How to engage us, developers to use your API.

There are tens of thousands of API’s available. More to come. Most of the companies though, have troubles engaging developers to use them. So I have decided to share a few thoughts and ideas on how you can do that, based on my experience.

Design your API well

Nobody likes powerful, but not developer-friendly APIs. Follow the “standards” in the area, but innovate a bit to make us (developers) happy and eager to learn more. I will not spend more time here, because I guess you are already building your API if you need the information below. If you are looking for more info on that subject, click here to read an excellent article.

Document your API

If you want other people to use it – document it well. Add examples for the most popular programming languages. Copy/ Paste/ Run is the first step to a great journey.

Do not forget the not-so-trending programming languages at the moment. Target people who explore them – they are the right group to start with.

Eat your own dog-food

Ask your internal developers to use the API. Get the feedback from them and make it better. I am not talking about the developers who wrote the API, they must use it of course. Try to engage other teams within the company (if you have any) to use the API.

Organize an internal Friday APIJam. Sit together in a room for a few hours and do something useful using the technologies you work with – don’t push them to learn new language or technique – just use the API focusing on the value.

Come up with nice awards for the most active participants, get some sweets and drinks (even beer) as well. Then ask the participants to present their work at the end and listen to their feedback.

 

Hack your API

Organize hackatons with external groups or jump into such organized by someone else – ask developers to hack the API and to create a small app that will serve theirs needs – then promote the effort and make those developers rockstars by using your PR channels.

The goal is not to test your API (as you do during the internal APIJam event), but to show the value that your API brings to the world. The Call for Action should be something like “use our API to build your own App”.

Create more initiatives like that. Repeat();

Connect

Get in touch with the local developer groups and go the their next meeting with some pizza and beer. Show them your data, ask for their feedback, show them your API, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Then create a fair process to work with communities around you – what you want from them and what’s in for them.

Discuss

Push the discussion around your API and manage it. Respond to comments immediately, ask for feedback and show how it is implemented. Post your API to reddit, Dzone and other similar sites and get real, honest feedback (together with some trolls, that’s inevitable)

Equilibrium

Treat your community members equally. Sometimes a new member can have a kick-butt idea and if you ignore him/her this can have negative impact overall. Focus on the value!

Partner up

Find partners to help you to get traction. Why don’t you contact your local startup accelerators and do something together to include your awesome API as an requirement for the next call? Does it work? Oh yeah!

Explore

Constantly explore new ways and hacks on how to engage the community, but remember – this must be a fair deal – every part should be happy and equally satisfied. This is your way towards an engaged community.

The best API ever?

No, it’s not yours. Is this one :)

 

What do you think?

Do you have a different experience? Please share!

 

More resources?

P.S The head image is under CC license by giorgiop5

 

A small growth hacking example for JSblocks

A week ago I got an email from a fellow Bulgarian, Antonio Stoilkov, asking if I could help to spread the word about a very great Java Script framework he developed in the last 2 years.

screen

He asked me to push it to Product Hunt, because I have submitted similar products in the past. So I looked at the webpage and I really liked the project. I decided that I could do more than just hit the product hunt submit button.

Continue…

Some thoughts about my #GrowthHacking Workshop for @StartupYard

Yesterday I had a growth hacking workshop for Startup Yard accelerator’s startups. Actually It was held in the Node5’s open space and I’ve noticed some other folks eavesdropping and even occasionally shaking heads in agreement.

sy-bogo

I was there like 30 min earlier and I was a bit nervous, because I prepared the slides (as usually) in the few hours before the event and I was not sure if I would be able to talk smoothly.

Continue…

Bulgaria Web Summit 2014 with GitHub, ElasticSearch, SmashingMag and more friends

I think it’s time to write something about Bulgaria Web Summit – the event I am organizing since 2004. Of course the name back then was WebTech but this is just a formality.

Why Bulgaria Web Summit?

Honestly I don’t know, it was like … how we will name it .. Bulgaria Web Summit. The funny story is I talked 2 days ago with Florian from Usersnap and he asked me “I was wondering if Paddy Cosgrave already sent  you an angry mail (about the name)” and today I’ve got a call from UK-ish number and I thought here it is, the angry Paddy is calling me.

