Ski in Bulgaria

Going to Vacation Alone (And Surviving It)

Just a couple of days ago I returned from a ski vacation in Bulgaria. Not only it provided me the much desired opportunity to learn and practice skiing in a real European ski resort,  but also the dubious pleasure of enjoying the sole company of myself. Since my vacation was bounded to specific dates (after discharge from army, before beginning work), and my budget restricted my options to Bulgaria’s ski resorts, I couldn’t find anyone to join me. Continue reading “Going to Vacation Alone (And Surviving It)”

ShopJet Goes Live with our First Client

 

Good news everybody, we are on the intrawebs, and it feels good 🙂

LiveSale is an online consumer-electronics retail store, based in Nazareth Illit. While not especially large, thanks to their convenient prices and good reputation, they enjoy top places in Zap price-comparison engine. Embedding our content on their product pages allows LiveSale to make their pages friendlier and more informative for their visitors. Continue reading “ShopJet Goes Live with our First Client”

Transformation

My Experiments with Transformation

I have never given too much thought to questions of nutrition, healthy food, eating habits, etc. Being skinny isolates you from the world of calories-counting and diets. But as I have discovered, no one is safeguarded from the advances of excessive fat, especially after certain age. After gaining 10 kilos in 6 months (apparently living alone can have this side effect), I started to think that maybe I should start noticing what I eat. But I wasn’t ready then to do anything about it. Continue reading “My Experiments with Transformation”

Yet Another Aggregating Service

 

Just a week ago I was at friend’s wedding. The bride was beautiful, the music danceable, and the whole event was a great fun. And as always in such occasions, lots of photos have been taken by several people. Usually what happens in these cases is that you come home, and over the next days your receive emails from friends with links to online albums of the event. Usually these are from different providers such as Facebook, PicasaWeb and Flickr. So eventually you end up with several disjointed online photo albums with no way to view all the photos in one convenient place. Continue reading “Yet Another Aggregating Service”

The Story of ShopJet So Far

A friend of a friend told me about Startup Weekend a couple of days before the event. The same evening the tickets were sold out and I was out of luck. But instead of giving up on the whole thing, I did something else: I contacted the organizers and asked whether there are any tickets left. The answer was no, but I entered the waiting list. Next morning I got a message that someone canceled his participation, and I got the last ticket to the event. It was already worth the 175 shekel I paid: I learned a lesson in persistence. Continue reading “The Story of ShopJet So Far”

Standing on the edge of cliff

How I Have Come to Face Freedom

Lately I have been thinking about the burden of freedom. What I mean by freedom is not the civil freedom of being out of jail, but an existential freedom: freedom from unfulfilled desires, from debilitating illness, from time-consuming commitments, from limiting beliefs. The kind of freedom that makes you wake up on Saturday morning, have your breakfast, come into the living room and think to yourself “no one expects anything from me today, I have the whole day to myself, to do anything I want. So, what should I do?” Continue reading “How I Have Come to Face Freedom”

Rich Product Experience

Last July, when I was finishing my MBA studies, I started to work with my partner on an idea for a product we called tentatively Rich Product Experience. We have written elevator pitch, built a little mockup of the product, talked with some people from the Technion about it’s potential and….well that’s about it. Unfortunately we didn’t move much pass the initial plans and some very preliminary demos. Admittedly, I was more enthusiastic about it than my partner, but I guess I didn’t have enough enthusiasm for the both of us. Continue reading “Rich Product Experience”

The Anatomy of group effort

The Anatomy of Group Effort

The Anatomy of group effortRecently I have been invited to participate in a panel of MBA graduates to discuss and share our experience during Global Strategic Management project (which I took last year) with fresh students. The project was supervised by Sid Amster, a remarkable American businessman , with phenomenal enthusiasm for sharing his experience with the students. Friendly, open and informal, he made sure that we felt that this was the most important course in the MBA. Continue reading “The Anatomy of Group Effort”

Constructing a Niche Service

A friend of mine recently has purchased an apartment in a new real estate project. For some time he has been complaining to me about the low level of service he has been receiving from the company: to find out trivial details about the progress of the construction, numerous phone calls are needed; no one tracks his requirements regarding the finish details of kitchen and bath; he has to coordinate and schedule different sub-contractors (installing bath, kitchen…) by himself, etc.

Continue reading “Constructing a Niche Service”

Web Video on the TV Gone Wrong

Recently I have read about an Israeli startup that plans to introduce a product called WebTVplug, which allows to connect the TV to the Internet through a hardware plug-in. The plug-in converts IP data, streamed from company’s server’s, to video signal, consumable by TV, and presents to the viewer a mesh of video clips, collected from the web, grouped by categories and sorted by company’s content editors.

The problem of this product, is that instead of adjusting the content for the TV medium, it simply gives access to myriads of short clips from around the net in YouTube style (without the social aspect of YouTube).

The entertainment experience in the living room is inherently a passive one. Large display, soft sofa, remote control, a cup of tea. People want to relax, to be entertained, to be immersed by the movie they watching or the game the playing. While some may say that playing video games is not a passive entertainment, I would argue that it is in the sense that it does not require mental activities such as reading, browsing, searching, deciding – all those things we do on the web, and don’t do while watching TV or playing video games.

But the service constantly requires our attention and intervention, to select the next clip to watch. Which for short clips happens quite often. Since the amount of content is enormous, sooner or later we are drawn into a decision paralysis. It seams to me that most people would find this experience tiresome, and not fitting with what they come to expect from living room entertainment.

The idea of bringing Internet content to the living room has undeniable potential, but it seams to me that this product goes in the wrong direction.

If I would have tried to bring web video to TV, I would have focused on the following design aspects:

  • Push, Not Pull – the user shouldn’t be asked to constantly make decisions, but rather be fed with self-streaming and self-updating content
  • Embrace the TV – the layout, the fonts, the menus of the UI should be specifically designed for large displays, viewed from a distance. The input method ideally should be TV’s native remote control.
  • Fuse with the Web – since the content is streamed from the Internet, it is possible to give each user experience customized for his unique taste. Instead of offloading on the unsuspecting user countless videos, sorted by category, but intended for everyone, it is possible to try to learn each user’s taste, and offer each one content, tailored specifically for his interests. This can be done by providing supplementary web service, through which user can teach the system of his taste, for example by feeding his YouTube’s account favorites.

On a side note, the service has an option of connecting the plug-in to PC, and streaming video clips. Its not clear why would anyone want to use this feature, when he has access to YouTube and other popular web video services.

The original post (in Hebrew): http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3782742,00.html

When talking about web video on TV, I should mention of course Boxee, which is a great example of web-to-TV product done right.

Continue reading “Web Video on the TV Gone Wrong”