Apple’s Ultimate Platform Strategy

The Platform Strategy is a potent one if you can get it right. Typically, a platform allows other platforms to be built on top of it and is prone to disruption. Web Browsers have the potential to disrupt the operating system underneath. Similarly, Adobe Flash has the potential to disrupt the core browser underneath. Apple is seeking to build a platform that is open to contribution but closed to disruption. The company has shown this intent by blocking Flash and Java. It is now setting out to do the same with retail platforms built on top of it’s own iTunes retail platform, a move that could ultimately lead to a tremendously enviable platform if it works out. Continued →

A Reminder on Usability

Usability and accessibility go hand in hand. Usually this is because something that’s built to be highly user-friendly is generally also accessible to handicapped persons, or for that matter, even handicapped devices. A tea cup without a a handle is not user-friendly, nor is it accessible. It might be chic, but that’s about it. For similar reasons, it’s a bad idea to change around hyperlink colors and styles. Continued →

VPS Configuration for Apache, MySQL, PHP

After having tried out SliceHost and Amazon EC2 micro instance, Linode is the only VPS that worked out well for my needs even though EC2 Micro offers 768MB RAM versus Linode’s 512MB. The main bottleneck I faced was with WordPress sites which are taxing on CPU and disk IO. They also leak memory. But with the right configuration it’s easy enough to get things smoothed out. Continued →

Platforms Strategy

The platforms strategy is a fairly new concept in business nomenclature. A platform is typically one that allows others to build freely and openly on top of itself. The more open and free it is, the more rapidly it is likely to grow. Continued →

TEDx Karachi

I have attended a number of conferences in Karachi and even spoken at a few but today’s conference at TedX was in a separate league. What made it so interesting is that like all things TED, it was diverse. There were speakers from the creative arts, business, energy and technology. The crowd was equally diverse and the talks were very inspirational because the speakers didn’t hold out–they really spoke out. The event was extremely well organized with each of the 18 minute talks carrying a carefully rehearsed and condensed theme. Continued →

Top 1000 Most-visited Sites on the Web

Google’s just released list of “1000 most-visited sites on the web” is a real treat and quite interesting to analyze. It has to be one of the most accurate lists given Google’s massive network reach. The list contains Unique Users (UU) and Page Views (PV). Besides Orkut, Google has not listed any of it’s own sites in the list so Google News, Google Search and GMail may very well be in the top 1000 but absent from this list. I also calculated the Average Page Views (APV) to show how many pages each user visits on average on the site. Continued →

The Express Tribune

What on the onset seemed quite trivial actually turned out to be quite hard. The Express Tribune launched just 2 days ago with a stunning paper and a web portal to match. Building large scale systems like The Express Tribune news portal and turning it around in 6 months requires a team of determined masochists and some really quick thinking. Continued →

Understanding Abstract Classes in PHP

Abstract classes are an often misunderstood feature of PHP object-oriented programming (OOP) and the source of confusion when considered versus an Interface. The obvious reason for using an Interface is that a child class can implement multiple interfaces but extend only a single abstract class. However, if multiple inheritance is not required then people often go with abstract classes just because they provide the option of later adding base functionality within the abstract class. This is not entirely unreasonable but the reasons for creating abstract classes should be more than that. Continued →

Jang News: Advertising vs User Experience

The Jang News website is one that just keeps getting worse with each passing day. It’s lacklustre and shows absolutely no concern for its readers or the news that it serves. The website is a big hoarding with no less than 19 advertisements on the website’s front page while at the same time carries less than 100 words of actual news. And it looks really ugly to boot. Continued →

Online Strategy & Development in a Nutshell

Microsoft Innovation Center hosted the Microsoft Web Days session today where I gave a talk about online strategy and development (in a nutshell). Even thought it was in a nutshell, I slipped in some details which meant skimming over a lot of other things during latter part of the brief 30 minute presentation. The presentation covered frameworks, interaction design, business models, strategies, tools, trends and user experience among other things. Continued →