Let’s go back to the event. It will be amazing, as usual. We will have speakers and friends from GitHub, ElasticSearch, eCommera,Smashing Magazine and even more and more. We will have of course a prime minister talking …well not the Bulgarian one, we don’t really like him, but the one from the Ministry of World Domination, no kidding.

Developer track

In short: JavaScript, Development Workflows, ElasticSearch && Python, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Embedded Devices hacking and more

Designer, UX, UI, VDT track

Responsive Design , Visual Design Thinking, CSS, Fonts, UX and UI, Firefox OS

Business track

Product Ownership, Social media marketing, Kanban for Marketing, Showcase of successful products, Job fair and much more.

3 rooms, 30 speakers and a party!

Danish Knan from GitHub is introducing his talk at Bulgaria Web summit in Sofia

Growth hacking workshop in Prague, Czech Republic

If you visit the startup job portals in the Czech Republic, you will find a lot of open positions, but nobody is looking for a “Growth Hacker”.Waaaat?

If you do the same for Berlin you will feel the difference. This is one of the reasons I am organizing this 1-day workshop: to show the value of the “Growth Hacker” and to teach digital startup warriors why this person is so important.

Topics include:

  • What is this animal – a growth hacker? Where do they keep it?
  • How to mix channels to get your first users. One of the approaches to get visitors without spending (a lot of) money
  • How to keep them on your website. Freemium model, Content model, more.
  • …..

More, more

Alrighty. If you want to attend and/or if you know someone who can be interested, please click here to learn more.

There is one place to share ideas about the web and its name is @WebExpo – Prague

No kidding. Prague became one of the finest European technology and start-up hubs and I believe there is a great future and potential, which we will see coming true in the next couple of years.
Maybe that’s one of the reasons I moved here a couple of years ago. If you add the beauty of Prague and the fine quality of the Czech beer, you will not be surprised that I want to invite you to an unique event.

[note]This is one of the few places in the world where developers, designers, product managers, marketing ninjas, big data nerds, content management racoons, hackers and even normal people can sit together and discuss a lot of things together and even to start something..[/note]

I know, you will say that you have such events in your country, but this is international, have a look at the speakers and do not forget the beer and the city.

Trusted companies and awesome startups are happy to be here and to turn their dreams into reality and most important, into profit.
[highlight]13 different subjects, many speakers, 3 days of fun and beer + something you can take home with you – knowledge and inspiration. That’s priceless.[/highlight]

 

Join the event:

 

$you->is_geek(): apply

 

We are looking for ambassadors in every European country. Prime directive – to spread a word about the event and to become a super geek star. In exchange we will give you free entrance and will make you famous – this is a long time deal.

[highlight] Interested?[/highlight] Follow the link to fill a secret form. Shhh!

 

? buy_ticket();

 

Another option is to buy a ticket and join the magical Prague, beer and awesome knowledge.  Invest in your future.

 P.S This is still a secret, but all sessions will be in English this year. Visit the website to find out more, because this is just the top of the iceberg.

P.P.S Oh, did I mention the parties. We will have couple of parties that will blow your head away :)

Marketing Kanban Style for Tech Startups

Oh no, there is no mistake. It’s not Gangdam Style!

I am always trying to mix software development methodologies into community and marketing management.

Last year I gave a talk at Fosdem about using Agile methods, and especially Trello, to engage your community. Currently I implementing a similar approach into a project I am involved in.

Warning: The following paragraphs may contain a mixture of different software methodologies, usually not compatible with each other.

What is a modern marketing world?

Marketing now, especially online marketing, is a mixture of Community Management, Brave Content Management, Strong Business Analysis, Good and Awesome Metrics, knowing the hacker attitude, fast problem solving and many, many tasks every second.

I am talking about using new technologies, methodologies and fun in the marketing world. I know there are marketing departments with 100 or more employees, busy with a little tiny boring segment, but with an exciting title. But also, there are startups and small, but very successful companies, having teams with up to 4 members that can do better marketing than those 100 using Marketing Kanban Style.

 

That’s why we need Marketing Kanban Style.

