As Curator of TEDxKazimierz I know that the process by which we allocate tickets is a source of many questions, much special pleading and miscomprehension. This post explains What we do and why we do it, and gives tips for those who are keen to improve their chances of getting a ticket.
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2015 TEDxKazimierz Team on Stage

I regret the fact that not everyone who wants to attend can come. In an ideal world we would have unlimited capacity but our wonderful venue has limited capacity (about 230 seats in all).

We will have a  live stream, and we upload talks onto the TEDx Channel on Youtube.

The idea of audience curation in general is explained in the TEDx Organiser guidelines.
Because we cannot give tickets to everyone we  allocate tickets according to some rules and on the basis of information provided in the application form.   The form is the vital part of our audience curation process – before filling in the form please read these instructions. here is our FAQ
1. Why do I need to apply ?
The TEDxKazimierz team and our speakers have invested a huge amount of time for free to make a wonderful event. We want precious places at the event to go to people who we believe will contribute the most on the day – and do the most with the experience and ideas we give them.  We want people who commit to being positive and making a contribution, who will spread the word about what we do, use the talks and inspiration in their work and community, and who can persuade us that if they make a promise in their application they will keep it.
2. What are the components of a good TEDxKazimierz application.
– A sentence describing yourself, what you do and where you are from. We welcome diversity of age, nationality, background.  There are places for normal people too – for 20-25 year old Polish students – but if (for example) you are a Grandmother from Panama, running workshops in prisons –  you will bring diversity to our event – and it will be an honour to have you at our event.

– A sentence or two about why you want to come and how you will use the experience both to benefit yourself and more importantly other people.  Think about how you we can verify that what your saying is true. (for example if you say, I will write an article for my School Newsletter about the event, and send you a link, and post it on my Facebook wall, it suggests you are serious. (and we can check up on you 🙂
 –  information about your past activities and current position which shows you are “for real” (if you are) and suggests you are likely to be able to deliver your commitments. If you were active in a  student body, or run a training programme, or write a popular blog let us know.  Give us links, let us check you out.

– anything else that you think should encourage us to give you a ticket.    For example one TEDx applicant wrote “I’m raising two small children with little support. TED and  TEDx stops me from going crazy  – and I talk to my children about what I am learning even though they are a bit young to understand, I’ll do everything and anything I can to be positive and make a contribution on the day”. She got her ticket.

3 Doesn’t this make TEDxKazimierz elitist?

No. We are anti-elitist.  We don’t give tickets to people with important job titles, but to people who have a sparkle in their eyes, and who have a positive “can do” attitude.  We disciminate positively towards the characteristics all applicants have some influence over: To people who want to make the world a better place –  who will come to our event determined to contribute and make the day special, not just “sit there” expecting to be impressed.

Furthermore, you are trusting us with a day of your life. We don’t take you for granted. The success of our event is measure by the way attendees/participants feel about their experience. We don’t just aim to make sure you feel it was a great way to spend your day – we want you to tell people it was one of the best days in your year (or even your life)..

 4 What you shouldn’t write on your form. Don’t be arrogant, rude or hostile. Every year there are people who don’t take the process seriously. We are serious about giving you a wonderful day, so don’t be surprised if assuming you deserve a ticket doesn’t work.

5. Who decides? Several members of the TEDxKazimierz team review all the applications and vote.

6. Why do I have pay ? The price of 29 zloty is very low for an all day event with foreign speakers.  We are pre selling low priced lunches, and the ticket money goes on this. We also believe that paid tickets will reduce the horrible experience of “no shows” where people who were lucky enough to get  a ticket didn’t show up thus depriving others of a chance to experience a wonderful day.   

7 Who pays for TEDxKazimierz ?
We cover our costs with generous financial support from Urząd Marszałkowski Województwa Małopolskiego and one other sponsor. other sponsors give “in kind” support, free badges T shirts etc, .  Our biggest cost is the venue, (which we get at cost,  and speaker travel costs)  We are not allowed to pay them, and because they know we all work for free, they are ready to giving their time for free.
     
8. Why are you not releasing all the tickets at once?  We don’t want to have a situation where people who are out of town for a few days miss the chance to apply.

9. If I don’t get a ticket will I be able to watch on line or with other people?
Yes we will have a live stream, details will be posted on the website and social media, and if there is demand we may organise viewing parties. If you don’t get a ticket we will tell you about the viewing party option.

10. where can I find out more about TED, TEDx-s and TEDxKazimierz   

Our main flagship web page tedxkazimierz.com
TEDxKazimierz blog http://blog.tedxkazimierz.com
TEDxKazimierz Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/315044671995229/
TED and TEDx Fans in Poland group, www.facebook.com/groups/TEDxFansPoland
Follow the/TEDxKazimierz page www.facebook.com/TEDxKazimierz page
Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/TEDxKazimierz
Watch talks from our 2015 event 
Sign up for our newsletter
Other ways to engage with TED
What is TEDx all about http://www.ted.com/tedx/events

Make a profile on TED.com https://auth.ted.com/users/new

Other TEDx-s 
special respect to the 1st  TEDx in town  www.tedxkrakow.com

 

May 2016

“Hi Richard, can we grab a coffee – I love to get your feedback on my business idea to do X in Y –  and show you my product.
We  urgently need small investment of $100K due to our first customers being late in deciding to buy/ to keep us going as we get close to going global. It’s a billion dollar market. Don’t miss out.
Joe Doe –
Interplanetary Awesomeness Officer and Founder
Creepaability-aka-dontknowthefuckwhatthisisallabout.com ”


I get a version of this  kind of note  from time to time.  I have taken the worst bits from different messages to make a truly awful message. I hope this post encourages those who write to investors to reflect on their approach. 
This is what I think and feel, what I write back, and some reflections.

