Behavior, Content, Money – 3 Things you should never give away for free!!!

BCmoney MobileTV

Dusting off my 2008 cover letter to RIM on BlackBerry’s future, rejected job application

Posted by bryan on October 27, 2015 in E-Business, E-Commerce, Mobile with No Comments


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The Research in Motion headquarters, based in ...

The Research in Motion headquarters, based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While backing up some files to an external hard drive from my older one, I recently came across an old Cover Letter which had accompanied my resume in a job application I sent to Research In Motion (RIM) back in Summer of 2008.

It’s interesting to look back at, because I recall back then being very frustrated with the state of the Mobile industry in North America (particularly in Canada). These feelings were only magnified by my time spent in Japan 2006-2008, a country which at that time was a clear leader in Mobile technologies and in the global consumer electronics in general. Since then, Korea and China (two other countries I was fortunate enough to have spent some time in during my Graduate school vacations in between terms) have now caught up in terms of innovation and even surpassed Japan’s leading Mobile technology companies in sales as well.

Back then companies (again particularly China & Korea but many European firms as well) were sending some of their top experts and technologists to Japan to do market research with and/or attempt to poach talented Japanese engineers from, the likes of world leading Japanese tech companies: Sony-Ericsson, Panasonic, Sharp, Toshiba, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Fujitsu, Fuji-Xerox, Konica-Minolta, Nintendo, Softbank, NTT, KDDI, etc. The goal was of course to glean as much information and consumer insights as possible from the country which boasted the fastest home fiber internet speeds, mobile internet speeds, mobile data usage, and mobile revenue per unit (ARPU) in not just gaming which usually comes to mind when thinking of Japan, but all application sectors.

My experience in Japan indeed taught me a thing or two about “sticky” services, particularly the infamous “iMode business model” by Takeshi Natsuno of  NTT DoCoMo which succeeded by providing a cohesive ecosystem of applications and a flat-rate (about $40 USD/month) unlimited data service, which drove subscriptions through the roof. On top of this, standards and specifications which were simple to follow for developers and which reduced page-size for web content with cHTML then later WAP/WML helped grow the service’s offerings in an organic way. Only now are we starting to see the same sorts of initiatives by Google [LINK] & Apple [LINK] in North America. Over here, very little regard has been made for how to optimize mobile services for users, which is why our Mobile industry is only now catching up to and finally surpassing where Japan was 9-10 years ago. Indeed, we constantly hear reports about the growth of Online/Mobile Video (i.e. streaming ad-supported content like YouTube, Vimeo, etc), On-Demand/IPTV (i.e. rentals or purchases on iTunes, GooglePlay, etc), and OTT (i.e. subscription services like Netflix, Hulu & Amazon Prime Instant Video). However, MobileTV via OneSeg had already reached millions of users whereas SMS texting was just starting to take off in North America (in any meaningful way that resembles its adoption level today).

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E-Commerce Shopping Cart in JavaScript and PHP

Posted by bcmoney on May 18, 2015 in E-Commerce, JavaScript, PHP with No Comments


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English: Jewel-Osco - monster shopping cart truck

English: Jewel-Osco – monster shopping cart truck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In E-Commerce, a “frictionless experience” is often described as the ultimate design goal when it comes to the consumer’s purchasing experience. An easy-to-use, robust shopping cart solution that can easily have any number of diverse types of items added to it, calculate shipping & handling, taxes and any other additional fees (where such apply), provides transparency and immediacy to the customer’s purchase decision. Doing this well can mean the difference between huge sales numbers and lackluster or disappointing sales figures.

Boiling all the Shopping Cart solutions out there to the most common, key functions we should expect a solution to support are:

  • Add/Remove items
  • Tabulate itemized sub-total
  • Calculate shipping & handling
  • Calculate taxes & fees
  • Tabulate total
  • Remember History for later purchase completion
  • Purchase/Checkout confirmation process

Other nice-to-have features that begin to move away from basic “Cart” functionality and into holistic E-Commerce platforms, include:

  • Multi-Address memory (billing, shipping… home, work, summer, etc)
  • Multi-Currency support (switch currency at any time)
  • Multi-Lingual support (switch languages at any time, i18n)
  • Multi-Layout support (switch look & feel at any time, l10n)
  • Storefront & “canned store templates”
  • Layout drag&drop/point-click customization (as per SquareSpace, Wix, etc)
  • Auto-fill forms (with customers’ stored Address info)
  • Auto-billing (subscriptions/recurring payments)
  • Notification options for receipt (Email, SMS, Phone notification, etc… in addition to on-screen)
  • International Shipment Tracking (parcel status check)
  • Returns processing
  • 3rd party payment support options (CreditCard, Interac eTransfer via Moneris/PaySafe, PayPal, 2checkout, etc)
  • PCI & PA-DSS compliance (possibly by payment gateway deferral for sensitive data)
  • Item import/export
  • Ratings (star, thumbs up/down, etc)
  • Reviews (public or private textual customer feedback)
  • Search
  • Wish List curation
  • Product/Service Recommendations
  • Discounts (coupons, limited-time offers, affiliate codes, etc)
  • Promotions (buy X get Y, welcome emails, inactive account enticements, etc)
  • Loyalty Program (points, rewards, etc)
  • Tracking company/brand affinity & engagement
  • Inventory Management (real-time RFID, NFC, etc)
  • Supply-Chain Management (SCM)
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Advertising platform integration
  • Analytics platform integration
  • Social Media platform integration

