Techsylvania? Check. All the Squirrly-team members present? Check.
It’s been an event expected by all the geeks, techies and start-up enthusiasts here in Romania. It’s been a one of a kind event, the biggest technology event in Transylvania, for that matter, and it took us on a tech related one-weekend journey. This was the schedule: May 31st –June 1st: Hackathon on wearable and connected technologies, June 2nd: Conference on technology and innovation .
Attending the conference on the 2nd of June was actually a great opportunity and we made sure to be there, for the talks, the successful people, the handshakes and, why not, the free drinks! And Squirrly made sure to attend Techsylvania as a team!
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In a spacious conference room at Cluj Arena , sitting on comfy soft chairs and sipping our coffees, we listened, approved, sometimes muttered criticism, and even had the opportunity to exchange an opinion and ask for advice from the local start-uppers and successful entrepreneurs attending the conference, some of them giving their speeches. My favorite part was by far the speeches held by representatives of famous, international companies, such as Andy Piper, from Twitter, HP Jin, co-founder, president and chief executive officer at Telenav, Marcus Segal, former COO Casino Division at Zynga, and Lisa Lang, European Marketing Manager at Twilio.
Lisa Lang actually dropped by our office in Mihai Viteazul Square next morning after the event, offering us great insight into Twilio’s current interest in Eastern European start-ups.
While praising the East for its knowledge and master-ship of IT-skills, she believes the great hindrance in achieving fast success is the people’s mindsets. More people should burn their bridges behind them, raise their courage and take risks. She congratulated our team at Squirrly just for that: we are a team of proficient risk-takers. We have talent, creativity, knowledge, but most of all, we are risk-takers. The Squirrly mascot also drew her applause, and her idea of taking a risk and putting a Squirrly mascot quite on top of Mihai Viteazul’s statue, just to guffaw: “Mr. Mihai Viteazul you’ve been Squirrly-ed.” is actually what stands behind my article.
Risk-takers at Techsylvania
Lisa Lang’s speech at the conference centered on “epic failures” even the famous people and companies did when taking a risk.
It showed all the start-uppers out there that they should know the market before-hand and they should try to promote exactly what their product is and not go off at a tangent. One of her examples was Colgate, which failed lamentably when they tried to introduce into their market and promote food, whilst everybody knows Colgate is all about toothpaste, and not food.
When you take a risk, you should take your precautions first. Plan your jump, set your mind (and budget, why not?), see what’s ahead of you – as Marcus Segal pointed out, if you want to launch a new product, put an add online and see how many people click on it. If none, then don’t waste your time. – know what you want and what you stand for, and jump! In God’s name, just jump!
This is exactly what Josef Dunne and his co-founders did with Babelverse, the “universal translator” for spoken communication. These guys brought a new definition to the idiom: from rags to riches. At one time they indeed traveled with nothing more than a pair of rugged boots and their backpacks and it’s inspiring to see how they didn’t pounce on an offer of $2 mil. that meant setting their office in Seattle, because they knew this wasn’t the desired evolution for their company. They settled for a $50.000 investment offer because this took their company forward. As Josef Dunne said: “we were in for the long run”. They were able to spread their services online, and now people are presented with on-the-spot translations, from a distance, on any device.
Taking a risk was what defined Marcus Segal in his business approach too. At one time, his business and peers were close to breaking the bank. “Give me another month” he said, just close to Christmas, and if they didn’t get any money they were free to get hired at other companies. One out of four had no choice, because of his family and urgent money-needs, but to leave them. The other three stood. And the company survived.
Romanian entrepreneurs presented a two-sided story: the failure and the success of taking a risk and founding a start-up. The overall encouraging and optimistic points of view joining their stories even in experiencing hard times, I think were very inspirational for all the new entrepreneurs in Romania.
These entrepreneurs are the ones that need connections, guidance and, most of all, a relying friend to cheer them on. Techsylvania was one way of reaching such friends. Squirrly certainly found one.
Did you go at this great event? Write a comment here, visit our Facebook page, tweet us, and let us know if you found a friend at this great event.
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