This is our blog where we talk about all the interesting stuff that's going on at HackFwd. Learn more about us on HackFwd.com or watch one of our speakers at PassionMeetsMomentum.com .

11 months ago
9 Sep 2013
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How To Reach Your Users - Ruxandra Dorobantu

In this talk Ruxandra looks at startup marketing, testing and what actually works to promote your site and brand. 

11 months ago
4 Sep 2013
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reblogged from dropifyapp


dropify: Introducing Dropify Download 2.0 →

dropifyapp:

In January 2013, we launched Dropify with the intention of presenting quality free downloads in beautiful and engaging fashion, while helping our publishers get more fans on Facebook. Social integration has always been a key component since day one. However, despite numerous great success…

11 months ago
4 Sep 2013
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Congratulations again to Infogr.am for creating such a fine website that over 1,000,000 infographics have been created!

Congratulations again to Infogr.am for creating such a fine website that over 1,000,000 infographics have been created!

11 months ago
4 Sep 2013
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Sean Seton-Rogers - Rise Of The Micro VC

Filmed at HackFwd Build 0.9 - Berlin March 2012

In this short and punchy talk Sean Seton-Rogers of PROFounders explains how the investment market is responding to today’s lean startups.

PROFounders Capital is based in London and currently has made 17 investments throughout Europe, including Tweetdeck and Made.com. PROFounders has an early stage focus tailored to fit closely with the lean startup way of running a business (check Alex Barrera for a summary of lean startups).

Sean explains that the “old school” venture model was a “staircase” – three discontinuous stages of funding from the initial “friends, family and fools” pool, to the Series A/B/C funders, to the late stage private or initial public offering. This model worked fine for companies that needed several stages of investment, and that could demonstrate traction at each stage. But, says Sean, the lean startup has blown that model out of the water.

Products are now built with small, tight teams. Marketing can be achieved through social media platforms and pay per click advertising. Cloud computing, open source software and powerful platforms like Facebook and Twitter now mean that a company can launch with one tenth of the “old school” level of investment.

The arc of a lean startup is very different from the stage-by-stage growth of a traditional startup. It can be relatively cheap to prove initial traction, and revenue starts coming in early, but there is a sudden steep acceleration in the need for investment around the time that the company matures into a large organisation. The old three stage investment model doesn’t work anymore.

12 months ago
2 Sep 2013
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You can say we love the inspiration and direction of the web!

12 months ago
2 Sep 2013
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As the lead user experience researcher at Prezi Laszlo Laufer talks about usability testing by listening and knowing your user. 

12 months ago
30 Aug 2013
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From this July 2010 talk Anil Hansjee takes a look at Internet Startups And The Ecosystem. 

12 months ago
30 Aug 2013
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Greg Jakacki - How to hire coders

Greg says you should only hire developers who are smart and get things done. Talent is a lot like real estate – even if you know what you need and what you are willing to give in exchange, the talent may not be available. With the people you may want to hire, the situation is similar, and you just have to keep an eye on them. Startups often start by hiring friends but that is very different from hiring strangers. When hiring friends or people you already have a relation with, you want to make their joining as easy as possible and reduce obstacles.

When hiring strangers, you have to attract people. Figure out your strengths, internal and external. Do you use cool technologies in your startup? Highlight that. Does the job offer perks, even if it’s a cool location or flexible schedule? Mention that.

Greg runs Codility, which tests coders, administering short programming tests and checking whether solutions are rock solid. In addition to testing coding, Greg recommends a few other things to test. (Starting at 12:50 Greg goes into detail about testing coders and examining code.)

Ask the candidate to pitch you something difficult. Maybe an idea they have, or maybe their final thesis. If they are able to communicate, they are likelier able to work with others.

Estimation or market sizing questions where the candidate has to think aloud and arrive at a ballpark result, preferable within the right order of magnitude. Examples are questions like “how many international flights depart from Heathrow every day” or “how many liters/gallons of petrol are used in the US daily”. In questions like this, hearing the candidates logic is more important than the answer itself.

Greg finishes off with a number of tips for recruiting and hiring that are worth watching.

1 year ago
28 Aug 2013
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Paulina Bozek - Building Communities Not Content

Filmed at HackFwd Build 0.8 - Berlin December 2011

Paulina spoke about the virtue of building communities before content in here early (9:05 AM) talk, opening the program for the Saturday of the last Build event.

INENSU are focusing on two platforms that cover two inherently social interests: music and fashion. SuperFan, on the Facebook platform, encourages users to share artist-related activity in their timelines. Closet Swap, with Channel 4, encourages users to share their real clothes via virtual wardrobes as part of a campaign to highlight sustainability issues in fashion.

Paulina says that INENSU wants to break free of the “content schedule” model and demonstrates how this can be done. “It would be amazing if we didn’t need a content schedule and we could just think about building the infrastructure to let users entertain each other,” she says. She contrasts the “content schedule” model with the “feature schedule” model that is followed by the defining platforms of our time like YouTube and Facebook. These platforms are so successful, she believes, because they put communities rather than content at the heart of the platform.

She stresses that the idea of social networking is not new, and that we have always turned to friends for recommendations and ideas. The online social network has a stubborn ratio of content creators, curators and lurkers, however. She estimates that around 70% of users are still passive consumers of content (lurkers), 20% are active sharers of content, only 10% actually create content and only 1% create content actively.

The challenge, as she sees it, is to build in easy ways for lurkers to become curators, and for curators to share more. She highlights Tumblr’s “reblog” facility and Facebook’s “like” button as examples of “easy user generated content”. She also explains how the Facebook Open Graph API is opening up new possibilities for “share moments” and the possibilities that this opens up for custom interactions.

“It’s hard not to go back to Facebook and to think about how to use [its] social plumbing and architecture to maximise our own services,” says Paulina. In this talks she identifies what “virality” means on Facebook now, which channels are working for content dissemination, and why fan pages aren’t the be all and end all of user engagement.

Watch the video to find out how INENSU designs its platforms to maximise “share moments” in order to engage, not just the minority who create content, but also the vast majority who curate and consume it.

1 year ago
28 Jun 2013
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reblogged from nickgrossman


Force-feeding startups does not produce foie gras.

— takingpitches - A VC: Valuation vs Ownership (via nickgrossman)