What I think and feel
0. not again.. 🙁
1. Coffees are for drinking – not grabbing. Grabbing is rude. and you might spill it.
2. I don’t care what I or you think about the product. I care about the problem it solves and what customers and potential customers/users think.
3. If you urgently need money, you are bad at planning (of course businesses, people, and startups can and will run out of cash,  but if you don’t realise this sounds terrible, you are probably not smart enough to be my partner)
4. $100K is not a small amount of money. I was well paid when I earned $1500 month net in my best paid job (25 years ago) before I went into business on my own account.. It would have taken me 20 years to save $100K. If you think this is a small amount, I don’t really trust you to spend it carefully.
5. Blaming customers for being late sounds like a stupid attitude.  If they haven’t bought anything they are not customers anyway
6. Money should be for specific actions, not “keeping us going”.
7. Going global makes sense once we have a proven product that clients love. There is no evidence of that so far.
8. What is a billion dollar market?
9.  Don’t rush me.
10. Silly job titles repel me.
11. If I invite him/her to Open Coffee they will probably tell me it’s too early in the morning and I’ll never hear from them again.:-)
12. I respect and admire entrepreneurs and hustle so I will try (hard) to be nice.

What I write 

Dear Chief Awesomeness Officer,

Thanks very much for approaching me.

Best is to come to Open Coffee Krakow ockrk.co/faq and we can chat after that.

I trust that you are OK with open feedback and if there are things about your idea I don’t like you’ll want me to tell you.do send me a Linkedin invite so you can see more about me and vice versa

Please answer the questions in this blog post I wrote a few years ago so that I can be more helpful to you during the meeting.  Tell me how you are going to make money, what you would spend my investment money on, and what I get in return.  It doesn’t matter much what I think  about your idea. What really matters is:
what clients and potential clients think about your idea
what pressing problem you think you are solving.
what your costs will be
how many months you can survive before you run out of money in the worst case scenario.Good luck and see you next Open Coffee Krakow

Richard

Reflections

A lot of inexperienced entrepreneurs have read an article somewhere full of “fake it till you make it” type BS and imagine that a stupid angel can be duped into handing over money. It’s not a great way to approach me. I’ve made lots of mistakes and am not that smart but I don’t like being patronised.

It’s important to think and reflect before sharing my feelings. I really want to help entrepreneurs

Getting Linkedin details enables me to figure out what sort of history they have.  Past actions (and inactions) give a great insights into someone’s potential.. )

Maybe there are people out there who respond well to the intro above?  If anyone reading this found an investor this way. I stand corrected. The beauty of a free society is that there is more than one way of operating.

May 2016

Mateusz Paszkiewicz lecture at Social Media Thursday in Białystok photo Paweł Tadejko-2

Mateusz Paszkiewicz lecture at Social Media Thursday in Białystok

I tracked down Mateusz as a result of my search for Snapchat experts. He made clear that Snapchat is not his “only thing” but this interview is focussed on Snapchat. My questions in bold

Please describe what Snapchat is and is becoming to someone who has not really got the concept yet

Snapchat is a 100% mobile application which is very specific. Content which we publish disappears after it was watched, read or published on MyStory (in 24 h) It’s a place where people communicate mostly by photos and videos, in a very creative ways (filters, special effects, drawings).

You can communicate directly with people (personal message, chat, video/audio call), show your stuff to everybody by publishing content on stories, watching Live Stories from events or different places or consuming high quality content made by Publishers on Discovery (Mashable, BBC, MTV, National Geographic and more).

Snapchat is very innovative, constantly growing and reaching more adults. Bigger players like Facebook are copying some of it features (QR Codes, Slingshot, poke, self-destructing messages in Messenger)

Why do you think it is experiencing such growth, to start with people said it’s for teenagers who want to be somewhere their parents are not. but is this still true?

Most of new platforms have started from youngsters (Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, MySpace). Somewhat it’s a natural cycle, young people have time and want to experiment, check new places build their own world far away from parents, teachers and other relatives.

I think that youngsters feel very comfortable with “disappearing content”.

Snapchat also provides very creative tools: you can draw, put emojis and stickers, put some filters, make face change with your buddy or with a person from the photo – isn’t that cool?

If you look on youngsters world it is very dominated by smartphones and this is 100% mobile app, which take whole screen of your mobile device.

And why Snapchat is experiencing such a growth? It’s a hard question because I believe that there are no simple answers. For me Snapchat has put some innovation on the market in terms of mobile (photo/video) app world, go 100% in vertical, experiment with new stuff, 100% mobile. I think it fits well to new generation.

On the other hand demography of Snapchat user is growing so it’s only a matter of time when more and more adults wills start using this app.

The “wake up call” is often discovering that a major rival or competitor is establishing a following on Snapchat. How easy is it to find your competitors and business partners on Snapchat ? What are the simplest rules and tools?

You have to see it outside Snapchat on other social channels because if you don’t know account name of the brand, you won’t find it.

Now is a very good time to bring your brand to Snapchat.. Figure out your communication on that channel, think if your target audience is there. Do you know what kind of stories you want to tell people via Snapchat and would they be valuable for your audience.

If your answer is “yes” then get stuck in: there is a lot to win. Many brands are waiting for “perfect moment” where they will have advanced analytics and some gurus will tell you – okay it’s safe now, you should go there, it’s working! But then you will miss a lot of opportunity to steal a march on your competitors, user engagement and interaction.

Actually people really care about stuff that you are posting, they are looking at stories, adding new accounts, checking it out. But nothing lasts forever, especially user attention. I remember some years ago how many people in Poland liked everything on Facebook, you wrote “I need 300 people to reach 10 000 likes on my page, please help” or how many new people we add to our friends – people use to do that.

If you try do it now, it’s very different. The platform changed, we changed, our level of excitement went down, and we are much more selective. That’s why watching the market for attention, and knowing when to go with something new is important.

What kind of benefits do companies and individuals derive from establishing a good Snapchat presence. What are the challenges when analyzing competitors’ Snapchat presence. How do you go about it?

Snapchat is a platform where you can bond much more deeply with your community than on other channels.

Second, people are spending a lot of their time there. It’s fresh, new, there is still a big field to do something as a first or create your own way/style. The two biggest assets of Snapchat are user engagement and attention – things that marketers are struggling for every day.

I don’t think that Snapchat will dominate other communication channels, but it will be a great one to provide a different way of communication, Closer & more creative and authentic (even if you use mask filters, you can’t prepare your content before).

I think that biggest challenge is to know how many people saw the stories of your competitors. Some big brands making the mistake of chasing numbers by hiring influencers to make stories for them. This makes a spike in interest, but after that nothing happens on their Snapchat channel or it is simply weak, because the marketing team behind it doesn’t have any idea for consistent communication. It’s a huge waste of money unless part of an integrated plan.

