FireID and Mxit tour

A few bloggers toured the FireID and Mxit offices on Tuesday morning. It was good fun. Big thanks to Dave and our hosts. A few random notes..

Summary:

Two very different cultures with the same major challenge.. to make good quality software work on ~2000 different mobile phone handsets. (not a problem I want to have)

FireID:

  • Interesting views on agile dev, teams, dev cycles.. 3 week cycles seem optimal.
  • Very interesting practical use of automated testing.. with lava lamps.
  • Have a dedicated product owner in the team.
  • Fun employment tactics.. the geek cartoon test was awesome.
  • Good idea to keep your working environment human. “Lab” culture.
  • Good idea to have a few group activities, go surfing, hiking etc.
  • Whiteboards everywhere.

Mxit:

  • Interesting how they do human content moderation.
  • 2010 will be the year in which the battle for the mobile wallet is won.
  • Interesting insights on the collision course of banks, MNO’s and reserve banks.
  • Danger of distraction, even if it’s creative and cool, manage your pipeline of projects, keep focus.
  • It takes about 5years to get there.

“Not having a clear goal leads to death by a thousand compromises” — seen on a wall at FireID

Zooming out.. I think you have one shot at getting known for something. Your brand can own one idea in the mind of the consumer.. Google = search. Facebook = friends. Mxit = cheap sms. FireID = OTP without the problem of hardware distribution. It’s very very hard to be more than one thing.. even if your investors are pushing you to find more revenue streams.

Lastly, please would they change that insanely ugly typeface for the sign as you drive into Technopark.. very 80s.

As you were.

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