Saturday evening, we are all settling into the "Brasserie" at the Basel train station – another StartupCamp Switzerland (SCS11) is history. Another year of planning for the Camp team, another day of intense workshops, presentations and of course, networking.
So, how was it? Maye I'll give you the numbers first: About 160 attendees made it to Basel's University of Applied Science, who have hosted the Camp for the third year in a row; they saw 20 presentations, workshops and discussions, ate 200 muffins and cupcakes (and lots more) for lunch and one lucky Upstart (who could it be but our Michael?) won an iPad, sponsored by one of the Camp's Gold sponsors, IPS. Oh, and speaking of food: There has been a lot of talk of the SCS11 becoming a Gourmet Camp, with Rahel's Sweet Temptations' Muffins, local catering for lunch, Traktor organic smoothies, mySwissChocolate's new hot chocolate drinks and myMuesli's breakfast cereals. Oh yes, we weren't exactly starving.
Talking now about this past Saturday, everybody in the office agrees that this year probably saw the best quality in presentations so far. Take the "Dirty Tricks" session for example. Gregory observed:
"The session included the mean repertoire of borderline business activities, e.g. buying up thematically related Facebook groups and bombarding the members with your content (rumor has it that one group of 100'000 users went for 100$) or doing constant, but cheap usability testing using Amazon's mechanical turk. The session concluded with the election of the dirtiest entrepreneur in the room. In comparison Amazee felt like an angel."
Gregory also saw our CTO's photography introduction:
"Michael gave an intro in how to use a DSLR camera; from aperture to ISO and catching the emotions to to totally unconventional methods to take photographs - we did it all in 45 minutes!"
I myself attended a discussion panel with our Dania, Marc Bernegger of Amiando, Dominik Grolimund of Wuala, Amir Suissa of DeinDeal and Myke Naef of Doodle talking about growing pains of a Startup. Naturally the panel focussed on human resources and who to hire when and why and when and who to fire. Although this kind of discussion always makes me feel kind of uneasy, it was interesting to see how the debatees talked about their insights openly. It seems that there is no Golden Rule for hiring (or firing), but it also became quite apparent that Startups do encounter similar problems. In my eyes, Dania did a really good job by insisting on the human/philanthropic aspects of keeping a small team closely knit.
My personal highlight (and no doubt a lot of others' highlight) was the drawing workshop of Roland Stahel of Echt Praktisch. He does illustrations and is convinced that it is oftentimes better to visualize than to drown in words. And he says it's okay if you can't draw. That established, he gave out paper and pens and everybody got down to it. It was a fun presentation with even funner drawing action. Well played, Roland!
In one of the last sessions, I presented my opinions on Social Media and Community Management (for Startups). Others will have to talk about this, but you can see my presentation below.
(I know the speaker notes don't show, I'm working on it.)
If you want to reread the Twitter timeline for SCS11, please click here. Pictures of the event are up in the Camp's flickr pool – if you are on flickr and have uploaded images, please drop them there, also. I haven't come across too many reviews yet, here is one from Clemens aka Hofrat (in German). Lukas Fischer of Netnode has uploaded his presentation about the Lean Startup (another popular session, it seemed) to Slideshare. Silvio Krauss of Basel's Startup Academy has also uploaded his presentation to Prezi.
How did you like it? What did you learn? Have you written about SCS11? Let us know in the comments! – And yes, of course there are hints that there might actually be a fourth StartupCamp in 2012. Stay tuned!
- ca. 9400 Fans on Facebook (site active since March 2010)
- ca. 6000 of them in the USA
- 70% women
- Average age 45-54 years
- more than 10'000 participant
- more than 750'000 votes
- Average age 45-64 years
- different needs and reaction in different countries
- period of time should be short
- be aware of cheaters
Last night another Web Monday took place in Zurich. With about 150 attendants it was the biggest Web Monday event to date and shortly had the hosts of Tamedia asking themselves where to seat so many people. But everything ended well, with (almost) everyone sitting down in the souterrain conference room in one of Switzerland's largest media houses.
After Christoph Tonini had kicked the round of presentations off with a short history of Tamedia and an introduction to their various fields of business (online is growing like mad!), Peter Schüpbach of FashionFriends talked about his company and how private sales can turn into a wow experience. – He frankly admitted to stealing the wow strategy from Zappos, but of course, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And it seems to work for FashionFriends: They have loyal customers, a magnificent turnover rate, they sell out massive amounts of brand couture in minutes and they have employees who don't mind to engage in drinking once a week.
The last two presentations of the evening were held by Markus Schulte of Olmero, an enterprise in the contracting business. He introduced us to Renovero, a kind of online exchange for craftsmen services. Here you can check out prices for different services, with enhanced transparency (if I remember correctly. Correct me, if I'm wrong.). Last, but certainly not least was Hervé Flutto of cofundit.com, who presented his funding platform, on which founders and investors are brought together. For me, personally, this was the most convincing talk of the night, if you are in need of money for your young business, especially if you are looking for a gap funding, this might be a place to check out.
