Bulgaria Web Summit 2017. A 2-day event about technologies and fun.

We are preparing our next release, in April, I thought it could be useful to give you a preview on what’s coming.

2 instead of 1

We will have 2 conference days, instead of just one. On the first day (April 7) we will be focusing on topics such as Privacy, User Experience (#UX), creating of user interfaces (UI), CSS, Design and similar.

Our first day speakers include Aral Balkan, Harry Roberts (aka CssWizardly) and Lara Hanlon from IBM Design.

On the second day we will go deeper into some programming techniques, mainly but not limited to javascript. Our speaker list for the second day includes: Google’s Tim Messerschmidt, Sebastian Witalec of Progress and Krasimir Tsonev – author of a couple of very handy Node.js books.

Affordable price

Unlike similar events across Europe, BWS is mostly organized for the benefit of the community and we are trying to keep the prices as low as possible; to give easy access to technology and ideas to many people without compromising the quality. Yes, it’s possible.

Fun

Having fun is always a must at our events! :) Our legendary after-conference party will be held again, our espresso bar will serve the greatest coffee possible and our team be on your disposal to give you a warm welcome. Also you can enjoy the great city of Sofia while learning something new at our event.

430 – This is Sparta..oops, not really :)

This year we will have just 430 spots available, compared to the 810 we had the last time. So if you want to book a place – we have opened the pre-registration for you. Visit the Bulgaria Web Summit website and click the button – start a great journey together with us.

I’ve launched a Mozilla Donation Campaign for #CyberMonday craziness.

I have started a small campaign today and I am so happy to see it working – 138 engagements so far and a few donations. There is no way to see the donations, but I can see more “I have donated” tweets in the target languages.

Please retweet and take action :)

Update: Actually there is a way to check the effect of the campaign. I used a web tool to count the tweets that every user can tweet after the donation.

I can see the trend here:
hashtag-tracking-for-twitter-instagram-and-facebook-keyhole

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

 

Voice-controlled UI plus a TTS engine.

A few days ago I’ve attended the launch of SohoXI – Hook and Loop’s latest product that aims to change the look and feel of the Enterprise applications forever. I am close to believing that and not only because I work for the same company as they do.

They have delivered extremely revolutionary UI in order to take the ugly enterprise UI and UX to a whole new level – and it is more awesome than ever. Unfortunately I am now allowed to share more on that topic, but you can follow their blog.

I’ve mentioned them, because I’ve created a small app based on their work and on some open source projects to control the UI with my voice.

Is this the future of the Enterprise applications? Maybe, but hey it’s real fun if one application is talking to you and you talking to it back changing the UI with your voice and no other input devices.

How cool is that? See a small part of the experiment here (pardon my English)

Oh yes, everything is HTML/CSS and JS :)


Click here for a full-size video

Eager to learn more? Follow me @bogomep

Why is Bulgaria Web Summit 2015 so different from any other event?

When I talk to sponsors and even to friends about the Summit, they always ask me what makes our event different.

So here’s the secret:

We started this event 11 years ago (under a different name) as an effort to create something amazing and affordable for IT guys in Bulgaria. At the same time we never compromise with quality. The main purpose of the event is for our attendees to learn new things, which they can apply in their work on the very next day and to return the “investment” they have made in the conference.

Speakers

In most of the conferences I’ve been in Europe, well-trained company folks talk about their success at Fakebook or Playpal and how to clone it to your company – This doesn’t work and you will not see it at our event and in the same time you have to spend tons of money just to listen to the guy.

In the most conferences I’ve been in Europe, well-respected gurus talk about some programming art – they do that all the time, they just talk, they don’t code anymore – You will not see this at our event – We invite only professionals and they share their experience with you and on the next day, they will not depart for another event, but they will go back to do the thing they do the best.

We have had amazing speakers over the years. Some of them became friends of the event and they can come again and again, even without paying them a dime. We build relationships with our speakers, because we are Balkan people and this is what we do.

