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I’ve been to my first SUP46 event last Thursday about Product Managers with Ricardo and Alycia, whom have both already written an article about it (you can check their blog posts here and here if you want) so I won’t explain again what has already been said. First, I really enjoyed the conference because it gave me a new vision on the many forms that the entrepreneurial spirit can take, as intrapreneurship. In fact, being a Product Manager seems highly related to being an intrapreneur as they constantly need to be visionary, keep focus, lead their teams to ensure the development of their product. In this blog post I’d like to focus on why is it important to have intrapreneurs inside your company.

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You can think of most companies as they can be reluctant to change, because they were set up to execute certain activities and are used to it. They often like to do it their way inside of their comfort zone, and at the contrary change appears as dangerous and uncertain. Thus, things tend to stay as they are, which can be a stumbling block to innovation. That’s exactly why every company needs intrapreneurs to stay at the top and continue to be innovative. Those people are the ones who can disrupt a company in a good way in the sense that they value creativity, freedom, and they want to make a difference. In fact, most big companies have the potential, the technologies necessary to develop new products but they can lack the will to do it, and sometimes they don’t even see the opportunity of developing a disruptive product because they may be too focused on something they already have. A story of such a successful seizure of an opportunity is Amazon Web Services. Most of you probably don’t know this subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc. but it was created by a man named Andy Jassy, whom has been designated as “Person of thhttps://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1d/AmazonWebservices_Logo.svg/2000px-AmazonWebservices_Logo.svg.pnge Year” by Financial Times. He is totally an intrapreneur in my opinion and I invite you to learn more about him and AWS in this article which is very interesting to understand the birth of an idea and how opportunities can be seized. Roughly speaking, this man was the leader who’s made Amazon able to invent a totally new service called cloud-computing, and which has made AWS the market leader on the topic. The way he did that is completely similar to an intrapreneurship project, especially thanks to Amazon’s culture of innovation and agile infrastructure. Of course, it wasn’t easy even if Amazon seems to be a good place to innovate, and it may be even more difficult to do in a lethargic company reluctant to new ideas. But you always need someone inventive, devoted, a leader to disrupt, to push you up and keep your company growing. This person is an intrapreneur.

Finally, I’d like to share five advices for both future intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs I’ve found in a web conference given by the French autodidact entrepreneur Jérôme Hoarau. I found his conference very interesting and inspiring, and as I suppose most of you don’t speak French, I’ll translate his main points:

  • Turn obstacles into challenges and learn from it
  • Build up archives of everything you’ve learnt from your mistakes
  • Focus on action and less on results to enjoy yourself and learn more
  • Try to be versatile
  • Draw your inspiration from better things instead of comparing

I’ll probably make a more detailed article about being an autodidact entrepreneur because it is something that many entrepreneurs I’ve met have in common and you can always learn a lot from these people.

Have a nice weekend and see you next time! 🙂

I’d like to echo the words of Annika Lidne, whom has given us a fantastic lecture about how to finance a start-up last week. It was really amazing because she gave us an overview of all the means you can use, with pros and cons, how much money you can get, why is it different in Europe and in the US especially for crowdfunding, etc. This last point sounded very interesting to me as I’ve already helped finance a cinema project on the European crowdfunding website Ulule.com last year.

But how to build a successful crowdfunding campaign?

To answer that question, I’m going to analyse the Purple® Pillow campaign, which is currently one of the most successful on Kickstarter. It has raised more than 800k$ in 11 days, and is certainly not going to stop now, as they still have 19 days left to go. The Purple Pillow is meant to be an innovative pillow that fits perfectly your neck and head to give you as much comfort as possible. The product was created by two engineers -Tony and Terry Pearce- after they’ve patented a new material called “Hyper-elastic polymer”, which makes their product unique and ingenious. So it seems quite logical that such a product can definitely succeed to raise money via Kickstarter, right? Well, it’s a bit more complicated than just that.

