Maria Vladie

With Product In Mind

How GrubHub And DoorDash Are Killing Restaurants’ Future

The restaurant industry is currently rebelling against the fees charged by GrubHub, DoorDash and UberEats, which can gobble up to 30% of the customer’s tab for an order!

I love local restaurants, where many people, even generations, celebrated their special occasions and gatherings with friends and loved ones. Seeing many of those gems closing their doors forever is breaking my heart.

This is the time when our favorite spots must adjust to the current events to survive and thrive in the future. Let me tell you a secret that many will not like to hear: the restaurant business as we know it will never be back. I can promise you this very inconvenient truth. Trying to wait things out in hopes to get back to old “pre-pandemic” days will only solidify the fatality of your patience.

A mobile app is the only way to stay continuously connected with your customers in digital space; without the middleman dictating his terms and your livelihood. It’s much better to own than to rent!

Reflecting On The Covid-19 Pandemic

The global anxiety over COVID-19 pandemic is getting the best of many of us, isn’t it?

My thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost their loved ones in their battle with the virus.

My deepest respect goes to the doctors and nurses who are our modern day worriers currently fighting on the front line.

My heart goes out to people who have lost their jobs while our economy has been brought to a full halt within days.

We are stuck in our homes, some of us with families, while others are in complete isolation by themselves.

While we live during these very uncertain times, when every day seems to bring more sudden news, we are also faced with many truths:

The truth of what’s important and what is not. We’re learning how to value our close connections and relationships. We are leaning to communicate better.

The truth about authorities and our government. We’re seeing lots of injustice and no longer willing to ignore it. We’re also seeking answers and guidance from our leaders to help us navigate the current situation.

The truth of how we are all in this together. The coronavirus is accepting of all, and it discriminates no one regardless of our race, gender, or finical status. Hopefully, we are learning to be kinder to each another. To be grateful for what we have and to share with those who are less fortunate.

The truth about ourselves. We’re given time to reflect on who we are and what we want. Now is the time to believe in yourself, to trust your courage, and to be relentless in your pursuits. There are lots of unconventional tools and opportunities available right now. Use them!

It’s as if we’re all have been grounded, so we could have a very hard look at ourselves as individuals and as a society.

Things will get very tough, there is no way to sugar coat this. But! During this turbulence, we can also discover and re-invent ourselves, so by the time this madness is over, we can look back and see these events not only as a tragedy but as a valuable lesson.

Los Angeles has been fully locked down. The streets are eerie empty and quiet. Our skyline is crispy clean and our air quality has dramatically improved. We are working online, reading our favorite books, learning new languages, arguing and laughing with our families :), reconnecting with our exes… All of that thanks to technology. These very uncertain times are showing us how tech actually does support humanity.

Stay safe. Stay sane. Feel free to contact me if you need my help.

Do You Need A Developer To Create A Successful Mobile App?

The short answer is Yes. But there’s a catch.

Most tech entrepreneurs who are just breaking into the industry with their idea, believe that all they need is an iOS or Android developer to build the mobile app. Easy peasy, right?

That’s a trap that in 99% of cases causes either a tremendous loss of resources (you’ll lose time AND money) or a loss of enthusiasm due to lack of knowing all the ins and outs of a successful app development. 😓🤯

Should I Learn How To Code?

I am a Product Manager, not a developer. Do I even need to know how to code? A question that many PMs ask themselves, including those who studied Computer Science in college.

My answer is a very certain Yes. I think everyone involved with the development of a product, regardless of their role, should know how software is built.

Firefox Quantum Browser

This fox is on fire!

I have been a long-term fan of the browser, preferring it to any other, even when the population officially admitted that Chrome was no laughing matter. I remember how many in the industry tried to convince me of Chrome’s superiority.  And there was a time I honestly tried to switch camps and join the Google tribe.

But there was always something about their browser that made me return to Firefox. Firefox was useful, it was dear, it was like a pair of favorite shoes. There was only one issue though, and everyone could feel that pebble in their favorite shoes. The speed. Watching any videos or trying to open a heavy content website in Firefox was accompanied by expected cringe. During years I found my peace knowing that Netflix streaming automatically goes to Chrome, so does browsing Youtube.

I’m happy to admit that after all these years of struggle and adjustments, Firefox finally delivered. These shoes are still cozy and familiar, but the pebble has finally been removed, and there’s nothing lagging my internet experience now. The new polished logo is a nice touch as well. Excellent job, Mozilla!

Upwork Enterprise – Hiring Manager Experience

If you have ever had to hire a freelancer, or a whole team for your project, you have probably heard of Upwork, or, as they used to be known, oDesk and Elance. I’ve built several products by hiring and finding a one-time project talents on freelance platforms. My least favorite of them would be, but I digress.

What Is an MVP?

MVP = Minimum Viable Product

Whether you are an aspiring product manager or an entrepreneur who just got into software industry with an idea to build the next “It” App, you have probably heard about MVP.

The original term was introduced by Eric Ries in his book The Lean Startup Framework. if you have not read the book, try and fix that mistake ASAP.

Many in the industry refer to an MVP as a basic version of a product, which isn’t exactly true.

Upwork Native Apps – Freelancer Experience

I always enjoy doing case studies for the industry’s big and small players. This time I had a pleasure working with Upwork folks and did a couple of case studies for them. This particular one was done in August 2017 for their current version of Upwork Mobile App, particularly for the Freelancer’s end of the app.

The Problem:

Currently, freelancers are able to Search and Save Jobs, Submit Proposals, Accept Invitations and Offers, and Send Messages. They are not able to see or access submitted proposal which might significantly shorten the time spent on the apps while forced to access and track submitted proposals on the web. This interrupts the natural flow in Freelancer’s interaction with the apps. Judging by the freelancers’ feedback, the lack of Proposals feature is negatively affecting the overall user experience with the product, which might cause lower user engagement and, as a result, possible decline in revenue.

Apple Watch Series 3, iPhone 8, and iPhone X

Last night Apple had its September keynote event at the brand new Steve Jobs Theater. The company unveiled Apple Watch 3 Series, iPhone 8, and the highly anticipated iPhone X.

The biggest splash was made by Apple Watch Series 3

I was one of those who did not initially believe in Apple Watch. I even had a couple of arguments with the pro-Apple Watch people, trying to convince them that nothing will get close to a well-made time piece with centuries long legacy like Rolex or Cartier. I was wrong.

Project Manager VS. Product Manager

I think it’s time to put this confusion to rest. Most people assume that Project Manager and Product Manager are a same thing. They really aren’t. More so, beware of a company that thinks that the two are pretty similar, if you’re looking for a job.

Product Management isn’t formally taught in college. That’s why people still get confused what the profession is really about. Most people who become Product Managers come from two backgrounds: design and coding. ‘Coders’ create Androids, ‘Designers’ create iOSes, if you follow my metaphor. 😉 Both types are needed, they just approach product from different perspective. I, for example, come from a designer’s background, my coding skills are pretty soft, but I feel at home when it comes to UI and UX.

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© 2020 & Maria Vladie