Many people still remember Monty’s Black Vodka, Richard Stallman‘s socks and many other stories that must be kept secret :)

 

The audience

We do have the best audience ever! I mean it. We have people that haven’t missed an event since 2004. They are honest and if you screw up they will tell you and they will give you kudos if you do something amazing. In most of the years, the tickets are sold months before the event, even without a schedule and even without the speakers yet known, because we proved the event is good.

We have people who met at our event and got married, we have people who met at our event and started business together, we have companies that hired great professionals because of our events; we have kicked off many careers by showing the people great technologies and ways to use them.

 

The money

Of course it’s not all about money. We do need them to make the event great, but our main goal is not to make money out of it. As you can see the entrance fee is low – for the same event in Europe (same speakers) you would have to pay 5-10 times more. We realize that we live in a different country and the conditions are different, but we are trying to find a way to keep the fee low and at the same time to still keep up the quality of the talks and emotions. We can achieve this only thanks to our sponsors. Thank you, dear sponsors!

 

Experiments

We do experiment a lot. We are trying to make a stress-free event, full of nice surprises, parties and interesting topics.

We are not one of those conferences where you get tons of coffee in the breaks (sometime we even don’t have breaks, nor coffee for that matter, just beer!) and a schedule 3 months in advance or you can sit and pretend you are listening, because someone paid you the fee. With us you are a part of the event all the time: we have games, hackathons and other stuff you can take part in. We give you the bread and butter, use your mind to make a sandwich. :)

 

We grow

We failed many times at many tasks, but we are learning and improving. We are not a professional team doing this for the money. We are doing this for fun and to help our great and amazing community. We count on volunteers. Thank you, dear volunteers!

 

Marketing?

We are one of the few events that don’t have history of the event on their website. Duh! We do believe that if you visit us once (because a friend told you about us) you don’t need a silly website to convince you again to come :) We do not spend (a lot of) money on marketing or professional services. We count on word of mouth and you. Thank you!

Join us and see for yourself!

FOSDEM 2015 – hotels, information and facts (updated)

If you are going to Fosdem 2015, here is some useful info.

Co-working spaces

Work together with other hackers in Brussels for free before and after Fosdem.

Hotels and Hostels

  • Hotels near to Grand Place and to the Delirium Cafe. This location is near to all sights and it’s good idea to stay here instead near to the FOSDEM venue;
  • Cheapest hotels in Brussels.
  • Hotels near to the ULB – the venue

Personally I can recommend CitaDines apartments, because there is a small kitchen included into the price and you can make a dinner or breakfast. If you are more than 2 people, they can offer you a really great offer and it’s near to the bus stop for FOSDEM bus. At the moment they have “Up to 36% off ” offer. Go grab one.

Beer?

Just visit this site. I highly recommend the pub crawl tour for just 15 euro.

 Food?

There is no food in Brussels. :)

 

Free walking tour?

Yes, it’s available. Click here to learn more. It’s every day from 11 in the morning and 2 afternoon. Pre-booking is welcomed :)

 

FOSDEM

FOSDEM is a free and non-commercial event organized by the community for the community. The goal is to provide Free Software and Open Source developers and communities a place to meet to:

  • + Get in touch with other developers and projects;
  • + Be informed about the latest developments in the Free Software and Open Source world;
  • + Attend interesting talks and presentations held in large conference rooms by Free Software and Open Source project leaders and committers on various topics;
  • + To promote the development and the benefits of Free Software and Open Source solutions.
  • + and to SHARE knowledge with each other

Sharing the knowledge and ideas is the most valuable think you can get during FOSDEM and it’s free. There is no excuse not to be there.

If you are worried about anything, just feel free to ask me and I will help you, especially if this will be your first visit. If you are living for Free software or Open Source – you must be there.