The first thing you should know is that this campaign is not Tony’s first try. He’s already successfully financed his previous product -an innovative mattress- thanks to Kickstarter. He is also quite active on this website  because he’s backed 5 other campaigns that were not his. These are probably some reasons why his current campaign seems to work so well. Being active on Kickstarter gives him visibility, and also makes people more likely to give him their money because they feel that he’s not only asking for money, he is also giving his own money to support the others, which makes him appear as a sympathetic and passionate entrepreneur. Also, thanks to his previous campaign, he’s built a sort of fan base, which is always good to have to start a new project, because they might be the first people interested and likely to give you money, especially if they were satisfied with your previous product. Another way to get people to see your project and be interested in it is to be presented on various social media -Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Pinterest to name just a few and maybe the most important ones- and that’s exactly what they’re doing right now by giving the opportunity to their backers to share the campaign to others on these social media.

Now that people are looking at you, you have to prove that you are reliable, that you can be trusted, so they will be more likely to help you finance your stuff. The way they do that is that they show they are really involved in their project. They communicate a lot, and especially they notice when a certain goal has been reached, and they don’t forget to thank all the people who support them, always with humour. They also have created a website, so people can learn more about the founders and their products. This is very important to provide enough information to people, so they can learn who you are, why you do what you’re doing. People get attached to people and especially for this kind of campaign, I think it’s really important to be liked be people because it is an quite intimate way to get financing. That’s why it’s better when people are emotionally involved with the product and with the founders.

Finally, this campaign has another huge asset -and it is my personal favourite- that is their presentation video. I highly recommend that you have a look at it because it is flawless quality-wise in my opinion, and they’ve put a lot of humour in it, that makes it is fresh and funny to watch. I feel like they really know how to advertise their product, and they make their campaign more human by being funny and showing that they’re really involved in what they do (you can actually see the two co-founders in the video.)

So what can you learn from crowdfunding websites ?

Studying crowdfunding campaigns may allow you to get amazing marketing ideas to sell your project. You can also learn a lot of stuff, how people interact on this kind of websites, how to get them to be interested in your idea, what kind of compensations you should offer to people who agree to give you their money, etc. But of course in the end, learning by doing is probably the best you can do to finally build a successful crowdfunding campaign.

And last but not least, looking at trending crowdfunding projects is also a great way to catch a glimpse of what may come in our lives in a close future, and it can be really exciting in my opinion. I remember when I first saw the Oculus Rift campaign on Kickstarter, which is a Virtual Reality headset. I was amazed by all the possibilities of such a device. It was only about two years ago and now these devices are really starting to become common products, especially in video games. I can’t wait to see if the Purple Pillow is able to make a breakthrough in the pillow market after its successful campaign, it could be really funny.

Here is an article which has inspired me to write this blog post. It gives you 10 tips about how to build successful crowdfunding campaigns, and I think it can be good to keep that in mind if you ever want to finance your own project this way.

Here is the link to the founders website, check it out.

Thank you for reading my post. Feel free to comment if you’ve already had an experience with crowdfunding, I’d really like to hear about it. See you next time!

Everyone has most likely seen the program called Draknästet (If you’re not from Sweden then it is probably called something else in your country). It is a program where entrepreneurs can present their idea or prototype to inventors, and tell them how much capital they need in order to accomplish their idea. If the idea is good, then the inventor will be willing to invest otherwise not.

One of the prototypes that were presented on the show, and caught my attention, was Mollii. It is an elektrodress that enables stiff and aching musmolli2cles to relax. Electrical stimulation is used to reduce the tension in muscles, as well as spasm. The electrodress is used by people with stroke, brain damage, etc [1]. In the first part of the episode (you can find the link down below) you will see a little girl that, after using the elektrodress, has got the ability of moving her legs and doesn’t need to inject any medication any longer.

Personally, I find it immensely fascinating how a dress, like Mollii, can enable people to walk and move more freely and with a more relaxed manner. And there should be more products like this out on the market but more entrepreneurs need to get out there and show their prototypes.

 

Here is the link to the episode when Mollii was presented:

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwoMXhdI4kw

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRHh1mMgB1o

 

Here is the link to their website: http://inerventions.se/

 

These types of products makes me even more motivated to one day innovate a product that will help people to either have the ability to walk, drink or eat. Basically some of the things that people take for granted. However, as a medical engineer I haven’t had that much of courses in management or entrepreneurship and, thus, this is the reason to why I am currently taking the course in Entrepreneurship at KTH.

