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.

Science of Persuasion

I always had an interest for persuasion, but like most other people do, for a long time I thought some people had it and some people had it. Well according to this talk it’s not at all, we can learn to be persuasive. And there are special ingredients you probably will need to achieve it.

Most Sales people will know the 6 most powerful rules of persuasion. It’s interesting that most of these principles I’ve encountered many times before in other books, all together or a few of them. This gives me the idea that there must be some kind of truth to these. The book “How to win friends and Influence people” by Dale Carnegie is one of the most popular examples of sales techniques and be a better human being if you’d ask me. All these principles are being recommended by a whole variety of experts in sales. Here we go!

The 6 most powerful persuasive techniques

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Scarcity
  3. Authority
  4. Consistency
  5. Liking
  6. Consensus

Reciprocity

Reciprocity. Roughly defined its getting something back once you’ve given something yourself. Otherwise put it: It’s the obligation you feel whey you receive something. Almost every person has this bias in their system. They can’t do anything about it. The same goes for example a question. A pending question just waits to get answered. A couple of months ago I worked for a sales company and they gave me this insight. If you want to hold people one of the best ways to do it is asking a question or during the talk giving something to them.

There are even numbers on this researched on in a restaurant. An example of this is the waiter that is bringing a gift with the bill, like a mint. This increased the amount of tips with 3%. When there where 2 mints on the platter the tips even increased with 14%. But when the waiter walked away, turned around with another mint saying: “you people can have more than one mint” even increased the tips with 23%.

It’s very interesting to know what these seemingly unimportant behaviours can cause in terms of change.

Scarcity

Scarcity is also a big pillar in sales as well. To summarise it in one phrase would be: “People want more of those things they can have less of.” We see this all the time. I myself see this in the way people I follow try to sell their courses. “you have one day left to register for course x”, “This unique course will teach you what only other people dreamed of having”.

These kinds of phrasing are very compelling for most people and very understandably. I don’t know the main reason I heard correct, but it seems very logical to me. I heard it from Tai Lopez. The reason is that evolutionarily we came from circumstances where we were in a constant state of scarcity. Scarcity of food, of security, almost everything was in scarcity. This is biologically been framed in our hardwiring. This makes it very difficult to say no to things like, sugar and fat for example. Resources we needed to have but was very scarce. Industries like the food industry play this card all the time. Very effective sales tactic that is being used in so many commercials and marketing. You won’t believe.

Authority

This says that people will follow the credible experts. When talking about what they will be willing to do. The Milgram experiment is one of the most popular quoted experiments conducted on this bias.  We listen to people who we think knows more than us in a specific subject. We see this as well in commercials of toothpaste. Providing the right credentials and we follow almost everyone if the deal seems reasonable.

Consistency ( or Commitment)

This comes down on the consistency of our actions and what we said to other people or to ourselves. People tend to want to be consistent, how paradoxical a situation might be. We want to be the person we say we are if not we feel bad about the actions we take. In sales we try to take advantage on this to let a person say yes at a very specific set of questions. Getting them into the “yes-state” is one of the things you do by leading them in a stream of their thoughts that you steer.

So if you want to persuade people to do something for you try to let them to do a very small favor for you first. They are way more likely to comply after doing this.

Liking/Likeableness

This is a very interesting and powerful tool as well and now to come and think of it, I use this actually all the time. The ability to be liked by other people in a sense. One of the most important ones. It’s fairly simple put. People want to give you more if they like you. There are two things to take in account when you want to increase this powerful tool. And I think it’s highly recommended for everyone because this is one of the most genuinely morally good tools you can actually use for yourself.

  1. Similarity
  2. Pay (genuine) compliments

Similarity

If you want to be likeable to the other person, the other person has to see a part of themselves in you. In face-to-face situations you can use body language and the tone of voice to persuade them. The more you act like them the more, oftentimes, will people like you. But again, you have to be genuine in your pursuit. But this also means, provide what people want from you. Don’t say one thing and do the other.