Making an impressive Snapchat video is a bit of a challenge for a Snapchat “newbie”. If he or she is not there in a professional capacity, it doesn’t matter so much as it temporary. but if you are a personal brand, or a company, then it’s a stress, a little like Periscope. What are the options ?

Yes, you are right. A lot of marketers or people who are celebrities are afraid of new things, don’t have too much time or are just romantic about their old channels and don’t see need to be at the front.

For a serious brand or personal brand it is good to contact person who is a specialist (like me ) Should they be on Snapchat at all (is their target audience there, or will they be soon), if yes, They should learn the mechanism the DNA of the platform or find someone to teach them.

A lot of people are stressed with live content (Periscope, Facebook Live) and I respect that, it’s not for everybody. With Snapchat you always decide if you want to publish photo, video or drawing after you made it. A disaster does not have to on line.

There are few tips for personal brands:

– contact with somebody who has practical knowledge about Snapchat

– check the most famous Snapchat users, see how they are using this channel

– experiment, see what works for you the most, how you feel with it, do you want to do it

– set your goals and discuss with experienced professionals

Brands:

– contact with somebody who have practical knowledge about Snapchat

– is your target audience on Snapchat ?

– what value you want to provide – fun, education, ‘behind the scenes’ stories. Other…?

– think and decide how Snapchat can be part of your communication strategy

– set your goals and discuss with experienced professionals

– review what resources do you have. Can you sustain regular content?

What are the dangers of an unprofessional Snapchat presence., it is better to have a fewer and higher quality or doing them daily even if not so well ?

That depends if you are a brand or a person. I mean from user perspective Snapchat is a platform which gave you a lot of flexibility, it’s not about perfection (that’s why probably a lot of people like it). It’s about moment in time, people use it to communicate with their friends.

From marketing perspective (brand). It’s not about perfection too, but about value. What interesting content you have for your existing and possibly new audiences. Why somebody should give you 30 seconds of their time to watch your stuff. For example if you are and operator for Formula1 Snapchat be where the action is: on the F1 Championship, make takeovers by top drivers, go to Pit Stop – just create your little show around it. Have a concept, but left a lot of space for flow and creativity.

The biggest mistake for brands is just – being boring, don’t have any concept or leaving your whole communication for few big and expensive shots with influencers. You put them on, make an impact– get many new followers – but then what? Consistent planned communication matters.

You just have to know how to use the energy of an influencer for your brand, not only for stats and numbers of followers. Think about building community around your consistent activity – not just around one show.

Mateusz at Marketing & Technology event in Poznan

How often does someone need to post a Story if they are going to be effective, and how much time does someone needs to devote to making a good Snapchat story?

It depends on what kind of brand are you, what is your target, how much resource you have. Ideally it is every day. For some brands it’s much easier to create content, others need to think more about the concept.

A good Snapchat story is not the most complicated or the one which takes most time.

Is the one that is most interesting for your community. It’s different for each branch, because it’s easier to create a good story from event, backstage, makeover then create a concept for specific day with specific content.

What are the key features of a good Snapchat story, and what mistakes do you see most often.

Good practice:

– idea

– be authentic

– creative – use different tools

– provide value – think about your community and their time

– be consistent

Mistakes

– publishing everything around you without thinking “ I’m going to work…. “ I’m making a coffee . here is my office..” might be interesting once if the theme is … my working day

– making snaps horizontal (if there is no need or idea around it)

– no idea/concept for your activity

Once someone has committed to Snapchat and the content is live, should they start promoting it right away, or wait until they it is achieving their objectives? Once they are ready for promotion, where should they do it?

That depends on the story. If the story will have sense from first or second snap I prefer to start it promoting right away. If you are creating stuff which need a one third, half of full story to make a sense I will create it ASAP and then start promoting it on different channels. It’s all about context for people who will join you and have the first impression.

If someone objects to making Snapchat content at considerable expense and seeing it disappear, what can they do to keep it alive on other channels.

Download it to your mobile as soon it will be ready or make print screens to put it on different channels. It all depends how you want to use it. After that you can upload it on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram or in other places.

How do you expect Snapchat marketing to evolve as Snapchat starts to monetize its traffic.

That depends what kind of features they will make live. But I think that next big steps will be opening advertisement panel for more countries (ads, Discover, more local Live Stories) sponsored filters, graphic effects and creating some cool features for brands to tell stories.

I think that Discover and Live Stories have much more power when they are put in context of specific country (geolocation). More people will care about Discover if they could check information close to where they are or are from. The same with Live Stories. So I see some interesting points in that.

One thing I’m sure of and I think the Snapchat team agree about is that you have to implement advertisement in the smart and not too commercial way. People don’t like attacked with advertising. It’s business of course, so that you have to balance it somehow and be smart.

Check out Mateusz’s web page here 

or his Linkedin Group for Snapchat Business

matpaszkiewicz.com

matpaszkiewicz.com

 

Richard Lucas April 2016

When I was approached by Toptal, a blue chip and highly successful outsourcing firm backed by top VCs to host a post from their blog, I speculated about how Kraków might look through the eyes of their community,

I know about Toptal from listening the the awesome Mixergy.com – a podcast by Andrew Warner where he does insightful interviews with successful entrepreneurs.. Toptal are a regular sponsor of his show. They provide top class developers to entrepreneurs, and solve the recruitment problem. From what I can tell Toptal  competes on quality rather than price.

So talented Toptal Developers and entrepreneurs, what can I tell you about Kraków Poland?  

It’s more than the top outsourcing destination in Europe.

Many global companies have put RnD centres here. If you want to know about investment opportunities, and potential sources of clients, check Krakow Silicon Valley – Why not talk by Ramon Tancinco of Cisco , the OMGKRK portal and its group on Facebook Aspire and Open Coffee Krakow

OMGKRK Facebook April 2016

Although Google for Entrepreneurs has moved a couple of hours north to Warsaw, T-Mobile’s Hub.raum and other co-working centres lead a very dynamic Startup scene, and every startup needs a CTO and development team.

“We did not come here for cheap labour”  said Wojtek Burkot – when Head of Engineering at Google Krakow, “we came for Talent”. With EY Entrepreneur of the Year competition winner, Codewise, Estimote – world leader in iBeacon tech, Brainly – a leader in social learning, and Base leader in Mobile CRM, Kraków is bursting with high profile startups. Azimo – valued in 2015 at US$100 million – is here too. Innovation Nest, led by Piotr Wilam – founder of Onet.pl Poland’s Google/Yahoo hybrid supports the startup community

There area plenty of opportunities, plus Krakow is reckoned to be one of the top places in Europe to live – and visit for tourists which dynamic nightlight, numerous restaurants, lovely old town as well as the booming economy.

