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The Private Business Platform

Coinr The Private Business Platform is coming.

Owners and other stakeholders in all small and medium businesses rejoice!

Our vision for coinr was always to provide hundreds (if not thousands!) of useful information services for you and your business in an easy integrated way so time-poor business owners can get on with innovating while we handle all your information systems needs with minimal or zero customisation.

Lots of people out there provide e-commerce software and basic accounting software but we are aiming for the stars, a simple to use yet comprehensive platform in one website that handles your specific needs with a simple ‘click-to-customise’ approach you can be up and running in minutes then gets better suited to your needs every day.

We don’t want to reinvent the wheel, so coinr will integrate over time with your popular services.

Realistically such a huge range of services takes time to build and integrate smoothly, so we didn’t expect to be telling you about this for some time, probably not until mid 2013. But we are (a little) ahead of schedule.

Already we have twenty core services all with responsive design so they work on mobiles, tablets, laptops and desktops.

Some of the core services we have developed provide messaging, authentication, third party authentication, security layers, page publishing, analytics, short links with a/b testing, payments, anonymous social connection, notes, geo location, contacts, info snippets and a lot more.

We are just starting to pilot these services with wholesale customers. They are all medium size businesses or small businesses that aspire to be medium sized or even large one day. You can see our own internal pilot program using some of these services (which many people thought was a core product but really it is our first ‘retail demo app’ we call the coinr box web app.

A web app works on all devices and looks like an app, you can even easily add an icon to your phone’s home screen, but you don’t need to go to the app store or app market place to download it, just browse to the coinrbox.com site.

So small and medium businesses can soon rejoice, we expect to have some more services and apps out soon.

Congratulations: Snake The Planet

One of the earliest coinr guys who has been a big contributor to our technology infrastructure is an amiable ex-Brooklyn ex-Intel dude now based most of the time in Sydney.

Nick has done a recent stint with a team of outdoor artists engaging public space with amazing tech wizardy combining interactive software (the classic game of snake) and light.

Basically it is a huge interactive projection on the side of buildings, with an important twist – it auto-detects the natural features around it and incorporates them into the game!

Media artists and computation designers like Nick and his mates are leading a new form of collaboration with a guerrilla street element that really change the street-scape.

They say they have an artisan’s relationship with their code. I say it is more fun than a side-alley pop-up!

Their latest work with MPU Labs is awesome, check out the Snake the Planet video.

Coinr is now multi lingual – 30 languages

Last week we rolled out support for multiple languages in coinr.com

It is early days so you will probably see mistakes and less than linguistic excellence but we are pretty excited to be able to reach the world’s top 30 languages (as judged by us based on what we could make work quickly :-).

The list of major languages supported by Coinr ordered by population is as follows –

English
Chinese Simplified and Traditional
Hindi
Spanish
Arabic

The long list of languages supported by coinr is –

Arabic
Chinese Simplified
Chinese Traditional
Czech
Danish
Dutch
English
Finnish
French
German
Hindi
Hebrew
Hungarian
Italian
Indonesian
Japanese
Korean
Norwegian
Portugese
Polish
Russian
Romanian
Slovak
Spanish
Swedish
Thai
Turkish
Ukranian
Vietnamese

To change your language just select it from the bottom of the screen.

Welcome to the wide world of coinr.com 🙂

RIP Steve Jobs – Wonderful Inspiration

Apple Inc is booming, that is well documented so we won’t discuss it here.

This post is to farewell a great man whose impact will be measured in millions of lives in the next generation

Steve Jobs died three days ago and twitter is still running at 100 per minute, more personally I have been trying to decide how I feel about his death. It is an unusual combination of certainty and uncertainty. Certain it is important, uncertain how.

Firstly, it is remorse, not like a family member or friend or even respected business technology colleague. I never met the man but it is a combination of the above in small part plus a heck of a lot more.

Steve faced uncertainty too, he didn’t always know precisely what the finished products he designed would look like, however he had a vision and smart people around him to execute. Like we are with coinr I suppose. He even disclaimed apps at the launch of the iphone and then embraced them less than six months later to create, lead and define the global mobile app marketplace.

He did know however, and was able to visualise in immense detail the product in many cases, like the early macs, his visualisation skills and demands for attention to pixel level detail were legendary. Some things he shared with his only kindred hero, the inventor of the Polaroid instant camera.

