Apr 022013


At the end of February, bitcoins hit an all-time trading high of just over $33. That suddenly looks like chump change, with the value of bitcoins today moving past $100.

You can see nearly real-time changes in the value of bitcoins at Coinlab and track the currency’s steady rise over the past month at Blockchain. We’ve seen the value go up and down today, fluctuating between $99 and $105. The new high is remarkable given that bitcoins were only worth about $13.50 at the beginning of this year.

READ MORE:  Bitcoin value triples in a month to all-time high of more than $100 | Ars Technica.




Mar 122013

Near the end of 2012, a group of us at Ziba got together to review what we’d learned over the course of the year. Working with dozens of clients who serve customers around the world, we designers spend a lot of time observing people as they interact with technology, services, and experiences, noticing how they seek solutions to everyday problems and make decisions. In the process, certain patterns emerge so forcefully that they’re practically unavoidable.

Meeting over three sessions spread out over a week, 23 Zibites (designers, researchers, and creative directors) discussed the patterns we’d seen, and distilled them down to the 12 insights we thought were most current and useful, to us and to our clients. Each one is presented here, as a brief essay that suggests how it will affect business practices in 2013, and as an illustration created by one of Ziba’s designers.

via The 12 Trends That Will Rule Products In 2013 | Co.Design: business + innovation + design.

Jun 222012

If you dig through the last 60 years of industry research, you’ll find the reasons for product failures are heavily influenced by customer “fit” issues. That means there is a mismatch between what the customer wants and what the product offers. The pricing might be wrong. Or the product might lack clear differentiation. Or it might lack an important feature, or be too difficult to use. While it is true that products fail for a lot of reasons, it is also true that most products fail simply because customers don’t see value in them. The value proposition is weak or non-existent.

When something is “viable,” it is capable of not only germinating, but growing. In product development terms, viability means that a product not only gets purchased, but it performs well enough to be recommended to others. Its popularity spreads organically, or virally. You want a product that both initiates a sale and generates word of mouth.

There are formal research tools designed to get at the issue of viability, with familiar names like concept testing, prototype testing, test markets, and focus groups, but they can be complex, expensive and time-consuming.

There are also Agile teams. One of the hallmarks of an Agile team is regular and direct customer interaction by developers themselves. This is principle number one in the Agile Manifesto, and third-party research is rarely a good substitute.

In the Agile world, after team members interact with customers they bring back what they learned to the group, implications are discussed collectively, and product enhancement decisions are made very quickly. This sets the stage for yet another round of iteration. This decision cycle moves at what I call “Agile Time,” (read: fast) and any supporting tools or techniques have to conform to or accelerate the process. These decisions are made using “soft” data, and mostly gut instinct. They are not easy to monitor.

MORE:  What it Takes to Make Your Product Viable.


Apr 122012

You could argue that your clever Facebook status updates and Frank Bruni-esque Yelp reviews are priceless, but the user data you generate can be converted into actual dollars and cents, thanks to the folks over at Backupify. But before anyone goes out looking to cash in on their status updates, it should be noted that the study points only to theoretical values.

As it turns out, Yelp reviews are valued at $9.13, while individual tweets translate to a paltry $0.001. A Foursquare check-in? $0.40. Updates on Path came in slightly higher at $0.50 each.

As for why there are such vast discrepancies, Rob May of Backupify explained to Business Week that, “The reason that Yelp reviews are valued so highly is that every review creates lot of value for other users,” he said. “You can’t create a lot of value for a lot of Path users because by its nature, it’s limited.”


via Monetary Value Of Yelp Reviews, Tweets And Status Updates Examined In New Study INFOGRAPHIC.


Oct 192011

Bitcoin, the worlds first peer-to-peer digital currency, fell below $3 on Monday. That represents a 90 percent fall since the currency hit its peak in early June.Supporters argue that Bitcoin has fundamental advantages over conventional currencies. The system is designed to transfer funds without a central authority, freeing Bitcoin users from bank fees and government regulations. The Bitcoin protocol offers robust anonymity, and the protocol guarantees that there will never be more than 21 million Bitcoins in existence, which supporters have argued would give the currency a stable value.Unfortunately, the currencys value hasnt proven stable in practice. Several waves of media coverage between April and June pushed the currencys value up from less than $1 to more than $30. Soon after it reached a peak, the currency had a series of PR disasters. One Bitcoin user claimed that a half-million dollars worth of Bitcoins were stolen from his PC; he may have fallen victim to Bitcoin-stealing malware. A few days later, the most popular Bitcoin exchange was hacked, forcing a multiday suspension of trading and generating another wave of bad press.

via Bitcoin implodes, falls more than 90 percent from June peak.