Summary

I’ve done my graduation assignment at a company called DELITELABS, an NGO stationed in Amsterdam. Through a friend I got the connection to this interesting organisation.The person I had on the phone was Christof Hawle, which is the founder of the venture. Not long after that I had it all set up and I could start my internship and graduation assignment.

The mission

DELITELABS has one mission and that is helping people in need, in this case two groups: the unemployed local youth and recent migrants. Our organisation helps these people by giving them an intense 5 weeks course on entrepreneurship. So after 5 weeks they have had the experience of being an entrepreneur and started their own projects. After that they have had a taste on what that’s like and can decide if they want to go through with it.  The first couple of weeks and event months we’re really to check out the new environment and feel and learn how it went. So every 5 weeks you have different people to work with and to help build their own ventures.

Getting things done

In the 7 months I worked at DELITELABS I learned a lot. A lot about what it means to startup a company from scratch. With no budget, but with long hours and strong effort building something that is really meaningful. “Getting things done” is one of the motto’s that really resonates with DELITELABS. The same motto you hear in the workshops that we give our students. DELITELABS may be a school but students in this school are mostly learning by doing and experimenting rather than passively sit and listen what the teacher has to say.

My job description

People have asked me often what my job was at DELITELABS. Till this day I couldn’t really tell you one answer. I have several. We needed to move several times and fix cheap or free furniture for our new place. I was one of the main contacts for students if they had questions about translation, transport issues, helping to brainstorm with one of their projects or giving them feedback on a pitch or concept. I helped arranging a few events like 5 pitch evenings, a final party and the prototyping week at the University of Twente. I worked and research during the first couple of months but the choirs I did at DELITELABS, although I liked most of them, had nothing really to do with my studies. For example making movies and photos was part of these first few months. This changed when Violeta came in the team and we set up a whole new way of communicating to the outside world. I really dug this. Communication in this sense really has become likeable to me and I will continue this after I have had my graduation unregarded what kind of job I will get.

There are a few programs I mostly worked with to create media, manage operations, progress and contacts. I used Adobe Premiere for my one, two, three and four videos. As social media we used Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter and our blog. We used Trello, Google Spreadsheet and Google Drive to organise and manage the internal communications task division and progress. For the creation of various multimedia outputs we used Canva. A very easy and handy tool to make quick and beautiful multimedia outputs like posters, enhance photos, make presentations and other expressions.

I have had so much fun and deep connections during this period with the team and the students. Lots of friends and new inspirations at DELITELABS. Thank you once again for this amazing time everyone at DELITELABS. You have really enriched my life!

– Bas

Journey of crowdfunding

We got advice to post updates on the crowdfunding platform from a lot of experts that I’ve seen over the last couple of months, so of course we did. I just want to show you what we have been doing.

Well before you actually start you have to create fill in tons of data for the crowdfunding platform. Who you are, what your pitch text is, the video that needs to get uploaded, the perks, etc. In a couple of talks we went over a couple of these principles as perks, pitches and the crowdfunding movie. But I don’t think I have touched upon the process of the actual campaign when we launched it.

DELITELABS Crowdfunding campaign target acquired

The start

We started out by filling all these tedious forms in that need to get filled out when you start a crowdfunding campaign. Then there is a reviewing period from which it is unknown how long it would take. We wanted to launch around the first of October to have 30 days of campaigning. But what actually happened was that the process took way too long so that we didn’t have 30 days but more like 25 or 26, I’m not sure anymore. In a stressful situation, like you are almost always in at a startup, you don’t want to deal with this kind of situations. But it had to be dealt with and with a couple of phonecalls made by Violeta we could go on and set up our crowdfunding campaign online.

The updates

We had a couple of updates that we send out on our crowdfunding page. To tell something about our project or tell the backers more about our students, because in the end that’s all that is important. And is in line what I’ve heard from most experts on this topic. Maybe we could have done a couple more posts, but overall I think it was already pretty good that we went nuts on finding people who wanted to back us.

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The first 25% in one day!

This was really something we, or at least I, did not expected. We just launched the event and in half a day we managed to back our project with 25% of the money already. I was in the seventh heaven. I just couldn’t believe it myself. Really a energy booster for the rest of the campaign. I was a bit skeptical in the beginning, because most experts I heard talked about what immense workload it is to drive a crowd towards your set goals. The odds were against us, but we managed to prevail. Great, great feeling!

