TL;DR: Don’t sell tech to corporate customers.
Getting proper traction for a b2b solution is way different from growth hacking a consumer service. After a year and a half of struggling to sell our personalization and analytics technologies to corporate customers in the entertainment industry, I’d like to share with you the three main lessons we as a team learned in the process. I really wish it was 5 or 10 as they make better headlines but shit what can I say, I only have three for you.
Matcha.TV just got bought by Apple for $1.5m. Never heard of them? Not surprising. It is (was) one of the many TV and movie discovery startups which planned to secretly take over the second screen by offering personalized recommendations to consumers only to find out no one needs such a thing.
Last week I gave the most important talk of my life. I was lucky enough to present on stage at CinemaCon 2013 in Las Vegas to hundreds of cinema officials. The presentation was a huge success and we’ve been approached by a number of industry leaders interested in deploying our solution throughout their communication channels. Due to popular request I’d like to share my slides and some thoughts about the programme.
OpenReaktor, once a small monthly tech meetup held in a Warsaw-based mansion, gradually came out as a major IT event in Central & Eastern Europe gathering a crowd of startups, investors, IT professionals and representatives of major IT companies like Microsoft, IBM, Facebook or Google.
If entrepreneurship is a state of mind that forces you to follow your dreams no matter what, Roman Kala was a true entrepreneur, probably the biggest I know.
The story begins 84 years ago, in a small village, Miedzyrzec Korecki, Poland (now part of the Ukraine). I don’t know much of his childhood — he never talked about this period. When he was 15, the Nazis came and killed his father, along with other 1500 countrymen. He fled with his mother and the only brother to nearby Równe, but stayed there only for two years, when the Soviets came and kicked the Polish out from their homes. Thousands of people were put in a packed train and forced to head west towards Recoverred Territories (the land taken back from the Germans after the war). A few days later they reached Nakło where the remains of the family settled. A typical Polish war story.
This is a story about how I lost access to my GMail account and never got it back, losing all the data. Hope it serves as a warning prompting you to backup your emails.
It started early this month when I noticed I stopped receiving email at firstname.lastname@example.org (my free Google Apps account that I use for all the stuff related to Reaktor Warsaw, the startup mansion I founded and work at). When I tried logging in online it said:
Your account has been blocked.
“Sounds good, but… how are you going to make money?”
If you’ve ever pitched your business, asked for funding or applied to a startup contest, you’ve heard this question more than once. And unless you’re making millions in revenues there is a fair chance you don’t have a good answer to it.
Nothing to worry about! Startups are businesses in constant search of a business model, so take your time. However, it’s good that you realize it and plan for constant change from the very beginning. For my company, Filmaster, it took us 3.5 years to get to the working model followed by the first significant deal.
Here is our story.
Last week I attended Google For Entrepreneurs event in Wroclaw where I had a fireside chat on stage with Asier Rios about my career as an entrepreneur. I think I let Asier down as instead of bragging about how great Filmaster.TV is doing now, I focused on my (multiple) early mistakes in running a startup, the biggest one being: not going through an incubator. The conversation inspired this post.
I did not even consider starting my first company in an incubator. Giving away some 5-10% of the firm for some ridiculous(ly small) amount of money seemed foolish to me. I chose the bootstrap path. That was the single worst decision I made and here is why.
I went to Europe’s coolest startup conference. It’s called European Pirate Summit and happens to be in Cologne, Germany
I just came back from Cologne, Germany where I spent two amazing days with Europe’s top Internet entrepreneurs and investors at European Pirate Summit, an invite-only startup conference like no other, held in Odonien, a unique artistic place on open air, held just opposite Germany’s biggest multi-store whorehouse.
With Piotr Biegun (left) and Uldis Leiters (middle), photo by Christoph Heinrich
These two days were exciting and inspiring. I listened to the crazy stories of people who “ate their teeth” on entrepreneurship, I met old friends and met new ones. I also went on stage to pitch an idea that seems more ridiculous than it really is.