Why Startups should invest in Good Hardwares for the Team

According to Gartner, global IT spending is poised to hit $3.8 trillion by 2014. But how much of it should come from your startup? Big corporate giants have massive IT budgets that help them upgrade and keep up with the latest cutting-edge technology that gives the company a competitive edge and enhances productivity. Startups, sadly enough, often have very little or nothing in terms of an IT budget.

Even so, a new startup still in the conceptual stage has to come up with a business plan that clearly maps out how much the company can afford to spend on hardware to be used as IT infrastructure and to keep employees connected.

In terms of the company’s IT infrastructure, make sure to come up with a system and components that are scalable and will not cause disruptions through down time. Getting a high-end wi-fi router may be a lot more affordable in the end than buying a cheap one that keeps dropping the uplink to your ISP and slows down you work.

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Growing your Startup Audience through Email Marketing

Online marketing is a whole new world for traditional businesses and entrepreneurs looking for an eCommerce goldmine, and email marketing is at once the most powerful force in this world and also the most maligned one.

Think email marketing, and the word “spam” comes to mind. It’s not edible either. The stigma is real enough, but you don’t have to be a spammer to send an email. Besides, can you really afford to ignore a channel that provides an ROI of $40 for every dollar spent?

You may think that you can get hold of everyone on social media, so why bother with emails? Well, here’s news for you – Email traffic is still the second largest source of visitors for shopping sites, after search engines.

Secondly, there are more email accounts than social media accounts. Everyone with a social media account has an email, but not everyone with an email is one active on social media. Also, there’s a world of difference in how you market your company, brand, product and yourself through email and on social media. Email is a 1-on-1 communication system, and that’s always going to be more effective in sales and marketing.

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Y Combinator Startups (Summer 2013)

I was doing some research and made a list of the Y Combinator Startups (2013 Summer). Perhaps, you might find it useful.

Here is a detailed spreadsheet with information such as titles, website, Crunchbase profile, tagline, founder(s), location, funding and investors. Feel free to contribute/edit. These are all public information and personal details of the founders (Linkedin, emails) were removed.

How to be a User Interface & Experience Designer

Today, I read some good answers on a Quora about what resources are the best to be a good User Interface and Experience Designer. The reply from Colm Tuite really stood out.

First, let’s look at what are User Interface and Experience Designs.

Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works. – Steve Jobs

User Interface (UI) design is the design of websites, computers, appliances, machines, mobile communication devices, and software applications with the focus on the user’s experience and interaction. The goal of user interface design is to make the user’s interaction as simple and efficient as possible, in terms of accomplishing user goals – what is often called user-centered design. Good user interface design facilitates finishing the task at hand without drawing unnecessary attention to itself. Graphic design may be utilized to support its usability. The design process must balance technical functionality and visual elements to create a system that is not only operational but also usable and adaptable to changing user needs.

User Experience (UX) is any aspect of a person’s interaction with a given system, including the interface, graphics, industrial design, physical interaction, and the manual. In most cases, User Experience Design fully encompasses traditional Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) design, and extends it by addressing all aspects of a product or service as perceived by users.

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Adobe Spurring the Next Creative Evolution

These days, Adobe, specially in India, is doing few distinct initiatives that are pretty interesting. Initiatives where they focus on the content and the quality without bringing in or bombarding their brand or even products as the limelight. Of course, it is evident it is Adobe and it’s tools are one of the driving forces with the initiatives but they have maintained their subtlety very well.

Today, I went to one of such no-frill, subtle event organized by Adobe — “Spurring on the next creative evolution” — a panel discussion amongst some of industry’s known and celebrated creative professionals.

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How to use Icon Fonts the right way

Icon Fonts are a smart way to deploy scalable icons in your website and web app design projects. They are treated as part of your text and so you can apply all the properties you apply to a text – size, color, text-shadow, transparency, transform, etc.

You might have used some of the icon fonts, such as – Font Awesome, Entypo, IcoMoon, Symbolset, Typicons, Iconic, Zocial, Linecons, Elusive Icons etc.

The easiest and simplest way to use them is to dump the font variants, drop in the icon style classes and use them in your html with an <i class="icon-myicon"></i>. However, with this method, you’re forcing your users to download the whole font, when you actually use just a few of the icons.

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Practical Typography — a must-read free book

I just finished reading Matthew Butterick’s online book – Practical Typography. It’s an awesome book with an equally impressive design.

If you’re the very busy type, you can try the section, Typography in ten minutes. However, you should bookmark the site and read the whole. It has tons of useful information, tips, tricks and details about typography for the web and elsewhere.

Go read the read the book online. The book is free to read and if you enjoy it, there are ways you can pay for the book.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud gives users the freedom to use Adobe’s multitude of applications through its ‘Cloud network’, but a recent company decision by Adobe to focus their software developments entirely on their Cloud subscriptions has created some controversy among users concerned with the narrowing options of Adobe’s platform.

Cloud technology has been a boon for both software developers and users, enabling people to readily access their desired technology with more flexibility and freedom than on-site installations that limit software to a single computer, but this freedom significantly changes the way developers and consumers interact; from readily available updates to no longer being able to purchase the physical copy of any given software, Adobe’s decision has put a microscope on Cloud technology as a whole and potential ramifications of future innovations.

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Why won’t index files deployed on Cloudfront work like it does in S3?

I seriously had no clue about this. It was one the most irritating thing while deploying static site hosting on Amazon Cloudfront. I had in-fact stayed with S3 for sites that had folders with “index.html”. Here is the solution for those who haven’t figured out yet.

I was recently deploying a Jekyll powered static site for LxiDD – pitch.lxidd.com. During the test phase, it all worked fine being deployed on the S3. When I decided that it’s ok to move to Cloudfront — except for the root index, anything else inside a folder won’t display without appending the “index.html” at the end.

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