 

[1] http://inerventions.se/produkt/

Picture taken from: http://www.kth.se/en/aktuellt/nyheter/suited-for-treatment-of-brain-damage-1.421729

I’m sure that many of you have your websites which you usually browse around on to waste time waiting for a class to start, the train come or just for the day to end. One website that I myself visit rather often because of boredom is based on an idea that other people have ideas, but a lack of financial support. I’m sure that many of you have stumbled upon this before but for you who have not, -The idea is called crowdfunding and the website in particular is www.kickstarter.com

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A newly created idea which has not yet reached the market and has not been presented to investors can be a delicate resource of the innovator, and makes him/her in a position to decide how the next steps for this business possibility will act out. Will the idea need financial support and do you need strategic help to get started? If the innovator has a smaller idea which most likely is too small to attract investors or if one just do not want any engagement from large companies, banks or powerful people there is a different way to raise money to your idea, – crowdfunding. The number of successfully funded projects, only through Kickstarter has now reached over 100 000 and the total amount of money funded to all these projects is today 2.27 BILLION dollars (https://www.kickstarter.com/help/stats). The numbers are impressive, but if you had a really great idea, would you share it with others and use Kickstarter for financial support?

Lets say that you have invented something that you really believe in and that hopefully will revolutionize a whole market. –Would you use Kickstarter or any other crowdfunding community? Probably not, because an idea good enough will most likely attract venture capitalist firms or business angels, that hopefully will serve you with great advice and a lot of money. One problem here is that the entrepreneur need to know how to contact and approach these investors to inquire about financial support and help. If one completely lack information or ambitions to reach out to investors, then crowdfunding probably can appear as a good idea.

Another reason that I see the crowdfunding solution as suitable could be if it is used as a marketing trick, so one idea can gain attention from the existing web traffic on the website itself (in this case www.kickstarter.com) without the need of creating a popular website or social media account of its own. But this could also be an issue as I feel that many inventions asking for funding could benefit from a more serious approach. Appearing on kickstarter, just a click away from the opportunity to fund “naptuckets: the world first pants designed for napping”or “Erotic colouring books for adults” could exclude more traditional and serious investors

My impression is that crowdfunding is not for everyone, but could be an easy way to gain financial support for a fun or interesting idea at start and there is always an opportunity to move on to more serious discussions with possible investors when you already know that there is a market for your idea. The idea in itself is very interesting and it has really gotten my attention since I visit the website every once in while to look for exciting ideas or outrageous inventions. So if you are a disbeliever of the crowdfunding phenomenon, just give it a chance and at least visit www.kickstarter.com and help an entrepreneur with funding or just get some inspiration from other ambitious persons!

 

Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with kickstarter or the naptuckets…

The day after my class (Technology Innovation Entrepreneurship at KTH) visited the Epicenter, I and other two classmates went to the event “Bootstrapping your Startup” hosted there. So, in this post, I am going to tell you about this experience.

bootstrapping your startup (2)

The aim of the event was to provide the audience with experiences and advices of three startuppers who decided to bootstrap their startups rather than ask for financing from VCs or other institutions. We can define the bootstrapping technique with the following sentences: “an individual is said to be boot strapping when he or she attempts to found and build a company from personal finances or from the operating revenues of the new company”. Thus, when speaking about this kind of startups we do not refer to future unicorns, but companies that has to monetize earlier in order to grow.

Peter Russo led the event and acted as a sort of interviewer and presenter; he founded several Startups and now he is involved in the no-profit business, thus he talked also about his own experience sometimes. The interviewed startuppers were three young guys:

  • Fritjof Andersson (Founder and CEO, RelationDesk.com),
  • Therése Gedda (Founder and CEO at 30minMBA)
  • Andreas Andersson (Founder and CEO of DMG Education).

The discussion started with Fritjof, Therése and Andreas talking about their businesses, the first two RelationDesk.com and 30minMBA operate in the B2B business while DMG Education is in the B2C business. Here a brief description of what they do:

  • RelationDesk.com is an online platform to manage customer relationships through the different social media.
  • 30minMBA supports people in developing their business skills when it fits them with leading business concepts based on great books in audio and text on your mobile.
  • DMG Education is an online music school.

