Forget about losing five pounds. Put away the nicotine patches. This year, instead of using your new year’s resolution to give something up (second helpings! Cigarettes!) we recommend you make a resolution for adopting a positive new habit — in your tech life, that is. We’ve combed through our interviews from 2019 to find the best productivity, innovation, design and collaboration tips, straight from the mouths of some of Europe’s leading tech influencers. Each tip includes a link to the article/s that inspired it, so by all means, venture down the blog rabbithole. And without further ado…
Because sometimes the best ideas come when you’re not looking for them, as we learnt from Lawrence Leuschner last January: “I first came up with the idea for TIER Mobility when I decided to take a break from work. I went on a world surf trip with my old van…the final stop on my surf trip was in San Diego. I came out of the water and I noticed there were scooters on the street. I asked people on the street how they used the scooters and they seemed really happy about it.”
In the same interview, Lawrence encouraged us to hire and work with “Swiss knives.” Which are what, exactly? “In the beginning we needed people – I call them the Swiss knives – that can do, at a minimum, everything. That same person writes a business plan, helps with marketing, PR, everything.” And the same tip goes for who you choose to found your company with. ABARO’s co-founder Piotr Partyka explained in a different interview that his company was successful because the four founders “carved up departments that would usually employ dozens of people between them,” with one handling software, another hardware, another machines and the fourth sales and marketing.
Former managing director of Startupbootcamp Tanja Kufner, who spoke at the hubraum studio opening, argued Daimler is particularly great at what they do particularly because “they’ve been investing in startups for such a long time. They’ve gone out and learned from external people.” She noted that the length of time they’ve been working with startups also makes them better at collaborating with an entirely different type of company. Practice makes perfect, after all!
Visualix’s Darius Pajouh told us that 5G could make a huge difference in terms of game performance and player satisfaction. He imagines attacking an AR dragon in a multiplayer game: “We want to shoot it from all its different sides. A small shift, say, of 10 or 20 milliseconds results in half a degree change in the angle and being half a degree out means a displacement of two metres. Obviously, a difference of two metres would be unacceptable in the game. This is why it’s important to bring latency down from let’s say, 100 milliseconds, to say, 10.”
This year, look for a real connection when considering funding. In our guide to securing post-seed funding, founder of data virtualization startup Contiamo, Michael Franzkowiak, suggests bringing on an investor who “can provide more than just ‘dumb money’. That means choosing an investor who knows your industry, has a proven track record supporting companies in it and can challenge and support you in the right way.”
When interviewing the team at our Krakow campus about innovation trends for 2020, we learned about circular design: “which bends the product’s lifeline, allowing for processing (reuse, refurbishment, remanufacturing, recycling), and thus re-use in the future. It means devoting more attention to the materials used in the initial phase of production, which enables us to extend the life of the object.”
The winning team at UNICON 2019 told hubraum the inspiration behind their award-winning idea — a 5G-powered navigation system for blind folks which you can read more about here — was “similar technology [being] already used for autonomous car driving” which they decided to apply to Aye. They believe it could be revolutionary in terms of allowing blind people to “be more independent” and being “able to go to the grocery store or the park without being helped by other people.” Sometimes it’s not about reinventing the wheel — just looking for a use case that nobody has thought of.
In a survey the Krakow campus conducted, UX is often an afterthought for startups rather than a key part of their plan. In 2019, we spoke to UX expert Claire Rowland, who argued that “you can have the best idea in the world, but if you don’t get the execution right…then you don’t have a product.” She noted that this is even more pressing in the IoT field, using the example of a self-pushing pram. She observed that the designers “had clearly never had a child because they didn’t consider the obvious worry about the buggy— that you might accidentally walk towards it and it might run down the hill and go in front of a bus or something. There was even a heater in it!”
Expanding is great! But as the saying goes, the devil’s in the detail. In our spring 2019 interview with Blinkist’s Holger Seim, we learned that while Blinkist was available in a dizzying array of countries, everywhere from Malyasia to the Netherlands, his team was trying to make books available that reflect local interests – instead of just picking the bestsellers from The New York Times, for example, they’re also checking what the UK bestseller list has to offer for British people.’” We reckon tailoring your product to the local market is an excellent strategy, no matter what you’re offering.
Please, for the love of all that’s sacred, do not do this. We repeat: put the laptop/smartphone/Googles glasses down. Startup Night founder Cem Ergün-Müller sees this happening a lot and advised against it in an interview. “Don’t hide behind your computer and don’t just wait for people to come to you — try and engage with the audience. Go out there and talk to the startups, don’t come alone, come with two, three, four people because there’s a huge number of startups to meet.” While his tip seems squarely aimed at startups presenting at events, if you’re an investor or there just for fun, we reckon the same advice applies to you: you’ll have more fun connecting with people IRL rather than via URL at a live event.
Got an even better #NYtechresolution? We’re all ears! Tweet it at us: @hubraum