AdMogul featured on ETNow – Starting Up

TheAdMogul game was recently featured on TV – on the ETNow channel in their show “Starting Up”
The team made it to the final four from over 30 startup companies in Pune.

Following is the video snippet from the show featuring AdMogul!

Intellista demos at Pune Connect 2011

Team AdMogul

We are extremely proud to announce that we were recently one of the twelve companies selected to demo The AdMogul at the prestigious PuneConnect 2011 event held on the 5th of November at MCCIA by the Software Exporters’ Association of Pune (SEAP), PuneTech and the Pune Open Coffee Club.

Over 30 companies registered for the event but only twelve slots were available and we were very fortunate to be selected in the twelve.

We had a terrific event with some really good responses from the people who visited our booth. Our booth was a big hit and we were swamped from the time the gates were open!
We apologize for the lack of conference images. We would have loved to put up some pictures but we got so busy explaining what the AdMogul does and giving demos that nobody remembered to click a picture! Lesson learnt! We’ll definitely remember to this the next time!

We were also featured (fleeting mention of AdMogul) in three of the leading Business dailies in India.
(Click on the image for a more larger version)

The Financial Express - November 3, 2011

 

Business Standard - November 3, 2011

 

Financial Chronicle - November 3,2011

You can find more about this event here:
http://punetech.com/puneconnect-2011-showcase-for-12-interesting-pune-startups-5-nov/

There is another great piece of news that we are really excited to share, but will do so in another post.

 

AdMogul Oct 2011 Winners Announced!

We are very excited to announce the Oct 2011 winners for AdMogul.
Details can be found here:

http://blog.theadmogul.com/2011/the-admogul-winners-announced-for-oct-2011/

AdMogul Updates and Sep 2011 Winners

AdMogul is what has been keeping us busy over the last month.
You can find all the new updates (and upgrades) that we have been working on here:

http://blog.theadmogul.com/2011/changes-and-updates/

We also published AdMogul’s winners list for Sept 2011 which you can find here:

http://blog.theadmogul.com/2011/winners-list-for-september/

AdMogul winners for Aug 2011

We have our first batch of winners on The AdMogul for August 2011.
Check out the details here:

http://blog.theadmogul.com/2011/admogul-announces-winners-for-aug-2011/

We’ve launched The AdMogul!

Busy as beesFirstly, our apologies for not posting detailed updates of our progress – but we have been so busy off late that we have had virtually no time to blog until right about now – when most of the important things are taken care of!

We have finally launched The AdMogul and there is no better feeling in the world than to create something that people like and use. We have got some great feedback and words of encouragement from the early users of The AdMogul and it feels spectacular!

Since the launch six days ago, we have had 110+ users join in purely organically with over 6000+ page views and 12 minutes of average visit length.

 

You can read more about the launch here:
http://blog.theadmogul.com/2011/the-launching-of-the-admogul/

Kudos goes out to the entire AdMogul team including Gaurang, Nikhil and Akshay who worked and tested tirelessly to make this all happen. Another big win for us was that the stack we chose worked out for us and the game is fast. We still need to start optimizing the entire code and once we’re done  that, it will be blazingly fast!

Honestly, we cannot wait to get to the optimization stage – but addition of new features and some small fixes here and there keeps us busy most of the days.

We’ll be posting updates and milestones on the blog – so watch this space for more.

If you haven’t already played The AdMogul, play here: https://apps.facebook.com/theadmogul
Like the AdMogul here: http://facebook.com/theadmogul

Until next time then!

The AdMogul – Usability Testing

The AdMogul Logo

We’re currently working on The AdMogul and last week, we had finished enough of the game so that we could play it from start to end. We still need to dot the i’s and cross the t’s – but the major gameplay was working. So, this Saturday, we invited some of our friends to put the game through its paces and see how it was doing – usability wise.

