Friday, October 23, 2015

6 Things I learned about Product Development

Paul Chen

The first conference for product developers and designers, Product Development Days, was held on October 19-20, 2015 in Krakow. Hundreds of product developments professionals and enthusiasts from corporations and startups gathered to be mentored and inspired by experts in their fields.

Here are 6 things I learned from it:

Product designers give product developers something to build.

These days, developers get a lot of glory as they are in big demand and they are building wonderful websites, applications, and software. However, many people forget that it is the designers who gets the ball rolling. It’s like giving the wide receiver all the credit for the touchdown or giving the striker the glory for the goal. While they actually score the point or points, it is the quarterback who threw the ball or the mid-fielder or the forwards who placed the ball in the optimal spot. Therefore, the designer has to make sure all the functionalities are in the right place and the interface needs to be aesthetically pleasing so the user experience will not be painful. Therefore, it is essential that the designer and the developer must work in perfect unison.

Do not outsource the entire product development process.

It is easy to have an awesome idea but what if you are not a technical person? If you are successful in putting together a solid business plan with all the bells and whistles meaning you are able to answer all the curveballs the VCs will throw at you well enough to get the funding. There are actually VCs and accelerators that will fund idea stage projects. You might decide to hire a product designer then an army of developers. If you are into hardware, you will outsource the manufacturing to China or something. According To Blazej Marciniak of , That is probably a bad idea. By outsourcing the entire process, you lose control of the project. Sometimes, the design is impossible for the developer. Sometimes, the hardware ordered does not fit together well or they don’t work at all. It is most recommended that you have most parts of the product development done in-house.

The most neglected position at a startup in Poland is the VP of product.

Piotr Wilam from Innovation Nest, in his keynote, was quite disconcerted by the lack of beauty in Polish products. Polish products often just work well enough. He wants Polish products to be more sexy and elegant. Poland has wonderful developers, but lacks wonderful designers. There is a great need for a product guy or girl to be a co-founder at a startup. Polish startups needs to start thinking about the user as their person to please. Good design is not a luxury but a necessity.
Sometimes for a corporation to be successful, they might need to have a startup develop internally.

In Poland it is not even an idea in corporations yet, but in the US it has been happening for a while. Some of the most innovative products are developed by internal people who are given a chance to be creative and think freely. In Google, Gmail started as an independent project. Playstation was the same for Sony, and Adobe from Xerox. Facebook is known to give their employees days off to tinker around and start personal projects. In fact, the basis for the successful TV show, Silicon Valley is where Richard Hendricks developed Pied Piper while working for Hooli. Sometimes, if you know something too well, it is hard to innovate.

 Building a product for kids is different from building a product for adults.

When you build a product for kids, you need to be able to elicit an emotional response. Kids like to have fun but they also like to have challenges. However, you cannot build a product that is too difficult or too scary for them. And they have very short attention spans. As a result they need to be constantly engaged. A big difference is that you must be able to market to both the kids and the parents. The parents want to know that they are giving their kids something educational or that they are contributing to the development of their child. Getting the parents to trust you is half the battle. And you cannot skimp on the artwork. Bad artwork will not engage the kids because they know when something looks cheap.

Design things to be easy for users

In order for a product to add value, it has to address a common problem in the life of a person or a professional. It is even better if that problem has a pain point. If you are able to develop a product to make that pain disappear then people will be engaged. Getting them to want to pay money for it is every entrepreneur's goal. You want people to feel good and intelligent for buying it. If you are buying it for someone, you want to look like a superhero for providing the solution. However, if you make it a hassle to use it, you not only lose a customer, you’ve made an enemy. Alibaba is successful because they make things easy for both the seller and the customer to do business.

Getting a product from a idea to reality is easier than ever. However, it also means that the competition is even greater. So it is those who can adapt, design, and develop awesome products that will be the difference between the prince and the pauper.  
Thank you for reading another one of my posts done for you!  If you liked what you read please share it by using one of the buttons below and check out other posts in this blog.  I don’t want you to miss out on future posts so please follow me on Twitter @Eurodude23.  If you haven’t done it already, please like my Facebook fan page by clicking here!  And if you like the content you have read, and are looking for a content writer for your team please go to for details. See you next time!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Mingle wants to help your business Grow