Come on over – Toptal visitors. If you are an entrepreneur – it’s a serious place for business as well as a great place to live and work. If you are a freelance developer and want to be somewhere cool, relatively inexpensive and fun while working for global clients, Krakow is awesome from April-October. If you are looking for “cheap developers” it’s the wrong city.
Krakow is great value for money, a good place to find clients, investors, business partners,people and technology, but not cheap.
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by Richard Lucas March 2016

Most of the information in this article comes from an interview with Jenny Chen of WalktheChat  (details below). Thanks to her for sharing her time.

 

WeChat

WeChat is a leading mobile Chinese Social Media platform which combines the features of many of the most popular global social media and e-commerce platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Skype.  As the name suggests –  the basic function is Chat but  users can also have a website, pay a bill, book a taxi, make a phone call (from January 2016 to landlines and mobiles), buy and sell, and play games. The mobile aspect is very important. For many users it is their gateway to the internet. Companies have official Wechat  accounts. Games are big in China, and a lot of their users are gamers. The last time WeChat published figures they had 650 million active monthly users.

WeChat is relevant for both B2C and  B2B businesses. Although it is primarily for the Chinese market, a lot of Chinese users living in other countries use it.  Users can use WeChat Wallet to transfer money among friends without transaction fees.  WeChat charges 0.6% transaction fee for businesses collecting money using WeChat payment.  For more detailed and impressive information about Wechat read here

A Wechat store can be set up for free, and as many users never leave WeChat this is pretty obvious move if you want to reach clients in China.

Five free and popular stores are  YouShop (微店)www.weidian.com/ Youzan (有赞/口袋通) http://youzan.com/ JD.COM (京东微店) Lewaimai 乐外卖 www.lewaimai.com/ and  VD (V店) http://www.vd.cn/ for full analysis of the features of each read an  excellent review here

Foreign brands can struggle to market on WeChat.  Great content is important.  Applying the same marketing strategy as on Facebook and Twitter accounts isn’t going to work.  Promotional content can easily leads users to unfollowing the WeChat account. Content has to be of direct benefit to users to be effective.  There are tremendous challenges to keep content relevant, brands should identify the main influencers among their readers, and give them access to VIP groups,  providing services like package tracking,  loyalty cards, and ordering systems to keep followers engaged and using the site. They should  target readers by gender,  geography and their reading preferences, they should  work on article design, using surveys to make sites more interactive and to better engage users. Sometimes it is better to build a presence on less competitive platforms and then migrate to WeChat later. more detail about this topic here

The Chinese market is one of the biggest in the world and highly competitive. As with other countries consumers appreciate value for money, high quality and keen prices. At the same time expensive wine in top venues in major cities can be over 10K Euro for a bottle. Big spenders still exist, even after the crisis.  For companies whose products are suitable for the Chinese market, a store on WeChat may well be part of their market entry strategy.

WalktheChat helps foreign companies establish their presence on Wechat.  It was was established Thomas Graziani,   a Frenchman living in Beijing, Jenny Chen joined the board shortly after.  WalktheChat has been effective in finding its own clients through content marketing, a high quality blog, a good website, and get found through SEO and Google searches. They also ran viral marketing campaigns on Wechat account which are highly effective. Their services are viewable here www.walkthechat.com

Check out Bohan.pl for more information about doing business in China

 

 

Richard Lucas March 2016

Introduction

Michal Kalina — former Social Media specialist at one of Krakow’s most dynamic seed funds Innovation Nest has been Snapchatting for a while during his travels. Now he’s showing backstage of creating his web&mobile development company Kolektiv.

The growth of Snapchat has been likened to that of Facebook in 2007/8. Gary Vaynerchuk has been really pushing Snapchat as being at a breakthrough moment., and high profile figures like podcaster Johnny Lee Dumas are paying attention as in this 26th February Gary V Show. 

For early adopters of emerging social media platforms, and marketing professionals who believe that there are land grab possibilities to get the best seats before the majority arrive, Snapchat is high on the agenda.  However, a developing a professional and coherent presence on Snapchat without spending a fortune is a challenge. I took the time to talk to Michał about his perspectives

Please describe what Snapchat is and is becoming to someone who has not really got the concept yet

Snapchat is a new wave social media platform for sharing videos and photos via smartphone. In previous years becomes popular among youngsters. Now used by celebrities, newspapers, brands & normal people to tell their everyday story –  often known as vlogging. According to Wikipedia, Snapchat has gone through 7 Billion daily video views in February this year  

Content is given in a more convenient way,  and is richer in emotions, than a tweet or post. It is a place where professionals can show the backstage to their work & brands expand their social engagement on a daily basis.

Why do you think it is experiencing such growth?  To start with people said it’s for teenagers who want to be somewhere their parents are not.. but is this still true?

Well, I think it was an important factor but just in a beginning. Most importantly Snapchat is the first platform that fixed the problem of mobile videos. Facebook, YouTube, not even Instagram have solved this problem. If you have seen a funny YouTube film called ‘Vertical Video Syndrome’ where the main character says ‘Say No to Vertical Videos’, now it’s out-of-date mostly because Snapchat existence. Snapchat means I say ‘Yes’ to vertical videos!

Another reason is that Snapchat democratized video editing. You don’t need to learn any special tool. Just record a video, add text or emoji & upload it. If you do it few times in a row, your film is done & already uploaded, it makes you feel brilliant. It’s fast, live & real. That’s how social media works nowadays – it catches the spirit of the times.

The “wake up call” to getting interested for professionals is discovering that a major rival or competitor is establishing a following on Snapchat. How easy is it to find your competitors and business partners on Snapchat ? What are the simplest rules and tools?

It’s for pioneers right now – that’s why it is the best time to get into this platform. Once it will be easy, that’s already too late. There are some agencies but we’re in early days. Check out:

http://vaynermedia.com/  https://naritiv.com/ http://www.grapestory.co/  It’s not 

What kind of benefits do companies and individuals derive from establishing a good Snapchat presence. What are the challenges when analysing competitors’ Snapchat presence. How do you go about it?

