Tools I Use: Uber

In some major cities, public transportation and walking can be enough to get around.

Driving yourself and/or parking easily might not be options you want to face in some urban areas.

Some times, you just need a quick ride to your next appointment and taxis may not be available when you need them.

Uber can to where ever you ask at the click of their app geolocated to your location.

I have used Uber to and from airports, businesses, body shops, car dealerships and even home.

It is convenient and fast. You can tell even before asking to be picked up how far out they happen to be from you in minutes.

You can enter your destination and get an estimated cost for the ride before you request to be picked up.

When it rains, snows or during rush hour, prices go up. They understand supply and demand and they tell you up front what you should expect. I like that full disclosure.

You can tell the route a driver should take, if you really know a better route. Your final bill will include a map with the route taken and a breakdown of your bill.

Even you and someone else are traveling the same direction, you can do Uber pool (think car pool) split the fees.

Just like Airbnb, Uber has ratings for their drivers and even their riders.

Next time you need a ride, try Uber

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Tools I Use: to test bandwidth

I work remotely quite often and I am traveling away from home up to 90 days per year.

Whenever I am in a new work environment, whether it is a client’s office, a co-working space, coffee shop or wherever, I test the internet speeds to see what is available. This is better than assuming speeds before I start working.

http://speedtest.net is a free online service that measures the bandwidth (speed) and latency (time delay) of your internet connection.

Using this site is a good practice before using any hardline connection or wifi. This is especially good before a video conference call or uploading some new audio podcast files since both could be taxing on the internet bandwidth available as well as anyone’s level of patience.

Remember the speeds slower than 56k? I do. I also remember transferring digital photos for print publications back to the office on a daily basis via 56k. Not fun. Luckily, those days are over.

I recently went to a co-working space only to find 8 Mbps for upload and download speeds. That sounds reasonable until we factored in all the people who needed to do different video conferencing sessions where a clear video feed was critical to seeing the human-computer interactions (UX) being measured during the interviews.

Most video conferencing I have seen are more talking heads just like newscasts, which provides little to no value and suck up bandwidth for no reason. Unless there is a slide deck to be shared/presented, I commonly shut off the video camera and use ‘audio only’ to get clearer audio, where the value comes from anyhow. I don’t need to see someone to understand them. If they have a thick accent, it is actually easier to understand them by closing your eyes and focus on what is said. Try it and hear it yourself.

Running Startup Sprints

Just to be clear, I don’t run. These Sprints has nothing to do with physically running.

After reading the book called Sprint, this inspired me to try Sprint with a few startups.

Sprint book

As a mentor, I already help a number of startups so as an extension to this, Startups Ignite  organized Sprints for a  few startups with a small team of people with different perspectives to play the different roles the startups did already not have. Startups Ignite supplied the facilitators, myself being one of them.

What is a Sprint?

According to GV, “The sprint is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers. Developed at GV, it’s a “greatest hits” of business strategy, innovation, behavior science, design thinking, and more—packaged into a battle-tested process that any team can use.”

Running Sprints

This 5 day Sprint process should be a great learning experience for everyone. More Sprints may be scheduled again.

I am running a 5-day startup Sprint (over two weekends 6/3 to 6/5 and 6/11 to 6/12) for 4 startups at a co-working space. Not just myself, of course, but with 20 other engaged individuals.

Learn more about the Sprint process

I encourage anyone interested to read the book/ebook, listen to the audiobook and watch the videos of how to run a Sprint.

Let me know if you are interested in hearing more about it aside from the book.

I will add lessons learned once we have completed the four Sprints.