Στηρίζοντας την επιχειρηματικότητα – Microsoft Innovation Center event

image by flickr and andrew-hyde
image by flickr and andrew-hyde

Μεθαύριο Πέμπτη 12 Μαρτίου, δύο μέρες πριν το εξαίρετο και υπερπλήρες MediaCamp Athens II, το Innovation Center της Microsoft (Βασ. Σοφίας 103) φιλοξενεί ένα ακόμα ενδιαφέρον event, αυτή τη φορά με αντικείμενο και τίτλο “Στηρίζοντας την Επιχειρηματικότητα”. Στόχος της εκδήλωσης η προώθηση της νεανικής επιχειρηματικότητας στην Ελλάδα και η διάδοση καλών πρακτικών για τη μετατροπή μίας καινοτόμου ιδέας σε επιχειρηματική προτάση, ενώ οι λεπτομέρειες του προγράμματος ακολουθούν.

Χαιρετισμοί (12.00-12.30)
Χρήστος Τσάγκος, Διευθύνων Σύμβουλος, Microsoft Ελλάς
Ιωάννης Μπούγας, Υφυπουργός Ανάπτυξης
Μιχάλης Χρυσοχοϊδης, Βουλευτής ΠΑΣΟΚ
Jan Muehlfeit, Chairman Europe Microsoft Corporation

Συζήτηση – Νέοι & Επιχειρηματικότητα (12.30-13.15)
Γιάννης Λάριος, Σύμβουλος του Ειδικού Γραμματέα Ψηφιακού Σχεδιασμού, Υπουργείο Οικονομίας & Οικονομικών
Τζοάννα Τσάκωνα, Υπεύθυνη Διεθνών Σχέσεων Jade Hellas
Νίκος Κουτσιανάς, Μέλος ΔΣ του ΣΕΝ, Διευθύνων Σύμβουλος APIVITA

Συζήτηση – Επιχειρηματικότητα & Διοικητική Μεταρρύθμιση (13:15 – 14.00)
Βασίλης Δεμέστιχας, Διευθυντής Τομέα Διοικητικής Μεταρρύθμισης της ΚτΠ
Δημήτρης Χατζηδάκης, Διευθύνων Σύμβουλος Phaistos Networks
Γιώργος Τζιραλής, Open Coffee

Case studies (14.00– 14.30)
Παρουσιάσεις των Επιχειρηματικών Ιδεών που αναδείχθηκαν στο Start Up Weekend, από τον Πάτρικ Μαλόουν, Διευθυντή Τεχνολογίας Microsoft Ελλάς

Η είσοδος είναι ελεύθερη, ενώ λίστα συμμετεχόντων υπάρχει και στο facebook, τέλος για όσους ενδιαφέρονται αλλά δεν κατορθώσουν να παρευρεθούν θα επιχειρηθεί η μετάδοση της συνάντησης με live streaming.

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DLD conference 2009

Είχα την τύχη να παρεβρεθώ στο DLD (Digital Life Design) conference που έγινε 25-27 Ιανουαρίου στο Μόναχο. Το DLD είναι μία από τις μεγαλύτερες συναντήσεις ανθρώπων από το web και όχι μόνο και οργανώνεται από τον Γερμανό εκδότη Hubert Burda και τον Yossi Vardi. Συνάντησα αρκετές γνωστές προσωπικότητες του web 2.0 όπως τους Chad Hurley (YouTube), Samir Arora (Glam Media), Mitchell Baker (Mozilla Foundation), Peter Hirshberg (Technorati.com), Andrew Paulson (co-founder, SUP / Livejournal), Lukasz Gadowski (Spreadshirt.com), Max Levchin (Slide.com), Joel Spolsky (Fog Creek Software), Marissa Mayer (Google.com), Xavier Court (Vente-privee.com), Julia Allison (nonsociety.com), Loic Le Meur (seesmic.com), Joi Ito (Creative Commons) και το γνωστό σε όλους ιδρυτή του Facebook Mark Zuckerberg ο οποίος ήρθε εκτός προγράμματος ως έκπληξη του συνεδρίου.

