Piotr Pawlak – Lessons learned from being Official Partner of TechCrunch Disrupt


This lecture is to be about the
connection we did with TechCrunch, so first of all: Who knows TechCrunch? Hands up, please. Everyone? Almost. Good. It’s the biggest tech blog in the world. But before I
start I would like to tell a little bit, very short about what Kinetise is. It’s, as Sir here said, that
it’s a tool for building mobile applications on your own, without hiring
a developer. Let me show you how it works in quick movie. So, you design your application using just drag-n-drop in the web browser, then you click build and it’s ready within one minute. You don’t need to wait for a team of developers to build it for a few weeks or months. You can just submit it to App Stores. There are new editions to our service introduced quite recently. First of all, we offer subscription module for to pay for our applications. Then we added generation of full backend systems, and you have user and
in systems and you have a user and content management also integrated, so
it’s even easier than before to build the app and actually manage it. It’s a
one-stop shop for app development. And one very important thing: How complex applications,
what applications can you actually built with this tool? Let me show you just
one example which we also did as an exercise this week. Does this application
remind you of something? Until today, I was showing this our most complex
example Facebook mobile application that we can do Facebook mobile
application. I think Uber is a bit more trendy right now than Facebook so
we built Uber as well. Anyway, getting back to the TechCrunch. Why partnering
with TechCrunch? Why actually chasing TechCrunch when you want to promote a
tech startup? First of all, North America, United States is a tech leader worldwide in terms of technology. There will be
people that tell you that China, Japan, whoever else, but its United States. Facebook
comes from United States, Google, Apple – all those big companies come from there,
so United States is the tech center succeeding their spreads, their success
worldwide, so it’s a good thing to start there. Silicon Valley is the center
of the United States, so is the center of the world. TechCrunch is number one tech medium there. So, if you get
promoted there, you are actually promoted worldwide, because TechCrunch is
reprinted over the world. Actually, this is what happened to us
also in September TechCrunch covered Kinetise and instantly media around the
world were writing about us. Smaller, bigger, for example one and there was one block
from Algeria, I think Algeria. I entered this blog. I had no idea something like
that exists, but then I found their front page on Facebook. It turned out they have
1.5 million followers, so almost as many as TechCrunch. Now we have a
lot of customers from Algeria, Morocco and Egypt. Why promote, why we decided to promote Kinetise at Hackathon? Kinetise is a tool for development, or rather
for developers, or even more for people who would like to be developers, but do
it, but they don’t have programming skills. Programming skills are currently
very required in the world. Everybody’s looking for developers.
developers cost a lot of money, but it takes like five years to learn how to
code well. So, everyone would like to be able to develop. Not everyone can, so this
is why we have invented Kinetise in the first place. So, Hackathon was good for us,
because it proved that applications can be built extremely fast. Good
applications in 24 hours, because this is what Hackathon is all about. Then, when we
went to San Francisco to Hackathon organized by the biggest tech medium,
we were counting on getting world-class feedback on what we should improve in our
platform. We got it of course. And we wanted to get involved in so-called API
economy. Today everybody, especially the big guys, are building APIs. They want
developers to use their APIs, connect to it, to get those developers connected to
their companies. And we wanted to be a part of it, especially that our tool is very good, not API itself, but it is good at
connecting to APIs, so it’s a perfect fit for us. Look who’s there beside us.
The big guys only. This is a piece of list of Hackathon partners and sponsors. Only
big names in alphabetical order: Dolby, Ford, IBM, Layer down here is winner
of startup battlefield 3 years ago. So, only big guys. And look what we could say
here: official mobile platform of TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco. That’s
not something everybody can write about themselves. What was the Hackathon
itself? It was great event, really, with the great atmosphere. There were
eight hundred of hackers, really, simply trying to build something for themselves.
They wanted to prove that they are good and it was their main purpose. There
were prizes of course, and hackers were chasing them, but they were not very big.
The number one prize was five thousand bucks, so it’s not the world of
money. They had 24 hours to design their own idea and actually, make it happen, to
code it, or connect electronic equipment, make their hack do something
actually. And the spirit creation was felt everywhere. This is how it looked: 800 people sitting in round tables like that.
This is one of two rooms only. There was other room just
behind that wall and everybody was trying to build something.
It was amazing to see people simply willing to build. This is other
angle, of course organizers took care of catering. This is the second room I mentioned.
And this is us. I’m the guy in the yellow shirt. Our CTO is talking in
here. We were explaining to the hackers how to use our platform, because this is what we are there for – to help them build apps on our tool. Because the tool
was quite new for them, some of those hackers made the effort to prepare a bit.