A nice statistic on this is what they’ve done with two groups of sales people. One group got the objective to especially be very careful with the time they had. i.e. Close the deal ASAP. The other group was instructed to try and share and ask for personal stories of people. And wouldn’t you know, the first group got a 55% of people closed, the second group 90% closed. For a large part you could almost say that good Sales is all about making friends.

Pay (genuine) compliments

Pay people compliments this makes people feel good, and when happy, especially when you make them happy, want to do much more for you. A nice phrasing is in place: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel ” And if we assume this is true, it is very important that we make people feel good.

Consensus or Social proof

“People will look to the actions of other to determine their own.” We are herd animals. We tend to follow the herd. You see this very much in trends in fashion for example. People who work in marketing are highly aware of this bias of us and is using this oftentimes in their commercially outputs. Messages in commercials like: 9 out of the 10 people who recommended this is happier/skinnier/has more hair or whatever. And it works.

This video that I once watched as part of a sales training program will let you see what some of these tactics can do.

Conclusion

Not all of these tactics can be put to use by us, or maybe better said, I see some ways working way better than others. So the tactics I will want to use are Scarcity, Authority and Consensus.

Scarcity

The methods of scarcity we can always use. Especially for events, and we did that with the event of the 19th of October, we really press the uniqueness and the pressing of time to get more people to come and it was our biggest event yet.

Authority

Authority is a bit tricky, but since our last course we can see the outcome of our actions and these are definitely positive. This means our courses work. Not necessarily to create businesses, but better peoples lives. The people that joined DL have a higher chance of getting a job, know how hard they can work, we provide them with a network. All these things have benefitted the people that do a course with us. And when you ask these people what they think of DL they are all very grateful that we were there to give the course. This we can use to profile ourselves as authority, especially after so much of experimenting and just doing it and see what happens. We have grown as a business. Every course we know better what tactics work better and implement this in the following course.

Consensus

Consensus. We can show how many people support us and have joined us. At this point this amount is already pretty high, but we can even put it up a notch. We can actually see that during the last three courses Delitelabs has become every time more popular. And I can say from experience that everybody that joined DELITELABS as a participant was very grateful to have given this opportunity, which we can use when we profile ourself when we communicate with the outside world. Especially stories from our participants are now one of our key ways of communicating to the outside world. This is to build more connection with our audience and so far this method has been proven quite solid. See this also in the movie we did for the crowdfunding campaign, the photos on Instagram we put out and the stories we share on our blog.

 

 

Startup Event by ABN AMRO

 

This Friday was an exhilarating day. I had the chance to go to a startup event organised by the ABN AMRO bank. I didn’t know what this would entail, but after looking at the schedule It were a pentad of pitches from rising startups in the social enterprise scene with an introduction from professor Harry Hummels and Rutger Schuur.

Before I even arrived in the hall where the pitches would take place I met a man who also would go to this event. Ime Duyfjes, a friendly man who was himself inspired by entrepreneurship. He worked for years as a business consultant, but for the last one and a half year has been a teacher at the Hogeschool Windesheim in Almere. He’s a coach and inspirator for his students. We talked a bit about the pros and cons of entrepreneurship. Especially the mentality that is required for something as hard, dynamic and oftentimes frustrating of having your own business.

The introduction by …

First it started out by a small speech of Rutger Schuur. He is part of Stichting Jong Ondernemen. This NGO has partnered with ABN AMRO and some other ventures. When you look at it prudential we are at the edge of change when it comes down to the way we do business. The phrase: “money is the mean, impact the goal” is what this organisation has in mind. He said that Social entrepreneurs are the big companies of the future. The following speaker verifies these phrasings.

The talk Professor Hummels gave was interesting with a sparkle of an utopian world view. He talked on how you could see that the startups and companies in the social enterprise industry really are flourishing. And with good reason he adds.
According to him most social enterprises have problems with creating a business plan, but they have what most commercialised companies lack, a mission. Social enterprises are there to make a positive social impact. But this can only be sustainable if you have a good business plan to create revenue. This is also what came across with the startup talks that followed.

