Welcome to redesign | mobile

Welcome to redesign | mobile, a new kind of marketplace.

redesign | mobile was born of my frustration with the difficulty in finding professionals for hire, especially for quick questions and small one-off projects. Finding a lawyer, user interface expert, SEO, small business guru can be difficult. Even if you find one, it’s hard to judge the quality beforehand. The time and cost to negotiate an agreement is enough to prevent a lot of questions from being asked and a lot of answers from being given.

I’ve looked for attorneys in the past to review a document. The representation agreement was twice the length of the document I wanted them to review! Paying them was equally difficult, as they only accepted checks. If you have a 10-minute question, it’s not worth the overhead to go through this process.

redesign | mobile is changing that. We provide a way to connect with qualified professionals quickly. We check their academic credentials and professional certifications.

More importantly, you can read expert analysis by the professionals before you pay a penny.

If you decide to pay, you can easily use a credit card online.

Our initial focus areas are:

  • Consumer technology
  • Personal finance
  • Travel
  • User interface design
  • Apple products and design
  • Law
  • Retail experience design
  • Payments technology
  • Freelance writers

These reflect the expertise of our contributors.

Have a service that you’d like to provide? Email amy@redesignmobile.com. Do we already have providers in your space? Not to worry. We want to connect exceptionally smart people with those looking for help. We’re always happy to have more.

redesign | payments: Square’s IPO will be an interesting one to watch

Rakesh Agrawal is a payments expert. He has been widely quoted about the industry in publications such as Bloomberg Businesweek, The New York Times and appeared on CNBC and Bloomberg.

According to Bloomberg, Square has begun the process of an IPO with a confidential filing. (Allowed under the JOBS Act for companies with less than $1 billion in revenue for the previous completed fiscal year.)

Square has been widely considered a hot company. Part of this is due to the celebrity status of founder Jack Dorsey, who also co-founded Twitter. Its eponymous card reader is used by millions of small businesses, according to the company. (This should be discounted because there is no commitment; I’m technically a Square user, even though my Square sits in a drawer.)

There’s no doubt that Square has simplified and demystified the bewildering payments process for small businesses. Instead of dealing with byzantine rates, statement fees and minimums, Square charges a flat 2.75% of each transaction.

But that also creates a business problem for Square: most transactions at coffee shops and food trucks result in a loss to the company due to the relatively high fixed cost of credit and debit transactions.

Square claims $30 billion in processed transactions. If you’re generous and assume all of that volume is at the 2.75% rate, that translates in to $825 million in gross revenue. But the vast majority of that goes straight out the door to payments processors.

In the credit card industry, success is measured in “bps,” or basis points. 100 basis points equals 1 percent. Apple gets 15 bps per transaction for Apple Pay. Square should be getting significantly more. But, unlike Square, Apple likely isn’t on the hook for fraud losses.

The S-1 won’t be available to the public for some time, But when it comes out, here are the key things to look for:

  • Merchant mix. The type of merchant affects Square’s profitability. Food trucks and coffee shops are bad. Doctors, plumbers and contractors are good.
  • The median ticket. The lower the median ticket, the worse things are for Square. A number in the $10-$20 range is disastrous. Above $100 is great.
  • Credit vs. debit mix. Credit transactions are substantially more expensive to process.
  • Transactions per merchant. This will likely show that the vast majority of Square’s “merchants” are people like me with Squares sitting in drawers.
  • Fraud losses. Fraud makes or breaks a payments business. In the early years, PayPal nearly went bankrupt because of fraud.
  • Revenue from non-transaction products. Many of Square’s widely publicized initiatives are failures: Square Wallet, Square in a Box, Square gift cards, Square Cash. For Square to be a business that approaches its valuation, it will need to develop significant revenue from ancillary products.

Have a nanny? Make sure your taxes are submitted right

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Most working parents need to make the important decision of who will take care of their child all day when they are at work. In some cases families are a big support but most times it’s deciding between daycare and a nanny. My friend chose to get a nanny as it provided the option of having personalized attention for the baby and not having to deal with the challenges of drop off and pick up with her and her husband’s demanding work schedules. Hiring a nanny worked well but in a conversation about what they were doing about the administrative duties I realized most people are not sure of how the situation needs to be treated in the tax world.

Are nannies household employees?

Yes! Most people want to consider their nannies as an “independent contractor” to avoid costly payroll taxes and other administrative duties and paperwork that comes with it. Nannies are household employees per the IRS, which means there are administrative and tax responsibilities that need to be fulfilled as employers. Form 1040 – Schedule H is very clear regarding this. it has instructions on what documentation is needed, records to be maintained and kept,  the legal status of the employee to work in the US, Employer Identification Number (EIN), taxes to be paid and forms to be filed.

Payroll taxes and other responsibilities

All household employers, like any other employer, are responsible for payroll taxes. This will entail withholding payroll taxes from the nanny’s paycheck, and remitting those taxes along with the employer portion of the payroll taxes. The employer portion of the payroll taxes include Social Security taxes (FICA) and Medicare 6.2% and 1.45%, respectively, as well as SUI- State Unemployment insurance and FUTA- Federal Unemployment Tax Act which is 6% on the first $7,000.

The nanny will need to be provided a W-2 every year and the employer will need to file a Form 1040, Schedule H (assuming the payment to the nanny was $1,800 or more during the year or $1,000 or more in any calendar quarter).

