I ♥ WebFest #webfestme

I am just back after spending a few brilliant days at the WebFest in Montenegro where I was invited by the host .me registy, CEO Predrag Lesic, after meeting in London at the SeedHack (SeedCamps financial hackathon) where I had won second place with the Saving app I am developing earlier this spring. We we had a chat about GeekGirlMeetup.com and I was later invited to speak at the WebFest 2012 about the international project that is now in Swede, Denmark, Mexico, London, Hong-Kong and from last week, Berlin,  aiming to create more female rolde-models in the startup scene.

WebFest 2012 delivered a wonderful line-up of startup and internet speakers – Intelligent, heart-full and enlightening talks. WebFest was a few days of pure excellence in Montenegro, with national and international speakers like Brian Wong (Kiip.me) and Ryan Wong (About.me) and Ruth Barr (seoMoz) as well as the local movers from the region Dejan Nikolić (Njuz.net aka The regiobal the Onion)Ivan Brezak Brkan (Netokracija).

Taking place at the Montenegro riviera, it was truly like the theme suggested – a webFest – A web conference to note in your calendar for next year. Here are some of the goodness i picked up:

Speaker Brian Wong – Kiip
Brian Wong shook us up properly with his reckless, endless energy and wild at heart talk about his startup Kiip.me.

The 21 year old Mr Wong finished college at 21, worked for Digg where he describes “being fired because he sucked at his job” after 4 months. Luckily he already had an idea, about a moment based advertising system targeting games, that would allow users that be rewarded for leveling up also getting freebies from advertisers, and advertisers only pay on collected freebies. Brian, bought Kiip.me and provides game developers with a system they can implement in between levels that allows players to get freebies when they level-up. The concept that generates over a 140 000  moments per month and growing has got be called genius as it is indeed revolutionizing the ad system.

Brian says, “Out of all the shit we have done as a human nation, from rocket launches to moon-landing, we have invented is a annoying banner that we place close to the important buttons on a n app. You should not pay to get rid of banners. As an (ad) industry you should understand you fugged if people are paying to make you go away.”

Brian continues: “Instead we created great moments of leveling up, instead of banners, we would give these moments of winning, where you already feel great even better by winning a freebie. We only work with big brands to give away trusted rewards.

We want to avoid the painful situation of the old advertising fake-win, when you get some thing free for an entry in an iPhone competition, all you do is sell your soul and end up giving away your credit-card number. Who wants that? We work with cost per engagement, with redeemed freebies. 75 cent which leaves about 50 cent to 1 dollar per redeemed action for the game makers. Its a win for everyone.

No one loves ad companies, we wanted to create something that people loved.”

Brian on entrepreneurship – I love being young, reckless, having endless energy operate properly after 40 hours with no sleep. You should abuse your body now – it’s the only time you can. It’s only age, it’s just a number. Being wild at heart is the most important thing, even older people under 40 who are wild at heart can and should inspire others.
You don’t wake up and say I’m going to being entrepreneur. I played Counterstrike when i was a kid, it made me a better designer, I had perfect mouse precision. I ripped psd, (no twelve year old can pay for psd), then started doing design for others. I was doing something i was wired to do, also the world is constructed that what i do will help the world economy so there something for me to.

If you are starting a company to be entrepreneur, that’s wrong. Take what you know and create some value. Thats entrepreneurship.

Brians thoughts about anyone who is not in Silicon Valley.
You are not as entitled. Graduated graduate from Stanford with an ‘I deserve attitude’ is not very pleasant and it doesn’t mean they produce anything better. The ones that don’t believe deserve anything you try extra hard.
European startup economy has grown as you have revenue, user experience, basic but follow these principles as a european plan. Never mind the short cutters that build for three years with investment with out revenue, just never mind. Make money. Its been two years. I’ve have had at least 100 friends that have started companies and then they pick up and leave to go home. The ones that came there for the right reasons, you need to know it (your reason), if you know it you will succeed!

Here are #1 & #9 out of his points he talked about later, about building successful services.

Existing pattern of behavior #1 What do they(the users) already do? Where do you go when your really drunk?  McDonalds. People are already playing games, look at the the fuel band, it allows you to track your quantified self. Tracking what you are already doing. Karma, recently quietly acquired by Facebook, its similar to similarly to Wrapp, its a gifting app. I had a look at what people already do, and tried making that simple. When are people engaging in your product? Try to make an app that humans like, after all the user is a human being. Apple for example do this do this really well.

Build a story #9 Montenegro has a great story. With you creating good companies what you can do is amazing stories, they have to be shared, a thats how people relate to you, with a good story. You care about bringing the spotlight back. How to craft that story. How do we make it human. It all starts with Love.

Ryan Freitas (About.me)
Ryan Frietas is a previous UI/UX guy who has now moved to product after starting the About.me startup that recently got acquired by AOL.

Ruth Barr on SEO (SeoMoz)
Ruth Barr from SeoMoz gave a great talk on SEO, some affirmative (produce good constant and don’t bother with trix – the search engines will figure it out), and a lot of new info that i felt I can implement and use directly. This techy lady has the gift of gab, and a brilliant sense of humor. Slides provided here.

