Mittwoch, 29. April 2009

inside barcamp innsbruck 09, part 2/2

in part 2 of "inside barcamp innsbruck 09" let´s have a look at usability, twitterish and more coverage on the barcamp. if you missed part 1, look here for different ways of barcamp sessions, iphone development or mobeedo.

olivia haider, aka "olidax" delivered practical hands on examples about website user interface design - gone wrong ones and how to make them better. just to look at user interface design differently, look also at the evolution of websites, eg. tiscover way back in 1999 vs. 2009. or at the self declared design masters of apple here.

if ready to tackle a huge but well worthy slide set (87!), lisa reichelt also held a full house session at web2.0expo berlin 08 about improving website usability, titled "what users really want", but first have a look at olivia´s slides:

finally, unavoidably and highly appreciated, the latest and greatest in the twittersphere by luca hammer.
with all the services around twitter, one might already forget the original twitter. and yes, there were non-twitterer (two!) around at the barcamp, which for obvious reason are not to be named here. ;-)

there were two core aspect to the tiwtterworld in luca´s session:
one, to use twitter as "the" social filter to read and find interesting things on the net. gone are the days where newsgroups, email, bookmarks, feedreaders an the like where sufficient to manage the web-info-stream.

secondly, there are plenty of tools out there, which make this possible. although twitter might almost feel like a horse carrying a pyramid around - with all the services which "ride" on the back of twitter. be it twist to discover trends, monitter to monitor the twitteruniverse, tweetree a nice visualization or tiwtturly, which tracks and ranks the urls of fellow twitter"ers".
there were many more services and tools so luca promised to make a session/blogpost about it.

more on barcamp innsbruck
for photo coverage head over to here or here. thanks to takarina there is audio coverage, to be found at the bottom of the barcamp site. by the way, congratulations to takarina for her "tirolercast", best national podcast winner 09!
only for the barcamp hardcore lovers, there is the the twitter stream of the innsbruck camp to get the realtime gossip, right here.

so much from the barcamp innsbruck. there are plenty of more barcamps coming up, so participate and blog about them.

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Dienstag, 28. April 2009

inside barcamp innsbruck 09, part 1/2

on the way back from innsbruck to vienna, the lazy train speed lets the thoughts about the april 09 edition of the barcamp innsbruck april 09 float freely. let´s have a look on the surroundings of the barcamp and then into selected sessions.

thanks to the organizing forces behind the 2nd edition of the barcamp in tyrol, christop dolar & astrid millebner. they organized a great location at the „zukunftszentrum“/ future-center right in the center of innsbruck. thanks!

a big open space, with room to hang out along the windows and the presentation area right at the heart provided the open atmosphere one would like to see for every barcamp.
there was plenty of good coffee and the omnipresent twittering and taking pictures with and of each other. and well, quite some good sessions. while the not-so-standard-conference format may seem anarchistic to outsiders, the sessions itself appear almost like magic in an ever aging surprisingly disciplinary style. barcampers hang out serious style. let´s look at some.

pichting bad and well done
weisswo, a local map based start.up held a "sales" presentation. obviously the did not think about the audience ahead. that never works. not at all.

mobeedo was also pitching their product, but what a difference. [update] richard spindler was proudly presenting their product, delivering a „wow“ effect and looking for feedback made the crowd come in front to see what they can do on the g1 android phone with mobeedo.

their video is worth watching.

what else? what about: iphone app development
well, well, an interesting practial and down to earth slot about iphone app development by thomas katzelberger. albeit the 1 billion downloads money printing machine for apple, anyone wanting to provide an application at the apple itunes store?1.800€! that´s how much it costs the tempted developer.