Εκτός από τις web προσωπικότητες στο συνέδρειο μίλησαν και αρκετοί CEO μεγάλων εταιριών που με εξαίρεση τον Brad Anderson από το Best Buy δεν είχαν ιδιαίτερο ενδιαφέρον. Η πιο διασκεδαστική στιγμή του συνεδρίου ήταν το party που έγινε τη δεύτερη μέρα καθώς ήρθαν διάφορα γερμανικά celebrities τα οποία δυστυχώς δεν γνώριζα:):) μιας και το party ήταν ένα mix του DLD μαζί με ανθρώπους από περιοδικά που εκδίδει ο Hubert Burda.

Για περισσότερα σχετικά με το συνέδριο μπορείτε να διαβάσετε το σχετικό post στο blog μου και προτείνω να επισκευτείτε και το http://www.dld-conference.com καθώς οι ομιλίες βρίσκονται εκεί σε βίντεο και είναι πολύ ενδιαφέρουσες!

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Open Coffee: To 2008 σε αριθμούς

an image by jmtimages and flickr
an image by jmtimages and flickr

Η χρονιά που φεύγει μας αφήνει με τα ακόλουθα νούμερα:

  • 21 συναντήσεις σε 4 πόλεις (Αθήνα, Θεσσαλονίκη, Γιάννενα, Πάτρα), επίσης αρκετά παραπληρωματικά event που διοργανώθηκαν ή υποστηρίχθηκαν  (από διάφορα meetup ως το Athens Startup Weekend & το Techcrunch event)
  • 87 (προχείρως υπολογισμένες) παρουσιάσεις από ανθρώπους με νέες ιδέες, νέες ή ήδη επιτυχημένες επιχειρήσεις και επενδυτές. Μεταξύ αυτών,  ονόματα διεθνούς ακτινοβολίας που είχαμε τη χαρά να φιλοξενήσουμε ανάμεσά μας (Tim O’Reilly, Jason Calacanis, Mike Butcher, Patrick DeLaive).
  • 100άδες, ή μάλλον (αθροιστικά λίγες) χιλιάδες από εσάς, οι οποίοι παρευρεθήκατε σε μία ή περισσότερες συναντήσεις, πραγματοποιήσατε αρκετές γνωριμίες, αποκομίσατε γνώσεις, εν τέλει βρεθήκατε περισσότερο κοντά στο επιχειρείν.
  • 233 posts από 14 συγγραφείς (εκτός των guest)
  • 34.000 επισκέπτες, 62.000 επισκέψεις και 124.000 page views από 92 χώρες στο OpenCoffee.gr, αυτή τη στιγμή #2 σε αναζήτηση για “Open Coffee” στο google.com, δικαιολογώντας το “μάλλον το πλέον επιτυχημένο Open Coffee παγκοσμίως”.

Προσωπικά, θεωρώ πως το μόττο “οι ελληνικές start-up είναι εδώ” είναι πλέον τεκμηριωμένο. Υπάρχει τεχνογνωσία, ισχυρή δικτύωση και σημαντική κινητικότητα για το τεχνολογικό επιχειρείν, επίσης ένα ιδιαίτερο κλίμα αλληλοβοήθειας και συλλογικότητας που μας συντροφεύει από τους πρώτους κιόλας ‘καφέδες’. Και, μεταξύ άλλων, οι επαφές μας με τους πλέον καταξιωμένους (εντός και εκτός συνόρων, σε ανεπίσημες συναντήσεις ή τα μεγαλύτερα ευρωπαϊκά συνέδρια) το έχουν καταστήσει σαφές: Δεν υπάρχουν μύθοι, ούτε ανέφικτα, το μόνο που ακόμα λείπει είναι δουλειά, δουλειά, δουλειά.

Την έχουμε ξεκινήσει. Και θα τη συνεχίσουμε. Με ένα στόχο για το 2009, να μετατρέψουμε την κινητικότητα στη μέγιστη δυνατή επιχειρηματική δράση.

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Athens Startup Weekend, the minutes

The following is a detailed account of the Athens Startup Weekend experience.