(cc) Image is under CC lisense by bertogg

Optimize your GitHub Issues and 4 tricks and facts you should know about GitHub

I wrote an article, that can be found here about the new GitHub Issues, web development processes, using visual feedback and some facts about GitHub:[‘bigdata’,’github stats’,’xkcd comic ban’,’more”].

Actually I am using one old bug from input.mozilla.org project (a.k.a) Fjord. It’s a good 4 mins read full of useful stuff and fun.

If you are interested in the tool I am using to optimize your GitHub Issues processes, it is available for free for F(L)OSS projects from here, but you should read the article first.

Any thoughts?

Capture screenshots and annotate web sites in your Firefox

Usersnap’s visual communication addon was just approved by the addon team and now we have a “green button”. Hooray!

This is a “must have” addon for every web developer who wants to solve problems with web sites faster and who wants to earn more money by shortening the communication time with the client or inside the team.

Collect ideas and share them with your team

  • Capture and annotate every website.
  • Share and discuss it with your team.
  • Communicate visually and save time.

Continue…

Why webcompat.com should do better + a proposal

I really like the webcompat project‘s idea: to allow all users to be able to report bugs on all websites and in all browsers. Let’s take a step back: What are the 3 main problems with bug-reporting in general?

Most of the users are not-so-tech savvy.

It’s true. They know something is wrong, because the website is not working for them, but they don’t know why is that or how to report it. Imagine if they could use the tools they are familiar with to report bugs and to give the developers the data they need without even realizing it. Cool huh?

“It’s working for me”

Thanks to different browsers, standards and different developers a website that one user sees can be completely different for another user. Agreed?

You can imagine the questions the user must answer:: “On which page are you?”, “What are you doing exactly?”, “Did you select something wrong?”, “Did you write a number in your street address as requested?”, “Are you logged in?”, etc.

It’s an option too: the developer (or a QA) will say to the user “It’s working for me”, meaning to the end user – you are doing something wrong, John or Jane, it’s not the website. it’s you.

The end user doesn’t know how to fill-in bugs into bug tracking systems

Majority of the people that can find a bug don’t know how to report it or why to report it.  Most of the companies or projects have 1-2 page howto’s attached to the bug reporting form, but the result is still questionable.

 

The WebCompat way: Now

Webcompat will give all users a brand new way to report bugs. It will also provide for a community which will be able to easily find fixes for the bugs or alternatively, contact the website owners and report them.

There is still one problem with that. The users are still missing the tools which they are familiar with to report bugs. The developers (community of fixers) are still missing the vital information about fixing the bug.

 

The WebCompat way: Upgraded

We can fix that!  Being part of Usersnap’s mission to make this process easier, I can propose a solution and being a Mozillian for almost a decade I believe this will help millions of users to report bugs and to make the web a better place – this is why Usersnap has been created for.

The ideal set of information to fix a bug from the developer’s perspective:

usersnap_ui

  • Obviously, a report of what exactly is not working
  • Information about the plug-ins installed in the browser
  • OS and browser version, at a minimum
  • JavaScript error log and the XMLHttpRequest Log  in case there are problems (we still don’t know that). The worst thing about client-side JavaScript errors is that they happen on the client side, which is a cruel place far away from the developer trying to fix this error.
  • It would also be great to know what the user did BEFORE the error (yes we can do that)

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could have this information to every bug report, collected automatically.

 

Push to gitHub

And what is the best part of this? All data goes directly to your bug tracking solutions – in this case gitHub and everybody is happy.

Warning! A Mozilla scam

I just got this message into my mailbox. Beware!

From: Mozilla Firefox [mailto:mozwin@outlook.com]
Sent: Monday, January 20, 2014 4:34 AM
Subject: 2014 Promotion Reward.

Sir/Madam,
Good News !!!!  Mozilla Foundation is rewarding people all over the world through its online promotion recently conducted which your email has been selected as a winner.