The five pitches

Granny’s Finest

logo-grannys-finest

The first pitch was given by Niek van Hengel. He talked about his startup called Grannies Finest. He began with a story of his own grandfather and we discovered through that story that over 1.2 million people in the Netherlands are lonely and from this group 200 thousand are extremely lonely. With his startup he wants to do something about this societal problem.

So he went to research and found out that a lot of old people, especially female elderly, are into knitting. Many have done this their whole life and it pleases them to continue this habit.

He combined two worlds with each other. He let the grannies knit a whole variety of knitwear that could be used by designers to make designer clothing. These cloths are now being used for retails stores like Bijenkorf, which, as you probably know, a pretty high class brand. This is a great example of a social enterprise that fulfills two necessary needs. A social impact, the people involved are evidently less lonely. And the second part is that the business has a very viable business model.

Thuisafgehaald.nl

thuisafgehaald

Thuisafgehaald.nl is another social enterprise. The talk was given by Jasmijn Vreeburg, which is the communication specialist at this venture. She began by explaining what the platform is all about. The idea was to reconnect people in neighbourhoods through exchanging food. A large problem within urban regions is that neighbours lose more and more connection. To provide a solution for this problem, people can invite other people to buy a meal from someone that lives in the neighbourhood. And so far with success: there are already 100.000 users on this platform.

Within this venture there has been made a division that has the same target group as the first pitch, bijzonder afgehaald.nl. This site is especially for the elderly. The idea was that neighbours could come and cook for these people. Research on this has shown that this is beneficial for both parties. The elderly don’t have to do the cooking and have therefor more rest and interaction with people, aversion of loneliness. And the people contribute their time to make food, and in the case of thuisafgehaald do a lot more choirs, get a good feeling from doing this. This has shown time and time again.

Voor je buurt

voorjebuurt_logo

Voor je buurt is a crowdfunding platform set up to help people with projects in their neighbourhood. This venture launched it business in 2012. The pitch was given by Aster van Tilburg. The venture is a cowdfunding platform for small projects for the neighbourhood. A couple of examples that she gave were the “bruisplaats” in Gouda and “de deelkelder” in Utrecht.

Wij de Wijk

Wijdewijk logo

This is a organisation that is very similar to thuisafgehaald.nl. Only it provides care in stead of food. Neighbours or family members can easily divide tasks that need to be done for the elderly/family. In this app you can put in activities that need to be done and arrange and divide them up among the people that want to be involved in the help for these elderly people.

SYR

syr

This was actually a very interesting talk. Especially since I’ve been working with refugees myself. They have build a restaurant with a Syrian kitchen and with the help of Syrian Refugees. Many refugees, and I know this from my own experience, can’t do anything without a permit and are often locked away in camps without sufficient guidance. SYR is an very interesting place because people can work or volunteer here even if they don’t have a permit. A very interesting pitch given by Hester van Eerten.

Conclusion

The experience of the event overall was a very nice event. I’ve learned a bit about the pitches, although most of them I didn’t find particularly intriguing the overall trend of social entrepreneurship was both appealing and satisfying. I don’t know yet what this will entail for me, because I’m not sure yet what I want to do. But I do know that I want to help build on an enterprise that tries to improve one or more societal problems. So in a way it was very enlightening for me to be at this interesting event.

References

MKB Service Desk (z.d.). Stichting Jong Ondernemen. Verkregen op 10 oktober 2016 van, http://www.mkbservicedesk.nl/6571/stichting-jong-ondernemen.htm

Hummels, H. (z.d.). Linkedin profiel. Verkregen op 10 oktober 2016 van,https://www.linkedin.com/in/harry-hummels-50a8547

Schuur, R. (z.d.) Linkedin Profiel. Verkregen op 10 oktober 2016 van, https://www.linkedin.com/in/rutger-schuur-2275854

v. Eergen, H. (z.d.). LinkedIn profiel. Verkregen op 10 oktober 2016 van,https://www.linkedin.com/in/hester-van-eerten-62bb5522