Attention –  In today’s world is extremely hard to get attention. We’re bombarded with content. Even if something is interesting for us, we put it aside to ‘watch later’… which of course we don’t get round to. One thing that’s unique for Snapchat is that users really consume content and give attention to what they’re watching because it expires after 24h. They won’t have a chance to watch it later.

There is no set standard in Snapchat strategies yet. Remember that your competitors are experimenting. If you start to copy their behaviour,  you’ll miss better format ideas that fit  your customers and brand. So follow them, be aware of what they do,  try to learn from  their mistakes, apply the best of their formats, but also experiment a lot with your own style.

Making an impressive Snapchat video is a bit of a challenge for a Snapchat “newbie”. If someone is experimenting as a private individuals it doesn’t matter if they make a bit of a fool of themselves.   It doesn’t matter that much, it is temporary. But …. if you are a personal brand, or a company, then it’s a stress, a little like Periscope. What are the options ?

If you don’t take a risk in this medium, you risk even more, because you are losing a chance. Don’t worry about making impressive videos, make real ones. It’s not Vimeo or YouTube. Snapchat is all about short, somewhat messy content. That is its beauty. Show your audience a real you/your brand and people will like you more and forgive you all mistakes.  If you want to outsource to professionals, we (Richard, Michał and our network of super talented Central European specialists) can probably help.  

For example: During my recent 4 months trip to India I showed the backstage of my trip by making short Snapchat videos. I used them to show the people I met, the challenges and adventures I had along the way etc. People who love  traveling got involved in my Snapchat stories because they could feel with me how it was to be a lonely traveller in exotic country. It’s was a compelling alternative to a travel blog.

For example: If you’re running a gym. Make a daily video with short exercises for today. Give your audience some tips how to make a good workout. Bring them value & you’ll attract your target group.

What are the dangers of an unprofessional Snapchat presence. Is it better to have a fewer and higher quality or be doing them daily? Here’s my warning of  what might  happen in your don’t know what you are doing

Snapchat users are much likely to watch amateur videos than a professional campaign but I don’t mean that as a CEO you should start Snapchatting from tomorrow, making yourself look fooling in front of staff, clients and competitors may not match your brand image.  It takes time to learn.  It’s good to get training before you post your first videos if you have a brand that might be damaged by something unprofessional. If you don’t want to do it yourself,  hire someone who understands the medium and has some demonstrated experience. Otherwise you may well fail, making unnatural, over long content.

How often does someone need to post a Story if they are going to be effective, and how much time does someone needs to devote to making a good Snapchat story?

You don’t necessarily need to do it daily. But at least 3 times a week is recommended. Otherwise your audience won’t get used to the idea that your stories are out there. If viewers like your stories, you’ll want to keep them nurtured, and in the habit of coming back.

There is no good answer for how much time you should spend on making stories. Some of my snaps took me 10 minutes to shoot, others hours of preparation –  2 hours of shooting – like this video I made about murals in Krakow. If your time is valuable it may be cheaper to work with someone so your involvement is minimized.

output_c7DBms

Another example this: 10 minutes of shooting, 9 months of preparations

Dangerous_Sneezing

or here

What are the key features of a good Snapchat story, and what mistakes do you see most often.

Be bold. Be short. Be simple. Play with text & visual effects. Use colors.

Don’t talk a lot. I made this mistake many times. I really wanted to explain everything & I recorded 5 videos with my face. That’s boring 🙁 .

Once someone has committed to Snapchat and the content is live, should they start promoting it right away, or wait until they are are it is achieving their objectives? Once they are ready for promotion, where should they do it?

I was experimenting with Snapchat since June 2015 & didn’t promote my content. I think my opinion is clear. I learnt how to use it & now I’m ready to promote my stories. If you have a professional social media team they will have multiple channles across which to promote your Snapchat. (Instagram, mailing list, Facebook, Twitter etc etc)

If someone objects to making Snapchat content at considerable expense and seeing it disappear, what can they do to keep it alive on other channels.

Well. You can make a collage with other materials. It is possible to upload your Snapchat content onto Youtube and Facebook if you know what you are doing.  Adidas did this with Karlie Kloss.

Or you can just simply upload your Snaps on YouTube & promote them. Here are some of mine.

Crazy pilgrims in India

https://youtu.be/POr5NiRAiow

The Highest Building on Earth & Me

https://youtu.be/CNw_AdXdCvM

The Best Drummer & Me On Stage

https://youtu.be/StWAZD-GhzM

How do you expect Snapchat marketing to evolve as Snapchat starts to monetize its traffic.

As a brand there will be even more ways to get attention but it will cost you money & effort Evan Spiegel(Snapchat CEO) told Bloomberg  They will put a lot of effort to make their ads as good as regular content if not  better. So don’t expect to put a low quality banner on Snapchat in the near future. It won’t work.

Remember. Be simple & authenic. That’s what matters on Snapchat.

You can reach me on Snapchat @MichalKalina or add here

Take photo with your Snapchat profile & see what happens.

Thanks a lot Michał

snapcode-blog

From my point of view – I’m 100% convinced of the value, and am assembling a team of people who know about Snapchat

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I am a Newbie. Do follow me but don’t expect Michał’s level of professionalism.

Posted on February 24, 2016

Richard Lucas

Towards the end of February 2015 I migrated this blog onto Richardlucas.com and posted “The Last Post” blog  where I wrote that it would be the last post ever on this blog (unless I changed my mind). Like a Zombie, this blog has come back to life.

zombie

I am not sure if I will post here again, but something is happening that might be of interest to WordPress bloggers. The stats for the old blog on WordPress are solid but not stellar   – around 1000 visitors a month on average. The most popular post by far being Letter to a new business partner  which still get 20-40 views a day.

Traffic on the old richardhlucas.wordpress.com blog

Traffic on the old richardhlucas.wordpress.com site

Traffic on the old richardhlucas.wordpress.com site

I am no technical wizard but it seems surprising that with no new posts since February, traffic on the old site seems to be higher than on the new.

