After the hackathon ended, it was time for the conference to start and shine! It wasn’t held at Cluj Hub like the hackathon, but at Cluj Arena, the greatest football field from Transylvania.
So, as you already know, speakers from 8 countries came to the conference. They spoke about Internet of Things , Marketing and Startups , do’s and dont’s. How to grow up a business and what not to do.
And this being said, it began:
Before reviewing every single speech, we want to mention and also thank Philipp Kandal, who was the awesome Chairman and Host of the conference. Thank you very much, Sir, for rocking the stage! 🙂
First speaker on stage was HP Jin, the CEO of Telenav. His story was rather touching. He told us how he started: he grew up in a small town in China, smaller than Cluj, where there weren’t too many schools available and no college or faculties.
He told us that he was passionate about robotics, therefore with more than a little effort he went to Stanford, USA, on a scholarship. He believed in his dream and also fought for it, even though there were many troubles along. He wanted to be among top 10 companies in Silicon Valley. And he made it. Because, as he said: “Persistence is the key. You have to hang there until the market is ready in order to succeed”.
Second on stage, was Marcus Segal. He began his presentation really funny, actually. He was a producer and blew cars in the movies. How awesome is that?
He gave us a brief description about his past, how he got hired by a company called eMusic in 1999. Afterwards, he told us about one of his startups, which he gave up for Zynga. He left in February 2014.
He advised us how to get money for our ideas: from family, friends, Angel Investors or Venture Capitalists. Also, he mentions that you need good people to help you. Marketing is your weakness? Hire a good marketeer. And above all he gives us one important advice: always be realistic.
“The best way to take a project down is to break it into pieces before you go after it.”
He also spoke about the importance of cultural organisation: “You have to create a recognition system. You have to find your athletes and keep them challenged” and don’t forget “Celebrate successes, learn from failures”.
And in the end: “Don’t punish people for failing. They will be afraid to take risks”
Next, on stage was Andy Piper who told us about Internet of Things and API .
What is Internet of Things? It is about signals. The internet of people is about conversations. Twitter is about conversations & people.
Twitter is the shortest distance between you, as an user (@) and what you are interested in (#). Twitter offers you signals. For instance, in England, they have a vending machines that offers you a free t-shirt if you tweet. And also, Andy told us that a colleague of his has a mini device with a LED display, which lights out whenever her name is mentioned (@) on Twitter.
Up next was a panel featuring: Marius Jumolea, Robert Muresan, Dragos Andronic, Tudor Vlad, Simon Obstbaum & moderated by Philipp Kandal. They told us their stories about success and failuers, the troubles they had when opening their business and the reasons they failed.
“This is business, is not a hobby. is business. you need to be realistic about it”
Josef Dunne followed. He told us about Babelverse and how important it is to believe in your product.
Babelverse was born in Greece, because of the incapability to talk with the locals. Was founded by him and 2 of his friends. Since the founding, the three of them felt either success and failure.
Josef told us the importance of trusting your product. He and his friends went bootstrapping, in the extreme way. The most extreme way.
Josef gave us an inspirational speech about startups. You should read more about his story. It’s really great.
Piotr Jaś, the founder of BlaBlaCar was next on stage. As you may know, BlaBlaCar is one of the most popular carpooling services among Europe.
BlaBlaCar started in 2009 and grew up pretty fast. In 2011 it reached its first million of users, and last year, more than 7 milion users used the service in Europe.
There are 13 countries that are covered by BlaBlaCar, and unfortunately, in Eastern Europe, only Ukraine and Russia are
When they decide to enter on a new market, BlaBlaCar analyses lots of aspects. Among the most important is the infrastructure, the mobile internet and of course, last but not least, the price of the gas. The main advantage of this service is to reduce the cost of transportation :).
After the lunch break, the hackathon winners provided us demonstrations of their devices. Look what they did:
- Third Place, Marionette (In other words, using Leap Motion and Google Glass, you can play 2048 in 3D)
- Second Place: Heart Attack Detective (using Withings with an Android app for tracking the heartbeats and giving an emergency call if there is something unusual about it)
- First Place: SecurEye (Using EyeTracker for introducing your pin code into the ATM)
Marius Jumolea was next and he told us how to develop a business and he also shared a few stories about his startup, Visually.
He told us that on the long run, when you develop something, there will be a few compromises you must make. For Marius, the ones who need to be made are those related to time, thinking out of the box and taking risks.
When preparing a product to go out on a market, there are 3 ways of hurrying the process: the quick development, the quick adaptation or the quick delivery. Among the three of them, the quick delivery is the worst, because it minimizes the quality of the product.
Rossen Tzvetkov from Nova Group was the next speaker. He told us about Advertising, about alternative media partnerships in order to have success.
“Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing but nobody else does.”
Rossen spoke about 4 types of media partnerships: affiliations, white label, media for sales and media for equity.
Affiliations is the first form where you are supposed to pay for the services. The advertiser is relying on the media for growing his audience, which will generate sales. Is the simplest form of win-win in terms of advertising.
White label is the program used by the media agency to create its own brand and to make advertising for the client.
Media for sales is the method used by the agency to promote client’s service, with the rights of promoting/selling.
Media for equity is a 360 degrees advertising programs: tv, web, outdoor, mobile, print radio. This is for the big guys.
They talked about strategies, about how to build a successful global product, but from a local market perspective.
Next on stage, was Voicu Oprean, the owner and CEO of AROBS Transilvania Software.
His speech was about his journey from software outsourcing to innovative products.
And then, the ladies took the stage! Next was Lisa Lang who told us about epic (and pretty funny failures), including Steve Jobs. And Colgate. And Tamagotchi.
Why do some products fail? Because the market isn’t ready, she told us.
“At the moment you can tell a powerful story, people will remember you ”
The next tech lady, Fee Beyer took the stage. She represents an accelerator and startup tech incubator from Berlin, named hub:raum. She explained what it means to grow a business in an incubator and how do you get from idea to finance, with VCs.
The domains are: Internet of Things & Connected Home, Multiscreen, Communication & Connectivity, Cyber security, Big
Data, Cloud or health. These trends are a good guideline for the future domains where are huge possibilities of being developed and financed.
Rohan Chandran, former Yahoo executive and current Director of Product at Telenav, talked about developing a product, while having as a main indicator, data analysis. In this type of development, on data analysis, a few rules are very important: everything must be measured, there have to be clear objectives and everything must be predicted.
And not to forget, the product must be constantly updated so it can beat competition. Or at least be on the same level.
Johannes Reck told us about GetYourGuide, the first service that presents touristic informations offered by consumers and not by business clients.
The main purpose of this project was to connect the travellers with the locals, so they can have that unique experience from
Nowadays, GetYourGuide has a varied platform of activities. The good part is that they are classified in two main categories: local needs (like where can one find great food or something like that) or international needs (tickets, renting, and so on).
In the end, it was Semyon Dukach‘s time to enter on the stage. You know Semyon: a professional blackjack who became an Angel investor.
His speech was about his evolution. How he became an Angel Investor and Managing Director of Techstars Boston, from a professional blackjack player. Pretty cool.
So, after all these, there was the party. In My Way. And then, officially, Techsylvania ended. But, no worries! Next year …we’ll be back!