Posts tagged: mobile

Testing OnOnPay

By , August 20, 2015 11:29 am

Flappy Bird through the eyes of a financier

By , February 15, 2014 7:01 pm

Since I believe Flappy Bird is a Black Swan case, I tried not to give an opinion about the game. What’s more I don’t think I’m qualified to give comments on mobile games since I had never coded a proper game (besides projects for my bachelor).

But an investor recently asked me about Flappy Bird and I felt I had to give an opinion anyhow. Attracting investment is my job, after all.

So here it is, Flappy Bird through the eyes of an investment person.

Is it easy to create a game like Flappy Bird?

No, Dong Nguyen claimed he coded the game singly-handedly in 3 days. But we never got to see the conceptual process behind the games he creates.

Is it easy to create mobile games?

No. It took Rovio close to a decade of resilience before Angry Birds.

Mobile games are very hard to make because

  1. All gameplay, visual, audio need to be better than good.
  2. Technical constraint: mobile phone resources cannot afford being wasted by unoptimized code.
  3. Fragmentation of Android: there are so many models with different screen sizes it is very hard to make games or apps that work on all models.
  4. The battle to the top of the app store: it is a Big Head, only a few top games attract 95% attention. Marketing to reach the top is costly and uncertain.

Why is Flappy Bird so successful?

Luck, a typical Black Swan case. But besides luck let me give you the best explanation I can think of in one diagram.

Besides, Dong Nguyen already explained his secrets on his Twitter.

What about marketing?

I personally believe Dong Nguyen’s story that no pre-burst marketing was involved. It was all viral via influencers and peer recommendation.

Why aren’t clones successful?

Clones are only successful if they are local clones: local language, local community. All Facebook and Twitter clones are dead except Chinese clones. Mobile games are nothing local.

But why can’t people just play the clones now that Flappy Bird is dead?

I guess I have to blame authenticity and originality. Everyone talks about Flappy Bird, if you play a clone, you may fear being judged.

Secondly, it is hard to replicate every exact detail of the game. Horizontal spacing, vertical spacing, movement, arc, the algorithm of sewer generation, haptic response. One tiny subtle difference and the whole experience is altered. It is just not the same.

What the case of Flappy Bird means to me, personally

By , February 12, 2014 10:56 am


The case is a validation of the notion that success is stochastic, or in other word more random than we want to believe.

Procint for success, believed by many, is not as random. It takes decades of resilience, self-improvement and blind hope.


The opposite, unfortunately, is not true. Years of hard work and wishful thinking don’t necessarily guarantee success.


In my humbly short career of investment management, I’ve lost count of the times being humiliated by entrepreneurs. But this fanatical case of bootstrap is doubtlessly a prodigious insult.


The worlds beyond Blizzard, Square-Enix, Valve and EA is a vast uncharted and barbaric universe.


Nobody can really be certain about j-u-s-t a KPI. Right, the analyst is left alone in the jungle again, helpless.

Why Facebook wanted to buy Snapchat

By , December 15, 2013 5:23 pm

We know Snapchat is popular among teens. We know Snapchat is mobile-centric, a weakness of the web-centric Facebook. We know Mark is paranoid about competition and wants to eliminate potentially big threats.

But where is the synergy?

Snapchat does not have a viable business model, but Facebook does. Facebook monetizes what its users share by selling targeted ads. Facebook does provide privacy, but that is not enough. If teens are aware that the information that they’re sharing will be removed shortly, they will share more. This is where Facebook can get its dirty hands on.


Is Facebook that obsessed with knowing what you share? Of course, when it also monitors what you write down on the browser and DON’T post.

Blame it on consumers

By , October 5, 2012 12:05 pm

KakaoTalk, Line, Viber, WeChat, WhatsApp numbers of users, September 2012

By , September 21, 2012 6:30 pm





WhatsApp: estimation


By , September 20, 2012 5:44 am

When I first look at Pulse, I immediately think of Netvibes.

Pulse is buzzier than Netvibes was. Can it be mobile is a more suitable environment for such content arrangement?

Android mobile messaging apps brief review

By , September 8, 2012 6:49 am

Icon Name Pros Cons
  • Best for messaging
  • Quick
  • Stable
  • Auto-attempt to resend failed messages
  • Best interface
  • Good for sending photos
Viber Best for free call
  • Extremely heavy & sluggish
  • Some users find it hard to setup
  • Retrieve the whole phone contact list by default and fail to handle thousands of records
LINE Stickers
  • Frequent message failure
  • Slow compared to WhatsApp
  • Calls are more unstable than Viber
  • Photo sending is sluggish
  • Hold to talk
  • Best for audio messages
Unsolicited messages from Chinese users
Zalo Flow & interface very similar to WeChat thus lower learning curve Spam friend requests from teenage strangers with incomprehensible language
Wala N/A Boring interface
TalkBox Hold to talk Old & boring interface
KakaoTalk N/A Uninspiring interface

What product(s) are you using? How can I add you on that service?

Why Facebook still needs Mark Zuckerberg as leader

By , August 26, 2012 9:28 am

A comment on criticism by Carly Fiorina and Gordon Bethune.

The biggest challenge to Facebook right now is going mobile.

Effectively, Facebook is still in product development phase. It needs a war-time leader, a geek not a slick businessman.

The mobile app, mobile ecosystem industry is still growing without an emergence of a dominant giant. How many business CEO are there who are experienced to run a mobile company?

Mark would do well to take the advice of people who have done it before…

Carly Fiorina

Outline of investment thesis for VCCorp

By , June 28, 2012 5:20 pm

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