Getting a good sample segment for a facebook game is relatively easier compared to testing out some niche or enterprise software as everyone today has played some or the other facebook game and know what to expect. We had a good mix of people to test the game out with in the age range of 16 to 27 years with 6 men and 2 women.

This is our first ever facebook game and having no prior game design experience we did not know what to expect.
So on a rainy Saturday morning, with warm donuts, hot Startbucks coffee and packets of Pure Magic biscuits, we started our usability testing.

As soon as we got started, the design issues started to become apparent. We ourselves would have never imagined people getting stuck or confused with some of the aspects that they were — because the game is so close to us — but just by hearing and observing people try out the game within five minutes, it was so obvious to what was simple to do and what wasn’t.

We had prepared two sheets to fill.
One sheet had the twelve odd tasks written that the users had to perform. The tasks were generic and could be performed in more than one ways. We did not suggest how the task was to be performed — just what needed to be done. This allowed us to see which paths were easier to take.

The other sheet had a questionnaire which the observer filled in while observing the user.
We did not ask many questions and let the users go through the application themselves. The two questions that we did ask on each page / popup were:

  1. What is the first thing that strikes you when you see this page?
  2. What are all the things that you think you can achieve on this particular page?

The things that we noted down were:

  1. How the user went about completing a particular task
  2. How they navigated across a particular page.

Some important lessons that we learnt were:

  1. Each and every piece of consumer facing software should undergo usability testing.
    It is completely foolish to assume that your design will completely ring a bell with your target audience.
  2. Eight people – though good, was a tad too large for what we were testing. Four people should have been just right.
  3. After four people, the bad design symptoms just reoccur. I would say that 90% – 92% of the flaws can be exposed by testing it with four people. After that, the flaws increment very slowly (maybe 0.5% for every user after four).
  4. A concise, task based approach works really well if there are multiple screens and the concept is different.
    Every game has its own mechanics and ours was no different. So instead of asking people to just play the game, it was helpful to  give some definite tasks and see if they could achieve them easily.
  5. A test cycle should last anywhere between 25 to 45 minutes. After that, users will lose focus and interest.
  6. It is very important to make your users feel at ease and be able to think out loud. This will significantly helps the note taking process.

In hindsight, we realised that it is best to do this as early as possible. Probably once the screens are done, some click-thrus can be put together and checked. Another round can be performed with later — once the application is ready — with different people.

Luckily in our case, most of the changes that we will be incorporating are superficial – so there are no major issues as such.
However, it could have easily gone the other way.

If you plan on doing usability testing yourself, there is this good article that explains what needs to be done quickly. Also check out this tool – for quick testing of individual screens.

The AdMogul launches officially on 4th of August. If you would like to try out the game before others, sign up for a beta invite here: http://theadmogul.com

People buy “not” what you do — but “why” you do it

Sometime ago, I had come across this extremely inspiring talk by Simon Sinek.

He talks about how people buy “not” what you do — but “why” you do it.
He talks about the importance of being passionate about why you do the things that you do and in a way explaining why Apple – being a computer company is one of the most successful phone and mp3 player manufacturing company as well.

I was doing some research on the latest Google Nexus S phone and came across the homepage of their phone.
Now, I haven’t really used an official Google phone earlier – but just their web presence felt extremely uninspiring and if I were to compare it with Apple’s iPhone 4 website, I would definitely go with the iPhone.

Compare the videos on the page to the video that iPhone has. Compared to Apple’s video – which makes me feel – I *just* have to have the iPhone, Google’s videos of their engineers explaining features feels like a drag (and drains the life out of you).

Better marketing? Maybe.
More passion? Definitely so!

Even though Google may have a superior product – in terms of features and hardware, it’s a no-brainer really – that if people are to compare just the two sites and videos, they’d choose the iPhone (all other things being equal).

Original link to Simon Sinek’s talk is here:
http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html

What do you think? Which phone you’d buy? Why?

Introducing TextMe!