After the speakers and extensive question time we all were invited up to the Press Club on top of the Tamedia building, a rather exclusive treat, as we've been told. There, with drinks and some finger food, the networking continued for quite a while. For us Amazeeites, it was a great chance to finally meet Kathryn and Andrew who had just arrived in Switzerland this weekend. Our feelings that Kathryn will be a great addition to our team were confirmed, I think it's safe to say.
There are two blog entries on the Web Monday already, one by Kathryn herself in English and then another one by Nick Weisser of Openstream in German. Last night, Walter Schärer live-blogged the event in four blog posts. You can re-read what's been happening here. As usual, you can find pictures from the event in our flickr stream. If you have taken pictures yourself, please let us know in the comments. If you have uploaded them to flickr, why not tag them with "wmzh" and dump them into the Amazee pool? – Also, Roland Stahel of Echt Praktisch has visualized three of last night's talks, you can find his awesome superdoodles on flickr as well. – For all updates on future Web Mondays, check out the corresponding group on Amazee.
(click to enlarge)
Last night the first Marketing Chuchi of 2011 took place at the Doodle offices. Their Chief Corporate Communicator, Tilman Eberle, gave the crowd of about twenty Marketeers some insight into how the online scheduling service does business. He mainly focussed on ad and sales campaigns the company had conducted over the last year.
The main points that got stuck in my mind: Never only talk about your product. You need to tell a bigger story (in Doodle's case it's the story of how much time is wasted on organizing meetings, or how complicated office workflows can be without a good scheduling tool). – Don't wait for the press to write something about you, write something for the press which they can then work with. – Always make sure you pitch to the right person: Target somebody who has written about your product before, or about a competitors product, or about your field of business activities. – And if you can barter a deal with a media company, go for it. This allows you to operate with even the smallest budget. – People from the Aargau are nicer than the people of Zurich.
I am sure this is by far not everything Tilman talked about, but as usual, it was a very insightful night. The next Marketing Chuchi will take place on February 17, 2011, at the Wuala office in Zurich's Köchlistrasse 15. You can sign up here, if you'd like to attend! – Also, you can find a handful of pictures from last night in our flickr account. And last, but certainly not least, Roland Stahel of Echt Praktisch sketched some of Tilman's thoughts and uploaded them to flickr as well. Awesome!
All over the World the Drupal community will celebrate the coming of Drupal 7 on January 7, 2011. Being one of the leading Drupal-loving agencies in Switzerland, we naturally want to join into the geeky merriness.
Thus we have decided to throw a release party for Drupal 7 in our office in Zurich! Of course the event has to start at 7 (p.m.). There will be beer and some snacks. Also, we might have a short talk about the latest Drupal version, or maybe we will try to hook up with the party animals from other countries' communities, we'll see.
If you want to join the fun, the discussions and the nerdy talk, this is where you'll find us:
Newton (2nd floor, the last wing on the right)
Let us know if you are coming by leaving a comment or sign up here. We're looking forward to having you!
Last Monday it was the 18th Web Monday to take place at the wonderful Hub Zurich. Presentations came from The Hub (working space for socialpreneurs), 28msec (XQuery in the Cloud), Spontacts (connecting likeminded people for leisure activities) and Rolf von Behrens on the fascinating future of social interfaces and personal data stores. Thanks to @Schnitzel for the atmospheric pics.
Michel from the Hub Team (above)
William from 28msec
Christoph from Spontacs
Rolf von Behrens from Swisscom
Philipp from the Silicon Valley Association
Tao from Getyourguide
Hyonjoo from Google
More pictures over here ...
We don't know about you, quite frankly, but it seems that most of us on the team live our lives online, for the most part. I for example start my computer first thing in the morning and shut it down last thing before I go to bed, well, sometimes after I've gone to bed. I have many many accounts on Social Networks through which I follow personal and professional interests or simply stay in touch with friends. Whenever my girlfriend is not around, we Skype whenever we can.
However, I am probably not the lost in the web kind of geek you might mistake me for. I'll trade my online time for a drink with friends any given minute. I like to think of myself as a sociable guy. But there are still people who seriously voice the opinion that the (intensive) use of Social Media like Facebook or Twitter harms your social life, e.g. it kills it. We live in a cold world where everybody grows lonely, these pessimistic souls say (among them such prominent figures as Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands or Pope Benedict XVI.).
All of us here at Amazee Labs have experienced how rewarding and how much fun it can be to use digital Social Networks to organize real life events. Be it the Twittboat, where Swiss Twitterers teamed up to participate in a dragon boat race on Lake Zurich this past summer, or to simply meet up for a casual beer or dinner. Be it the Web Monday Zurich which brings together Web entrepreneurs from all over Switzerland or fun events like this rather peculiar Segway & leaf blower polo.