I am an internet enthusiast – maybe one of the few left in the world. I really want to test and hack amazing web tools. Sometimes I find a great tool like Trello and I start using it and talk about it without having been paid a single cent, sometimes it turns out to be a negative experience, like my Facebook story. But I love being an enthusiast.

Yeah, so let’s focus on the step by step go-through:

trello.com 2013-1-31 13:14:42

0. Plan Your Sprint

  •   Sit on a table with your team and define the 3 main tasks you want to see implemented this week. Yes, I am not talking about months or years here. Of course this should be in line with the marketing plan, budget and other documents, tables and graphics …
  •  Define what resources you will need – guys from IT dept, Customer care service, Sales dept, etc.

1. Visualize

  • Tasks may look good in your brain or in a paper or event in your notebook, but they must be placed on a board and here comes Trello.
  •  Start: All tasks start from “To Do” or you can call it “Repository” or “The Dungeon” or even “Death Start” but this is your starting point
  • Define your flow process. It can be simple “Doing” – “Done” or you can add additional steps like “To be approved” or “Testing needed”. Please do not work with more than 5 steps. It’s a waste of time a energy.

2. Make Policies Explicit

  • Define who will do what. If you want you can let people choose what they want to do. This works perfectly for community based marketing and it depends on how cool is your team.
  • Resolve conflicts before they appear. Define the collaboration flow – for example – for this HTML newsletter you must talk with Mike and Petra from Dev department. Add this as a note to the task.
  •  Do not add other department members to the board.

3. Marketing Stand-ups

  • I know the developer stand-ups are real – the people actually are standing up, but the marketing people are allowed to sit down :)
  •  Do a stand-up every day for 15 minutes and be sure you have feedback loops. Every member of the team should report what he/she is working on now and what troubles he/she is having.
  • – This is not a problem-solving meeting. Afterwards you can sit down and try to find a way to resolve the problems.

4. Be а Brave Marketeer

  • Your team must not be afraid to test new techniques in order to achieve the weekly goal.
  • Try to find the boundaries of your team and push a bit outside of them. The marketing world travels with light-speed and you must be very fast as well.
  • Explore the Trello functions and use them for your work. It’s a really useful piece of code.

This is just the beginning of a journey for you if you are taking this path. This is the easiest part but believe me you will be more flexible and successful than the good ol’ huge marketing slow moving company.

This will allow you:

  1.  to achieve results every week.
  2.  to plan your work better
  3.  to easily define metrics and goals
  4.   to do more work for less money
  5.  to build your team and let them evolve together with the company
  6.  to have fun.

Let’s do some Marketing Kanban Style. Shall we?

Learn more?

If you want to learn more about Marketing Kanban style and some more amazing ideas – subscribe to my mail-list from here. No spam guaranteed.

 

How To Throw A Smashing Fedora Release Party

I am into organizing Fedora 18 release party in Prague this month and I though it’s time to share my ideas about a smashing Fedora release party.

Fedora 18 on Techbeat.com

Engage

I know most people are busy, especially in big cities. Start your engagement process at least 3 weeks before the release party.

Whom to target:

  • All Gnu/Linux users – we are on the same side of the “war” :)
  •  Journalists – create a mini-press release and send it to all journalist friends you know and ask them for help. Most of the time they react really quick. This is a news, anyway and a good one, though :)
  • Your colleagues – common, you can find at least 3 people to share the news with and they can find 3 more people to share it with. IM tools are powerful these days. Your colleagues are spending a lot of time in jabber or skype during the work time :)
  • Programmers and Designers (yes, Fedora is not just for geeks)
  • Try your local Hackerspace
  • Try your local GNU/Linux and FLOSS related websites. In exchange for the news you can promote them as “media partner” or just call them friends :)
  • Create an identica/ twitter/ FB account and #hashtag and use to spread the word about your party.
  • Create simple badges and ask people to put them on their blogs
  • Create a mini-website (you can use wordpress.com for a free blog for example)

Schedule and timing

  • Try to find out what groups you are targeting – hackers. teachers. programmers, designers … and put at least one topic for every group. Keep them under 20 min.
  • Ask people to RSVP to the event and to share it at least 2 weeks before the event.
  • Good idea is to use name tags. Just provide some empty white stickers and a pen – let them to the rest.
  • Start with asking every person to introduce himself/herself shortly. What’s your name, what you do, and why are you here today…
  • Start with an introduction – “What is Fedora and Why all we are here today”. Some people may not know anything about it.
  • Combine the talks with free discussions – let people to talk to each other, let the knowledge flows. Ask if someone wants to share how they are using Fedora in their work, life, device or just for fun.
  • Have a beer and pizza in the venue if possible. It helps! Especially the beer.
  • Bring something to giveaway: buttons, stickers, DVD, brochures.