99€ per year for the right to put the app on the store. around 700€ for an iphone to test apps that use gps and the motion sensor. and well, best thing last, to run the free sdk, a hefty 1.000€ for an apple macbook. that´s because the sdk only runs on apple machines. 1.800€, well that is serious stuff.

after that said and ignoring the ever appearing stories about instant american millionaire richness of some developers, there is one magic thing to remember: top 100.

if your app is not in there, there is no attention. no attention, now money. wanting to make money via apps means using the short time frame which every new app get´s on the store. after that, a hefty release/update schedule can help to stay on the front page and so make the uphill battle into the top 100.

and no, do not even try to spend advertising for your iphone apps, that is just a waste, according to thomas katzelberger , who also says „do not expect anything, do invest only the minimum“.

thanks also to the live streaming efforts of luca via mogulus, quite some sessions (depending on the mood of luca´s wintel machine) were streamed out to the interested barcamp follower.

so much for the first part. more on this years barcamp innsbruck coming up soon.

Montag, 27. April 2009

all about "start.up competitions", fresh from barcamp innsbruck 09

ahead of the upcoming in depth look at the barcamp innsbruck 09, which took place last weekend on the 25-26th april, the slides of the session "start.up competitions" are already online.

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Dienstag, 21. April 2009

ready to compete? seedcamp laibach application deadline 27th of april

there is a mini seedcamp coming up in laibach(slovinea). while the actual competition takes place on thursday the 14th of may 09, the application deadline is approaching fast: midnight on the 27th of april. apply right here.

although there is an expressed regional focus on southern europe, this is a rather nearby place for austrian to compete and certainly an opportunity not to be missed.

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barcamp innsbruck 2009 & 25 start.up competitions now on the start.upICT finance mindmap

barcamp innsbruck april 2009 is happening this weekend (25.-26. April 2009 ) in tyrol (AT) and i am glad to join. i propose to discuss the topic of start.up competitions. any inputs are welcome.

in preparation of the upcoming barcamp , the start.up finance mindmap has gained plenty of updates on the area of start.up competitions: there are 25 now on display.

furthermore the interviews with andraz tori and christoper clay as well as the series "six steps to venture capital" can now also be found in the ever growing topic map of the start.upICT blog.

the popular finance mindmap as well as the topic map can now be accessed directly through the top links on the right of the blog in the "START.UP FINDER" section.

Montag, 20. April 2009

interview with christopher clay, founder of "soup"

Image representing as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

time was running fast, when talking with christoper clay of "soup". soup is a "tumblelog, a super-easy blog that can do more than just text: post links, quotes, videos, audio, files, reviews and events.". try it out here or just have a look what is going on at soup. winning seedcamp in 2008, working in vienna, london and san francisco, there was a lot to talk about the daily life of the young austrian start.up

this is the second interview in a series with creative new, after an interesting discussion with andraz tori, founder and cto of zemanta.

christoper, tell me about the (three) most exciting things about up your company?
first it is all about the places we have been. from berlin to cologne, living for three months in london and just coming back from working for three weeks in san francisco. talking to people, pitching to them all around the world, that‘s been great.

second exiting thing is all the feedback we got. we have 20.000 active users now from all over the world. just scrolling through our feedback tumbelog is simply amazing.

third exciting thing is being your own boss. that is hard. the most important decision is to focus on what to do next. it is fun to learn from your mistakes - and we learned a lot over the last year.

what about the (three) most unfortunate things about up?
first hard thing is personal. i started the company with two co-founders - none of them is working any more with me. i would not start a start.up again, without having worked intensively with potential co-founders before. so that was very stressful to go through. however, we are three in the team again.

second is the roller-coaster live. there are really bad phases. one day everything works right and you are convinced that soon you are going really big. the next day you are depressed and think that is never going to work and facebook is going to kill us. it is stressful but exciting. therefore you need a good team which motivates each other. i would not be able to do this alone.

starting up in vienna in the hindsight is the third unfortunate thing. the decision to start here was right at the time. but the chances to get investments in the united states would be much higher. unfortunately it is hard to move to the u.s. . for example getting working visa without having founded a viable company in the us is tricky.

