Alban Dumouilla

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

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SXSW: Go where the crowd is not

I went to my first SXSW workshop today, and it was one of my best experiences so far (well, Neil Degrasse Tyson’s keynote still wins). A cozy atmosphere with about 25 people, and actual work got done.

You can watch the big ones online

Ok, Julian Assange is a name you’ve heard over and over and you want to be there for his virtual keynote: I just did it and I regret it.

Keynotes are streamed in other rooms, so you can just skip the line and watch it in another room, so you’ll get a good seat for the next talk that you really want to see.

Smaller crowd means more networking: go to workshops

mobile.jpg In a workshop, you talk to people way more than in a 3500 seats amphitheater. If you get stuck, you can turn around and ask the guy behind you. Easy.

With nobody stepping on each other’s toes, people are friendlier and open to discussion. The speakers might be some pretty...

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More by Alban

My first SXSW, day 1: I already met lady Arya Stark and the director of SXSWi

Bumped into the director of SXSW Interactive

Being new to SXSW, I decided to go to a meetup beforehand to get a first feel of it. I started to talk to people to know what they were expecting from the whole thing. I chatted for a good 30 minutes with a tall guy, that told me he was in the SXSW staff.

After seeing a few people shaking his hand and saying “Thanks, Hugh!”, I came back home and googled “Hugh, SXSW”. It should have raised my attention when he told me that he’d been organizing SXSW for 25 years.

First result: Hugh Forrest serves as the Director of the SXSW Interactive Festival. So I sent him a tweet explaining my ignorance. Screenshot from 2014-03-05 16:19:15.png

Game of Thrones at the badge pickup

I just started watching Game of Thrones, literally two days ago. I’m at episode 3 of season 1 for now. And look who I met while going to get my SXSWi badge: 1622438_10202710013727393_345661018_o.jpg

That first South By is...

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How to talk to your future users

People don’t like to be approached in the street. They don’t have time for you. Here is what we do at Indeed Labs.

Employees are former job seekers

The first assumption we made was that somebody who currently has a job had to search for it. We decided to go to businesses and talk to the employees directly, to get more information about how they got their current position.

Be legit

Our first approach was to start talking to managers and get to know more about their hiring process. It helps in the research itself, but it mainly helps smoothing your impact. If you are approved by the manager, employees will be less reluctant to talk to you during their work hours.

No freedom of speech around hierarchy

No matter who you are targeting, to be able to have somebody talk freely they need to be alone. If they are around friends, they might change their answers to look better. It is...

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Flappy Bird is even more annoying for product developers than Facebook

There are things that you know you wouldn’t have been able to build. You would have needed to know a lot more to build Google or World of Warcraft. Not everybody can be build PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla in one lifetime. But Facebook and Flappy Bird are part of these annoying successes. I could have built them and so do you.

Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 6.47.22 PM.png

Making money on the toilet seat

I was a bit late to the party regarding Flappy Bird, because I tried to install it today. Ironically, the game had already been deleted from the app stores by its author

So I installed one of the many clones available. And it’s addictive.

The app has been downloaded 50+ millions of times and is said to make 50k$ a day. You can be pretty sure that most of these people play it while taking a dump. That’s a lot of money generated from a toilet seat.

Look mom, I can do it too!

Facebook started as a very simple PHP site....

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Expatriate and out of college: 10 things you might want to know

I left France three years ago and have lived in Austin, TX for about two years. Since I graduated in December 2011, my notion of time passing by has drastically changed.

graduates1.jpg

1. Life is not a semester

Everything fits in a semester in college. I knew that when something was hard or I didn’t like it, I could power through it for a few months. I knew that this amazing project I worked on had good chances of biting the dust once the semester was done.

Once you land a full time job, anything you work on can take a whole different rhythm (I am lucky enough to work in a fast paced company where things move fast but it might not be your case). You most likely don’t even know how long you’ll stick around (maybe because of visa uncertainties).

2. Sports are expensive

Nobody needs to find a good gym or struggle to find a sports team in college. It’s right there, on campus....