Other Benefits provided by the employers

It is not required to provide health insurance to nannies. Nor are other benefits like vacations, paid sick time or retirement savings plans mandatory. Families may still need to consider insurance, vacations, sick days and bonuses to get the best talent and keep employees happy in a competitive marketplace.

Can this be hassle-free?

This conversation can deter most parents from hiring nannies and be willing to send their kids to daycare. But it need not be the case. All of these things including finding the perfect nanny can be done from the comfort of one’s home.

  • Finding the perfect nanny. Most nanny agencies will help in finding the perfect fit and also take care of the administrative duties as well. A better and more efficient solution can be using a service like care.com to find the perfect nanny where you would be able to specify the criteria and have a broader selection than most agencies.
  • Payroll services. There are a number of inexpensive payroll services that can be used to pay your nanny. For the most part, you will need to specify the hours worked and the rate per hour and the payroll provider will calculate the taxes and let you print a pay stub. Some will also let you make a direct deposit to the nanny’s account if the nanny prefers that over a check.
  • All these services will help you pay the taxes and prepare a W-2 and the Form 1040 schedule H and any other forms needed depending on the state you are in.
  • Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts. Most employers will provide a flex spending account for Dependent Care. You can defer up to $5,000. This is deducted tax free from your paycheck and thus saves you money. If you’re in the 28% tax bracket, deferring $5,000 will save you $1,400.

Trusting someone to take care of your little one is never an easy task and making the right choices is important. For my friend, finding a nanny who took care of her son was more expensive than daycare, but I feel it was one of the best decisions she made.

Creative Commons image by Stephan Geyer.

Amazon’s Echo is a brilliant, brilliant gadget

Connect buttonRakesh Agrawal is an expert in product design, having designed products for leading companies such as Microsoft and Aol. He has also reviewed products and written for TechCrunch, VentureBeat, The Washington Post and GigaOm.

The best $100 I’ve ever spent on a gadget. The price has since gone up to $150, but it would be a bargain at $300.

Full review to come. But don’t wait, just BUY IT!

After you watch this video, of course.

redesign | news: The Washington Post

The Washington Post | May 15, 2015

Why Google and Facebook won’t suffer the same fate as AOL

Our CEO, Rakesh Agrawal, writes for The Washington Post on why Google and Facebook won’t suffer the fate of AOL.

With Verizon finally putting an end to the misery of AOL’s decade and a half long decline, some are wondering whether today’s juggernauts — Facebook and Google — will face the same fate. The answer is unequivocal: No.

To understand why, it’s helpful to look at why AOL went from being the No. 1 Internet provider in the country to a has-been outpaced by companies such as Facebook and Google. Facebook is worth more than 50 times the acquisition price for AOL. Google nearly 100 times.

redesign | ux: Lists should be presented in an easy-to-understand order

Connect buttonRakesh Agrawal is an expert in product design, having designed products for leading companies such as Microsoft and Aol.

How could this experience be improved?

Notifications.

Notifications screen in iOS.

This is so bizarre that I can’t believe Apple missed it. The notification settings screen is in no discernbile order.

If you want to turn off or change notifications, you have to scroll through the list until you find what you’re looking for.

Read more…

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redesign | ux: Localization should be personalized

Connect buttonRakesh Agrawal is an expert in product design, having designed products for leading companies such as Microsoft and Aol.

How could this Uber experience be improved?

Uber dialog

The text in the dialog here is in Spanish. It’s of no use to me, who speaks only English. Uber knows my language preference because I use it primarily in the United States to get cars in the United Statest.

It’s extra frustrating because the prominence implies that it is imporant.

Messages like this should (ideally) be translated into the language of the user.

Read more…

redesign | news: Bloomberg View

Bloomberg View | May 8, 2015

Will White-Collar Work Get an Uber Disruption?

Last week, a former PayPal and Microsoft executive, Rakesh Agrawal, introduced redesign|mobile, a web-based marketplace for skilled labor. Agrawal once worked for the expert network Pacific Crest Securities as a contractor who hopped on the phone to explain certain tech topics to hedge funds and mutual-fund managers.

He’s essentially replacing the expert network idea with software that matches clients with consultants, lawyers and other professionals who can answer questions about legal issues, personal finance, the tech industry, communications and business strategy. But instead of working with huge institutional investors who pay thousands of dollars, he’s serving individuals and charging tens of dollars.

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redesign | bio: Chuck Marshall

Chuck Marshall

Who am I?

I’m a consumer protection lawyer. A class action specialist. I’m a true believer in the successful intersection between great products and great consumer experiences. Unfortunately, the marketplace is not always a fellow believer. Connect button
As a result, I spent 15 years fighting for the little guy against some of the largest corporations out there, trying to force that nexus. I also spent several years on the corporate side, representing companies such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America, defending against class actions that would have forced changes benefiting neither consumers nor corporations. After all these years, one point of clarity is that consumers and corporations would be better off working with each other before the lawyers come out.

Why I chose redesign | mobile

Read more…

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redesign | travel: Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas raises the bar for sky lounges

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I am not a 1 percenter. I drive a 13-year-old car, shop for groceries at Costco and buy most of my furniture on Craigslist. Yet I definitely felt I had joined the most elite class Read more…

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