Conclusion

Probably, but this is just something I guess could be true. If we had had a couple of extra updates on our website and began earlier with posting about our teams and their project we could have probably gotten a bit more money. But for the very first crowdfunding campaign it was an amazing success!

Delitelabs the last course

It’s strange after such a long time of working at DELITELABS that I didn’t tell about one of the biggest parts of being at DELITELABS. The interaction and the bonding with the students. Three times I had the privilege to work with a group of people. Almost all of them refugees and most of them from Syria. I never met anyone before my time at DELITELABS that was actually from Syria, but now I was surrounded by them everyday. I have to say we dutch might learn a thing or two in hospitality from these people. Every course I bonded with them more. Each course I became a little bit more attracted to these people. Until finally the last course it felt like one big family.

A couple of pictures

I think especially the new location we went to combined with a lot more activities we did together lead to this kind of bonding. From strangers to friends or even family was very special for me. To show you who they are here is a picture.

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I come to love these people. Our time together at UT Prototyping week was just amazing and the way we finished our course last Wednesday was just unbelievable. This Wednesday they had “graduated” from DELITELABS. They had delivered their pitch to a large crowd, got feedback and a round of applause from the board of entrepreneurs that judged them after. Here is for example during the preparations for the pitch evening on the UT. The one who is looking is Adel, one of our students.

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In the following picture you see me working with Violeta, our communications supervisor, and Maddi, one of our students that on the last pitch event got promoted to be our new coordinator.

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Conclusion

Working with all of these people was such a beautiful and magical adventure. If they have a place for me in the future I would love to work with them once more. Every time there are new opportunities and new people to meet and help. I’m so grateful to say that I’ve made many friends in this period of my life and learned a great deal from them and myself as well.

 

Canva: a new design tool

Canva is a tool we came to use when Violeta joined our team. One of the most simplest Design programs I’ve ever seen and free to use. With Canva you can design beautiful digital products like presentations, posters, social media imagery and many other things.

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There is actually not really much to it when you use Canva. This is the starting screen and the two pictures below I have made. You can select one of the designs shown in the top and work from there. You can use the same formatting if you want or play around with it. You just put predesigned text, filters and imagery together into one image, with the click of a button you had a new piece of content you could put out there.

When did we use it

We used this tool many times during our social media outputs. It just made messages more attractive than if you would just used a regular photo. Most of the times we used Canva when there was something special to show, like in the prototyping week of the University of Twente or when we were looking for more participants for our course. Violeta really pushed us to make pictures as beautiful as we could and communicate the messages that we wanted to send out in the best way possible.

Some of the Pictures I had created

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live-on-our-facebook-page

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Conclusion

What I really like about Canva is is that it’s easy and quick and it produces a lot of content. So if you need content straight away you can just use Canva and 5 minutes or less later you’ll be done and can post a new piece of beautiful content.

A free storytelling workshop @ Filmschool Amsterdam

I was privileged that I could go to one of these free workshops, my second even. In a group of five people we went to work with one of the teachers of the Filmschool Amsterdam. First came a couple of notes on the theory of storytelling, especially when talking about film.

The hierarchy of scripts

I didn’t even know this, but you have a hierarchy in the writings in film. They have to be written before you start everything else.

  • Logline: this is the summary of the story in 1 to 3 sentences
  • synopsis: this is the sumary of te story in 1/2 to 4 pages
  • (mini) treatment: Summary which is 6 to 10 pages or 10 to 20 pages.
  •  The scenario: this is a description of the whole movie where is described in detail what can be seen or heard within the movie and what kind of shot it is.

Three Acts Paradigm and some other notes

After this we talked about the Three Acts Paradigm, which I already talked about in another workshop I did, read it here. The main characteristic that every protagonist in a movie has is that this is someone that wants something very deeply but has trouble to achieve that. You can have two variations of this. You can have an active person in a passive world or a passive person in an active world.

We watched the following video she recommended to watch especially since it was a subject I was working on

Conclusion

This was a fun workshop to do. Especially the part where we had to write our own piece of scenario. It since I had a couple of classes of this at the Saxion University I knew what to use in the way you describe a situation. The only thing I had a little trouble with was building up and playing with the tension within the scene. Although I learned a lot during this workshop I could not yet consciously apply the things that I had learned, because every movie that was made was almost without any form of preparation, so also no synopsis or script.