Duifjes, I. (z.d.) LinkedIn profiel. Verkregen op 10 oktober 2016 van, https://www.linkedin.com/in/ime-duyfjes-243a97

Jong Ondernemen (z.d.). ‘Jongeren inspireren en uitdagen te bouwen aan een ondernemende toekomst’. Verkregen op 10 oktober 2016 van, http://www.jongondernemen.nl/missie

van Hengel, N. (z.d.) LinkedIn profiel. Verkregen op 10 oktober 2016 van,https://www.linkedin.com/in/nvhengel

Vreeburg, J. (z.d.) LinkedIn profiel. Verkregen op 10 oktober 2016 van, https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasmijnvreeburg

van Tilburg, A. (z.d.) LinkedIn profiel. Verkregen op 10 oktober 2016 van, https://www.linkedin.com/in/astervantilburg

De Deelkelder (z.d.) Eerste spullen bibliotheek van Nederland en misschien wel de hele wereld. Verkregen op 10 oktober 2016 van, http://www.dedeelkelder.nl

De Bruisplaats (z.d.). Homepage website. Verkregen op 10 oktober 2016 van, https://www.voorjebuurt.nl/campaigns/bruisplaats/

Voor je buurt (z.d.). Over voor je buurt. Verkregen op 10 oktober 2016 van, https://www.voorjebuurt.nl/over-voor-je-buurt/

My Notebooks and what I’ve learned from keeping them

My notebooks. This is a thing. I’ve been very lavish with the use of paper these past couple of months. Acquired knowledge that has been stored in more than 10 notebooks. Half of it for the crowdfunding campaigns. I’ve learned a couple of lessons for this.

1. Categorise the subjects

This is one of the most important things to do. Else you don’t have a clue what’s inside of these books. Normally I started out by writing a title on the frontcover. Something like “Notes on Delitelabs” or “Lectures and interviews” or even “summaries on articles”. But this stays very vague on what the notebooks actually can help me with. So a couple of weeks ago I began to read them all and provide the cover with all the subjects and contents of the notes I took. It looks like the image below. The handy thing about this is that if I want to write an article now I can just search up the subject I want to write about and start typing.

My notebooks

2. Start Transfering to digital Straight away!

I started to late with transfering what I done research on to the digital. This is I think not uncommon. I hear many people not implementing what they learned or forgetting it all together. Especially when you go to lectures people often forget their notes. Now that I begin to have it all in one place it is like a database of knowledge that I can search very easily in. I really love that Idea. A literal accumulation of knowledge that, when used proper, you can have massive impact with. Or at least… I really hope for it.

3. Start implementing straight away

This is one of the biggest mistakes that I have made. I know that I’m not the only one, but that doesn’t make it less foolish of me. Put to use what you have learned straight away. This is how things are actually become intuitive after a while. There are so many things that I’ve written down on how to do certain things that this abundance of stored knowledge is sometimes like a big wave that overflows me. Overwhelms me and I forget it all. Now when I read my notes, which lately have been frequently, I’ve been starting to implement it more and this feels kind of cool. It’s like having a very big manual on how the subjects that I’ve been working on (personal development, digital marketing and crowdfunding) actually work and how you can implement it to learn and use it yourself.

4. Keep only the good

You make notes on loads on different things. What do I need to do today? What have I learned from this lecture? What do I want to get from the supermarket? All different lists on things you have to write down because otherwise you forget. What I have been doing with my notebooks is cutting down on the things that don’t have any purpose or interest for you anymore. Just rip out those pages and feel free from the irrelevant topics that lost their meaning to you. This leaves only the good stuff for you to learn from and keeps your head clean on what is really important, applicable or interesting.

So as a conclusion

I’d say keep categorising my notes, start accumulating them digitaly, or even better online so other people may also benefit from my findings, start implementing what I’ve learned and keep editing my notes. I think that sometimes it’s better to do instead of being paralysed by the thinking process. And that’s what I’ll try to do more.