In speaking about their first steps they gave some interesting information such as the no salary time, DMG Education was the one with the longest period with no salary that last for one and a half year. When you decide to bootstrap your company, you need to be profitable in a rather short time and thus saving on your salary is quite “mandatory”.

Each of the startuppers focused on something different and repeated it many times during the event. I think it is what they retained their success factor. Fritjof spoke about the importance of finding people, as both resources and customers, to build and develop a network. In particular he spoke about the method used by him of speaking directly with them. Thus, he exhorted the audience to participate more to startup events where it is easier to find the right resources interested in what are you doing. While Andreas continually repeated the importance for its company of Facebook ADS in bringing people to the platform. He did not know anything about it, thus it had to learn. This to say that when you decide to bootstrap it is more needed an enlarged knowledge rather than a specific knowledge of a selected discipline, and to highlight the importance of learning to use new and different tools by yourself. Instead, Therése focused on the role of a common culture in the company and talked about her case to show us an example of how to create it. In particular, she told us that when you cannot reward people through high salaries the climate on the job could fill the gap.

bootstrapping your startup (2)

Later Peter Russo asked about the main tools used by them and if they have any suggestions. Therése replied and cited Dropbox, Buffer, Wilu, and when asked by the audience about cheap accounting tools she suggested Fortknox and Bilogram. Since the audience asked about free tools Therése said that sometimes it could be better to pay some services, because it is fundamental to choose what to outsource and what to do by yourself, even if you are bootstrapping. In particular, it is important to focus on the startup’s core business.

Then they spoke about the choice of having or not an office. While in Fritjof opinion, it is needed to separate personal life and work, Therése simply said that in her point of view the important thing is that the resources can work where they are more productive, also at home if it is the case.

Andreas touched the argument of prioritizing the resources to success and being efficient. Thus, Peter asked them about which is the most crucial resource in their opinion. Fritjof did not need time to think about it and promptly replied the “time”, how to spend your own time without wasting it in doing activities that do not add value or that it is better someone else does. While, again, Therése talked about company’s culture, she also mentioned that a common well defined culture has to be taken into account overall in the recruiting process.

Later Peter Russo moved the discussion to the lean argument: how to be lean, and what they mean with the word lean. Therése cited side thinking and talked about developing together with the clients. Fritjofsaid the same thing enhancing the importance of speaking with the customers before and during product development to better understand how to meet their needs. Thus, he suggested again to use private meetings and, as he said before, to set these meetings during events.

A guy from the audience asked about marketing tools. Andreas said their first growth was mainly coming from Facebook ADS, but that now their best advertising is to add value and use the students as promoter of their services. While Therése used a cheaper way, like simple stickers at events in which their potential customers could be interested about.

Peter Russo later touched the argument about how to convince people to work for you and from the audience someone asked about payment with shares. Fritjof said that the main problem about this way of paying resources are the taxes. Indeed they are not the same in every country, and in Sweden they are too high (70% confronted to 15% in the USA). Secondly, he said you should consider that it will be a long marriage, thus it is important you are sure they are the right people. Then, to reply to Peter question, they all mentioned paying people with “freedom”, “having fun” and other small things that create a nice job climate.

The climate at the event was really informal and relaxed, it was like meeting together speaking and sharing our expertise. I appreciated the fact that the audience was quite active and diversified: there were people of each age, who already started their business and who was interested in doing it with completely different backgrounds. The audience really guided the discussion together with Peter Russo, and this was the aspect that more I enjoyed there.

As we all know, ideas do not appear out of nowhere. The products/services we have today arises from combinations of different ideas. The generation of a new idea today leads to more ideas that could be created in future. Innovation prospers, as people connect and recombine existing ideas into newer and better ideas that can change or improve their lives. However, people have been putting restrictions (e.g. having trade secrets, putting patents/IPs) on their ideas. This seems to be an ironic case because if restrictions are built, it inhibits innovation.

Mr. Musk, the CEO of Tesla, seemed to understand this ideology where he mentioned that the sharing of patents could help to speed up the process of innovation and create more opportunities for Tesla in the electric car market. However, some investors were not exactly happy as they felt patents were assets of the company.

