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Thoughts During Reading "Hooked" On An Airplane

Read a paper book on the airplane is my years-form habit that ebook readers not be able to unhook me from.

Thanks Nir Eyal for sending me a hard cover copy of his new book "hooked" after he found out I was trying to share my kindle version with my cofounder on the first day when the book published. 😃

That becomes my book for this trip, though I already looked through the kindle edition, I still like to read the paper book on the plane.


It might be my years-formed habit, to read a paper book, instead of working on computer during the flight. I was a very early Sony Reader user and tried to read it during the flight a while ago, then I used kindle, but none of them replaced the paper book despite many benefits the ebook reader can provide.


Reason? I am a fast reader, my reading habit is, I quickly scan the book as fast as I could, then I spend more time on parts interested me, and finally if I am hooked or there are some details I need to master (especially for those technical books) I read those carefully again.

I think this is one of my gift, I can read book so fast while I can read the good parts carefully, so I can read more than others while spent less time. Sometimes this habit did bring me small issues because I might skip something important or misunderstood some details, however compared to time and volume of information I got I think those small problems are no big deal.


Ebook give me two difficulties for my reading habit:

#1. Too hard to look through them, even though new kindle or readers on iPad/iPhone can turn pages fast enough. They are too fast to be able scan through by just quickly turn pages, they are too slow to be able to get a wick overview which parts are worth read. That's the top reason I dislike old eink readers, it's simply too slow to turn pages.

#2. Too easy to carry too many books. Since I carried too many books, I became less picky which book to take with me, also I became inpatient and quickly change to another book.


When I designed Pixotale, I was facing the decision of pick from a "page-by-page design" vs "long form article design". An important reason why I picked the current long form design was this format allows readers quickly scan through a story in seconds by a simple swipe. I think this is critical to make Pixotale a more useful storytelling tool. This benefits not only the reader but also the writer, since as a writer I always need to shuffle around or look through the whole story to make sure I have right balance on structure, text vs photos ratio.


The Bose QC noise canceling earphones is my favorite companion during flight for many years. I still remember many years ago (probably 2004 or 2005) I write a blog in an airplane about this gadget and introduced my hooked experience with it to my friends. At that time blog was the up rising new media. I still remember at that time I had to take photos with a digital camera, upload to Flickr and then copy paste some html code to my blog. I remembered how badly I wish I could do it all hassles free with a mobile phone at the time. I am so happy to find at least about 10 years later I built something so easily so I can share my thoughts, my stories anywhere.


Again this come to the "hooked" model in this book, how could we improve Pixotale to make it a hooked habits for our users?

Pixotale aims on long form content creation, it need people invest more time on it, however today more and more people are looking on short form sharing, the percentage of user who create long form story will no doubt to be lower, just this figure in the book:


Though short form content seems to be the trend of startup, I am a firm believer of the long form and visual rich stories, what I do in Pixotale is just try to make the creation of this sort of content easier than ever:

- focus on letting people use their little moments here and there. We don't force people finish a story immediately instead they can write it over time and they can do it in parallel.

- super easy to use photos, videos. You can use photos from camera, camera roll, search it, import from Flickr, Dropbox or social networks, all within a few taps.

- super easy but powerful in-place photo editor (video will come). No need to leave the app, crop, adjust photos quickly.

- auto saving, auto recovery. We invested quite a bit time on this invisible feature, but it seemed to pay off when I see surprised happy users find all their work were safe after a crash or battery run out.

- auto layouts, auto adapt for all screens. Just focus on tell stories and let computer and technology help you figure out those details.

- one tap publishing and social sharing. We are essentially a tool for people to create and share, we make it easy for everyone.

It's still a long way to go, but I believe unless the long form stories is no longer what people need, we will get there - a habit changing mobile product to let people telling life stories, share business success, from anywhere anytime easily from mobile.


Lastly, this is a really nice book to read and to think after the read. I strongly recommend you to read it!