An evening on story telling

The power of storytelling is a big one, definitely when I look at the entrepreneurs that I follow on youtube and their success. Names like Sam Ovens, Casey Neistat, Shaun Mcbride, Tai Lopez, Emilie Wapnick and many others who earn their bread with this inspiring skill. To make our course as compelling as possible Michaela Krömer went to a storytelling workshop and asked if I could come as well. Of course I decided yes. Being able to tell a good story is one of the things I could use big time in the campaign and I’d love being able to tell my stories in a more inspiring way. So off we went.

The workshop

The workshop storytelling took three hours, but there was never a dull moment. The way it was presented was entirely in the style of storytelling. It intrigued me, especially the amount of interaction Eldridge, the lecturer, had with the audience. You could stop the lecture whenever you had a burning question and this gave a great sense involvement. This gave a aura of freedom in the room. Many theories, examples and tools were discussed during the course. To name a few.

In this post we will take a look at the Drama and Winners Triangle. The other methods and theories will be explained in other posts. If you want to read them you can click on the link and you can read on what it is all about.

Drama & Winner’s Triangle

These two concepts are actually very interesting to look over and are in most forms of communication very handy to use. It is a framework on which rol you can play or to get insight in the rolls that you play unnoticed. There is a positive side and a negative side in this. Obviously the Drama Triangle is the negative counterpart of the Winner’s Triangle. I’ll start with the drama triangle.

Drama Triangle

Drama Triangle

The Drama Triangle is shown in the picture above. The Drama Triangle is a model that shows the relations between the three rolls Persecutor, Rescuer and Victim.You can see these rolls for example in movies, You have a Hero an Villain and a Victim, someone who has to be saved. But if we examine our communication and that of others we see that we also apply these rolls ourselves.

What are those roles entail?

To give an example in the Batman Series you have Batman as the Hero, The Joker as the villain or persecutor and Gotham or Rachel as the Victim that has to be saved. This model is being used in a lot of movies and therefor we see it too often as truthful. The reality is that this is most of the time a destructive way of communication for at least one of the two parties. Batman has to hide his true identity and has many problems in his social life because of this. The Joker is a crazy person and won’t be any help for the world, because he wants to watch it burn. Lastly the Victim, Gotham city, will be always dependant of his Hero, Batman.

So when something happens to him Gotham is helpless. The theory says and I think most people would agree, that these rolls are all undesirable to play. The way to solve this is to look at the Winner’s Triangle. See below.

Winner’s Triangle

WinnersTriangleThe Winner’s Triangle is the positive counterpart of the Drama Triangle. It is the realistic roll you can play that is constructive for both parties. The three parties of this Triangle are The Coach, the Challenger and the Creator. The Rescuer becomes the Coach, the Persecutor becomes the Challenger and the Victim becomes the Creator.

Coach, Challenger and Creator, what are those?

The Winner Triangle twists the negative points that the three rolls, Victim, Rescuer and Persecutor, have into positives. The Victim becomes the Creator and becomes his own rescuer by dealing and solving their own problems. They ignore the scoldings or remarks of the Persecutor. The Persecutor becomes the Challenger that instead of putting people down by their negative exclamations challenge people to make healthy choices. The Rescuer becomes the coach. Preferably they coach proactively before the people whom being coached head for trouble.

These triangles can also be very helpful in your communication. On stage, during a meeting, on social media or on your website. With this framework you can pinpoint where you stand yourself in different relationships you have or how you communicated on the web so far and see how it can be beneficially be changed in the future.

How you communicate and a pitch

For me this was an epiphany. The whole lecture was a great way to learn a bit more on how I communicate and what could be different about it, on or off stage. One thing I’m particularly proud of was when asked if anyone would give a pitch I was one of the few who would raise their hand. Actually to my own surprise, because in reality I was pretty scared to actually do it. After the break we would start with the pitches. I actually practised a couple of times on a pitch about “having a mentor to excel”, but when I got called to the stage I changed my mind. I didn’t feel the things I was going to say so I quickly came up with the subject I had absolutely my heart for: Delitelabs. The way we help people who need it most. I felt like a badass and it actually was a pretty good pitch I heard afterwords. So good that we got a couple of people interjected us afterwords. They asked if it was a real endeavour I talked about. When I said yes they immediately wanted to help. Great how things can work out when you do something you’re afraid off.