An old Google Hack from my past was a way to show the number of inbound links –  a key concept in Google Page Rank. I don’t know if it still is accurate or significant, but it shows  287 inbound links to the old blog.. link: https://richardhlucas.wordpress.com  used compared to a Stellar 1 to the new  – admitttedly from the  ultra high value late and much lamented Economist’s Eastern Approaches  blog  –

link:www.richardlucas.com  links only to The Economist’s inbound link to my site, whereas

link: http://www.richardlucas.com has over 100,000 (note that E.L – the author of The Economist’s article is TEDxKrakow and TEDxKazimierz speaker, Economist journalist and author –  Edward Lucas, my admirable and brave big brother)

 richardlucasblog

Traffic on the new Richardlucas.com blog 

The question are?

Why is traffic on the old WordPress site higher and and on the new site lower?

Was it a mistake to change?

Is there some means to improve traffic on the new site?

I’m going to post this on both my old blog here  and the new and try to compare the traffic to both, and send a link to this post to my WordPress consultant Rafał.

My business partner Pawel thought that it might be because WordPress does a good job of indexing blogs hosted on its site.

Anyone with other ideas about what may be going on is welcome to get in touch. Whether the Zombie will return to its resting place depends on what I what I find out.

by Richard Lucas

February 2016

 

I’m writing this post on the invitation of Jenny Belotserkovsky – one of the co-founders of Jews For Entrepreneurs.

The route to this blog post started with a Mixergy podcast  – where I heard Max Shevakov being interviewed by Andrew Warner on, the home of the upstart entrepreneur.  Max was talking about how he had built up and sold his business lending lenses to photographers.(Mixergy is a great resource for bootstrapping entrepreneurs – better than business school –  I gladly pay  $200 for my subscription and also another $400 as a gift to the founder of a recent investment). Once again for those who don’t know about the incredible resources available from the world of English language podcasting   try Googling “x and best Podcasts” where x = something you are into).

I made contact with Max because I have recently invested in Zalamo.con – a software tool for professional photographers. I thought Max could be a good mentor, give us advice about our marketing strategy – when we start going after the US market where he build his business   Max was helpful, is ready to review our US marketing plan once it is created.  I noticed on his Linkedin profile he was a member of Jews for Entrepreneurs. I hadn’t heard of JFE but I have had several conversations with my friend Jonathan Ornstein – Director of the highly successful Jewish Community Centre in Krakow (where I live) about broadening the connection between the JCC and the thriving  Startup scene in Poland.   To know more about the great work of the JCC read and/or watch Jonathan’s TEDx talk, or Chief Rabbi Schudrich’s.   Hear Jonathan’s TEDxWarsaw talk here , Warsaw Rabbi Schudrich’s here  Read about Jonathan and the JCC here

I asked Max for an introduction to JFE which led me to Jenny, who wrote back full of interest and support. Jenny encouraged me with her response “It’s our goal to connect Jewish startup communities worldwide and we are excited to hear about the resurgence of Jewish life and startup innovation in Poland. It would be great to showcase Poland’s innovation with our network. We recently launched a renovated site for JFE Network.  We would be thrilled to add Polish-Jewish startups to our startup vault and share with our community and investor network in Silicon Valley, New York, and Israel.  Every Tuesday, we send out a weekly email with new startups, jobs, and blog posts from tech experts in our community. We can send an upcoming email campaign (9.6k people) featuring Polish innovation. We can showcase Polish startups and feature blog posts from innovators and thought leaders in the Polish community.”

This was just the response I wanted. I asked Startup Poland   (I’m on the Advisory Board) for examples of Jewish Israeli Polish entrepreneurship in. The most prominent fund is Giza Polish Ventures which has many investments in startups. There is a good overview of the Polish startup scene on the Startup Poland web site and an American website called Google is excellent at providing lots of links and articles Passive aggressive Richard often refers people to this website as a starting point, but I don’t think now is the time.

Poland is a country with strong regional hubs. Cities like Gdańsk, Katowice, Lublin , Poznan, Rzeszow Szczecin, Wrocław as well as Kraków where I live and the capital Warsaw have startup activity. Berlin is just over the border too and Polish/German relations are better than would be believable a few years ago. Cheap flights and visa free travel (thanks to the European Union) to Europe and modernized airports mean that getting to London, Paris, Cambridge Dublin Milan and most other major European cities is very straightforward.

I’m biased towards Krakow – we have several world class startups here in Kraków – Estimote* world leader in Beacons, GetBase world leader in mobile first CRM, Brainly – a world leader in social learning. Integer Group is the world leader in final mile drop off pick up logistic and is active in 20 plus countries, Meble.pl is doing to furniture what Dell did to PC manufacturing. There are any number of smaller companies also doing interesting things.

Campus Warsaw has recently been opened by Google in 2015. This has put the Warsaw startup scene on steroids. It’s got off to a fantastic start.Previously Google for Entrepreneurs Krakow (GEK) did a great job. Hub.Raum in Kraków owned by T-Mobile. and Colab*.pl (a co-working space owned by members of the Startup community including me) have stepped forward to fill the gap left when Google departed. There is still a fan club for GEK here

The Krakow Startup community chose the hashtag and brand #OMGKRK ! Find links here omgkrk.com and here

There is an  excellent events listing site called Crossweb.pl . I won’t name any specific events for fear of annoying those in charge of the events  I omit.

TED and TEDx are active in Poland. Progressive, internationalist open minded people are involved. See their listings here I moderate a TEDx Fans group on Facebook here   I’m the Curator of TEDxKazimierz and a huge fan of the whole movement in Poland and worldwide.

The other community event I am closely connected to is Open Coffee Krakow which works very well indeed – low budget, high impact, useful and productive. Our Linkedin group is here Another group Silicon Valley Network is here  Finally my podcast Project Kazimierz showcases success and interesting initiatives usually connected to Poland.

JFE are going to link back to this blog post in their newsletter, and I encourage anyone interested in networking with them to sign up for their newsletter here

What’s next

In terms of possible outcomes and next steps – I hope this initiative triggers mutually beneficial contacts. Not just at the level of investments, but startups doing business, licensing technologies, buying selling each other’s products and services, outsourcing opportunities and pure research. Please leave a comment or let me know if it does. It’s good to keep track of the impact of actions. Perhaps JFE can visit Poland – members are warmly invited if they are thinking abut it do. Or maybe host a mission of Polish startups to the US. For sure there are people here who would welcome you. People do business with people, and personal contacts can be enriching. Maybe something with the JCC.