what are your lessons learned until now about starting.up?
number one, carefully preselect your co-founders. e.g. by working on a three month non-profit project with them before founding a company together.
number two, not found in vienna again, but in berlin, london or san francisco. because funding is much more easier there.
product wise, number three, i would focus stronger on the build in viral aspects of they should have them in place from the beginning, rather then relying on the initial users we got mainly from friends at metalab. then we would be already ten times as big as we are now.

and number four: never give up. for example seedcamp. we got rejected in the first round (when zemanta won), because the did not understand what we did. we still went to the next mini seedcamp in berlin, explained personally what we did to saul klein und reshma sohoni and they proposed us to try again. and well, we succeeded the second time.

when you hear the words "exit" and "shut down", what comes to your mind?
the good and the bad, the two outcomes. either we are in san francisco, have hundreds of thousands of users and funding or we are back in vienna, broke and start something new.
the possibility of failure is very real, statistically most fail. but we are giving our best and try to make an exit one day.
although losing would feel horrible. we can not let our users down, so even if it would not work out, we will keep it running.

final question of part 1: how do handle private life vs. work?
probably i have not learned this yet. for me, the start.up comes first. like moving to san francisco and leaving people behind is hard but i would do it. so i am rather unbalanced on this yet. i want to be sure i tried everything for it.
what i learned was to manage my own expectation. when i am too tired some times and therefore have a none productive day, i know now that´s ok. that takes pressure away from oneself.

this was the first part of the interview with christoper clay of soup. where he sees the need for new and more, read in the upcoming part two.

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Samstag, 4. April 2009

"surviving after investment", 6th and final part of the series "six steps to venture capital"

a successful venture capital investment into a start.up is a big step. having taken this hurdle, it is all now about staying in the game through fulfillment and transparency.

this is the final and sixth step in the series about approaching venture capital, where the systematic approach to acquire venture capital for a is discussed.

after the motivation got sorted out in step 1, the a-b list of potential investors in part 2 (part 2.1, part 2.2) got filled. the battleground was prepared in step 3, and how to approach venture capital in part 4 (part 4.1, part 4.2). the art of negotiating was the focus of part five (part 5.1, part 5.2). finally now it is all about surviving after the investment.

the entrepreneur has to be prepared to fulfil what he promised when searching for investors. the ultimate consequence of not doing so is simple: losing her job and/or the shares in company.
under-performance in revenues, product delivery and cost discipline lead to additional cash requirements, speaking vc investments. such a „down round“ (lower valuation then in the first round) is mainly done by the first investor. only some survive this without changes in management and none without the founders loosing substantial shares.

this in mind, a less ambitious company valuation and reachable key metrics (revenues, expenses, cash flow) can lead to a more desirable outcome for the founders already in the mid-term. in vc-language: increase in company value compared to the investment date.

being a start.up, it is evident that not all goals aimed for or promised get reached. ultimately the investor always finds out. many think they do not - but they always do. from customers, unsatisfied employees and latest when the company runs out of cash.

rather then „performing“ in board meetings transparency is key for survival. no investor, no advisory board member shall ever get surprised in a board meeting (link sun tzu). setting up a three to four week „one-pager“ reporting schema, outlining the good and the bad is one way. involving the investor in a „srum“ like company development process another. demanding input and such giving responsibility to the investor is crucial.

through fulfilment and transparency the so called „shit meeting“ can be avoided. this is the first meeting between investors and start.up after the investment, when the difference between the investment story presented and the reality come to the surface.

recommendation: 1) only promise what can be fulfilled, 2) fulfil what got promised and 3) always be transparent.

this „six steps to venture capital“ series is a guideline on how to get investor on board. every start.up is different, no product, market, investor or founder is alike.
it needs a compelling business opportunity and a thriving start.up team combined with a structured approach and some luck. then venture capital investments are just another task to work on.

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