prospective employer. In fact, when someone is truly passionate, a hiring manager can see it in the individual's personality and previous experience.

10. They communicate effectively with a variety of stakeholders.

Strong communicators have the ability to take organizations to the next level.

When speaking to candidates over the phone or in person or exchanging emails, pay close attention to how they communicate. This gives employers a better indication of their communication skills.

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Via Tammie Nemecek
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Cut Mobile Development Costs Using Business Analysis

Cut Mobile Development Costs Using Business Analysis | Competitive Edge |
A strategic business analysis by a qualified analyst can help decide, for example, if an expensive, long-term project can successfully achieve your business goals.

“Business analysts don't get the glamour, and they don't get the glory. For some reason, we always think that should go just to the people who write the code, even though they wouldn't know what code to write in the first place if it weren't for the business analysts.”
Carey Schwaber, a former senior analyst of application development at Forrester Research

There are two key roles that determine a project’s fate: those of the business analyst and the project manager. While generally no one questions the necessity of a project manager on a team, there are frequently attempts to cut down expenses on business analysts.

Staffordshire University estimates that most projects dedicate the least amount of time and effort to analysis – around 10% on average. Additionally, IBM states that around 75% of its total project re-work costs are spent on fixing analysis errors.

To read the full article, click on the title.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent case for a Business Analysis.

Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, February 9, 2014 11:48 AM

Excellent case for Business Analysis. In the world of app development, many developers start out very excitedly. However, isn't it better to take a good look at the complete process before wasting time, energy and money for a doomed project, whatever the reason for failure may be? And if not failure, how about streamlining the process?

Venkadesh Narayanan's curator insight, March 16, 2015 1:02 AM