Hi, I’m Shahid.

I work on no-BS tech strategy, product development and marketing.

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Notable projects

A history of solving some of the biggest problems in tech.

Moving Google’s biggest messaging app

Google’s primary messaging app in xx was Hangouts, and today, it’s Google Chat. These two products had different back ends, different clients, different APIs connecting them, and different fundamental assumptions about how chats should be organised. Moving all of Hangout’s organisations and consumers to Chat was a huge, multi-year project, spanning fifty engineers, six engineering leads, and one lead PM.

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Solving Chrome OS’s greatest challenge: apps

Chrome OS is fast, easy to use, and secure. But its achilles heel was apps and games. When the Android framework was introduced to Chrome OS, the developer ecosystem for the second biggest desktop OS needed kickstarting. Android developers needed to understand how to build for desktop, and they also needed a reason to believe in the platform. How did 80 key applications come on board?

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Made by Google

In 2016, Google made its first joint hardware launch across categories as a signal that Google was serious about hardware. It included the first Pixel phone, the first Google Home, Daydream View (now deprecated), the first 4k Chromecast and Google Wifi. Each of those devices, with their own teams and branding, needed aligning in order to present themselves as one family of devices — and then coordinating on launch day to ensure things went smoothly.

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  • The Wired World in 2015

    The Wired World in 2015

    Following up from the previous post, I also wrote an article for the “Wired World in 2015” special issue. I wrote this in 2014, and I talked about how users would increasingly become part of a tech tribe attached to one company. View PDF Reflecting on this as 2015 has just finished, the prediction seems…

  • The Wired World in 2014

    I wrote a short article for Wired UK recently, published in the “Wired World in 2014” special issue. My goal was to illustrate how the changing dynamic between the west and China will affect western electronics consumers. View PDF With thanks as always to David Baker for his continued support and guidance.

  • Best file system for your USB external drive

    It’s not unusual these days to have computers, consoles and tablets in the house, all running different operating systems. If you want your external drive to be interoperable between them, you’ll need to think carefully about your choice of file system. I’ve broken down some popular options here so you can make the best choice…

  • How to acquire customers for your mobile app

    As an EIR, I spend a lot of time talking to startups about their problems and how to solve them. I sat down recently with one of the Oxygen Accelerator teams to discuss the the biggest problem by far for any startup – customer acquisition. Here’s an example flow of users for a generic mobile…

  • Google Drive vs Google+ Photos vs Picasa Web

    After the launch of Google Drive, I was excited to use it as a photo backup & sharing service. Unfortunately, the features for what I consider a good photo viewer are spread out over different Google products (Drive, Google+ photos, Picasa Web.) I want to back up my photos online This is easiest in Drive…

  • Apple and Adidas

    If you spend any time (as I do) on the number 51 bus, you may note the popularity of Adidas among a particular segment of consumers. They aren’t coming back from the gym – it’s just default clothing. They bought Adidas rather than the unbranded variety not because it’s cheaper or better quality. When consumers…

  • Mobile apps vs native apps

    There’s a lot of guff around on the battle between mobile apps versus web apps. There is guff because companies have made investments one way or the other, and want to believe that they made the right choice. So let’s be succinct. There are only two things to be concerned with: Can a user find…

  • Testing for the user’s experience

    Testing your product isn’t only about user interface – where a user gets confused, and so on. It’s also about uncovering niggly little problems like this: They aren’t the only ones. Here’s Amazon, which has free super-saver delivery in the US for orders over $25: This is an opportunity for an online store to delight…

  • Unsubscribe easily

    I hit “unsubscribe”, only to see this: Worse: completing it doesn’t get you a confirmation that you’re unsubscribed, or even that they’ll think about. I wanted to write “you smell like a week old fish” in each of the confirmation fields, but then I definitely wouldn’t be unsubscribed. Original site

  • Microsoft Word replacements

    Microsoft Word is on the way out. I’ll explain. Every new tool for circulating information used a mental model similar to the previous one. Check it out: The typewriter was a replacement for writing. Both output to paper, but typing was neater. Memos were created and paper was pushed from desk to desk. The original…