Personally, I felt that the release of patents could be a smart move for Tesla.
1. Tesla could no longer rely on their patents to survive in the market. This forces the company to innovate continuously instead of being complacent. With disruptive innovation occurring at an unprecedented speed, this is important for Tesla if they want to survive in the market.
2. By releasing patents to the outside world, anyone could improve or modify Tesla’s existing design. As more companies enter the electric car industry, newer and better infrastructure might be setup to support the adoption of electric cars. This will provide more opportunities for Tesla to grow their business which may mean good news for them.
3. Also, having patents may introduce lots of lawsuits and cost Tesla lots of lawyer cost and time. By releasing patents free for all, it will save Tesla lots of trouble and allow them to devote more time/money on R&D for the company.

Despite so, the effects of whether releasing patents for public use is beneficial for society can only be seen in the near future. However, companies like Toyota is also following Tesla’s footsteps by intending to release its patents related to fuel cell technology.

In this post, I am going to share my overall experience on course of Open and User innovation and my feedback on our Guest lecture ‘Anna Rosling Rönnlund’, founder of Gapminder.

First of all, the real reason why I have joined this course was that we had one lecture related to Entrepreneurship for Engineers course which was given by Mr. Serdar. In that lecture, I got really impressed by the way he interacted with students. He made us to participate in the class by calling us with our names which was very impressive and unique for me in this European culture of studies. So I made my final decision to attend the course on Open and User innovation, though I did not know the ABC of it.

Being an introvert by nature, I was a little shy during the first few classes. But Serdar was so kind and encouraging that I started to participate in the class. I have enjoyed learning in that class because everyone was so nice and friendly. I really thank you everyone in the class for being so kind and helpful. I have learned a lot from our classmates. They were very confident and informative. Some of you knew a lot about innovation which had inspired me a lot.

Mr.Serdar has a very different way of teaching and dealing with the students. He has answered all the questions very elaborately and clearly and I can say now proudly that I know the basics and core concepts of open and user innovation. It has widened my way of thinking and looking at things in a different way. Most importantly, it has given me confidence and helped me to improve my communication skills which I think would definitely help me in my career.

Now let’s come to the great lecture given to us today ( 2nd December 2015) by one of the Gapminder’s owner Anna Rosling. We met her before the class and I found her very charming and inspiring person. Her colleague Jasper was also very nice. The nice thing was that he was also an EIT ICT student. J. Mr. Serdar introduced us with her by calling us with our names that felt very nice to me.

Anna Rosling started her presentation on Gapminder and DollarStreet Project by showing us very cool pictures and interacting with us by asking some questions included in one of their surveys. That really helped me to understand that our perception on world’s statistics and income or health of people worldwide in different nations is actually wrong. We should have an effective way to visualize the world’s economic conditions based on different nations. Vizabi project is also an interesting project to visualize the data in different forms. Anna showed us the data on different household items used by families of different income levels. I think that data can help us to locate those people and help them to lead a better life. The data generated by DollarStreet can provide opportunities to organizations and agencies to tackle the poverty and other problems in the world effectively.

Last but not the least, it was a great end of the course. This course has provided me a lot of good memories and knowledge and I will cherish those precious moments throughout my life.

Thanks a lot everyone J

 

 

There are hardships that you might face even in the most flourishing times of the most genuine projects you make. Earlier this year, when Arduino.cc wanted to start launching outside the USA, thy faced a legal issue that stopped them from using the name “Arduino”! What they found out is that there exists another company in Italy that are using the name “Arduino” and manufacturing the same boards for the exact same function, and that company was actually the manufacturer of Arduino.cc!

Let’s rewind to clarify the dispute. In 2005, Massimo Banzi and his colleagues founded the Arduno Project and were since then running Arduino.cc. The manufacturers of the boards were Smart Projects SRL (“SRL” is the Italian “LLC”). In April 2008, this manufacturer decided to rename itself Arduino SRL, and claim the rights of the “Arduino” brand in Italy. Two years later, they found about.

Dispute: Arduino.cc VS. Aduino.org (Image source: Hackaday.)

Dispute: Arduino.cc VS. Aduino.org
(Image source: Hackaday.)