Startup Competition.
Seeing the regions present and deliver in the startup competition was a pleasure, as there is talent and ambition the region, it was a pleasure seeing the region come together support the winners with the startup competition, sending the winners to New York for 4 moths. Prizes are always going to be important as we do indeed need to reward and encourage the ambitious young entrepreneurs that work focused and ambitiously.

Thanks to
Also not to forget I am so thank for for the Webfest team for providing such a friendly and inviting culture at the WebFest as well being excellent hosts. I cant have asked for a more welcoming stay 🙂

Extra thanks to
Extra thanks for eminent company making my stay a wonderful experience to remember Predrag Lesic, Natasha, Masa Dickson, Mikele Neylon, Brian Wong, Ruth Barr, Ryan Freitas, Kelly, Ze Fontainhas.

The small stuff that makes the difference
Another thing that came to mind is the wifi quality. It’s given that if you have a web conference participants will expect to have wifi. Kraven/demands/ expectations of the wifi rises as web-conference participants usually have two devices, (phone and lap-top) so the wifi will be strained and if you can get in extra access points to support the quality every will be happy. The Splendid Conference Center delivered perfect wifi.
Wifi Points: 5/5.

Web Fest.ME is the largest regional Internet festival dedicated to the promotion and advancement of Internet and society in general. Web Fest .ME consists of on-line competition for the best website/web project and conference that brings together the world best-known experts from all areas of the web industry.

And then we went for a swim in the Adriatic sea

Henriette Webber on gamelayers and Return on Involvment

So GeekGirlMeetup.com is next in Copenhagen, tell me a bit about that?

Hello Henriette, author if the book “Return on involvement“, rock n roll avantgarde queen of social media + thinker of Denmark + filosopher, how are things in Copenhagen?
Well, I am not in CPH right now – Im working from my big black working chair in Helsingør as we speak. Anyway I still have my office in there… Denmark is rolling these days, it’s great =)

So whats up in Denmark?
When I look at it is has taken the business environment here to start to embrace the more social parts of the web – but we are getting there. The geeks are starting to take over =) it’s fantastic on one hand on the other it’s getting to be such a hypefest so everybody down here is becoming a social media consultant or “insert your own hip title here”… A part of me is really happy and fond of it – and a part of me is really worried. The good thing is that I get to do stuff like social media club Copenhagen and Geek girl meetup copenhagen and there’s more than 5 people showing up =) it hasn’t always been like that…

Its not easy being an original :). I really liked you book, Return on Involvement, a nifty take on soulful business, or as you would say, business unusual. Now that everyone is on social media, where are the geeks going? Where are the boundries being pushed?

I can see several different things out there, First of all my hope is that social media is staying around for a while so we can start getting really good at it, and it’s not just having a facebook page or a twitter account and then you are doing it. my ambition for social media is, and has always been, that it can make the world better in the eyes of the beholder, and at the same time make companies cooler and sell more. But we need to get from tool-focused to substance, that’s really important to me. You need to put it in context instead of standing on a stage and showing one casestudy after another. So I think that social media will go deeper. I hope so.

Secondly there’s the location based services that people are expecting a lot from, but it’s still real early days. Services like Gowalla and foursquare that makes me feel nostalgic because it reminds me of good-old Plazes (was bought by Nokia a couple of years ago) which in it’s essence was the same, but you had to define your whereabouts yourself (there was no geo-location thing on the phone back then)…

Then there’s augmented reality that I know a lot of phone producers are looking into. I guess the first real step we’re seeing in the real world is the scan codes everywhere..

…and then, my favorite, the game layer on top of everything… it would be awesome if business would be about gaming=)

but – when everything comes together, there’s also the notion of, that we are just making digital convinient and getting back to basics in 1950s style, just in a digital way, I dig that =)

Haha, yeah, i like your perspective. So we know what happned with lovli Plazes (my best experiance with it was at Dansih Reboot in 2008) it went to Nokia, aka, “where good ideas go to die”. (Quote from the Guardian) How do you think big companies and start-ups can avoid this trap, so to say? What responsability do companies have, and how do you think they work to lead the way?

I think that both Plazes (two of my friends from Berlin) and Jaiku (former client of mine+ friends) where bought for the talent pool and not for the service, You have to look into the motives for the acquisition. I think both Plazes and Jaiku was aware that the services was not going to stay in it’s original format when they where purchased. The Jaiku acquirement by google, was to me as a consultant, priceless, it looks good on a CV. But personally I was so sad that we didn’t stay and became the cooler european alternative to twitter. Everyone I have talked to liked Jaiku best. they where fun to work with and a great team. I think start-ups needs to think about the motives for existing, is it because you want to say something important, or is it because you want to be purchased or funded by a big company ? I think we all have our own personal agenda on this (aka. personal happiness, money, creativity) – but is it adding to, or subtracting from the point you want to make ?
If I had made a startup that had a proposal to be bought up by a bigger company, I would do it if I thought it would make my personal mission on earth easier. I think the only responsability they have is not to let the community down and not ignore people that are passionate about the startup purchased. And then, in some ways, be clear on the motives… so people are not disappointed.