Collaboration

  • Don’t do anything alone, find friends/fans/ambassadors to help you out
  • Use agile tools like trello to plan and execute your event. Create tasks and ask people to take the ownership and to do it. Community, community, community

Goal

  • Define your goal. Why you are doing this? If you spread 50 DVDs what will be the impact?
  • What about if you ask your attendees to do something? For example in the next meeting to bring someone with them or in one month to share their story about Fedora 18.
  • Give knowledge and freebies only in exchange for something else – a blog post, an action, an idea, a possible non-free OS replacement.
  • Track the success of your event. Definitely attendees will be happy after 3 beers, but what will be the impact for the community in1 month.

Have a smashing Fedora 18 release party and share some pictures and ideas.

Change the EDUcation with just 1 click. Be famous!

This week we will be launching an initiative to change current educational teaching and learning methods.

 

The way we live is changing and evolving, our day to day routine, how we access information, and communicate with our family, friends and associates. Why should education remain the same?

 

We are looking for brave people who can help us to spread the word about it. We need just 1 share ( twiter, facebook or your local peers) in exchange we will link your twitter handle, facebook profile or you blog on our main page.

Interested in helping the EDUcation worldwide? Send a message to bogomil.shopov@glogster.com with your account/link and be ready to act soon.

Thanks and please share!

Who is Utilizing Social Media in the Classroom?

A little over a month ago, Glogster EDU began survey research on Social Media usage, specifically on where, when, how and which social media sites educators were. We summarized and parsed results by US regions, west coast, east coast, central USA, and Canada.

The results of this survey were interesting and provided insightful information for the future of Social Networking in the classroom. Read about the results of the research, and we welcome your comments on your own experience.

See the amazing results here.

Make me run and support your favorite opensource project

Couple of months ago I started a little “via Twitter” only campaign and now I think it’s the time to give it more visibility, because the deadline is in 20 days.

What?

The main idea is:  for every tweet [tooltip title=”Yes I Will” gravity=”e”][mark color=”yellow”]I will run 1[/mark][/tooltip] meter on Prague Marathon on September 8th 2012 (yes in 20 days) and will donate some money to an open source project.

How?

[box color=”orange” icon=”flag”]
Join the campaign now – it’s FUN. Fell more than free to share it with your friends.
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Remixing the Web and Creative Learning? My new mission.

Maybe some of you know, maybe not, but I am part of a great company now called Glogster EDU.  The reason I joined was I will have the opportunity to change how the education system works and to try to implement THE WEB into every school in the World. How awesome is that?

Those who knows me well, probably know the fact that I am a bad-ass person and I don’t like stupid rules and any form of Autocracy (One of the reason I am not active in the Mozilla Project anymore) and now I will have the opportunity to teach people how to remix the web and how to be part of a Great teaching community. (We have more than 3 000 000 community members so far. )

I just create a course in P2PU about Remixing the Web and Creative Learning for Teachers. Feel free to invite your peers to join our mission.

Great Teachers don’t take students to a destination, they provide them with the tools to get there on their own.

5 days FOSDEM in Prague this October.

[dc]W[/dc]hat is FOSDEM? It’s a name of a conference held in Brussels, but it also stand for “Free and Open source Software Developers’ European Meeting”.

[box color=”orange” icon=”flag”]
This autumn in Prague we will have something like this – A conference of OpenSUSE Project, SUSE Labs, Gentoo and Linux Days at the same time:  October 22-23 and right after that 4 days of PostgreSQL Conference
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A whole [tooltip title=”Welll ..almost a week” gravity=”e”][mark color=”yellow”]week[/mark][/tooltip] of F(L)OSS activities, hacking parties and talks. Save the dates :)