There are tons more possible features but those two lists capture the main ones. Having defined a Shopping Cart and our expectations of its basic capabilities, the remainder of this post will summarize how to roll your own super simple yet intuitive E-Commerce Shopping Cart in JavaScript and PHP that gets out of the customer’s way as much as possible, focusing on the first key set of options only; it will also include thoughts on how the base functionality could easily be expanded out to include some or all of the nice-to-haves of a full-fledged E-Commerce platform.
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P2P Barter – My entry to the MintChip Challenge

Posted by bryan on August 31, 2012 in E-Business, E-Commerce, Mobile, Philanthropy, Web Services with No Comments


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Here’s an explanation of what we have today, followed by a Use-Case for my idea

A newspaper illustration depicting a man engag...

A newspaper illustration depicting a man engaging in barter, paying his yearly newspaper subscription to the "Podunk Weekly Bugle" with various farm produce. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TODAY:

1. Person A is a farmer who has worked hard all season and is ready for harvest of their crops. For simplicity’s sake, let’s call him the “Seller“, since the next step will be to sell their produce. For that they may need any of the following:
a location (i.e. storefront or directly from their farm)
an advertising budget to attract patrons to their own farm directly (or to their storefront)
transportation or a carrier service to do deliveries, or,
distributor agreements which arrange to have the produce picked up exactly when it is ready and bring it to 3rd party wholesalers or retailers for stocking in their storefront
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Unboxing the MintChip

Posted by bryan on April 15, 2012 in E-Business, E-Commerce, JavaScript, JSON, Mobile, Web Services with 4 Comments


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Royal Canadian Mint

Royal Canadian Mint (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Royal Canadian Mint(RCM) has sponsored the MintChip Challenge 2012 in an effort to attract developers to the idea of developing software for the MintChip and giving away their best financial application ideas, basically, for free (on the long-shot that you are one of the few who win).

Starting April 1st, 2012, they began mailing out physical MintChip developer kits for up to 500 contestants (which will likely be an order of magnitude more actual developers involved when you count those who will inevitably work on larger teams).

Since Digital Currencies and related technologies have long been on my radar as a major business opportunity area, as well as a personal interest of mine in terms of how they work, it was only natural to apply for a kit. Today, mine finally arrived!

 

Contained in the package:

  • USB-microSD reader with MintChip software pre-installed
  • 2 MintChip MicroSD cards (aka. the MintChips themselves)
  • 2 SD-microSD card readers (paired with MintChips; one can act as sender, one as receiver)
  • Brief instructions on how to find your $100 balance for each MintChip (but no URLs, of course!)
  • The package itself has a punch-out Door Hanger on the back

 

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Distinguish Between Venture Debt and Venture Capital

Posted by AmyLewis on January 23, 2012 in E-Business, E-Commerce with No Comments


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English: LBBW Venture Capital GmbH - Investmen...

Image via Wikipedia

If you are an entrepreneur, you might often get confused about when to raise venture capital as against venture debt. This is because these two words have very thin
margin of convergence which raises the misconceptions in the first place. The basic difference between venture debt and venture capital is that the debt you have taken must be repaid. Venture capitalists are also very much interested in getting back their capital along with a profit. Most of the times distinction between the repayment of venture debt and the liquidity needs of venture capital blurs due to some current market dynamics. To most skeptics think that managing debt and repaying them back in a venture debt is a lot different from a venture capitalist hoping to get their money back. Here are some points that will help you better to understand the difference and similarities between venture debt and venture capital.
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BC$ = Behavior, Content, Money

The goal of the BC$ project is to raise awareness and make changes with respect to the three pillars of information freedom - Behavior (pursuit of interests and passions), Content (sharing/exchanging ideas in various formats), Money (fairness and accessibility) - bringing to light the fact that:

1. We regularly hand over our browser histories, search histories and daily online activities to companies that want our money, or, to benefit from our use of their services with lucrative ad deals or sales of personal information.

2. We create and/or consume interesting content on their services, but we aren't adequately rewarded for our creative efforts or loyalty.

3. We pay money to be connected online (and possibly also over mobile), yet we lose both time and money by allowing companies to market to us with unsolicited advertisements, irrelevant product offers and unfairly structured service pricing plans.

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