Hey guys,

As promised a little while ago, here is an exclusive sneak peek into one of our shiny new products. This service is very much in beta – but works as it is supposed to and hence we are opening it out to everyone connected to us on our blog, facebook page and twitter account.

Get TextMe Here

What is TextMe?
Well, TextMe is a product which originated out of our own pressing problem.
There have been countless times when we needed to get some information out from a webpage and either text it to ourselves or a friend or a relative. Typing out a substantially large piece of information from a webpage is not only cumbersome – but also inefficient and can result in major errors.

Enter TextMe
(drumrolls)
TextMe is a Firefox addon (sorry IE, Chrome, Safari people) which allows you  to select text from the screen, right click and send it to your phone via SMS.

What do I use it for?
Umm … Anything you want to send from your browser to your phone.
In our limited experience, we have sent out addresses, jokes, recipes and any other (little) pieces of information that we needed.

How much do I pay?
Nothing currently.
TextMe will always have a free version.

Even later, as our privileged beta users, we will sign you up with our premium plans (if and when they come out) for a couple of months – completely free of cost. You can then decide if you would like to continue with the premium plans or switch to a free plan.
(Sending out text messages costs money you know …)

Hmm .. So whats the catch?
1. You need to have an Indian cell phone number (currently. US support coming soon).
2. If you have DND (Do not disturb) enabled on your phone, you must be subscribed to channel 6. (SMS “START 6″ to 1909) to get the messages delivered to you.
3. You can send messages of upto 480 characters currently.
4. You can send messages ONLY to YOUR phone.
5. Though there is no limit on the number of messages you can send out currently, we’d appreciate it if you did not abuse the system.

What does beta mean?
Beta (for us atleast), means that though the product is functional and will work for most of the use cases it was designed for, it may undergo rapid changes in functionality and may be down from time to time while the service gets updated.
Some things might not be working at their optimum capacities and help may be required in some cases to get something going (just contact us).

This is so cool! Where can I contact you guys?
Best place would be on our facebook page (http://facebook.com/intellista) or if you want to contact us privately, drop us an email at: textme [at] intellista.com

Hope you guys enjoy the service and find it to be as useful as we do!
(More updates will be published on our blog, facebook page and twitter. So be sure to follow us atleast in one of these places)

What we believe

We had envisioned this to be a very zen-like article on software (wanting to set the tone — this being the very first post on the blog). We however realised that none of us actually have the zen-like-knowledge nor conviction to write anything about software that any of you haven’t already read.

So, instead, we have decided to list down a few beliefs that define us as a company (a charter of sorts, if you may)

  1. We believe that all software in the world should be pretty
    The world is already full of stuff that is not very pleasing to look at. Software – which is something that we have complete control over and can design ourselves must atleast be good to look at.  Pretty enough to warrant a second look when it walks down the street and we at Intellista shall strive to  make all the software that steps out of our studios – turn heads wherever it goes.
  2. We believe that we are stupid and will continue to be so …
    We sincerely believe that we are stupid about many things. And when we stop being stupid about certain things, we shall find new things to be stupid about. We believe that being stupid helps us learn faster, take mistakes in our stride and learn from them without being overwhelmed by them.
  3. We believe in always finding a better way to get something done!
    We believe that there is always a better way of achieving something. Be it writing a super-complicated piece of code to implement a tricky algorithm – or making a cup of cappuccino. There is always a better way. And everytime we do something again for the second time, we try and improve on stuff that we did the first time around.
  4. We believe in always having a bias towards action.
    Whenever we are faced with a choice to “think” about something a wee bit longer vis-a-vis implement it, we are biased towards action (and implementation) as we believe that good things always come out of doing things rather than thinking about them for an eternity.

We hope that these concise points help you in understanding what to expect from us in the future.
We are a small, young software startup from Pune, India and are always experimenting and learning from our experiences. We have an uncanny knack of picking up new things – and very quickly at that.

We truly believe that technology is just a means to an end and no (technological) problem is so complicated that it cannot be solved by figuring out which bits and bytes to manipulate.