 

To work around this issue, Arduino.cc, which still sells under the brand “Arduino” in the US, re-branded the boards to “Genuino“. This way, they continue spreading their project to the world with the proper “maker” spirit, as Banzi puts it.

The rebranding of boards, outside USA. (Source: arduino.cc)

The rebranding of boards, outside USA.
(Source: arduino.cc)

Here is the point of view of arduino.cc:

 

Here is the point of view of arduino.org.

Here is Hackaday’s Blog about the dispute.

 

So, you are the judge. Do you think that the arise of another Arduino hinder the flourishing of the “maker” community or will it actually help it grow?

 

– Sharbel

 

I was reading “The Cathedral & the Bazaar by Eric Raymond” and there I came across a term “Delphi method”. In simple terms, it is a communication method involving experts and one facilitator to solve a problem by doing several rounds of giving opinions and reviewing the solutions until they reach towards a consensus. It is mostly used in making policy making decisions, marketing and forecasting. However, from my point of view, this method is used everywhere and by almost everyone. The only difference is in the roles of experts and facilitator in each scenario. Let me give some examples to clear my point.

A housewife goes to shop for grocery. She sees different brands of teas. She is used to drink one brand A. But there are B and C brands as well which seem very tempting. Now comes the Delphi method. She is the facilitator or controller and experts are his friends who have used brands B and C and the internet which has given information about benefits of the other brands. So by viewing the opinions of experts (friends, internet), she (agent) has come up to the conclusion to buy brand B instead. More examples can be seen easily if we look at different situations from the perspective of Delphi method.

delphi

Now comes the main point of this whole discussion. Can we apply Delphi method in User innovation? As far as my understanding is concerned, I think we surely can.

Delphi method applies in all phases of User innovation. Initial phase of user innovation is always personal itch. While facing some personal problem and trying to find a solution, Delphi method helps the user in reaching towards the final decision of doing innovation or not. Next phase is the developing of innovative product. Here Delphi method can be used to decide which resources will be used in the development process. User can involve his friends or other experts while making the decision or he can do it on its own as well. As the innovation process progresses, more users will be added and they also become the part of this Delphi method in the improvement of the innovated product.

Long story short, I think Delphi method is everywhere and can be used effectively while making important decisions in innovation process.

Regards

Amna

How to Hack your Weekend

 

You never expect when it is time for you to start hacking. No matter whether you are interested in it or not, or you are a born-to-hack maniac or have zero experience, I am telling you, there is a time where you will see yourself… a Hacker! In this blog, I will share my surprising experience in two events, primarily about innovation, that I have attended in less than a week. The second event, which was a competition (a hackathon), will be the main focus.

Startup Pub – Pre-hackathon event:

Last weekend, my plan was almost like the regular “party, play, then catch up on studies and prepare for the next week”, until I attended the Startup Pub event, which was held up in conjunction with TEDx KTH in KTH’s Open Lab on Thursday. In that event, students and entrepreneurs owning startups get the chance to mingle, share their thoughts, and encourage each other to come up with brilliant ideas, as well as different ways to support innovation. Determined to take an active role in this event, I set-up my goals for the night: getting at least two important connections, and a free cider.

Startup Pub Event Banner by Excitera. Source: Startup Pub Facebook event page

Startup Pub Event Banner by Excitera. Source: Startup Pub Facebook event page

I arrive at the event, fairly on time, so despite the long queue, I got the ticket for the free drink, which means one goal was achieved. Now the bigger part was left, the real goal. The night went more interesting than expected; I was not planning to attend it fully mainly because I wanted to get on my daily swimming dose. However, two factors held me from leaving in the middle of the event:  the proper organization and interestingness, and my active participation. Both made me miss my daily swimming dose, but brought to me something more precious, and there are two reasons for that.

First, in the startup pub I met students, alumni, and professionals, all there for a common cause: innovation. Whether they were professionals with their idea rolling, students still in their journey, or graduates trying to shape their roads, it is always good to learn from and share insights with these brains. A major part of the event was the presentations of startups pitching their ideas and encouraging people to join their teams to make their ideas grow. One startup in particular caught
my attention, and was the second reason why I felt staying at the event was worth it.