Just last week the second Avatar Day took place in Basel, Berne and Zurich. Talented photographers (among them our Michael) shot Twitterers from these three towns in seperate events, brought together by digital means. Connected via Twitter walls and livestreams, the participants got a Twitter avatar makeover.
And then there's the daring story of Dutchman Wijnand Boon, who took his Queen's words by heart and decided to prove her wrong. He is currently travelling through Europe (from Leiden in the Netherlands to Santiago de Compostela, Spain to Rome all the way to Jerusalem) with almost nothing but his iPhone, relying on the power of (digital) Social Networks to get him a place to sleep each night and some company. It seems to work, you can follow his story here. Read about his travels in German here.
It seems that the critics are not right, but what exactly are they then? Misinformed? Are they lacking understanding? Maybe. Maybe it would be good if we all tried to demonstrate how Social Media can be used for good and is mostly harmless. There are plenty of possibilities out there. - What is it that you are doing? Have you participated in offline events, have you helped to do good via your online Social Network of choice? Tell us about it!
(Image by Michael.)
Yesterday, the 6th World Usability Day (WUD) with many events all around the World discussing the topic "Communication" also took place in Zurich. The Swiss chapter of Usability Professional's Association (UPA) organized the event and presented a great line up with many excellent speakers, all of this hosted by IBM.
Patrick Grässle (KnowGravity) held a very down-to-earth talk about communication in a project team. He pointed out how important it is to bring people together, to understand each others language and define precise goals. It seems this should be no big deal but in the daily grind many projects fail because of insufficient communication or goals that have not been defined clearly.
Mitch Hatscher (Senior User Experience Designer at Google) came up with the slogan "User Experience Designers are the glue in the team". They should bring together the needs of project management, developers and users. It was very interesting to learn how they work in teams around the World, how they procede and do testing.
Sibylle Peuker (Senior User Experience Architect at Zeix) gave us an outlook into the near future and showed some movies about augmented reality and how this could affect us in the next few years.
Clive van Heerden (Senior Director of Design-Led Innovation, Philips Design) went much further. He does research on how life could be ten to twenty years in the future. You can check out what they do on designprobes.ning.com/.
Rinaldo Dieziger ("Overall Chief" at Supertext) showed us what is important for a good text and what it takes to successfully hard-wire the message into the brain of the user. He illustrated this with successful examples from ad campaigns.
Last but not least Sascha Weisshaupt (Head of Corporate Identity, Swisscom) explained why Swisscom had to become ONE brand (the company resulted from a merger of Fixnet, Mobile, Bluewin and others) and how they communicate in various media. His statement "Brands must learn to loose control and love change" is totally true. What i missed was any information about the direct communication between Swisscom and their clients.
Thanks to Swiss UPA for organizing and IBM for the host!I am already looking forward to the next World Usability Day in November 2011.
Yesterday was the second Tuesday in the month. Nothing special? For Techies in Zurich it is!
It was WebTuesday Time! And this time it took place at our office, since I held a presentation about PHP High Performance and High Availability.
A lot more people wanted to see the presentation than originally had signed up and so our office was very close to a buffer overflow. But the Techies in Zurich are strong guys, so we rearranged the space without any problem.
My presentation was split up in three parts. First I talked about the different stuff we did on Amazee.com to make every single page load three times faster as it was in the beginning of 2010. This contains very different technologies like PHP caching, memcache, CDN, etc.
In the second part I presented which server setup we are using for Amazee.com, to achieve a fast and available platform. With available I mean that I don't need to get up at 2 o'clock in the morning, if a single server dies.
The last part was all about our friends at Amazon. We are using their AWS service to easily scale our platform if more load is necessary for some specific timeframe.
If you are interested in the presentation, here it is!
In the end it was a really great WebTuesday, with a lot of very interesting questions and discussions. If you are interested in attending the next WebTuesday, you need to click here: http://webtuesday.ch/
Last night the good people at Memonic were so kind to host another Marketing Chuchi, the last one for this year. After some wine and cheese (quite appropriate for a Swiss event!), Keren Eldad, the still relatively new Marketing Commander of Memonic (having worked in Ads & Sales for Cosmopolitan and the LA Times before), held a crisp presentation about the differences between old school outbound Marketing and new school inbound Marketing.
Here's the gist: The goals of Marketing have remained the same, only that outbound Marketing has moved more into a Sales direction, while the new school is using digital tools, Social Media mostly. While the whats and whens of applying these tools are subject to the individual product case, it is clear that the game has changed and that new rules are in effect.
After the presentation the attendees engaged in a lively discussion, ranging from the question whether to use Google AdWords or Facebook Ads to the conclusion that gaming may just be the new Social Media.
Thanks to Memonic for hosting and to Keren for presenting! Toni of Memonic has uploaded a couple of pictures to his flickr account (we are nothing withouth Michael!)
We've got the next Marketing Chuchi lined up for January with another interesting presenter from the Swiss scene, we just need to fix the exact date and will then let you know! If you are interested, don't hesitate to join the Marketing Chuchi group on Amazee.