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Where We Go From Here

The past week have been quite a rollercoaster for this country and the world. Many of us are still processing what this all means. While I’d like to get back to our regularly scheduled programming of technology, business, startup, fitness, and personal growth content here, I’m compelled to share my perspective on where we go from here.

While Trump is still only the President-elect and this story will be unfolding for a long time to come, here’s what I’ve gotten out of the election so far:

Charisma matters. People get fired up, donate, volunteer, and vote when they see a candidate that resonates with them on an emotional level. You saw that with Barack Obama, you saw that with Bernie Sanders, and you saw that with Donald Trump. Trump captured people’s attention, which earned him outsized media coverage early on, and signaled his anti-establishment brand by insulting just about everyone and not even being apologetic about it. I vehemently oppose his hateful rhetoric but I recognize that it was effective in winning the election.

When you aren’t excited about a candidate, you vote third-party or stay home. This is the counter point to the one above. I know of people who even turned out to vote and were against Trump, but were unwilling to vote for Hillary. And there were almost three times as many third party votes this year compared to 2012 with Millenial voters dramatically shifting to third-party candidates. This added up to millions more votes that would have easily changed the outcome of this election. Continue reading…

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Business Talk: An Audio Experiment

Today we have a departure from the normal blog post. It’s 15 min audio riff of me discussing a case study featured in the October issue of Harvard Business Review about a deciding on a positioning / branding angle for a Peruvian business that sells handmade ponchos. You can listen to it on blog or download the file for later listening.

I’m looking for feedback. Is this interesting? Would you want to see me do more of these 10-15 riffs? Are there particular topics you’d want me to cover? Is this boring and not worth the effort? Let me know! Leave a comment or write me a note at jason@jasonshen.com


Continue reading…

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What I Learned from the First Round of Ship Your Side Project

As you may remember, earlier this year, Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya and I ran a six-week bootcamp for midcareer tech professionals called Ship Your Side Project.

Our thesis was that there are tons of people out there tinkering on passion projects who have maybe gotten a little side tracked and lost steam, but with just some structure and accountability, they could launch a v1 of their project. The 300+ upvotes we earned on ProductHunt and the thousands of visits to our site told us that we were onto something that might have legs. Continue reading…

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Unpacking Product Insights from Pokémon GO

As you probably have heard, Nintendo has partnered with game developer Niantic to launch a wildly popular game for iOS and Android called Pokémon GO. The game has already reached over 21M daily active users, dominated the in-game purchasing market, and players are spending more time in the game than on Facebook. It even stopped traffic in Central Park as players abandoned their cars to chase after a rare water Pokémon that had appeared in the vicinity.

Rather than emulate existing Pokémon games for Nintendo’s handheld devices [1], this game uses AR (augmented reality) to place your character in a map that is modeled after the real world. From time to time, wild Pokémon will appear on your map — when you tap on them, you are taken to a feed from your phone’s camera and you see the Pokémon superimposed on top of whatever is in front of you. This is the AR piece of the game and it means that other people playing the game can also “see” the same Pokémon you’re looking at if you’re both in the same location. Continue reading…