The logo of Time Village, one of the presenting startups in Startup Pub. Source: Time Village Facebook page

The logo of Time Village, one of the presenting startups in Startup Pub. Source: Time Village Facebook page

 

The second reason why I was lucky to stay till the end is that I learned of a hackathon from one of the startups that were presenting. The startup, Time Village, has a service through which people share their time to practice something which they enjoy and which others are in need of. By providing a platform to find people offering services, such as cooking tasty Indian food or Italian tiramisu, and others requesting services, Time Village aims to connect these people who help each other and get the chance to socialize. The service was still in early release stages, and they wanted to improve it by creating a mobile application as well as growing the service’s user base. This is why Time Village organized a hackathon and named it Time Hack.

What Time Hacking?


Time Hack aimed to allow us as users to create the mobile app for Time Village, since the belief was that we know what’s best should it be like to appear to other users. This is related to user innovation in the sense that the product is shaped by the users, yet, only the best one becomes the official Time Village app. Through crowdsourcing, Time Village combine a great chance for them to get fresh ideas on how their service should be with the chance for the app creators to eventually intern with them and implement the finished app. However, that was not the only result we get from the hackathon.

 

Time Hack Event Banner. Source: Time Hack Facebook page

Time Hack Event Banner. Source: Time Hack Facebook page

Three days of networking, hacking, and networking

Not only did Time hack provide materialistic incentives, but also more valuable emotional ones. The main goal is to improve our experience as innovators, grow our network of both friends and professionals, and have good food, and all of this starts from the first moments of Day 1.

Day 1

The first day of Time Hack was mainly about forming teams and getting assigned the competition details. Teams were formed, and the goal of the competition that we need to build a mobile app for the Time Village service that is currently a web application. Also, there was a Growth Hacker track in which participants find ideas to make the service reach more people. A lot of breaks and mingling sessions made getting our networks stretched from the first day possible. Nonetheless, our team still managed to find time to brainstorm and plan the work for the upcoming day.

Our competing team during the event.

Our competing team during the event.

 

 

Day 2

Most of the work was done in the second day. With the plans and the ideas almost ready, we were ready to begin implementation. Throughout the day, a lot of mentors were roaming around the teams to guide them and share their experiences. The mentors came from different backgrounds: some were technology professionals that provide guidance for the tech side, while others were business professionals who helped better shape the ideas targeting the growth of the service. Also, some mentors provided feedback and tips on our presentations. Furthermore, the team of Time Village was also available to listen to our ideas, give feedback, and direct us through the thought process. And Guess what? All of these were great connections to have!

Networking in one of the breaks during the second day of Time Hack

Networking in one of the breaks during the second day of Time Hack

Day 3

Finally came the last day where the work was recapped and the presentations were finalized. The pitches were all interesting, without exception. This was fascinating yet not surprising since every participant of the event is a great innovator by heart, or at least has the spirit and mindset of an innovator. Knowing that these are the people I am getting exposed to and be connected with was joyful to me. When the announcement of the winner came and I heard our team was called, I began thankful to the fact that I did not miss this hackathon and made my weekend a regular one. Along with our prizes, Time Village was very happy to work with us, and we were encouraged by other valuable offerings. To name an example, there was a sponsoring startup named LunchBack that offers each of us the chance to connect with a professional over lunch based on our wish, which could be seeds for great opportunities.

Our team given the first prize

Our team given the first prize

Was worth it!

After the weekend, I had to catch up on my studies, but this time without the feel of guilt that I wasted time. This time, I had the feeling of pride and achievement: I have moved a step towards building a well-rounded career, full of connections and great experience. Nevertheless, that is not due to winning the competition, but to the overall experience. The joy of meeting great thinkers, whether participants of the competition or professionals, was the real value. This is because the outcome is always positive: whether it is discovering a great talent to work with on an idea, or learning something new no matter how small it is.

Concluding, I think that there will definitely be more Hackathons and competitions to explore, not to repeat the victory but to have the overall experience of networking and improving connections. I missed my swimming session, and it was worth it! What would you miss if you attend a hackathon?

I would like to hear from you about your experience in a hackathon or any similar competition (what were your expectations, what did you learn, etc.). Also, do you think Time Village is innovative? Will it pick up? I would be happy to hear your thoughts.

 

 

-Sharbel