Startups, go to Slovenia now!

I met with 3 Slovenian guys last week, just after my training session with StartupYard teams, and this become something more interesting that just having a beer with chips in a pub in the middle of Prague’s most awesome district – Smichov. (Yeah, Google and Skype are just around the corner + some of the most successful Czech companies)

 

First I’ve asked one of them – Petra if she can see the face into this ad:
before

She said yes, and after a few days I got this one from her.

after

 

Then Edina and Luka about more stuff and even I was a witness to a beth over the population of Slovenia. I forgot who won, but we had fun and all of this for like 45 min.

 

I got excited and  have exchanged a few more e-mail with all of  them about different topics and they are so awesome that I have decided to create an event soon in Slovenia to make the community even more successful.

 

Go to Slovenia

Now let’s get to the point – if you are startup from Europe, those awesome and creative guys have their call open for just 14 days more – until the March 15th.

 

Here’s why you must apply:

 

Another reason?

Watch the video. I love it!

 

Click here to learn more about their offer and on how they can help you to build, test and grow your product.

 

P.S This is not a paid CTA :)

Voice navigation – bringing your app to the next level?

This morning I was surprised by Google Drive. They offered me to use voice for some basic commands, instead of selecting them or using a shortcut (in my case).

A few months ago I created an experiment by combining the shiny SoHo Interface with a few good working opensource javascript implementations for voice and gesture to control the interface.

I knew that some companies were experimenting with it but maybe because I was too busy with other projects and day-to-day routines I hadn’t realized that the time for it has come. 

I am sure that the experiment by Google (seems useless from user point of view) will evolve into something more usable and can save a lot of time to the end-user.

 

Pros:

  • It’s fun – you can shout commands to your website and it will respond with an action.
  • Sometimes you can do something useful – like control your HTML5  game or even login to your favorite website.
  • Brings apps to people that can’t write (yet), but can talk – this is something huge.
  • Widens the horizon of the developers and companies – think about one more usability and User Experience layer
  • It is super exciting and it evolves well.

 

Cons:

  • There are some technological ones, but I don’t want to be a hater this time :) Yay!
  • The other one is what happens with all of the data collected by the mic? Some of the devices are known for listening all the time for the our precious voice. Should we start ripping batteries off from our laptops and tablets like we do for our mobile phones?

 

How to get started?

See my demo here – there is a video  for voice and gesture controlled UI. This is how a modern app should look like – you can use your voice, but also to listen to the voice answer sent back to you and if you feel like moving things around – use your webcam to do it..

 

More links:

 

  • I am using Annyang for the voice commands 
  • Gest.JS for the gestures
  • and this JS library to interact with the GoogleTTs engine 

What is the future?

Bright – pretty soon we’ll be seeing more and more startups combining the Voice with the millions of the APIs that exists to build even interfaceless applications that will work well at the beginning and then will replace most of those apps we use these days.

 

What do you think?

 

Get shares from startups just for helping them grow.

A note: This is not an advertisement.

The head image is under Creative Commons license by denise calrbonell

As a startup mentor and enthusiast I have spent a lot of time helping startups grow or learn from my mistakes. I’ve consulted more than 20 startups and helped more than 60 to acquire more users or improve their products in order to retain users and keep growing.

Usually, If i like the product I am doing it for free or for a tweet :)

A few days ago I got an e-mail from rocketclub saying that they have finally launched their program and I am really excited about it. Let me tell you why in short, because you can always visit their website to read more :)

What’s the deal?

Okay. They offer you startup shares if you help those startups grow. For example – you can get 1/2000 of 1% if you tweet about the startup from time to time. Is that cool? You bet!

Of course it’s up to the startup to offer the deal – they can even say – if you write an article that will get us at least 4000 visits, you can get 1/500 of the percent or even something exciting :)

Let’s do some numbers

If you think this is nothing, let’s do some numbers:
1% of 1 500 000 is 15000

1/2000 of 15000 is 7.50 – not to bad for a couple of tweets, right?

But… by tweeting you help the company grow and with that the valuation will grow with it too. What happens when the company gets an A round? You can do the calculation by yourself.

The good news

The good news is, and I want to remind you that this is not an advertisement, but an excitement, that you can start right now by helping the rocketclub grow with their first campaign – be part of the history by clicking here.

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!

Top 3 Useless Applications on Product Hunt – Batch One

I used to write more about the useful apps on Product Hunt or in my universe, but after talking to a couple of investors about the tendencies in the “modern” startup world, we all agreed that the percentage of useless apps is growing.

Another reason is that everybody is writing about and sharing all kinds of useful apps and I wanted to do something different. So behold, I give you this week’s useless app by Bogo index <- That’s copyrighted

Continue…

Three #Bulgarian tech #startups that are so amazing that you should try them still today

You don’t know where Bulgaria is? It doesn’t matter, because we live in a world where borders are not so important, especially in the startup world.

