Within my companies, one of my main roles is being a facilitator. I like to help my colleagues do their best work. That means answering a lot of questions over Slack and Zoom.
I love it, but it also takes up a lot of time, especially if you combine it with all the internal and external meetings.
I realised recently that it was about time to make sure I started blocking some time for deep work. I’m generally not a fan of calendar blocking, at least not the way most people apply it. I have a todo list that I…
A lot has been written on this subject, and if you want the definitive guide on product design and software development (if there is such a thing), this is definitely not it. What this is however, is my personal vision on what’s important for building quality tech products and user experiences.
Software is only ever a tool, and brings value by simplifying processes. Good software solves real-world problems, abstracts the technical details, and allows the user to perform an action without having to think about what happens in the background.
Users shouldn’t feel overwhelmed or scared. Create an…
When we started NearSt in 2015, our product was a marketplace platform on which people could order products from local shops via an app. Marketplaces are difficult to build, however, because you need to build out both the demand side and supply side at the same time to provide value to all of your stakeholders.
Our marketplace was growing, but not as quickly as we wanted it to, and the model was causing us to have to worry about a lot of secondary concerns: organising delivery, managing orders, providing customer support to people using the app to buy products, etc.
I’ve been using AWS Cognito for quite a few recent projects. It makes a lot of sense to use when you’re building serverless applications on AWS Lambda, just because it’s right there and part of the ecosystem.
I also definitely don’t want to ever build my own authentication systems anymore. Been there, done that, introduced security issues, promised myself to never do it again.
And Cognito is great, especially in combination with the ready-made authentication UI elements from AWS Amplify. But there are also some sharp edges and missing features that you run into once in a while.
When the company consists of just you and one or two friends, it’s very easy to build consensus and make quick decisions. All of you have all of the information on everything that related to the company, and there’s not much needed to build consensus. You probably already share the same vision about most of the core concepts that your company is built upon.
As the team grows, however, decision making becomes more complicated, and it can quickly feel like things are growing to a halt simply because it takes longer to build consensus and make decisions. Where previously the…
Most startups conceptually start with a big, overarching idea (also known as BHAG: a big, hairy, audacious goal) about how to solve a problem that exists for a large group of people. The things that keep you up at night, or take up unnecessary time or resources during the day: the planet and the environment, boring administrative tasks, things that cost more money than they should.
And then there’s a concrete idea for a solution: an app that would help with X, a physical product that can be used for Y, a service that offers Z.
Writing out a purpose…
Like we did in February for Black History Month, we’ve once again teamed up with Apple to celebrate International Women’s Day by creating several guides that feature amazing artworks made by women, as well as artworks that celebrate iconic women.
These murals across NYC embody some of the most iconic women in the world. Not all are created by women, but all are of women who have made contributions to society and paved the way for women today.
Last year, the #LMF team built a prototype of MAAT, a smartwatch tool to help cognitively challenged children and adults adhere to a daily schedule, an idea from teacher-turned-entrepreneur Esther Goossens.
This month, we worked on turning that prototype into something that was production ready in order to release it to a wider audience. One of the main things that needed to happen for that was rebuilding the back-end API. This had previously been built on an internal PHP framework that is no longer maintained, and wouldn’t be suitable for further development.
We only had two days to build that…
In Apple’s new iOS 14 on iPhone and iPad, the Apple Maps app now will encourage you to explore your city by showing you curated guides, created by publications like Lonely Planet, Time Out, and… Street Art Cities!
We’ve been working with the Apple Maps team to bring the unique street art knowledge and beautiful photographs from our hunter community into the Apple Maps app. This is a great way to allow a new audience of people that might not be as familiar with street art to discover what their city has to offer.
When we built the first version of Street Art Cities, we didn’t think it would become a global community with tens of thousands of monthly active users. Therefore, we built the platform as a quick MVP in PHP, which then quickly grew with dozens of new features, an API for our mobile app and another API for our partners that license our content.
A few months ago, we decided to start migrating over the platform to a fully serverless infrastructure powered by Node and AWS Lambda.
Due to limited engineering resources, we knew that the migration would take place slowly…
Entrepreneur tech kid, co-founder of NearSt, Londoner, open source enthusiast and aspiring spare time literature geek.