Conclusion

We can use many things that I have learned in this lecture. We can implement these learnings in the posts that we are going to put out before, during and after the crowdfunding campaign. This kind of storytelling I’d love to implement in the posts we are going to put out on Facebook, Twitter, instagram and hopefully on our blog. This lecture will only be the beginning, because in one lecture I’m not yet a storyteller. At least not a professional one at that. So a long way to go, but the beginning has been set.

Hope to talk to you guys soon. Leave a comment if you have a question or have something to share.

– Bas

 

An interview with the German entrepreneur I met on a ferry

The day was a couple of months back. I had a long day of work behind me and I just got back from a course on storytelling. The course indeed was pretty interesting, given by a man called Eldridge. Me and Michaela Krömer, one of my supervisors, went there to learn more on how to present and tell a good story. I think we both walked away a bit wiser on this topic.

Two flies in one hit

Excuse me for my bad Dutch translation there. But to begin… It was already 10AM when Eldridge finished and luckily I had arranged that I could stay at a friends’ house in Amsterdam. Me and Michaela walked together towards central station where it went wrong, but I’m glad it did. I had taken the wrong fairy, which took me like an hour more to reach my friend. But in that time I’d met a very interesting person. Chris Mueller, an German entrepreneur and the owner of Creatando.com, was working with software that creates apps. One of the most interesting people I’ve met in person. A very creative person with an even more pragmatic mindset. Thinking in effective and efficient solutions that could be provided through the internet. I was flabbergasted and exchanged numbers, in the first place so he could give a lecture at Delitelabs. Later I heard that we were already completely booked till the beginning of September. I found this a pity, to wait for so long for a person who clearly had an interesting perspective on doing business. So not long after this I contacted him and requested if I could have an interview with him. He accepted and so started a very fruitful and intriguing dialogue.

What questions to ask an expert?

I had made a whole list of questions I wanted to ask him. Part on crowdfunding, but for the larger part questions about internet marketing, in the broadest sense possible. I wanted to accumulate as much as I could from the man. Therefor it could be that I could have been a bit more effective the next time if I demarcate better when I look back at the way I’ve done the interview. Nevertheless, it was a very interesting talk where I learn very much from. We started talking about his business, what he does, how he came about it and why he found the internet business so interesting in the first place, which was money. Later on it became abundantly clear that this was not the case, at least if you don’t have the right strategy.

He devised a piece of software together with a few other software engineers that can actually create an app in a few minutes or less. Really extraordinary software and I immediately saw the immense benefits of the the type of working. Software as it supposed to be. Quick, easy to use and for everybody beneficial. The creator of software, the user of the app and the buyer of the app. During this conversation he also handed me a couple of websites he uses himself to optimize and automate certain necessities as in content, posting, doing research and finding customers.

Useful Websites for internet marketing

archive.org is a website that is being used to look for the layout and content of a website a year or more ago, even before it existed. With this tool you can easily see when the owners have made changes and hereby you can estimate how the business is doing and if it is for example a potential client.

Another is buzzsumo.com. An awesome site, if you have the money for it, that can provide you with content that is about to go viral. You can search for the content by category, theme or keyword. You can imagine the interesting things you can do with services like this when you have an internet marketing company.

buffer.com is another awesome website, which is a bit similar to Hootsuite, which I describe in another post right here. Buffer.com provides you with a social media control panel. You can load your social media in here and can create, design and schedule your posts to be send to a broad audience. Hootsuite has the same functionalities only is a bit limited on the designing of your content, which is as basic as the social media you are already using.

A couple of questions on entrepreneurship

Do you see a difference between the entrepreneurs a couple of years back and now?

