pa·tron - One that supports, protects, or champions someone or something, such as an institution, event, or cause; a sponsor or benefactor.
We're extremely proud to announce that Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade of Finland, Mr. Alexander Stubb, will act as the patron of Arctic15. This is very exciting as our efforts seem to resonate well in the top end of the Finnish politics. Even though Arctic15 has no political affiliations and we strive to keep it that way, having Alexander Stubb, one of the most international and active stars of the Finnish political scene supporting our event is simply put - fantastic!
Just as a reminder to everyone coming to Arctic15, we're fully sold out so come early - registrations will open 8.00. We've had no last minute changes, so everything is in order for a blow out event!
Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, has launched a new financing program to support growth companies developing mobile services and applications - Tempo. Having followed Tekes for quite some time and knowing how they operate, one could easily argue that Tempo is a sign of the organisation changing tracks fundamentally and putting most of its feedback into practice. I'll go through a few examples below.
First and foremost, "as agility and customer development are essential in mobile service development, companies must be able to launch a minimum viable product to find out whether there is a customer need for it". This comes in fact from the Tempo pitch itself. They're promoting MVPs as a way to find out if there is demand for services the companies are offering.
There’s a lot of noise lately about whether or not mobile apps are sustainable, or have any future. But so far, and despite some real challenges and issues, mobile apps have been nothing short of success.
The challenges for developers working on mobile apps range from visibility and pick up rates to loyalty and monetization. The majority of revenue generated by app stores today still comes from the top 100 apps and the “long tail” is often ignored. As the demand for smartphone real estate increases, the cost of acquiring new mobile customers is rising rapidly as well. Seamless payment and customer acquisition methods are other big challenges that apps are struggling to solve. Not to mention how inhomogeneous the two leading platforms - iOS and Android- are.
While none of the Nordic or Baltic countries have made it to the very top, despite our wishes, we are proud to see Sweden, Iceland, Denmark and Finland in the top 10 of the latest ICT Development Index (IDI). These global rankings come from the Measuring the Information Society 2011 report, published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). ITU is the UN agency for information and telecommunications technologies.
The top spot belongs to South Korea. The country has been termed as the most advanced Internet economy in the world and this is the second consecutive year that it has been ranked number one. This is by no means surprising given the fact that South Korea has:
In the seventh and second last video of the series, Derek Sivers talks about Ideas vs Execution. He goes to talk about the fact that ideas aren't valuable by themselves, but it's the execution that matters. Sivers explains all this through a pretty wacky real-life example. We'll be posting the last bit of the series on Wednesday, just before Arctic15.
Angry Birds: 1 Million Plush Toys And 1 Million T-Shirts Sold Each Month. The Game Isn't All They Have
Angry Birds is phenomenal. It's great, it's growing and it sounds pretty clichéd and something that is apparently obvious to almost everyone. The brand has amassed over 350 million downloads of its game on numerous devices ranging from the iPhone, Android to PCs and PlayStation 3 and that’s just the software side. What is also worth mentioning is how they have grown out of the gaming world on consoles to board games, Hollywood movie; RIO to stuffed toys. Calling it the Pac Man of our generation will by no means be wrong, though the comparison may not be totally justified.
The Angry Birds brand has made leaps outside the digital world, especially with their plush toys that they launched back last year. While that only garnered 2 million sales in the first quarter or so, the sales have rocketed to one million each month thereon. That’s not it, the plush toys are just half the story and the Angry Birds T-shirts are selling 1 million pieces a month as well.
We've covered Microsoft's new Windows 8 quite extensively this week on ArcticStartup from the Build conference, but the truth is - all this will have a lot of implications in the different ecosystems regarding mobile operating systems, app stores and what not. Furthermore, enabling Xbox Live to run as an application on Windows 8 OS will have huge possibilities for gaming companies.
As the series with Derek Sivers is turning to its end, the sixth video is titled "0.1". In this video Derek Sivers shares his thoughts on shipping early and getting traction for your MVP (even though he doesn't really mention the concept in the video). The last two videos, coming out next week will be titled "Ideas vs. Execution" and "CD Baby". The videos will be published on Monday and Wednesday, just before Arctic15.
Skype seems to have speeded up its release of the version for the Mac and the latest update of Skype brings the much needed Facebook integration with Skype 5.4 Beta for Mac. This is similar to the Skype for Windows, and the news is definitely a big plus for Facebook users who own a Mac. Pretty much completes the Skype, Facebook and Mac triangle.
The update will enable Skype users to send instant messages and connect with their Facebook friends, right from their Skype client, giving them the true experience of one stop communication. The update lets users:
Enreach is a new Finnish startup that has been founded by Kimmo Kiviluoto and Brian Jacobs. Kimmo Kiviluoto is the former CEO and co-founder of another data crunching startup X-tract. Enreach has a good amount of talent and understanding of the online behavior of consumers and the media business. They're also putting this into use in their offering. Enreach in short is giving premium publishers a way to better understand their audiences and then use this to target ads for better monetisation.
