Mario Cardinal

"The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" – Marcel Proust


Leave a comment

MVP Renewal Day

Microsoft is now announcing the MVPs (Most Valuable Professional) in one annual reward cycle in an aim to recognize their community in one, big way. Today, I found my MVP renewal amongst the other emails coming in.

For fifteen consecutive years, I am the proud recipient of the Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award from Microsoft.

community

The Microsoft MVP Award is a unique opportunity to honor technology experts who have shown a deep commitment to innovation, and have made outstanding contributions to their communities. This might be through speaking engagements, creating content, providing expert feedback or organizing events – but most importantly, the award is given to those who are passionate about technology, and have great community spirit!

According to the MVP blog, to bring the program closer together, they reduced the number of awardees from 4000 to 2600. I’m happy to be included once again!


Leave a comment

Bracket Show

As an entrepreneur, to launch a service as ambitious as a To-Do Studio, one must work on many fronts at the same time. In parallel to reviewing the user experience, over the last few weeks, I’ve been putting some efforts into engineering issues such as DevOps and testing strategy. I prioritize this work to respond to an invitation from the Bracket Show, a YouTube channel about software development (in French), led by my good friends Eric De Carufel and Bruno Barrette.

They asked me to share with their viewers the new cloud testing practices that we intend to apply for our service To-Do Studio.

bracket_show

For French-speaking readers who are interested in DevOps and new cloud testing practices , here is the link to listen to the video.

Tester en production

Do not hesitate to subscribe to the Bracket Show.


Leave a comment

Customers don’t buy products they buy better versions of themselves

Samuel Hulick at User Onboarding wrote an incredible post and graphic, showcasing how customers use products to design a “new me”.

mario-water

This is basically what I discovered through my readings about de “Get-the-job-done” approach.

Recently, equipped with my new skills, I tried to discover what superpower is needed when people team up with others.

Clearly, for many, getting things done with others is not high on their priority list. Mainly, because it is hard to work efficiently with others. There is always someone somewhere who does not do his share of the work. For them the desired superpower is to be able to get things done by others. Currently, they do not have a high success rate.

The only ones who see teamwork positively are leaders, managers and entrepreneurs. In fact, for them getting things done with others is very high on their priority list. Therefore, they desire the same superpower; to be able to get things done by others. Currently, they are struggling to do so because of the burden of tracking and moving forward work progress.

Following my interviews, here is the system of progress that I see:

system of progress

Clearly, we need to improve our studio to add a digital assistant. A studio is a creative space to team up. We need to figure out how to add something like a chatbots in this creative space. In the coming months we will rework the user experience with a digital assistant. Back to the drawing board again…


1 Comment

Customers hire something to get a job done

Last year, after almost two years of effort working on a daily planner, we had to admit we were working on the wrong idea. Since that day, we have focused our efforts on a new vision: the design of a creativity space to team up with others. Although our new idea seems promising, we have no formal proof that we are on the right track. Until recently, I thought I was forced into this very unscientific process of trusting my good fortune and my instincts to compete against luck.

Fortunately, in recent days, I’ve discovered an innovation approach that presents a product not as a set of functionality but rather as a solution that a customer hires to get a job done.

intercom on job-to-be-doneI first became aware of the “Job to be Done” approach through Intercom. In recent months I have subscribed to their blog and recently they have published a book to summarize how they use the approach internally for product management.

competing against luckThis innovation approach is very well documented by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen in the Wall Street Journal Bestseller: Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice.

“When we buy a product, we essentially ‘hire’ something to get a job done. If it does the job well, when we are confronted with the same job, we hire that same product again. And if the product does a crummy job, we ‘fire’ it and look around for something else we might hire to solve the problem.”

– Clayton Christensen

when coffe and kale competeChristensen’s book is a must read but, in my opinion, the best reading I have found on the subject is the book by Alan Klement: When Coffee and Kale Compete: Become great at making products people will buy. I particularly appreciated how he unifies the “Job to be Done” approach within a system of progress.

Now that I am equipped with a more scientific approach, I will take advantage of the next few weeks to review and validate whether setting up a creativity space to team up with others is always the best idea.


Leave a comment

Electric car

I was due to change my car. I just bought a Nissan Leaf electric car. I opted for a used car not too expensive because I want to keep my savings to invest in my startup.

nissan_leaf

Since I have to travel more than 60 km a day for the needs of my consulting. I will save over $250 in gas costs per month. In addition to being profitable for the health of the planet (which is my first buying criterion), this new acquisition is profitable for my wallet.

In my opinion, an electric car is a computer on 4 wheels. In this regard, I intend in the coming year to experiment with the software LeafSpy Pro to monitor and configure vehicle information normally visible only to the dealer.

aveqFor those who are interested in electromobility, who speaks French (my native language) and live in Quebec, here is a podcast to follow from the association of electric vehicles of Quebec (AVEQ):

http://www.aveq.ca/silence


Leave a comment

To-Do.Studio – the new name of our startup

For those of you who follow this blog, you know that in recent months we have repositioned our startup and that we no more designing a personal task planner but instead, a creativity space to team up with others and do what is important today. We are currently experimenting to find a viable solution to enable asynchronous communication between teammates who share a to-do list. It is not a simple challenge. We still have many months of work in front of us before being ready to market a version 1 of this service.

Lately, we worked hard to find the name of this new service.

The importance of choosing the right name for software as a service (SaaS) is not to be taken lightly. Not only the name of your service is an important part of its “business card” on the web and in the apps store, but the name will enable customers to remember your product. This is about making your name talk-able. An easy name will make it easier for current users to refer your name to others. It is very well known that advertising is not a trustworthy marketing tactic as much as word-of-mouth. The name is probably the first thing prospective customers will find out about your application. It is a good way to differentiate yourself from your competition.

logo-dark-192We chose the name To-Do Studio. Not only it is talk-able and the domain name to-do.studio was available, but it clearly explains what differentiates our application of the hundred Todo apps that already exist on the market. First, it was important to have the word “Studio” because our service provide a creativity space to team up with others (aka a studio). Second, we choose the word “To-Do” to fully explain that the collaboration is done through to-do lists.

We did not feel the need to change the logo because it still communicates the right message.

On the other hand, to focus on a single name, in due course, we will also rename our company with the same To-Do Studio name.


Leave a comment

Three years later, what did I learn about bootstrapping

Bootstrap is a situation in which an entrepreneur starts a company with little capital. An individual is said to be bootstrapping when he or she attempts to found and build a company from the operating revenues of the new company.

The untold story behind many bootstrapping is this. You can hardly fund your startup from customer revenues but, instead, from your personal finances. The founders come to the table with more time, more energy and all their savings. In my case, with limited savings, over the last three years, I have generated the cash flow from the part-time consulting services I do on the side.

Bootstrapping using part-time consulting is a real challenge on your personal finance (not to mention energy and health). In general, little by little, you exhaust all your savings. After three years, I am in this situation right now. I need to revitalize my personal savings.

Fortunately, as a DevOps expert it was easy to find a full-time contract. For the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ), I will lead a major reorganization of the software release process and testing pipelines. Billing more hours will allow me to put aside money and rebuild my savings.