Musings on digital business

FEAR, and what to do about it?

I loved this post from Seth Godin so much that I’m going to reference this for myself and you.

In life, knowing what fear is and how one responds to it can make all the difference.

Enjoy the post. Bilal 

The power of fear

Fear will push you to avert your eyes.

Fear will make you think you have nothing to say.

It will create a buzz that makes it impossible to meditate…

or it will create a fog that makes it so you can do nothing but meditate.

Fear seduces us into losing our temper.

and fear belittles us into accepting unfairness.

Fear doesn’t like strangers, people who don’t look or act like us, and most of all, the unknown.

It causes us to carelessly make typos, or obsessively look for them.

Fear pushes us to fit in, so we won’t be noticed, but it also pushes us to rebel and to not be trustworthy, so we won’t be on the hook to produce.

It is subtle enough to trick us into thinking it isn’t pulling the strings, that it doesn’t exist, that it’s not the cause of, “I don’t feel like it.”

When in doubt, look for the fear.

Learn How to Optimize For User Growth

How do you design programs that grow?

Typically SAAS (Software-As-A-Service), online communities/forums, mobile apps, social network groups, require a critical mass of users to reach growth momentum. E-commerce sites in 2015 live and die by the right balance and triggers to make this work properly.

The issue is that most Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products and mobile apps ask their users, prospects, or customers to invite their friends, colleagues, or collaborators at the wrong time and in the wrong ways. At times, our theories are right but our practical delivery isn’t.

In this article, Lincoln shares how to fix your “Invite a Friend” process and turn it into a driver of rapid growth.

Specifically, he covers:

  • The Power of Social Capital
  • The Reality of Network-Centric Products
  • The Actual Hacks, like Move the “Ask” to Later, Tell them who to Invite, and more!
  • A 6th BONUS Hack — Don’t Forget to Optimize Onboarding

Check it out. It’s a good read.



Facebook’s answer to Siri — M

Today, A FEW hundred Bay Area Facebook users will open their Messenger apps to discover M, a new virtual assistant. Facebook will prompt them to test it with examples of what M can do: Make restaurant reservations. Find a birthday gift for your spouse. Suggest—and then book—weekend getaways.

How It Works

To try the new service, users will tap a small button at the bottom of the Messenger app to send a note to M, the same way they might message anyone on Facebook. M’s software will decode the natural language, ask followup questions in the message thread, and send updates as the task is completed. Users won’t necessarily know whether a computer or a person has helped them; unlike Siri and Cortana, M has no gender.

Full article on Wired.

Facebook M Digital AssisstantCompared with Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana, this may be a smarter digital assistant considering Facebook can not only utilize the AI (Artificial Intelligence) tech like others but further enhance its context by leveraging its vast amount of a billion plus active social networking users graph data.

I am looking forward to how Facebook executes on this.

Kid on the Subway

Wednesday Huddle: Bilal’s Top Picks in Digital

I frequently get asked to share scoop on the latest and the greatest in tech, marketing, business and digital. So I’ve decided to start curating a weekly digest of top links that I’ll share each Wednesday.

I find them useful and I’ll use them as reference for current and future projects. Hopefully you will find this effort useful as well.

  • What we learned from designing 200 pitch decks?
    Data centric trends and analysis on what makes investor pitches successful. A good read and a bookmark. I found it informative.
  • Why great User Experience is invisible?
    Airbnb, Disney World, Uber and Nest. They are all phenomenal products, which together are worth over $135 billion! Not only do their services deliver great value, their experiences are so well thought out and executed that their strategy goes unnoticed. In other words, their user experiences are invisible.
  • Inside Deloitte’s $1.5 Billion Ad Agency
    The agency + brand world has been disrupted by digital. CMOs, CDOs and CIOs are all seeking expertise and integration (to be able to drive ROI) without interacting with 75 different shops. Deloitte’s taking advantage of this shift and has built a $1.5 Billion machine in just 4 years. Good read if you are driving digital at a brand or agency.
  • How to sell like Elon Musk?
    Learn from the greatest mind in the world. From Tesla to Space X to Paypal.


Events to pay attention to:

Business Innovation Factory Summit in Sept 15-16. One of the best conferences to expand your mind and your business.

My friend Saul Kaplan describes, “Spreading of ideas is critical, but the end goal is solving a problem or creating a new opportunity.  The real question is, can an idea translate into action and can it scale,” says Kaplan. “I think a lot about how to enable R&D at the business model and systems level, where we have the best chance of launching ideas that convert to scalable, transformative innovations.”


Turkish Airlines: First Periscope Flight

Talk about using a emerging medium to tell an authentic story.

Turkish Airlines recently launched the world’s first ever “Periscope” live broadcasted flight as passengers and fans got a behind the scenes experience as the airline flew from Istanbul to New York. They used Periscope, the video streaming platform, to showcase crew cabins, flight lounges, pre-flight checks, inflight service, the crew and the pilots hard at work.

What’s really intriguing here is that they are using an emerging medium, the persicope video streaming network, to tell a story that has never been done before. It’s live. It’s raw. It’s authentic and allows fans (or soon to be fans) to get a glimpse from an angle that they typically wouldn’t get to see on any other communications channel.

In addition to that, Airlines typically aren’t seen as open, transparent and nimble organizations which would ever experiment like this.

Enjoy the case study below:




Life with Purpose

What do you desire from life?

Late Alan Watts was a British-born philosopher who spoke passionately about doing what you love during your life and not settling for anything just because there’s a paycheck attached. Here’s a great video that will make you want to live larger, smarter, and happier.

Better to have a short life doing what you like doing — instead of a long life doing what you’re miserable at.

#BigData Chat with Bilal Jaffery, Brian Fanzo and Rachel Miller

Discussing Analytics and #BigData with Brian Fanzo and Rachael Miller

I had a blast discussing the role of data in shaping business culture and accelerating positive change.

What I truly loved about the wonderful and charming Brian and Rachael, the hosts, was that they insisted on keeping it simple yet deep enough that one could gain actionable insights out of our discussion.

We discussed Internet of Things, Social Analytics, Google Nest and Dashboards along with my love-hate relationship with a fellow Canadian, Justin Beiber.


Here’s the video for your viewing pleasure.

P.S. Thanks Steve McMurray (@NuviSteve) for the image.