TED talks all around: Trigonis J. and Westcott V.

I’ve watched two interesting TED talks on crowdfunding that were brief, but nevertheless useful.

Crowdfunding today, tomorrow, together

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John Trigonis is a movie maker and now also seen as somewhat of a crowdfunding expert. He says that engaging a crowd is an art. And I have to say from what I’ve heard and seen so far he is right.

“The pitch is the invitation, perks the incentives and promotion the interaction with your crowd.”
– John Trigonis

He tells that when you do a campaign video you should always tell the following to your crowd:

  • You should tell who you are
  • What your project is all about
  • Why your audience should fund you

You should speak to your audience like they are a friend. A very personal approach is needed to get your crowd enthused and willing to spend money on you and your project.

Crowdfunding 101

victoriawestcott

Victoria Westcott talks about crowdfunding in relation with her youth. She was a very entrepreneurial spirit and still is. Out of the experiences she had in her youth with selling all kinds of things, like lemonade in her street, she gives us 5 lessons. Five lessons to live by when you do a crowdfunding campaign.

  1. Make something awesome
  2. sell to your audience
  3. Don’t ask for charity
  4. Follow through
  5. They might just give you tips

In summary you should just make an awesome project that people want to be involved with. You need to grab them by the hair so to speak. You need to sell. Persuade them to buy the product from you. Let them see you want to improve something through the realisation of your project. Remember that it’s not charity that you do with your project. Stand behind it. Be persistent and be kind and be changeable in the way you present your product.

Conclusion

Two things that I see constantly with building a crowd and achieving your goal. Be persistent and be very personal in your approach. We tried this during our whole campaign and you can see the outcome of that: Success!

 

 

 

First networking with a SAE

We needed a professional or at least a semi professional film maker to create a movie for our crowdfunding campaign. Already very early on I tried to contact people that were willing to help with this venture. A couple of filmschools were contacted over mail and over the phone, but it wasn’t until I reached out to SAE that I finally found someone that might help us with finding what we needed.

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A meeting at SAE

I had contact with Eduardo and José, both teachers at the school. It wasn’t short after that I went there for a visit. SAE was actually very close to Amsterdam Central station so it was easy to reach. I met with Eduardo and he showed me around. A very nice location. He told me that they pushed their students even to look for projects outside of the school building to practice on. We talked a bit about the equipment they used and I was pretty jealous, they got all the new gadgets and tools to shoot in the highest resolution and record the best quality of audio.

After a while I showed him a couple of movies as an example of what we wanted out of the crowdfunding video. He seemed not impressed and he said his students could deliver.

We agreed that I would write a mail to him and his colleague, José. Within this mail I should provide the days that we wanted to shoot, the timeline and deadlines of our movie, what we were going to shoot and a synopsis of 4 to 5 sentences. This to provide the students with enough data to estimate if they had time and find it interesting enough to work with us.

Happily I could return to DELITELABS and tell the good news.

Conclusion

Push hard enough on one side and you bet that there will be something that will pop out of the other side. In other words persistence will prevail. I had to really push and reach out to as much schools as I could to provide us with people that wanted to help out. After providing José and Eduardo with the mail within a couple of days I had two students that were willing to help out. Not long after that we set up a meeting with one of the students. Read about these negotiations here and here.

Quick check of a couple of social media tools!

Over the course of my internship I have had my focus on my internship which sometimes caused that I hadn’t had time to work on my thesis. But luckily I have made rich notes on most of the activities that we did throughout the course and the work needed to be done.

In the second month of my internship we began looking at the different activities that needed to be done if we want to have a successful crowdfunding campaign, which of course we do. Therefor we also needed the right tools to work as efficient and effective as possible. Some of these tools were very similar and therefor someone needed to look at what tools best to use for the crowdfunding campaign. I looked into a couple of different tools that we could use. Below you’ll find a small overview of the tools that I looked at and the ones that we actually choose to use in our crowdfunding campaign.

Mailchimp

mailchimp

Mailchimp is a mailing programme. Based around marketing purposes. Great to create and send out newsletters or other forms of. It is very easy to create a list of contacts various ways that you can actually achieve this. You can import google spreadsheets, put them in manually and many other ways. You can create stylish designs fairly easy, with preprogrammed grids or frameworks that you can use. You can also link the mail to your social media. The designs you have created you can also save and are therefor reusable. It’s a great tool for email campaigning. Some analytics on the open rate and click rate of your mail can be viewed to better your mailing.