Friday Evening

  • Discussing ideas as people flock in the Microsoft Innovation Center. Familiar faces, new faces.
  • Andrew Hyde, the originator of the SUW meme, presents the idea in greater formalism. Out of several slides, I keep a single point that rings familiar: Fix it ! If you have a problem, don’t whine about it, go out and find a solution.
  • People are a little bit frozen when Andrew asks them to step up and pitch their ideas.
  • When the 3rd idea is heard, there’s a bit of a tipping point. The people watching, have had just enough time to cook up some ideas. They’re all pretty vague, but they’re plenty. The list just keeps growing, and growing and growing. This is fantastic !
  • It’s worth noting that, at this point, the people with tech ideas are openly mocking the people with non-tech ideas. Now we know we’re bound to see something interesting emerge out of this. This is so fun !
  • After listing all the ideas, a magic thing happens. People are split in functioning groups. What essentially just happened, is that when someone liked another person’s idea they approached them and asked to join. The amazing thing about this, is that there’s no arguing, no asking for CVs, no mistrusting, no nothing ! It’s rare to see such selfless self-organizing groups in Greece.
  • Once interest groups have formed, we’re out to discuss the details. Find out what the real problem is, rethink the way our business models work etc. The nice thing about the space is that we’re provided immediately with working spaces. There are round tables on all floors, extra monitors for those who can use them (Dell), and a free coffee vending machine (Loumidis). Above all, there are 3 separate WIFI networks courtesy of Wind. It’d be nice if they were more reliable though. We all experienced plenty of disconnections.
  • There’s also free food ! (Domino’s)

  • After several hours of brainstorming and solving common problems we call it a night. I think I speak for many others when I say I didn’t really sleep that night. More of twisting in my bed, thinking out the problem at hand.

Saturday

  • It’s early morning in Greek weekend time, which is to say it’s 10:30 am by the time most people start working again.
  • We’re all into coding frenzy. Problems that we couldn’t notice before start becoming obvious. We’re all in need of precious resources such as developers, designers and business developers that can write solid business plans.
  • The coffee machine is out of order. Hordes of sleepy-eyed, caffeine-deprived people cause a stampede as the news bleed out of the mess hall. This happens a bit too often, to the point that the hosts learn how to fix it. Ugh ! Thankfully there was an abundance of caffeinated soft drinks, chocolates of all kinds and potato chips. A perfectly balanced diet for any developer.
  • We have people floating around us. Guests include MBAs, Business Developers and Public Relations. We’re being offered free advice ! How nice is that ?
  • Things get much better when the lunch arrives. Plenty of pizzas (certainly more than we could eat), salads (just for looks) and some. People gather around food and keep debating on their products.
  • Friendly spying goes on with more or less obvious ways. People either come smiling and ask ‘What are you people working on and what’s your progress ?’ or eat suspiciously close to us. For the record, the straightforward approach gave us and the others the best results. In the future, just come and ask.
  • As the day ends, we all realize that it was much less productive than we had anticipated. We all set our goals to optimistic, and didn’t prepare for a fallback plan. A lot of work remains for day 3, while some of us decide on what to cut off immediately.
  • By now most people have decided on their site structure (yes we are all web based) , aesthetics and so on.

 

  • Andrew calls it a day, gathers us up and makes some final suggestions. Among them is to take up the names of our services in every online outlet that we can.
  • Everyone comes back from the meeting thinking that they can still work. The truth is that we’re exhausted though. We all just finalize our work, check our emails and go home.

Sunday

  • Everyone is early this morning. There is an obvious anxiety in the air. Everyone is finalizing the details of their product. Whether it’s code deliverables or pure business plans everyone is trying to put the final pieces together.
  • Some groups are almost over with their work. In their wisdom, they actually picked projects that could actually be delivered in the given timeframe. Two groups are even accused of having brought over their half finished projects to make an impression. The Open Coffee intelligence services though can actually verify that this couldn’t be more detached from the truth.

  • Lunch time. People agree that the buffalo sauce chicken wings look suspicious. Evidence suggests that those who could stomach them were actually robots !
  • Back to work. Everyone is in a frenzy to finish the last bits of work. A magic thing happens though. People are seeking and getting help. Our team was benefited twice and offered as much help. Especially since we were blessed with a designer.
  • Guests are again floating around. Venture capitalists that are previewing the running projects before the final judgment. Also lawyers which actually provided resolve in two groups that had doubts about their work. The event is really well organized.
  • Everything is in final order. We are ready for the presentations. Some of them are quite good, some or them plain bad. A single one is outright offensive. Every single one of the presentations though are spirited and delivered with their creators’ love.
  • VCs and rest of the judges leave for the top floor. Whispers are heard and phones ring.
  • It’s time to announce the winner.

pettycards_logo won !!!

