How Amazon Manages Their Complex Internal Technology Team

Posted on Categories Business, Startup, Technology

Amazon is an interesting company for many reasons. From a technology perspective, they are very forward thinking. From Amazon.com bookstore, to the kindle book reader to the amazon cloud (for the non-techies, this is a place for developers to build their applications on and share with the world)

Werner Vogels (CTO of Amazon) gives a 30 min talk on Amazons growth story and how they organize their teams and think of various problems.

I found this very relevant to me and the stage of my company where I am building out my team and making various decisions on the technologies that we use.

Werner Vogels: Amazon and the Lean Cloud from HackFwd on Vimeo.

Did You Know There Are Only 4 Types of Business Models on the Web?

Posted on Categories Business, Startup

Just four. When I first hear that, I thought whoa, that seems like a very small amount. Here they are:

1. Monetized through advertising (I.e. get paid from advertisers when people click on the ads on your page, or when you show ads on your page)
2. Transaction Models (charging a fee for a transaction i.e. API Calls or credit card processing fees)
3. Premium, User-Paid services (i.e. monthly fees for a product or service)
4. E-commerce (selling tangible merchandise online)

When we first started viafoura (known then as WhoTheMan) we tried the first business model (advertising). To be a great advertising business, you need great content and lots of traffic. But we were not good at creating content, nor good at driving traffic. We could have learned this, but the founders (Jesse and I) were naturally very good at building great products and selling it, which is why we pivoted to creating viafoura and thus fell into the the third business model: user paid services.

What do you think, are there other core business models online? Comment below:

Investors: Your Next Investment Should Have an Athlete as A Founder

Posted on Categories Business, Sports, Startup

When I think back to when I first started doing taekwondo at the age of 13 and reflect on how I trained, I am truly amazed at the similarities between running a startup and being a competitive athlete (I was on the Canadian National Taekwondo team from 2003-2007).

There are a lot of transferable skills that I took from my athletic career to my business career. I will list a few and give some specific examples on how they effected me. Before I do, I want to make a sport/business words translation legend:

Sport Word
Coach
Sport
Athlete
Training Partner
Competitor
Team Mate
Tournament
Injury
Loss
Win
Provincials
Nationals
Worlds
Olympics
Referee
Yourself
Ring
Business Word
Advisor
Business or Product
Business Owner
Co-founder
Competitor
Colleagues/Employees
Milestones
Setback
Loss
Win
You Got Funded
$1 M in revenues
$10 M in revenues
$100 M+ in revenues
Investor
Customer
Office

Continue reading Investors: Your Next Investment Should Have an Athlete as A Founder

The Worst Cover Letter I’ve Seen – and How to Fix it.

Posted on Categories Business, Startup, TechnologyTags , , ,

I have been trying to hire a team of 10 in the next 5 months which means that I have seen a fair amount of resumes and cover letters. There is one that stood out from the rest. It made me laugh, then sad for a bit, and then laugh again. I will highlight what was wrong with this persons approach and then identify why it was wrong, and what I was actually looking for.

This person actually applied twice (I will call her Kim). Once in 2010, and again in 2011. The position in 2010 was for a web developer, and in 2011 it was for a system admin (two completely different jobs). The resume was exactly the same and the cover letter as also exactly the same. That was problem number 1.

Continue reading The Worst Cover Letter I’ve Seen – and How to Fix it.

Three Tips on How to Hire a Developer

Posted on Categories Business, StartupTags , ,

I have read a lot about how to hire a great developer (programmer, engineer whatever you like to call them) because I have to hire some. And when I need to do something new, I usually do a lot of reading on it first.

There are lots of theories, tools, methods, and events you can attend to hire them. This is a funny article on the subject of hiring a great developer.

I would like to summarize my readings into three tips to bring on really great developers:

Continue reading Three Tips on How to Hire a Developer

Hello Internets

Posted on Categories Business, Sports, Startup, Technology, User ExperienceTags ,

Hello Internets!

This is my first post on my new wordpress platform. I plan to write at minimum weekly on various things that are happening in my life in the world of startups, business, taekwondo and other interesting things. I promise I will try to add as much value to my content as possible. I also want to use this blog as a mental history of the things I have been through in my life.

So welcome, and enjoy.

Ali Ghafour – Age 31