I’m not Jewish, Israeli or Polish (though I’ve spent most of my adult life in Poland). I am deeply internationalist in outlook and believe that flourishing businesses that create wealth, jobs and pay their taxes are the bedrock of free societies. We need all the prosperity and growth we can in these difficult times to pay for the many pressing challenges that face us.

 

If anyone reading this wants to get in touch, I cannot guarantee personal help but will do my best to get you in front of the right people. Readers are welcome to make contact via Linkedin

 

February 2016

I just created a new Google form to recruit business partners, following a conversation with my friend, business and squash partner Pawel Nowak.   Will it work ? I don’t know. Below is the introduction  you will  read if you click on it.. to read the questions as well, you need to go to the form itself

Feedback welcome

Co founders/entrepreneurs/partners for Richard Lucas

Why this form?I realised in February 2016 that I don’t have a good co-founder recruitment process. I’m known as an angel investor, and entrepreneur. I don’t often get people approaching me wanting to be a co-founder. I am ready to contribute time money experience and contacts to new ventures I am involved in, so this form is designed to encourage people who want to be my partner or co founder get in touch.

if you don’t know who I am check me out here
http://richardlucas.com/about-2
https://www.linkedin.com/in/richardhlucas
(if you are an Eddie Izzard fan take the opportunity to re-watch the Death Star Canteen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ma3a7hqZer4

It is extremely difficult to profile a co-founder. If I look at the people I am in business with they vary tremendously. And as in attraction, love and relationships just because I might want to be in business with someone, doesn’t mean that they will regard me as being a suitable partner.

You are likely to have at least some of the below characteristics.

• high levels of motivation and energy
• excellent/reasonable/acceptable interpersonal skills,
• creativity
• self confidence,flexibility, tolerance, open mindedness. I’m internationalist in outlook. Patriotism is fine, nationalism and intolerance absolutely not.
• a willingness to “get your hands dirty”. To do work needed rather than just describe it.
• ability to communicate in English, other languages a plus.
• willingness to learn, to start solving a problem by spending an hour or two on Google before wanting to hire an expert.
• A willingness to try and take on new challenges.
• Generosity.
• High expectations of yourself and other people.
• Good communication skills
• Toughness -the ability to take hard decisions
• Curiosity about the way the world works
• Good at Time management, self organisation and getting things done
• intolerance of waste, interest in getting things done well as effeciently and quickly as possible
• Ambitious. a desire to build work on something great. it doesn’t have to be a project with the scale of of Space X or Tesla (though why not?) but if we are doing a shoe repair business, let’s aim to make it the best run, most efficient and profitable in Europe.
• Profit orientated. A business that is not aiming to make a higher rate of profit than the average, as much if not more than the best companies is not interesting. Being cheaper than the competition may be a strategy, if our costs are lower. but if we are better then we should be able to prove it by charging more. If you for example – want to start a bar, and you don’t know how much bars like the one you want to set are making, you have not done you homework. The profitability of businesses can be found out, if you don’t know how, ask me.
• be able to code, or manage developers. It doesn’t mean that we won’t pay for development, but a technical co founder can bring the ability to spend money wisely.

• common sense.

Money. It’s great to know if you have got some savings. All too often the mind set of technology start up-ers is conditioned by years of grants and competitions. They want to rewards of their own business without ever experiencing the financial risk of failure. Of course someone who has 2 kids and 10,000 złoty in savings, is not in a position to put in significant amounts of cash, but on the other hand, to be in that position at all,  shows they know how to manage their money. it’s a plus. And I know they will work like crazy to succeed.Many of the successful entrepreneurs I know started with their savings, or money borrowed from friends or family who expected their investment to be spent carefully. Many ventures which started with “easy money” from me or others have ended up with the founder and me losing time and money. The ability to learn fast and think is more important than previous experience, People with motivation and commitment tend to pick up experience as they go through life. If you have no experience of anything what have you been doing between the age of 3 and now?

Richard Lucas January 2016

Every now and again I come across ideas and projects so worthwhile that I make contact with the people behind them.

BBC Radio has been running a series  “100 Women” and there were impressive broadcasts from Ghana and Uganda.

through which I heard of  Ernestina Appiah here  Founder of Ghana Code Club   and Rasheeda Yehuza of Tech Needs Girls

Rasheeda Yehuza www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p038dxr9

Rasheeda Yehuza 
www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p038dxr9

both episodes are musts – listen to Rasheeda here 

Interesting things have happened as a result of me approaching people I hear on podcasts, see on line, read about in articles. Often I see myself as  doing what Derek Sivers recommends in his famous TED talk as an under rated form of leadership, helping others who are doing great things.

Derek Sivers' "First Follower" TED talk

So I contacted both Tina and Rasheeda offering help, not just because I believe in so doing, but also because I want others to do likewise..

Tina send me a ton of information about what she is doing Ghana Code Club designs step by step project guide for kids using scratch, HTML+CSS and Python. Most of the schools i volunteer in do not have access to internet nor projectors, (We’re working with the Parent Teacher Association in fixing these) until then, there’s no other option but to print out the project guidelines. Each project normally has an average of 15 pages, including challenges for the kid to try out before the next session.We’re using scratch to build a PAINT BOX for example this week, and this project has at least 18 pages, please find attached. There are not less than 100 kids in the first school that need a copy each of the guide, so your money will help print out projects for at least 150 kids, and we shall inscribe your name and logo on our websites as our supporting partner. We shall also establish good relationship with you as gestures like yours is a great honor to us. We’re continually seeking for  funding each week for print outs alone until the schools we volunteer in get projectors and internet connectivity, getting the materials to the kids remain a challenge to us. Another area we need help in is getting our training centre together making it possible for the less privileged children to be taught for free. In Ghana, most government schools where the less privileged children are have no access to computer labs that are functioning. This remains a headache to some of us who are willing to help. Having our own computer lab can go a long way. We’ll need funding for rent, Computers, air conditioners, internet service, furniture, projectors setting these up. If this can be achieved, the sky is the limit. We are also looking for funding to get our back office together on our website where we can pack training materials including video for volunteers. So you see ….  immediate funding and future funds will go a very long way.