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The right move ?

I started blogging about a year ago. I know this because wordpress.com sent me a reminder telling me that they charged me to keep my domain linked to my cloud-hosted blog.

Well, my blog wasn’t cloud-hosted. I had set-up an EC2 instance, installed Wordpress on it, and had a database with the new Amazon RDS. I put the whole thing under the good watch of Cloudflare.

Result ? The blog started being down a bit. Then a lot. Then I let it down for 2 months.

I was painful. I wanted to be able to keep all my data for me (in case I wanted to do something with it), and as I was a systems administrator at the time, I knew what I was doing with servers. But I just didn’t have time to deal with outages on my blog.

And today, I saw on HN that Svbtle was open for everybody. Perfect timing. Let’s try this. We’ll see if I can import some things.

See you around, in a much...

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I won a startup pitch competition. Now what ?

As a technical guy, I used to rush into building products. This weekend, I was part of the Lean Startup Machine Austin and I learned that a product needs customer validation before spending time on building it. Chances are that people won’t buy your first idea as is. Tweak it until you find the right one.

Quote of the day “This was less of a pivot, more of an evacuation”

Suddenly, we won

My team won. We didn’t expect that.

  • 3 hours with a consulting agency specialized in startups
  • 1 hour session with a Startup Product Development Executive from Rackspace
  • 30 minutes with Joshua Baer, the founder of the biggest startup incubator in Austin.

We ended up having people telling us to call them when we would need investors. That’s a great feeling that I wish everybody can experience someday.

BVaqVKjCcAA687M.jpg @LeanATX tweet about us - I’m the tall one

Now what ? Deep dive into immigration...

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Google, my mom can’t use your new products

When I got my first Android Phone (Galaxy Nexus) about a year and half ago, I loved it. It was fast and neat.

I have the same phone now but I don’t like it anymore. Everything got less user-friendly, everything got buggy. A year ago, I could have recommended it to anybody. Last month, I told my mom not to buy a smartphone because it would be too complicated.

Why do I have to click 3 times more for the same result ?

The main two things that make me angry are Google Maps and Hangouts, but it applies to a vast panel of Google products. They killed the simplicity of these apps. Let’s track the number of clicks needed to perform some simple actions.

Before: I could just tell my phone “Google, navigate home” and it would bring me home (1 click). Or when I wanted to go to somebody’s place, I would swipe once to the left to get my contacts’ addresses and click on somebody (2 clicks total). To...

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Talk to that person next to you

I came back from France a few weeks ago and sat next to a perfect stranger for about three-quarters of a 10h-long flight from Paris to Dallas. We didn’t talk for most of the trip because we are both French, and that’s what French people do (or don’t do). We stamp strangers as “uninteresting people” until proven wrong.

We assume that they won’t be worth talking to. And they often aren’t.

Sharing the same armrest

A good friend of mine is a superstar when it comes to making connections and finding interesting people. She can bind and find something to talk about with pretty much anybody. She tried to teach me but I still have a long way to go: We don’t really acknowledge people or smile when traveling by ourselves, making us hard persons to talk to in the first place. This is surely due to being oppressed by smelly people in the Parisian metro.

So I talked to that guy. After all, we were...

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CloudFlare broke the internet and how we learned from it

In March 2006, a large chunk of the french web went down.

There was a very simple explanation to this: Redbus Interhouse (the datacenter where most of the french web hosting providers were located) had a global power outage (link in french). Not just one, but two outages — the second one was due to a human mistake.

We did not know what was happening

Most french websites were down for a few hours. The biggest blog-hosting service was entirely down (about 200,000 blogs were down, Netvibes was out, so was Vpod, etc.). It happens. Shit happens. It shouldn’t, but it does (And it was 2006, so redundancy wasn’t obvious at the time).

The worst part of all this is that no one knew what was happening. No press conference or public announcement saying “we screwed up, we’re on it”. It took about 3 days for the CEO to give a public apology (fr). The first outage was due to failing UPS and in the...

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