Well thought. The last time we spoke, i sent you video(Seth Priebatsch – The Game Layer on Top of TheWorld), and you thought about it. Do you have a take on how a gaming mind can/could be a solution?

A solution to what problem? I don’t think there’s a problem. I think there’s a huge opportunity However I do see that a game layer could mean a cool addition to a lot of companies. A game is one of the most involving things and one of the places you would spend a lot of time. I’ve researched stuff like farmville and frontierville by Zynga since last time we’ve spoken, and I can see why people are returning, however it’s too fragmented in my mind, you can’t really play and really get into it, because then you have to bug your friends on facebook or purchase coins to get a barn or whatever. I love games that you can completely indulge in – like WoW or Sims 3. then I can be gone for 8 hours and then return to the world. Farmville and Frontierville you have to return several times a day – and if I have to do that I have no time to read perezhilton =)
I think the “game layer” can be added in different means. I am always talking about storyliving, if you can change your communication + your content production so it becomes more fun, I think that’s a game layer. Play/fun is more important to me as a curly creative who digs champagne. thinking out of the box can be a gamelayer. I have a client these days that sells natural stones for terraces. people think im crazy when I tell them that I have taken on a client like that. The reason I said yes, was because the people behind Lithos (coming soon to a garden center near you) was so committed to changing the stone business in Scandinavia that they where willing to look outside the box and play. So how do you play with stones ? Either you let a geek stand and tell you about the different shapes and sizes and why you need natural stones for your terrace, OR you take all the old stones, that can’t be used for anything else and you turn it into a ninja-stone smashing thing.. That’s a game layer to me that works especially well with boys – young and old =) (the first video will be up soon)

Thats a wonderful example, thanks for perspective.

So GeekGirlMeetup.com is next in Copenhagen, tell me a bit about that?

Im so happy because we actually have a got a location now. it took us a while. We are also talking to sponsors. I met up with the fabulous Annika Lidne last time she was in copenhagen and she told me about the geek girl academy. Basically we are going to do three things at geek girl copenhagen (please note it’s my ambition and it might not work out that way – but it’s in the sponsor material as well)
1. the un-conference
2. the academy – technical and business know-how
3. the showroom. where we are talking things like a geekgirl clothes swap, a stylist, an upcycling booth and general hang out and have fun. After doing several bar and social media camps I want to demystify it all a bit so it has a broader perspective, especially in Denmark where geekgirls aren’t “cool” – not like in Sweden… So we are turning it into a celebration of cool. the word of the day is going to be reYOUse.. I’m really excited about it. And Heidi I think you should start seeing it as an income instead of a hobbyproject. Geek girl could totally make you enough money so you could get by, im so sure of that. if you don’t know how – call me =)

Ok, cool. I kind of feel ambivalent on that point, as i want it to be lust and passion driven, the results turn out to be something else than if people are doing it for money, inclusive of myself. But mayeb ai should re think that. Anyway. So the topic will be reYOUse? I think all geekgirls i’ve met in CPH/ Denmark have been radfully cool. I might just have to come down to my darling CPH and hang out with you, when is it? How many days? Free?

It’s on the 6th of november. Oh and all geekgirls I’ve met have been cool as well, there’s just some ladies in Denmark who can’t relate to the world “nørd” or “geek” because they don’t see it as being passionate, but someone who eats pizza and sits in front of the computer all the time. It’s one day, and it will be free, and it’s going to be amazing.

Sounds wonderful! I think we have to wrap up this interview, or it might just turn into a book. Could you give me a take on three people i should interview in the future, and why.

sure thing… I might aim high now, but one of the people I think you should talk to is Danielle Laporte, she so rad. Another person I think you should talk to, is Francesca Birks from Arup (I can connect you) oh and Benja Stig Fagerland up in Norway, Im doing some work with her on rocking a business board (an ebook) it’s going to be rad… maybe we should turn this into a book ? =)

Yes we should, i still have to finish that book you asked me to write at Reboot on User-Driven innovation. Blush!

Thanks you for you time dear Henriette! I hope to speak to you soon. Have a wonderful Autumn!

An unconference, also called an Open Space conference, is a participant-driven meeting. The term "unconference" has been applied, or self-applied, to a wide range of gatherings that try to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference, such as fees, sponsored presentations, and top-down organization.
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Denmark (/ˈdɛnmɑːrk/; Danish: Danmark [ˈd̥ænmɑɡ̊]), officially the Kingdom of Denmark is a Scandinavian country in the European Union. The southernmost of the Nordic countries, it is southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. The country is a sovereign state that comprises Denmark proper and two autonom…
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Sweden (/ˈswiːdən/ SWEE-dən; Swedish: Sverige [ˈsvæːrjə] About this sound listen ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden (Swedish: About this sound Konungariket Sverige ), is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across th…
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