(I sent money with Azimo.com –  Marek Wawro the CTO lives in Kraków, and helps mentor startups for free. The transfer when very smoothly 🙂  I also asked Tina for some pictures that might encourage others and show what could be done with my support but  but was not expected what I received a few days ago

Thank you messages

Ghana Code Club showing printed hand outs

Ghana Code Club showing printed projects

BBC World Service show presented by Bola Mosuro

Thanks on Twitter

I also asked her for a project description/report. This is what Tina sent

REPORT ON GHANA CODE CLUB AS AT JANUARY 2016 by Ernestina Appiah

Ghana Code Club is a digital fun club that is designed to be led by volunteers or ICT teachers in elementary schools all over Ghana, led by trained volunteers or ICT teachers. The club begins after regular classes are over for 2hours or less once in a week.

We initiated such a program because currently, there is little or no digital making activities in elementary schools in Ghana, meanwhile the world is revolving with technology. It is our aim that as children goes through the coding projects and challenges that come along with the project, kids’ interest in technology will grow causing them to participate and patronize other digital making in the future so that we can have a lot of innovators, entrepreneurs and critical thinkers.

The Ghana Code Club began in August last year during the summer vacation school at the Hillview Montessori School in Accra, where I, (the founder) volunteered to teach myself using Scratch programming software. 80 kids between the ages of 8-14 started but after the regular school resumed, the number of kids tripled to over 240 forcing us to split the class into groups. Currently, there are 2 computer labs at the Hillview Montessori School. One has a sitting capacity of 30 and the other has 60. And so each week, we have 3 sessions. I supervise groups 1 and 2 with 2 other volunteers and group 3 is supervised by the ICT teachers who are happy to share in our vision and have been trained to become volunteers of the code club.

On other days, we visit 4 other schools where we are repeating the same procedure as we do at the Hillview School. Unfortunately the other schools do not have more than 40 computers and so we are forced to limit the number of kids who are willing to join the club.

As of January 2016,

  • Hillview Montessori School has 257 members with 5 volunteers including 2 ICT teachers
  • Gospel International has 70 members- 3 volunteers including 1 ICT teacher
  • Liver Rose International has 83 members-3 Volunteers including ICT teacher
  • Rising Sun Montessori school has 60 members- 4 Volunteers including 2 ICT teachers
  • University Primary has 80 members 3 volunteers including 2 ICT teachers 

Curriculum

We have designed projects in Scratch, HTML+CSS and Python languages. We start with the basics of scratch language where kids are thought to explore to obtain the basic principles in programming.

Challenges

Currently out of all the 5 schools we visit, only one school, University Primary, Legon that has necessary infrastructure to make learning  easy in place. We have quite a challenge with power outages in the country until January 2016, when power cuts have slowed down a bit. When power cuts off, we need to close our session and the kids may need to take their step by step project printouts home to continue without our supervision.

There is no internet in 4 out of the 5 schools. But we are fortunate that the languages we have chosen have offline options. But to share the finished project on the internet is a challenge. Sometimes, we the volunteers end up using our own internet modems and airtime to enable the kids share their creativity online

We also have a big challenge when it comes to screening videos that can empower the kids even more. This is because 4 out of the 5 schools do not have projectors. This makes supervision so tedious considering the number of children involved in each session. Anytime we start a new project, we hold our laptop and move about showing the kids how their finished project should look like.

Laptop instead of projector

Laptop instead of projector

 Since there are no projectors to project the instructions, we end up printing project guide to serve all these children which is so expensive. At the moment, Ghana Code Club does not have any source of funding from any organization. We rely on our pockets and some little donations from family and friends to keep on. Parents are not supporting us yet because the school authorities have not agreed to the demand of the code club to seek for donations from the parents. The authorities of one of the schools have asked that we hold on to the close of the month January, 2016 where a PTA meeting will be held and parents informed formally about the Ghana Code Club activities. 3 of the other schools support once in a while with the printing using their own resources

OUR NEEDS

  • Ghana Code Club requests for support to be launched out formally once our back office is ready to serve as training resources for volunteers. We need funds for storing the resources including video tutorials. We intend to invite technology institutions and the minister of education in Ghana to help us outdoor this initiative into all elementary schools in Ghana..
  • We need funds to be supporting our day to day runnings. Transportation, airtime, electricity bills, Project guides and volunteer meet-ups.
  • We need a projector with accessories, Printers and photocopiers and one laptop.
  • We also want to establish our own computer lab where other activities can take place. Some children from the government schools where there are non functional computer labs can attend our sessions on weekends. We can train others who are willing to pay to ease our day to day expenditure.

Of course I want to help, and others to do so as well. I informed contacts in Google and Astia about what they are doing, and  I introduced Tina to Emmanuel Leslie Addae Curator of TEDxAccra –  with whom I made contact having figured out that her story and project might be worthy of a TEDx talk. They have yet to meet. Perhaps more publicity and introductions can help Ghana Code Club find deeper pockets than mine and encourage other people to do similar projects in other schools, towns and countries.

Rasheeda Yehuza’s project ” Tech Needs Girls” is also looking for partnerships. she wrote “Tech Needs Girls would be excited to explore a collaboration! A donation would really help propel our activities as we scale country-wide, and an introduction to the Polish coding community will be fantastic.”   I haven’t found a partner for her yet. but am looking around.

Not everything is making progress. I heard about the mDex smart phone clip for TB and Sickle Cell detection at Afri Gal technologies and tried to connect them to Peek Vision,   which has a high profile project for diagnosing eye disorders at low cost also with a smart phone clip one.  I thought that the UK project would be a good source of advice and mentoring., So far Afri Gal Tech haven’t taken up on this offer. but who know what may happen. Their project is really impressive sounding, and I yet believe I may be able to help

Conclusions

The idea worth spreading in the above experience is that it is worth trying There is nothing to stop anyone reaching out to anyone anywhere. Google and Twitter make it so easy, and finding out what you can do to help.  It’s my belief rather than a proven fact that my approaches in these cases was the right one. I know that it is too early to tell. If the only benefit is that  of my donation, then the gift without any associated PR could be enough.    The test of whether it  was worth going my public with introductions and posts like this will be whether over the next few months, other positive things happen as a result.    This story at the time of writing-  24th January 2016 – is a work in progress.  I’ll update in a few months. The fact that some offers of help have not led to anything is important to note as well. If you don’t try to do anything you won’t fail, but of course  you can’t succeed either.. As J. K. Rowling says in her wonderful Harvard Commencement talk a life lived without risk of risk of failure is hardly worth living at all.