Paul Chen
mingleTGetsYou A Job is a Poznan‐based startup that delivers value and result for employers and employees. They specialize in events, trainings, data analysis, and tech.
They are laser-focused on roles in SME (Small‐Medium‐Enterprise) companies that are growing globally who are hiring customer‐facing roles including sales, marketing, sales development, customer success and product management.
Why should an Employer attend?
They will meet 300 of the most ambitious and talented professionals in sales and marketing. Many of these people are or will be soon decision makers when it’s about choosing SaaS‐products.
What will an Employer get out of it?
Being part of Mingle event will improve your employer branding. Your company will be featured as “quality employer” within a wide circle of sales and marketing.
Can’t I just put an ad in the job portals?
Thanks to recruiting within a highly targeted group of 300 professionals. There’s no place with a higher concentration of potential employees who match the profile(s) you’re looking for.
Who will the Employers meet?
Professionals who want to take part have to full-fill a number of requirements:

  • 2 years professional work experience & Bachelors degree or 4-5 years without Bachelors degree
  • Relevant work experience dependent on the position they aspire (like for example CRM-experience or phone-based marketing)
  • English uency

Who will job-seekers meet?

Companies include:

  • active in areas B2B within the SaaS, IoT, outsourced development or online retail banking industries
  • ready to hire at least 2 positions by early November 2015,
  • sponsors are required to have a budget for mid-level and senior staff and a budget to train their employees

Time and Place: 21st of October, 2015 in Poznan

For more info, click here.

Thank you for reading another one of my posts done for you!  If you liked what you read please share it by using one of the buttons below and check out other posts in this blog.  I don’t want you to miss out on future posts so please follow me on Twitter @Eurodude23.  If you haven’t done it already, please like my Facebook fan page by clicking here!  And if you like the content you have read, and are looking for a content writer for your team please go to for details. See you next time!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Elections Have Consequences and Why they Matter to Startups (updated)

Paul Chen

I would like you to imagine this scenario: it is Election Night 2012 and as voting outlets all over the United States begin to close and start to tally their voting results.  It appears that Nate Silver's predictions is way off but the Gallup Poll is spot on and Mitt Romney goes on to defeat Barack Obama 323 electoral votes to 215.  Can you imagine how different the United States would seem today?  What if the American public had handed the GOP a blank check to do whatever they wanted to do on that November day in 2012?  Below is just a partial list of what might be happening now:
  • Obamacare would have been repealed on January 21, 2013 ending medical benefit options to over 30 million Americans.
  • Higher taxes for the middle class who are being squeezed more and more by those above and under them.
  • Because of spending cuts, less money for disaster relief, education, infrastructure upgrades.  
  • Many American citizens would have a harder time voting due to newer and more restrictive voting regulations.
  • The upper-class "job creators" would be able to get a wonderful tax cut.
  • The war in Iraq and Afghanistan would have been extended indefinitely, and the US would have jumped into the current conflict with Syria creating problems with Russia, China, and Iran.  
Although I don't agree with everything my President does, but I do believe that the American public made the better choice.  In the 2012 election Obama won by winning votes from the young 60%, the underprivileged 60%, the people of colour 70%, the moderates 56%, and the urban voters 60%.  The result reflects the change in the very dynamic demographics of the United States.  It also shows the concern these voters have about the state of our Union.   That is why they would stand in line for hours to cast a vote for their future.  

...they must live within a lie. They need not accept the lie. It is enough for them to have accepted their life with it and in it. For by this very fact, individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system.
Vaclav Havel

In Poland, at the moment, there is a serious lack of political engagement among the youth as well as the young working class.  The civic engagement of the country is among the lowest in the world. The reason being that there is a great deal of distrust between the people and the government.   It is a remnant of a post-communist mindset as well as the belief that the vote of an individual does not matter.

This month, a Parliamentary election will take place in Poland which will have many serious implications. It is still hard to tell who will win, the Eurosceptic and conservative PiS or the Euro-friendly and business friendly PO.  My views on the conservative trend is quite public.

The people who generally go out to vote are the senior citizens.   In 2012, people between the ages of 20-39 represent about 43% of the voting population, 40-54 year olds 25%, and 54+ = 36%.  Unfortunately, the data from a survey done in 2010 shows a great deal of apathy among the voting youth.  Only 10% of the people between the age of 18-35 showed any interest in voting whereas those 45+ had about 40%.  It seems that the people most engaged in the democratic process are the seniors, those people who are about to retire and the late middle-agers.   What these people love is the status quo.  

Part of the reason is that because the older set are more politically engaged, most of the legislation are geared towards their preferences which means not much at all. As a result, you get a government who tries not to rock the boat and does nothing.  And another reason is that compared to the way things were before in the oppressive communist regime and the uncertain 90's, Poland is going through a relatively nice period of prosperity and Poland managed to avoid the recent recession.  As a result, the motivation to change is quite limited.  