Hootsuite

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Hootsuite is a tool to manage your social media. With the free version you can have up to 3 social media that you can manage. You can schedule posts, look into some basic analytics of your social media, have a good overview of the newsfeed that are relevant for you and provides suggestions to post under one overarching theme. Hootsuite should be very reliable, they have partnerships with Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Evernote, Flickr, LinkedIn, Tumble and Google+. Check out my detailed post on the usage of Hootsuite.

Nouncy

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This is a tool which you can use to let your social networks work for you. You can ask your network for help, which they can provide by writing a post for you that you can save up in Nouncy. When you need to cut through the noise on social networks you can let Nouncy send all the messages and posts you saved up in one blow for maximum attention. Could be very handy when we want some extra attention during the launch of our crowdfunding campaign.

Thunderclap

thunderclap

This tool has a couple of features that are very similar to what Nouncy does. But what thunderclap does differently than Nouncy is that they collect the messages from the crowd. People want to lend their voice to certain causes and this crowd is what Thunderclap uses to create a “social media explosion”.

Conclusion

There are two systems that we are definitely are going to use, which are Hootsuite and Mailchimp. These are very handy tools to use in our endeavours to create a crowd, interact with them and have a good overview of multiple social media. Thunderclap and Nouncy both could be useful, but only when we are further in the process of the crowdfunding campaign.

Communications Plan DELITELABS

1. GOALS

  •       Showing the positive effects of economic integration
  •       Creating a community
  •       Having a successful crowdfunding campaign
  •       Associate the brand with creativity, entrepreneurship, success values
  •       Disseminate no borders philosophy and equality values
  •       (HOW) Placing Delitelabs in the startup ecosystem 

2. TARGET AUDIENCE

  •       Smart educated refugees between 20 and 30
  •       Unemployed local people between 20 and 30
  •       Companies with a social department to fund initiatives
  •       People that are related with other initiatives involving tech, business and innovation

3. MESSAGE

  •       Is easier to startup a business after the program
  •       Our program helps to develop economic integration
  •       Delitelabs is a professional education
  •       Delitelabs is a big step to develop yourself: professional and personal
  •       We want to empower people who don’t get much chances
  •       We tell personal stories

4. STRATEGY

  •       Geographical Scope: Amsterdam, Nederland, Europe
  •       Tone: Smartass tone.
  •       Super smart responses in a super nice way.
  •       Open mentality to criticism. Questioning
  •       Suspense. People are exciting to know what’s next
  •       Resourceful. We get the things done
  •       Hands on and learning by doing

5. ACTIONS

Offline:

  • An event on the 29th of September where we will have a public lecture given by Founders 
  • The prototyping week at the University of Twente the 10th till the 14th of October
  • The final pitch event which will be on the 19th of October

Online:

  1.  CORPORATE PLATFORMS:
  •       Web
  •       Blog
  •       Facebook
  •       Twitter
  •       Linkedin
  •       Instagram
  •       Youtube / Vimeo
  1. PLATFORM CONTENT

It is important to standardise the visualisation of the different communication means. Although these may differ for each communication tool we use, in our case a set of social media platforms. Which are the following media outputs:

http://delitelabs.com/

Web with basic information about the project. We need to show more the power of the organisation by the faces of the team and the board behind it.

http://delitelabs.com/blog

The strategy of content marketing needs a good content generator. Blog categories:

  1. Successful stories
  2. Events review
  3. Diary
  4. Program (During the program 1 chronic everyday)

https://www.facebook.com/delitelabs

  •       Publish our own blog content
  •       Team strengths
  •       Good indicators
  •       Program explanations
  •       Another news and inspiring stories from other pages and blogs
  •       3 times/week: 1 picture and 2 blog posts (it could be one external content too)
  •       Alumni group. This is our community! We should share valuable content: job offers, events… We should have a extra person taking care of it and posting 3 times per week. (Adel?)

https://twitter.com/delitelabs

  • Gifs that show the problems that we are solving
  • We share the content of blog. Daily interactions with related profiles and persons in the themes innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship and social initiatives.
  • 200 tweets explaining the program and the feelings that your have during the program #adayindelitelabs
  • 200 tweets #delitelabsisforyou explaning why you should apply.
  • At least one post a day

 

Reflections

Within this text I will lay down all the reflections I have for myself. What I think went well during my internship at DELITELABS and which things I can improve on. First I want to say that my time at DELITELABS was just amazing. I met so many special and inspiring people, learned so much and enjoyed myself meeting a whole variety of different cultures. I can’t even begin to describe the fulfilment I have felt during each pitch event I helped organise. I felt so proud of every single student I saw on that stage and see how they explained their projects, oftentimes with such inspiration that I occasionally shed a tear during these events. Some of them I still see as friends.