Probably most of all though, Steve Jobs was differentiated and valued because of his ability to distill, refine and communicate a useful vision then lead people who respected him to execute.

Read that last sentence again, the world needs more people who have those skills in one brain.

I started with an Apple IIe (Europlus) when I was 12 or so, as a user, then programmer and maybe fan. This was followed by a successful career in real-time trading technologies and echoes some of the skills and experience in the coinr team today. Probably interesting is we all like macs and use imacs but have deep windows and/or unix experience.

Personally the non-Apple path was (after that early start) nearly 35 years long before returning as an unlikely ‘Apple fanboy’ only a few years ago entirely except for some corporate and government client work.

This was a surprise to me personally but no surprise to millions of people globally because something new was in the water at Apple – Steve Jobs had returned and was getting traction. As a team here at coinr (and as individuals) there is no doubt we recongnised this more than most and chose to really convert, we have every product they have released in recent years, usually many. Coming from a very pure applied science degree, with that much experience, it was an informed decision.

Put simply Steve was finally getting it largely right.

One tribute said ‘he leaves behind his family and 49,000 employees’. I believe he started out with neither and also left behind hundreds of millions of fans.

I used the words unique (or differentiated) and valued to describe Steve. Those measures are also an important business modelling method I deeply respect and advocate. a business model Steve Jobs invented or at least popularized. Value on one axis and differentiation on the other, bozos are bottom left, success freaks are top right, the other two corners are bound to die in price wars or win a worthless segment.

Steve Jobs was an autodidact, lifetime self educator, like myself and so many people I respect, though I didn’t know what an auto-didact was when I first heard he use the term many years ago, it made me realise again the value of life time learning.

Steve was not just teach or learning, he was helping us learn how to learn.

Of course his contributions to education are well documented, but I suspect very strongly we won’t realize the lasting impact he has had for some generations.

He was a father, like myself, not sure if he was a good one but from his public communications like the amazing Stanford address (if you haven’t seen it then google it and watch it twice), it is likely he was innovative in all aspects of life including multi-dimensional caring for his family. I am speaking to the graduating class of my old university UTS tomorrow, it is not Stanford but it is right up there down under. I think long term (think half a life time or more supporting causes you care about in the ways you have available to you (not just money but time and meaningful thought) are a great measure of what made Steve Jobs a great human being.

He was an enigma.  I doubt anyone sets out to be an enigma unless advised by their PR agent and in that case they are likely to fail eventually due to lack of natural substance.  I don’t know if I am an enigma but I know some of the products and companies I have led certainly are or were. No doubt coinr will continue to be one until we really launch enough features for people to recognize the way we hope to redefine our chosen space. Lets hope we can grow and develop some natural substance.

I’d be ecstatic to have anything I am involved with develop even 1% of Steve Jobs’ gravitas.

Steve was an innovator, but often times his innovation was the refinement of the work of others and the ability to integrate that in a manner others had not. Siri is an example of this, his last probably. This iPhone voice activated virtual assistant may succeed where others haven’t but certainly there are dozens of early examples where the ultimate measure of success – usage – proves he has been unique in the history of the world.

Mobile web browsing combines some of the most amazing international technology standards, skills, markets, companies and technologies mankind has even seen. Microsoft beat Apple to the market by the better part of ten years but it was Steve’s invention that drove acceptance to 87 times more effective adoption levels than Microsoft  based on some Cooper Sydney research we did years ago about nine months after the iphone launch.

Adoption was his success. Advocacy was his hallmark. Yet he was adopted himself and his original advocates his parents failed him.

In a world where every Windows PC is bombarded with security risks and virus attacks, his creations enabled diversity and enable some greater sense of safety.

In a world of incessant incrementalism by well intended people without systems thinking skills, Steve led the way by refining and removing ‘noise’, integrating and simplifying. Saving time and improving quality of life.

His tough commercial approach is less well documented, but it is probably his focus on time over money on real usage over shipped product, and on execution over research that defines it better than budgets, forecasts or other droll accounting terms.

Farewell Steve, we hope the world can collect and retain some of your principles and that your main legacies (and those that steer them) will continue as effective, innovative role models for other companies, products and individuals.

RIP Steve Jobs 1955-2011.