It is understood that the national pasttime of Poland is to complain about the state of the country and its infrastructure and government. However, if a citizen who does not fulfil the civic duty to vote, then that citizen should not have the right to gripe about anything.  Things are getting better.  There are more new trams on the streets, and new shiny commercial and residential buildings are popping up everywhere.  Startup ecosystems are blooming in different cities.  That said, with the amount of resources and talent available, Poland is still underperforming. The rail system needs more work, and more superhighways need to be paved.  

However, with the EU fund well running dry and cheaper skilled labor starting to appear in places like Romania, the Ukraine, and Bulgaria, international BPO firms might be looking to relocate.  That is why it is imperative that the domestic startups be allowed to succeed.   Only with a good domestically created economy, can this level of prosperity be sustainable.

At the moment, the government and its bureaucracy makes it difficult to invest and start a business as mentioned in an article in the Economist. Recently, the Startup Poland foundation have made a push for legislation that will encourage research and development and lower the tax burden for startups who wishes to grow, and investors who wishes to invest in Polish startups. This will drive innovation. It is an encouraging sign that the current Polish government is starting a conversation with the startup ecosystem. I hope it will continue.  With the right type of government your lobbying for change can be easier.

Furthermore, with the right government in place, startups can really have endless possibilities.  For example, by making much of the governmental data public, entrepreneurs can look at the data and create services, software, applications, and physical products that will help the community cut costs at the same time creating companies and jobs.  Also with the democratization of data, it will save the entrepreneurs a lot on the cost of research.   

As an advocate of the Krakow Startup Community, I would like to see this community thrive.  But as a foreigner, I cannot take part in the Polish democratic process.  To my native Polish colleagues who are able to participate, all I have to say is,"Get politically active. If you don't like your government is it your civil duty to change it and create an atmosphere where everyone will benefit.  Get out there and vote place a vote for your destiny and prosperity.”

Thank you for reading another one of my posts done for you!  If you liked what you read please share it by using one of the buttons below and check out other posts in this blog.  I don’t want you to miss out on future posts so please follow me on Twitter @Eurodude23.  If you haven’t done it already, please like my Facebook fan page by clicking here!  And if you like the content you have read, and are looking for a content writer for your team please go to for details. See you next time!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

20 Surprising Things About Content Professionals

Paul Chen

On October 8-9, 2015, the 3rd edition of soap! took place. soap! is a conference organized for mostly technical writers. However, I feel content writers, like me can benefit quite a lot from the conference as well. During the two days, techincal writers and content strategist of software companies as well as hardware companies gave talks to inspire technical writers to reach higher levels of excellence. Pawel Kowaluk, a learning product designer from Motorola Solutions told me,” The average age was late twenties and the air was sparkling with ideas.”

I asked the organizer, Małgorzata Radymiak, what was the best thing from this edition of soap!? She answered,” The best thing about this edition of soap! was definitely the vibe of the conference. Apart from discussing issues that bother us and solutions that will work for us, we had honest, mind-opening, and heart-warming discussions. You could feel that people not only got to know each other but they really did build a relationship. That was wonderful!”

Erin Vang, the technical publications manager from Dolby Labs in San Francisco observed that,” You don’t often see speakers at conferences piggy-backing on each others’ talks. We got that here. This had a massive community building effect.”

Here are 20 things I learned at the 2015 edition of soap! Conference:

20. Context gives content importance and a reason to exist. 

19. Most of the views from Instruction and Informative videos come in the mornings. And it is ok to produce longer educational videos.

18. Controlled vocabulary allows the user to understand, find, and organise the content. 

17. Writers should be aware of all your audiences and understand their perspectives and needs.

16. Writers should create a close working relationship with developers and tell them what the customers want. 

15. Because the writer knows what the customers want, they should be able to explain how the customers can accomplish their goals with the product.

14. In order to give your work value, writers should explain the risks of not having the content.

13. Company accountants can be your best friends as they can assist you in justifying your work by providing financial statistics.

12. In an ever changing product development cycle, providing updated content is like chasing a rocket with a skateboard.

11. Relevant content when coupled with better findability can result in fewer calls to your support staff.

10. A high level content strategy will show how the target audience’s needs will be met.

9. A good writer should become an advocate for the user, in creating better solutions for the user and meeting their needs.

8. Tech and software development departments within big corporations should act like startups to increase their own independence.

