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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  • UI Design Principles from Mozilla Labs

    As part of the Labs concept series, I attended an online talk by Alex Faaborg from Mozilla UX, presenting Jakob Nielsen’s 10 principles for software usability design. They are simple and useful, so here they are. Keep system status visible: Is there a web page loading right now? Am I in private browsing mode? The…

  • Lawrence Lessig at the Kellogg School of Management

    This week I was delighted to have the opportunity to hear Lawrence Lessig – all-round free culture badass – speak at Kellogg, and was not disappointed. Lawrence has shifted his focus away from IP law and policy, and towards fixing broken government. This was, I admit, a slight disappointment – it makes sense to try…

  • Pricing your Product

    Pricing a product (or service) is hard, and there’s no set way of doing it – but there are few things to bear in mind. Cost Plus Pricing If it costs you $100 to make a product, it might make sense to price it at, say $120 to give you a $20 margin. This does…

  • Finance Glossary for Dummies

    Like technology, finance is an area replete with cool sounding words that no one outside finance understands. The dirty secret – they rarely mean anything complicated. So here’s a simple glossary of terms to help you understand what the hell finance people are talking about. Debt: Money that you owe to someone. Equity: Money that…

  • Perception Of Pricing

    Evil marketing at its finest: We all know that price promotions usually give an uptick in sales, but it doesn’t matter whether you’re actually cutting price – it only matters whether customers think you’re cutting price. Case in point: GM’s “Employee Discount” pricing, launched on 2005, turned out to be hugely successful for the company…

  • Mozilla Labs Concept Series: Pie Assisted Gestures

    A few days ago, Mozilla Labs invited students to answer the question: “What would a browser look like if the Web was all there was? No windows, no unnecessary trappings. Just the Web.” I thought I’d take a crack at it myself, even though I’m clearly going to get my ass kicked by the engineering…

  • Non-Web Monetisation

    This week, I gave a short talk on tech business model basics to the Kellogg High Tech Club. I was following an excellent talk by a colleague on web monetisation, so I focused on non-web monetisation. We weren’t able to snag a video camera, but I did punch up some audio and sync it to…

  • Management For Engineers

    It’s been a little while since I posted, and here’s why – I’ve been starting a new website called Management For Engineers. I originally started knocking together material for this towards the end of last year. As we progress and get more responsibility, engineers often go into management. At the same time, we have been…

  • Philadelphia Airport Runs OS X

    … but it misbehaves, just like every other operating system. I’ve seen Windows crash in environments like this quite a few times. Not seen a Linux / Unix crash yet, but I’m sure it’s out there.

  • Best Buy Vending Machines

    You may have caught a previous post here on iPod vending machines. During a trip through LAX, I noticed that these machines are being used by Best Buy to sell a variety of electronics to bored travellers – headphones, flip style camcorders, and of course, iPods. Personally, I was just curious when I was snapping…