I once had a start-up with my dear ex-friends. At the beginning we had great plans for the company’s opportunities. In our most enthusiastic moments, we could almost feel the fortunes that were about to change our lives forever. The only issue that we really did not pay enough attention to was that we were about to enter into foreign markets without any practical management knowledge, local managers or even employees.
So what we did was that two of the founding partners (not me) moved to this foreign country, and started to manage the business and work for the company. Everything went well at the beginning and very soon we needed to hire three new employees that we considered at that time to be the most talented ones in the respective business and have the best contacts to safeguard our growth plans.
Yesterday at the Build conference Microsot CEO Steve Ballmer made a surprise visit on stage to talk more about how the company views new technologies and what this means for developers. He came out to further promote the importance of Windows 8 for Microsoft and what it also means for the whole company, looking forward. In addition to this, he also mentioned Nokia in his talk, but not in an extensive fashion. According to Ballmer, not only does Windows 8 change the approach to pretty much everything Microsoft works with, but it also changes the way how Microsoft views technology - the release itself will make Microsoft pivot and look at new technologies in a Windows centered fashion.
In the fifth video of the Derek Sivers - Uncommon Sense -series, Derek Sivers talks about switching your idea if it does not work. Wondering why we're sharing these videos? Check out the first post with Derek Sivers for more information. There are three more videos in the series and we'll release them this coming Friday, Monday and Wednesday - just before Arctic15.
LoudEvents is a matchmaking service. Don’t mistake it to be the same as boy finds girl, boy likes girl and they get connected eventually. The service comes as part of a startup - LoudRevolution - and its claim to fame is its ability to help artists find the best venues for their next performance and find a fellow artist to perform with in that venue.
We're continuing coverage from the Microsoft Developer event Build, organised in Anaheim,California. Microsoft gave all members of press a chance to play around with a Samsung tablet running Windows 8 Developer Preview. In addition to giving media a chance to play around with the device, Microsoft went out all the way with Samsung to give all 5000 attendees a device to take home (at the end of the post, we have a video of Microsoft announcing this). While the operating system is a developer preview of Windows 8, it's understandable that it feels a bit empty and there's no way to test a wide variety of applications as this is just the announcement for developers to start developing for the operating system.
ArcticStartup is reporting from Anaheim, California this week from the Build event taking place until September 16th. I'm pretty excited about the new things Microsoft presented today to an audience of about 5000 developers. Why so, you may ask? With Windows 8, Microsoft basically outlined their tablet strategy and it has implications to their mobile platform as well. This of course makes the news extremely important for developers and startups looking at this space, including those working with Windows Phone and Nokia.
Every one of us lost some time at work browsing through social networks, reading news or checking out that cool website your friend recommended. Those distractions can eat up a lot of time and cause inefficiency - that's the premise DeskTime, a start-up from Latvia, was founded on. Their application measures how much time you or your employees spend on your computers at work and can provide accurate metrics on that time's productivity. Once the app is installed on the computer, it automatically tracks employee's total desktime and work time. Productivity is measured with the help of a modifiable list of programs and websites you spend time on. For instance: time spent on Photoshop would be registered as 'productive' and time spent on Twitter would be put into 'distracting' category.
Even though this blog post will most likely be a feeble attempt in covering the importance and the effect of Steve Blank's visit to Finland and the region last week - I'll still have an attempt at it. Last week was packed full of action and discussion where Steve Blank talked not only with entrepreneurs but politicians, MPs and academia. He also upped entrepreneurship a few notches on the editorial importance for some of Finland's newspapers as he talked to a group of editors-in-chief (including us) why entrepreneurship is of vital importance to nations' success.
Steve Blank was visiting Finland last week to promote the importance of a working entrepreneurial ecosystem to the region. I have a feeling his visit will go down in one of those turning points in history for this part of the world. Not only did he incite more flames into the "Finnish spring" as he referred to the entrepreneurial revolution taking place in Finland, but he did so in a manner that politicians, mainstream media and academics can understand.
Wall Street Journal has written an extensive article about an undisclosed major US based internet company looking to open a data centre in Luleå, Sweden. The company is widely thought to be Facebook. The town has a population of about 50 000 and the investment into the area would be about 340 to 560 million euros. The reason Facebook is allegedly looking into Sweden is the advantage of cold weather.
Apologies to our regular readers for covering our Arctic15 event quite excessively recently, but the closer to it we get - the better we think it'll be! In addition to this, we wanted to let everyone know that we're sure that the event will be sold out by the end of this week. We've got only 40+ tickets left. Just during last week, we registered more than 100 tickets in a few days.