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Web.Start in Zagreb

Last Friday, I was at the 2nd Web.Start conference organized by Initium in Zagreb (Croatia).

Like last year, the two main themes were technology and business.

Although I only attended the biz part (day two), there was a lot of opportunity to meet interesting techies, entrepreneurs and VC‘s active in this region – and of course to catch up with old friends.

The line-up of presenters included Yoav Leitersdorf (YLVentures), Reshma Sohoni (Seedcamp), Patrick de Laive (Fleck), Jim McGough, Andraz Tori (Zemanta) and many others.

This provided for a good balance of entrepreneurs and VC’s talking about what it takes to get a successful startup running in Europe (and especially Eastern Europe and the Balkans).

Is building a highway to London really the only way?

I think not – but I do think starting to focus more on business than technology per se and getting some local biz traction are a prerequisite if one wants to get something globally notable off the ground over here.

Overall, a good and well organized conference – congrats to Berislav, Ivan & co.!

This region is definitely hungry for web conferences – it’s time we organize a good one in Slovenia, too!


Pangea Day Ljubljana

Pangea Day is A Global Film Event Harnessing the Power of Film to Inspire and Compel Social Change.
It will take place on May 10th simultaneously in 180 different locations all over the world and the web.

The event in Ljubljana will start at 20h and is organized by YES.

I’m looking forward to 4 hours of speeches, music and film, as well as hanging out with like-minded individuals who aren’t afraid of change.

Even though I am often pragmatic about the state of society and the world we live in (after all, I am a consumer of all things digital :)), deep inside I am a romantic libertarian screaming revolution :).

For more information, join the Facebook group.


A Man Of Good Elastic

The philosopher appeared in front of the Hotel Imperial and attracted a crowd by his actions. He removed his coat, folded it, laid it on the sidewalk, placed his hat upon it; then he drew a small rubber band from his pocket. He broke the circle with his fingers, and, stretching the elastic to its limit, held it above his head.

Five rubber bands

“Gentlemen,” said the philosopher, “and pardon me – ladies – I did not see you. In this little piece of elastic there is the philosophy of life and living. When it is stretched to its full length it represents the strained life; when relaxed it is the simple life.

“Appearances, ladies and gentlemen,” said the philosopher, stretching the elastic until it threatened to snap. He allowed the rubber to relax with a snap and chuckled.

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Cognitive Surplus

You must read this brilliant post by Clay Shirky:
http://www.herecomeseverybody.org/2008/04/looking-for-the-mouse.html.

*update on May 15, 2008 – video, hat-tip to Dean*

The bottom line:
in the early phases of the industrial revolution, with the rise of accelerated urbanization, people (esp. in London) didn’t know what to do with the newly acquired “civic surplus” – and they turned to gin until they figured it out and started building public libraries, better education, etc.

In the 20th century, people started having more free time, but had no idea what to do with it – and this is why sitcoms became so extremely popular.

Now, well into the 21st century, perversities such as Big Brother are taking this cognitive surplus safety-net to the extreme.

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Recommended Business Books

Here are some recommendations from the last couple of months:

Malcolm Gladwell: Blink
About “the power of thinking without thinking”, an excellent read about the decisive first few moments of looking. Available at Audible (audio book).

Fisher, Ury, Patton: Getting To Yes
A really good book on negotiation – getting the other party to agree without being at an unfair disadvantage that could haunt you later. Also available as audio.

Malcolm Gladwell: The Tipping Point
Good marketing read about how little things usually make a huge difference. Also at Audible.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb: The Black Swan
Fairly entertaining read about the impact of the highly improbable. Summary: Gaussian distribution sux for most cases. The ideas Taleb describes are interesting and useful, but DO NOT get the audio book as, adding to the writer’s very noticeable self-confidence, the narrator makes the whole thing sound terribly big-headed. I later heard Taleb speak at a conference and I was shocked at how nice the guy actually sounded :).

Buckingham, Coffman: First, Break All The Rules
Great book on effective management.


Blogging with Zemanta

Source: WikipediaToday, our friends at Zemanta launched their blogging engine plug-in that finds related pictures and articles while you’re typing a new post.

This is my first “zemified” (as they call it) post, so let me try and include some meat and let the semantic magic do the slicing. I’m a little bit disappointed that no steaks appeared in the picture gallery as I typed “meat”. Or it’s the other way around, and the semantics go deeep :).

Anyway, there seems to be a lot of work behind all of this and I think it brings good value to bloggers – although I would love their technology to be used for more projects like Odprti kop. But! Life in a startup is hard and you have to focus. This is what Boštjan (one of the founders) wrote about startups the other day:

The last time I was explaining to a girl friend about the crazy working hours in a startup, occasional adrenalin rushes, beating the competition, irregular sleep and regular food, important life lessons learned and lack of women in the process, she replied simply: “Well, guys used to go to the army, now you go to a startup.

This post is killing me :). But I couldn’t agree more and I can totally relate as we are currently going through similar times with Motiviti and Surphone.

Too bad I couldn’t make it to their launch party today, good luck, guys!

Now I’m trying to get a really cool picture to pop up, but all I keep getting is a four-leaf clover and some other crazy stuff. Hmmm … let me try. Sexy twins. Sunshine love. Driving through Vegas in an old Camino. Naked girl. There you go! :)


GoDaddy.me

Kingdom of Montenegro in 1913.Image via Wikipedia

Since Montenegro‘s independence and the news of the highly lucrative .me top-level domain name assignation, a lot of people have been standing in line in hope that they’d be able to register their kiss.me, sex.me, call.me, find.me and whatnot.me domains.

Go home, people – GoDaddy‘s got the contract with the government of Montenegro (here the contract in Serbian … ukhm … Montenegrian? – published last month).

This explains the mysterious delays in getting these domains to the market – I have been trying to get some news (in vain) from the people at nic.me for the last couple of months.

Yup – domains = $$$.






Mobile Apps – The Shit Hits The Fan

Mobile application development is finally going where it belongs – six feet under.

RIP

For years now, the mobile phone industry has been evolving into an unmanageable stinking blob.

A plethora of incompatible platforms, each of them with its own set of unsolvable issues, hilarious hardware combinations (e.g. the absence of bluetooth on teenager phones to suit the SMS content sales, phones with radio that only works with special headphones, etc.), all kinds of different artificial market barriers, etc. Continue Reading