Equafy

Imagine you have a website and you want to test it in different browsers. What can you do? You can ask your QA teams to take this task or to use a SAAS like this one. Just add your testing plan into the system, choose your browsers and hit “execute” and in 10 minutes you will have it all done.

A screenshot

If you don’t have an idea what a “test plan is”, you can download a special addon to your Firefox browser.

Continue…

10 things every startuper must know about e-mail marketing and will not find anywhere else.

This mini-book has been staying for at least 2 months in my backlog waiting to be pushed online. It’s time has finally come. I know there are millions of mini-books like that, but this one is different, because it shows things that I’ve learned from my experience working in startups and with communities from 20 to 1.4M e-mail holders.

Let’s get started!

 Email marketing is not dead

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

Mission Possible: Teach your clients to give you a perfect bug reporting, especially for design issues.

Let’s start this story with another story:

CLIENT: There’s a strange symbol after the company name – can you remove it?
ME: Hmm… I don’t see anything. Does it come after the exclamation point?
CLIENT: The what?
ME: The line and dot after – wait, you mean the exclamation point?
CLIENT: I guess. Is that what that’s called?

I’ve borrowed the story from http://clientsfromhell.net but let’s be honest all developers have to deal with clients even worsе than this guy.

The problem (as we know it)

The client see the website in a different way and if there is a problem, they will describe it to you with the words they know. Don’t tell me that you haven’t spent at least 3h per project talking or chatting or even worse, exchanging emails, with a client who wants the work to be done, but cannot explain what he needs exactly the way a developer/designer can understand.

It’s not easy, indeed, for users to report bugs. Let’s not open now any bugzilla or other bug tracker to see “the wisdom of the crowd” collected from the clients, starting with the magical words “It’s not working” or “there is something wrong with my website”

You know what I am talking about.

How to solve it?

I think I have found a way to solve this and to translate the clients’ way of thinking to the language of a designer. There are couple of ways, actually, but now I want to show you how to do it by giving the opportunity to your users/clients/visitors to annotate bugs and to show you what is wrong – the visual way.

Show me

I will use usersnap to help me with that. Now, in order to reproduce the “original’ problem I have to find a “wrong logo”.

(spending 20 min searching, trying to avoid Yahoo!, no luck there.)

Usersnap requires a small widget to be installed on the website, so you can give valuable feedback. Now let’s imagine that the problem in this case is on their website and let’s make them eat their own dog food. I don’t have a chance to install it by myself on Yahoo (or can I?)

Now let’s find an “!”  and report it, just for a demonstration.

See, it’s easy. Now you can understand what the problem is, where it is and how it looks like on your clients’ computer, because from time to time a browser can cause the problem and you are not able to see the problem as you client does.

You will receive an annotated screenshot on your email, complete with notes, arrows, highlighted zones  and even pixel rulers and you will be one step ahead in the communication.

Is that all?

Of course it’s not, next step is to teach the client to use the tool, instead of sending you screenshots pasted in a doc file or wore, acting like guys shown on ClientsFromHell.

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.

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.

 

Getting inspired by Felix Baumgartner to change … education.

The record breaking space jump of Felix Baumgartner was not only adventurous but inspirational. Glogster EDU wants to take it’s own leap and break some records as well.

We want to add TEN THOUSAND new supporters for “The Initiative to Change Current Education Methods” by Friday, October 19th.

[box]

Jump over to changedu.org now to join us in this record-breaking attempt!

[/box]

Already have an account? No problem! You can still participate by sending the changedu.org link to friends and colleagues who will benefit from the most creative, and inspirational educational platform.

Image taken from Yahoo! News

Change the education worldwide by remixing the web

We want to empower students to show their originality and knowledge, all while speaking to them in languages they understand: Multimedia and the Web.

Through discovery and implementing new ways of teaching, we could inspire the creativity of the next Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page or Sergey Brin to create something new, exciting and special.

The initiative is on: Go and check it: http://changedu.org

Don’t forget to read the manifesto

 

 

Using adf.ly as a lead generation source

Couple of people warned me about the quality of traffic that comes from adf.ly, but I’ve decided to give it a try.

JWB Campaign

Landing page

I have created a very simple landing page.

 

Target audience

As you can see it’s not a “we will offer you free ipad if you click here” campaign. I was looking for people who are interested in IT and in JAVA programming language in particular. It’s not an easy audience.

Campaign

I have bought VERY TARGETED traffic from countries I need and I’ve added some junk traffic as well:

The result was: 107 leads for 40$ = 0.38 USD per lead.