“Well the new entrepreneurs are working less for money. Most of the entrepreneurs that I encounter only are involved in projects that they actually like. I have the idea that ten years and more back there were actually more entrepreneurs who were doing it mostly for the money they thought they could earn when making it big. Many entrepreneurs nowadays have more heart for the projects and outcomes that they can achieve by setting up these projects. Also there is way more sharing in ideas then there was in the past. In the past people were way more secretive about there ideas. Now they really want to share and with a good reason. Most of them see the benefit of constantly grinding and remoulding their ideas, so they can evolve into better ones. “

What would your advise be to new entrepreneurs who are now starting to search of create new businesses?

The most valuable or important things to keep in mind are I think two. First of all you have to do the opposite of what everybody else is doing. That’s is how you divide yourself from the saturated crowd. Secondly, you have to have a very specific skillset and match the very specific topic or theme your are very interested in. When you mix this skill with a very specific topic or theme you’ll be able to provide very unique product and therefor you’ve created a very specific niche market for yourself. This way you have more enjoyment in the work you do and you will have way less competition. 

A couple of things on crowdfunding

We also talked on the subject of crowdfunding. A few things I already had read or heard myself, but Chris was able to provide me with a nice overview on a couple of ‘rules’ or guidelines on what to do with a crowdfunding campaign.

  • Have a website with a landing page and a video
  • Contact bloggers to write about your crowdfunding campaign and your product or service
  • collect as many email addresses as you possibly can so you can use these when you start a crowdfunding campaign.
  • the first three days a successful crowdfunding campaign will accumulate 20% of its goal amount
  • Use as many contacts as needed, in as many media needed to achieve your goal, which is most of the time a financial goal

As a conclusion

To revise myself already a bit, the interview I did was exhilerating, fun, very interesting and I have learned so much of it. To take in account for the next interview is to demarcate as a said the topics that I want to talk about and the topics I don’t want to talk about. When I do that I can have a better outcome of the interview probably. This interview was a great interview as I look at it through the perspective of personal growth and the understanding of marketing, but was pretty poor on the specific subject, crowdfunding. Next time I’ll try to prepare myself more in the spirit of crowdfunding.

The things I want to implement that I have learned from this interview are for example:

  1. If we have the CFvideo, post it on our landing page to attract attention.
  2. Contact more bloggers and other journalistical professions to write about us.
  3. Collect as many mail addresses as you can to spread the word of our campaign.

Thanks for reading!

– Bas

 

Video for Jana and her team

The other kind of work I do at DL is to provide for the participants as much as I can. Sometimes it’s help them writing an English mail. Sometimes it is prepare them with their pitch, and sometimes you just listen to their stories, because most of them have been through a lot, and I mean a whole lot. Prosecution, life threatening situations, war you name it.

The video for Jana

Luckily you can help them a lot by doing these things, but every now and then you can also implement some of the skills you acquired from your studies. Most of the time you have to think on your feet, like last week I had to make a movie on a days notice. Without a script, a product or even a camera. Only a story to sell, which in my respect was fortunately a great one.

I immediately contacted everyone I knew that I could borrow a camera from and luckily one of my friends had one I could pick up the next morning. The next morning the participants first had a lecture on theater to improve their pitching skills, which after we could start with the movie. I gave them the assignment to write me a small text explaining their project in as beautiful and specific language that is possible. the other part was that they showed me a couple of short movies that they found very compelling and had to do with their project, called Fashionize. We brainstormed and we got started. I coached and polished the pitch she was going to put on film and we shot the text in one take. I took some fills as well, of the clothing she brought and of herself. After this I went editing and went back twice for some shots I had to do over or to take some new ones. This is the result. Not great, but with the time we had I’m still pretty proud of what we made.

 

Conclusion

It was wonderful to work for one of the teams in this way. In this way I also improved my skills as a movie maker. A skill that we might need in the future, because we don’t know if the movie maker we have chosen is going to go through with helping us out with a movie.
Especially on a moments notice, creating a movie is a hard one. Without a planning, a script or the props we needed it is a hard job to do. I guess this is what it means to be part of a startup. Luckily I pulled it off and Jana was very pleased with what we created.  Thanks for your faith in me Jana!

– Bas