7. Tools are meant to help you, they aren’t meant to solve the problems for you, sometimes you have to do the hard work yourselves.

6. Every human being can experience some degree of disability in their life. Learning can help you overcome these disabilities.

5. We design to fail if we don’t listen to our users because we fail to design to their needs.

4. Sometimes you don’t need to change the whole design or content, just a small change can do wonders. It is the miracle of microcopy.

3. Users are the reason you provide content so make them your top priority. Studies show that they actually read the documentation.

2. Documentation is not the cherry on top of the cake (product), it is the cream and the icing holding it all together.

1. To get the cooperation from people of all departments and levels you need to demonstrate the ROI of not doing anything.

I asked Malgorzata, what her goals are for the next edition that will be held in JUNE, 2016, she told me:

Goal 1: Ensure everybody knows that soap! is not a conference and community for technical writers only. Creating a conference and community for technical writers only would end up creating nothing more than another silo. soap! is a conference for all content professionals and people they work with: UI, UX, media (e.g. video, visual language, graphics, interactive content), e-learning, and technical documentation.  All of them work with content, so with everything in and around the product that “speaks” to the end user.
Goal 2: Make people realize that there is no “we vs they” in the process of creating a product & product-related content. It’s always and only “us”.

Thank you for reading another one of my posts done for you!  If you liked what you read please share it by using one of the buttons below and check out other posts in this blog.  I don’t want you to miss out on future posts so please follow me on Twitter @Eurodude23.  If you haven’t done it already, please like my Facebook fan page by clicking here!  And if you like the content you have read, and are looking for a content writer for your team please go to for details. See you next time!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Top ten things I learned from a Report about the Polish Startup Ecosystem

Paul Chen

A couple of days ago, Startup Poland, a foundation organized by the major stakeholders of the Polish startup ecosystem, released a report based on the self reporting of startups in Poland. I asked Eliza Kruczkowska the CEO of the foundation the reason behind the report, she answered.

“It is the first of its kind. It is a complex report about startups in Poland. After few meetings with politicians and decision makers, I've discovered that there was no in-depth information about our sector. Even the community didn't know how many startups are in Poland, how big they are, which sectors are they specialising. I wanted to have some hard data, not just opinions. Therefore, our research was coupled with the creation of a startup database which has so far managed to gather information about a majority of the business entities – the first ‘census’ of the Polish startup population"
“The report comments on business models used by startups, mentions popular sources of capital and other financial resources, as well as presents companies’ level of employment and the scope of their export activity. I was personally surprised that nearly 60% of startups are financed by founders’ own resources using FFF.”
Here are the top ten things I learned about our startup ecosystem:

  1. There are over 2,400 startups in the Polish startup community. The number could be quite a bit higher because some startups might not have participated in the survey due to their own will or they simply didn’t know about the survey at all.
  2. Over half of the startups in Poland are located in just three cities, Krakow, Warsaw, and Poznan. Other popular locations include Wroclaw and the Tri-City region.
  3. A majority of startups fall into the B2B SaaS model.
  4. A majority of startups in Poland use their sales revenues and funding from investors to help their business grow. However, 59% of them used bootstrapped when developing and launching.
  5. There is still a lack of research and development in the startup community as only 1 out of 4 startups are in cooperation with scientists. Only 15% of startups were founded by scientists.
  6. When talking about diversity, Polish startups suffer the same as Silicon Valley. Just a little over ¼ of the startups can report a female among their team of founders.
  7. Most of the startups can say that their product or service is something innovative and new on the global scale. Some can even call their products distruptive.
  8. Among exporting startups, almost a half perform over 50% of their total sale abroad (diagram). For 60% of exporters, the main country of destination is Great Britain or the United States.Germany is also an important recipient.
  9. 6 % of Polish startups are able to value themselves over 20 Million PLN based on their ability to close their series A round of funding.
  10. Not enough startups are focusing on the 2 most pressing global issues which is life sciences and energy. They only account for 7% of the all of the Polish startups. Given the climate change problem, there are many problems to be solved.

A copy of the full report can be found here: Startup Poland – raport 2015 ENG

Thank you for reading another one of my posts done for you!  If you liked what you read please share it by using one of the buttons below and check out other posts in this blog.  I don’t want you to miss out on future posts so please follow me on Twitter @Eurodude23.  If you haven’t done it already, please like my Facebook fan page by clicking here!  And if you like the content you have read, and are looking for a content writer for your team please go to for details. See you next time!