Why Bitcoin Will Not Last

A new ‘virtual currency’ seems to have taken the financial and technology worlds by storm in recent months.

Google the phrase ‘regulatory response to bitcoin’ and watch the hit counter climb over time, expect this trend to continue as the total traded value of the bitcoin ‘currency’ continues to grow and regulators around the world start to understand the significance of this new decentralised transnational virtual currency.

While bitcoin appears to have solved the double-spending risk problem of purely virtualised currencies it has more problems than positives.

  • Being decentralised it has no regulation other than that set initially, so if it is changed over time there is little control for current or future investors. Sure this is unlikely now but once momentum is gathered (as it rapidly is doing) then the temptation for those able to bias the system will grow.
  • Being devoid of a home nation (or nations) it is also not under-written, ie if the currency was challenged commercially or the infrastructure eliminated or merely damaged over night those who have purchased the currency will see their investment disappear or drastically reduce instantly. Even though nations with ‘real’ currencies (with economic challenges) abound in the world today, they have the ability to bet-the-country (and the people’s ability to pay taxes in future) to borrow to underwrite their government’s investments and hence their currency.
  • The ability to transfer currency cross-border and then exchange bitcoins for traditional currency opens a number of doors for unmonitored or less monitored transfer of funds internationally, while this is probably not illegal in itself in many regulatory environments, it may be illegal in some and it is almost certainly tempting for organised crime to consider using.
  • Bitcoin exchanges also do not operate in a regulated environment, there is nothing to say your orders are not subjected to market based manipulation events such as front running.
  • It is currently creating currency steadily (ie printing money) and even their own documentation says change is likely, with no regulator, monitoring or democratically empowered crowd how would any changes be sure of benefiting stakeholders fairly?
While it is possible to imagine a well intended ‘stakeholder crowd’ fix these problems with extreme transparency, it is unlikely.
  • Trans-border decentralised systems ‘powered by the crowd’ are capable of many wonderful things, just witness the crowd sourced wonders on many commercial and non-profits sites around the world today.
  • But currency is different, it is the foundation of commerce and much of modern life and any government worth their salt will see the risks to their sovereignty if they look even fleetingly at the bitcoin process. That said, a wake-up jolt could actually benefit many of these modern nations that have over borrowed, printed money or allowed capitalism to go a step too far with tiers of inter-dependent collateralised debt few if any people ever understood let alone regulated.
  • The difference this time is vested parties are not benefiting from bitcoin, so they will find a way to benefit (tax, fees) or shut bitcoin down (or ‘burden it’ out of any substantial existence).
Bleak future predicted for Bitcoin.
  • As a result of all or some of the above I expect a firm and negative regulatory response to the bitcoin mechanism that will either see burdens placed on the system or on the participants that will make it an unattractive back alley or a completely closed dead end in a fairly short period of time.
  • Once these burdens are added and a bleak future is visible the currency will most likely collapse or flat line and transaction costs tied to these burdens will stall growth and possibly outright usage.
  • If the above does not happen in the short term, there is a further risk that legitimate institutions accustomed to taking risks will jump on the band wagon and magnify the risks and awareness and need for an urgent regulatory response by individual nations. These include trading banks and merchants banks or investment banks depending on the term you prefer.
  • If this occurs the eventual (sad) result will be the same but the pain experienced by traditional mum and dad investors will be much greater and the corresponding reduction in trust by those hurt will impact traditional currency and capital markets even more materially.
Coinr on the other hand will always base our transactions on traditional nation based or physical asset backed currencies.

The Green Thing

In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized to her and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

That’s right, they didn’t have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they returned their milk bottles, Coke bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, using the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But they didn’t have the green thing back her day.

In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn’’t have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks. But she’s right. They didn’t have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby’s diapers because they didn’t have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 to 240 volts at up to 10amps – wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right, they didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house – not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a pizza dish, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn’’t have electric machines to do everything for you. When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used wadded
up newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right, they didn’t have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty, instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled pens with ink, instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But they didn’’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus, instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But that old lady is right. They didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

Not sure where this article originated, it arrived in my email from a friend and I thought it was worth posting since it is so well aligned with our productive simplicity and sustainability focus and more generally our life values here at coinr.

Do less, with more consideration, you will ultimately do more.