Your E-mail Address has won (Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Great British Pounds only) GBP750,000 in the Mozilla Firefox Online Promotion. To claim the prize, email us for confirmation at: mzwin@inmail.sk
Reply now only through: mzwin@inmail.sk

Congratulations!
Yours faithfully,

Steve Jef.
For:  Mozilla Firefox Online Promo Team
Mozilla Foundation © 2014  English (UK)

FirefoxOS, Internet of things (#IoT), the future

A note: This is a serious post, couple of months ago I wrote an article as a joke saying that I am leaving Mozilla project by some reasons, umh, it was April 1st. After that I was insulted by several people “you have left the community”, “we don’t want to work with you”, “we are working only with active people” and even more, not appropriate for the web, so I want to make this clear, this is not a joke, this is something I want to develop in the future and this is how I see it.

IoT (from bottom up)

Police alert.

Imaginе. The future, 20xx. Driving from city A to City B on the highway. Rock music. Loud. something beeps. Beep! Beep! The driver looks at the screen and there is a message:

iot1

Slowing down.

The damn traffic jam


The future again. Driving back from city B to city A. Hard Rock! Slowing down! Traffic Jam! No information! Waiting and wondering what is going on.

Beep, beep! A message:

iot5

 The sender


All these messages has been send by a passing car to your car. Of course in the beginning they will be set from the driver via usable interface (see below), but I think it’s just matter of time to teach the device(or the thing) how to learn and to do some of the tasks without human interaction. Crepy? Not!

carstalk

Vehicle2Vechicle Communication

We will develop small devices that will be able to exchange and store simple data packages without need of connecting to the Internet.

Vechicle2 Device Communication

We will develop simple FirefoxOS app to communicate with near devices via discovery. Like:

  • Reading the messages that your car receive from other cars on the highway
  • Set the privacy setting
  • Find nearest devices and communicate with them – discover what the can “talk” about and enter the conversations.

IoT with Firefox OS

I believe we can create an interconnected network of devices that can be able to communicate with each other and with us using a special protocol.

Let’s call it TTM (Talk to Me).

  • Alll devices will be powered by Firefox OS
  • All apps will be developed using web technologies.
  • You will not need Internet access to be able to communicate with one or more devices, but they can still connect to the Internet to exchange data.
  • Privacy first – you can set what you want to share and with whom.
  • An open platform where everyone can contribute.

 

Oh, one more:
Early Morning. Monday. Enter the tram with TTM sticker on your way to work and the tram asks you “how do you feel today”, you said “It’s monday” and the tram offers you a nice selection of music while traveling just to be make your day better.

The interface.

Since clicking and double clicking is dead and I think ‘touch’ will follow soon we will implement 2 more interacting interfaces – Voice (Remember my Fosdem talk in 2010 when I made the the demonstration on how to control Firefox with your voice?) and Gestures.

More to follow. #IoT definitely is the future for me, but I really don’t need a “smart” fridge, I need “smart” things that make my life easier and save time and money and of course powered by Firefox OS and Web Technologies.

What do you think?

Build your own UX with #FirefoxOS (slides)

There are the slides from my talk the other day.

The talk was part of UXCirus show where we mix fun and knowledge. I’ve got 10 minutes to talk about the topic in a pub full of developers, UI and UX guys and even some normal people (at the bar).

The main claim was:

We have so many different users with so many different ways to use the web. With FirefoxOS you can push the web forward and keep the emotions and passion from the web on your phone:

Some more updates on Bulgarian #mozilla community.

Long time no see :)

We have a new design on our community website, based on the official Mozilla wordpress theme:

Mozilla bulgaria Website

 

Finally we had fully localized homepage for Mozilla Addons and Mozilla Addons for developers.

Previous Week:

Screenshot from 2013-05-16 15:05:03

 

Now:

Screenshot from 2013-05-16 15:06:08

We are trying to organize our community better and to make the localization better. So you may expect some news on that pretty soon.

Have a nice day,

Mozilla Bulgaria

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.