So now, without further ado. I will reflect on this amazing journey I have taken with DELITELABS.

In this reflection I will have a number of subjects I would like to discuss with you:

  • Working in a startup
  • Step up!
  • writing a blog, shouldn’t you post more regularly?

Working at a Startup

Time management

So, one of the first things I will touch upon is time management. Time management is essential. During my internship I had constantly the feeling that I was thrown in the deep.Mostly because I had no estimate on the amount of time it would take for the job to get done. And when you don’t have a good estimate on the time you spend on a task it gets really tricky to schedule or plan a strategically structured plan, like I had to do with the combination of writing this blog, run a crowdfunding campaign and doing all the border activities at DELITELABS.

Structures and systems

So there’s definitely much to learn in that area, but I’ve seen also already a lot of progress. Since I’ve been seeing the problems of unclearity at DELITELABS I’ve tried to implement a couple of systematical interventions in my activities. For example I had a mailbox which was completely unorganised. No labels, no folders and an inbox with 1800 messages of which a couple of hundred unread. In the last period of my stay at DELITELABS I’ve decreased this number to 0 and everything well organised in folders and labels.

Another examples are all my notes (At the moment I own ten notebooks filled with summaries on articles and events, lectures and workshops) that are well organised and provided with catalogue on the front jacket to find the information that I want in a heartbeat. This actually already provided me with such advantages. Everything, or at least most of the interesting things that happened in the period at DELITELABS, I have documented. The stupid thing of me was that I didn’t put the notes immediately into blog posts. On the other hand, otherwise I hadn’t learn the real value of well organised documentation.

Maybe a bit personal, but when I was a couple of weeks into DELITELABS I’ve actually done the same thing with my finances. Since approximately a half year I keep real close track on my financial situation and this has been such a help. I owe this also for the larger part to a book I read that is actually written by one of the leading figures when it comes to content marketing, Ramit Sethi.

Step Up!

I’m also very grateful that I was surrounded by interesting people at DELITELABS that really pushed me forward and let me learn and even fall on my ass sometimes. I remember a very nice evening where we had a late meeting. After the meeting we had a kind of photo shoot. We needed pictures for the blog from ourselves, so after the meeting with monkeyed about and took the pictures. The new communications team was just 2 weeks working with each other and had gotten to know each other a little better. Violeta was the newest member of our team. In Valencia she had worked already a couple of years at an incubator. Therefor she had experience in the startup scene as a communications expert and lecturer in presenting and pitching. I was wondering if she could give me some pointers for me to work on. She told me that she thought that I was being too careful. I should take more ownership of the activities you do and have better focus on those in stead of trying to do everything at the same time. In other words say no more often and be careful on which things I could lose my focus on.

For these last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to do just that and my work improved, was more proactive and got some compliments on my behavior. This cool twist was very nice to see and I will implement this more in the future. Focus and ownership of your work.

Writing a blog, shouldn’t you post more regularly?

One of the most regretful things of my internship was the delay I had with my writing. It would have been so much easier if I had just written one or two articles every week. Now it was total chaos at the end. I had everything I wanted to write, but on paper in stead of digitally. Just plainly, stupid. This I could have prevented so easily. Like John Rohn said: “Things that are easy to do are also easy not to do”.

But the choice of writing the blog I will never regret. I’ve said this a lot within this blog, but I really have to say it again. I’ve learned so much from writing this blog. One thing in particular and that is that I want to keep doing it after I’m done at DELITELABS. I’ve really enjoyed analysing a subject and try to convey the learnings through a blog. I’m planning to go to Spain after my time at DELITELABS and I will continue with writing about the subjects I really care about or find interesting enough to write about. For example, there are still so many people I would want to write an article about or/and want to interview. This is one of the things I want to be busy with in the future.