Pettycards is a system and logical device for making micropayments by using prepaid cards that are attached to your cellphone. A really great idea, and one of those that in our humble opinion stood out of the rest from the first moments.

There is ofcourse a bittersweet feeling. Every contestant would feel that their baby is prettier than those of the others. Still the pettycards project won fair and square.

Advice to the rest: Don’t be dissapointed. Your idea just didn’t fit the profile of the VCs. Keep working on it, add more value, and you will either have a successful product on it’s own, or justify an investment.

Aftermath

The experience overall was just great. Everything in the hosting department except for WIND’s wifi was very finely tuned. Congratulations are in order Andrew Hyde for delivering the idea, and Alexandros Pagidas for bringing Andrew here. For the hosts, I’ll quote Pagidas, who said that the reception in part of the Innovation Center changed his perception of Microsoft, later explaining that he expected at least some rules about incorporating Microsoft’s software in the startups being built. I think that’s true for many of us. Congrats are also in order for Patrick and Lydia for really providing assistance and catering to our needs. Finally a congrats are in order for the GIVE foundation. The promise of a 20.000 € investment, which was after all a significant drive for the competition and excellence of the projects.

You can also see the viewpoints of others that attended the event, such as John Nousis’, Dimitris Athanasiadis, Alex Georgiadis, George Tziralis, Stavros Messinis . Please leave a comment if you were there, we’re still trying to backlink as many of you as possible.

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To Open Coffee στο συνέδριο της Φιλελεύθερης Συμμαχίας

Αρκετούς μήνες μετά την παρουσία του Open Coffee στο συνέδριο του ΠΑΣΟΚ, επίσης σε μία τύποις ανταπόδωση παλαιότερης εξαιρετικής παρουσίασης της “πολιτικής start-up”, το Open Coffee θα δώσει το παρών σε συζήτηση με αντικείμενο τη νέα επιχειρηματικότητα, στα πλαίσια του 2ου Συνεδρίου της Φιλελεύθερης Συμμαχίας. Η ομιλία θα λάβει χώρα -μεταξύ άλλων εξίσου ενδιαφέροντων παρεμβάσεων- στο ξενοδοχείο President, σήμερα Σάββατο 18 Οκτωβρίου, στις 11.00 το πρωί.

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Open Coffee Club International: A wrap-up plus a call for your idea

The initiator and guru of Open Coffee Club International, Saul Klein, sent us recently an email, tracking some of the Open Coffee Club advances for the season that ends:

Wow. There are now over 80 of you all round the world (see www.opencoffeeclub.org) – its pretty amazing how its spread over the last year and we have new locations starting every month. (note: and you have yet to add Thessaloniki, Patras and Ioannina, three more cities that hosted an Open Coffee meeting in Greece; plus do expect more for the season to come.)

{…}

Some great stuff going on by the way, just to highlight a few locations:

{…}
For those of you who’ve been hosting an OCC for sometime, you know that we’ve mentioned on a few occasions that it would be cool to have better communication between groups to better share contacts, learnings and just generally leverage the fact that we are now truly global to take the pulse of the startup community better worldwide, {…} or add some value to our Ning network presence at www.opencoffeeclub.org.

It’s true that we do feel really flattered and proud for being the first to mention across the truly global Open Coffee community. And this equally stands as a charge and promise to perform even better, starting again from September. However, the reason for this post was different.

Given that we all share the potential of our active global community, the question is clear and directed to you dear fellow readers and Open Coffee attendees: Submit your very own ideas for enabling a much more efficient collaboration and sharing (of experiences, ideas, networks, etc) among the international Open Coffee communities. We’re looking for ideas that are comprehensive but feasible, maybe viral, too, finally offering a chance to leave a tangible footprint to our Club. And, who knows, maybe in a year form now, you’ll be the one to receive credits from around the globe…

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