They read about Kinetise before before her Hackathon, because it was
announced that will be the partner there, but actually many of them just entered the room and start wondering what they are going to build
and with what tools. So, we were helping them by
answering technical questions and sometimes those questions were really deep,
they were really building some complex applications. And I will
show you some, one, especially one, in a second. As time progressed, it was getting
late at night, there were less people, because some hackers decided they
prefer to sleep, maybe they didn’t have idea, I don’t know. There were a bit less people. Or
even this happened. Not everybody managed to stay awake for
24 hours and they decided to take a nap. Or like this. It was also a very common
picture, but it was cute. But still, there were people building those apps. Even dawn
approached at some point. And after 24 hours of everybody working and building
their applications, everybody was completely tired. We, actually myself and
three guys from my team, we slept. We took like two hours nap each, but we
were exhausted in the morning when the demos started. We actually wanted to go
home, but decided to, well, stay. Let’s see what those people actually
built and let them demo it. And we were surprised, because 157 projects were submitted. It turned
out that thirty were built on our platform. It was a huge proof for
us, that our platform is really usable. It is possible to quickly learn it, so it is
intuitive enough for new users to build serious applications in one day. It really happened. We didn’t expect it, because, as you saw
on one of the pictures, people were approaching us, but we started to know
them, because they were the same people and we counted like five,
maybe ten different teams that were really building applications on our
platform. And then it turned out there are thirty of them, because people were
presenting them on the stage and each time we say like: “Wow that’s ours.” So
thirty applications were built, but the biggest surprise was that two little
kids build an application. Nine year old and a 10 year old guys. This is Kieran
and Rohan, or Rohan and Kieran, I don’t remember. Ok, it’s not that they build application
completely by themselves, their father’s help them, but still that, the story is
great. It’s the story on TechCrunch blog. It had a lot of shares, also on
Facebook at of shares, on Twitter. Funny thing is, that their app called binstocks was
making them earn money from their parents for walking the dog, cleaning the dishes, things like that. So, below this article there is a huge
discussion as well. One guy said: “Times have changed, Silicon Valley kids get 20 bucks for
walking the dog, nice.” So, it was a bit controversial, but it it also helped in
promotion, but the kids were great. I think it’s not visible in here, but I
made, I accidentally took a picture of them slipping somewhere throughout the
night. I’m sorry it’s darker, no still nothing. These are their parents, their dads, actually one of them
is in the moment looking at his laptop with Kinetise on it. And it’s the middle of the
night, and from what I see there I can tell you that he still learning the
first tutorial. So, they really picked it up very quickly.
The quality of this video is poor, but let me show you how the kids presented
and how actually the whole demo looked like. Ok. They get the biggest applause of all demos that day, definitely. No one got bigger applause. For us Kinetise as a company, as a startup, the biggest reward was being present at the final of TechCrunch when startup battlefield results were
announced as well. This is what chief of TechCrunch said: “We wouldn’t be able to host the Hackathon three days of awsome speakers and our spectacular
battlefield without the support of these great people and companies. Kinetise
official mobile app development platform.” All tech industry in the world were
looking at the stage right now, so imagine the impact on our image
worldwide and what it means for us not just in short term, but also in long term. No one will take it away from us,
that we were there as official partner of TechCrunch. It stays forever. Now Lessons Learned,
because this is actually the title of this speech. First of all, whatever you do, you need to find a
good fit. Without it, even if you have a lot of money, it probably won’t work what
you want to achieve. For us, for our development platform, Hackathon was very
good fit. Hackathon in San Francisco organized by TechCrunch. It
just matches together. Also with the variety of API offered by Ford, MasterCard,
IBM, all those other big companies where our platform could very well integrate with those
APIs it was a perfect fit. This is something what is really even
more important than money. Second, distinguish yourself or dying.
This is true for whatever you do. You’re fighting in the market, you need to find
possibilities to stand out, to make yourself look different than
everybody else. And this is what we are doing right now. no one else can say that
they were official mobile app development platform of TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon. No one. Ford, this is Hackathon specific, give prizes to hackers. This is
very important, because otherwise they won’t use whatever you’re offering. I
said 157 projects were submitted in that Hackathon, thirty were built on our
platform. This is actually, because we didn’t give out any prizes at all. But well, we gave two tickets for TechCrunch Hackathon, but it was, maybe not under the table, but it was not officially announced that we
are giving prices. Many other companies were organizing so-called custom
contest, they paid TechCrunch for it. They were giving like 100, $1,000, $2,000, $3,000,
whatever, but hackers were really after those prices as well. For example, there was
one company called DotClub, they are offering nothing, but a domain
name .club. So, if you build a hack, whatever hack you are building, whatever application you were building during
Hackathon and you decided to name it, your app the .club you were eligible for being in
their contest and you could win $1000 or $200. So, the result they had was that they had seventy hacks done on their platform, meaning they just added .club to the name of
application. So, give prizes to hackers. Now something very common, not Hackathon specific. How many of you are
startups? Hands up. some of you. Yeah. You probably are looking for financing, for VC money and you
probably read a lot of tutorials how to do it and how to not do it. I read very
interesting list by Bartek Pucek recently. He mentioned why this is might not want your startup at all, might not be interested. First of all,
it’s bad fit, is that you don’t have good team, things like that you can find in any
tutorial. Now I will say something, I don’t know if obvious, but very
simple, meaning VCs are lazy. And they won’t tell if you, that they won’t mention
it when you pissed them, they won’t say that this is the reason they don’t want
to invest. Imagine they have hundreds of pitches per year, several a day. They just
don’t have time to go through all them and they’re just scanning through the
pitches, looking for deal-breakers for them. If they find one, they
just don’t want to it, they don’t read the rest of it. You might have another
Facebook, but if you, if there is any single deal-breaker, then they will not fund you
at all. And this deal-breaker in this context of company from, let’s say, Poland trying to
get investor in san Francisco is that you are not from San Francisco. It’s that simple. This is example email response
from one of the VCs: “We are focused on partnering with companies in early
stages of development that are within driving distance”. We live in global era, everybody has Skype, emails, phones,
Facebook, Messenger, everything. But it’s driving distance. Sorry. We actually
tested it out, because besides being there at Hackathon, we also had a booth throughout the
whole conference, through all three days and there were investors wandering
around, coming by to talk, to see what we have and they were amazed by the
demo we were giving them. They say: ‘”Wow”, ” Great”, “Really?”, “Cool”, “Where are you from?” Poland – “Ok,good job”. At some point we decided to experiment
and we started answering: “We are from Poland, but we are moving to San
Francisco soon “- “Ok, let’s talk”. Completely different approach. Completely different thing. actually, that’s it, or maybe almost it, because in the
Lessons Learned I rather told you what not to do. For the very end I would like
to give you one positive advice. Do you know this guy? Who knows him? Ok. Robert Scoble is world’s number one tech
blogger and influencer. He has like six hundred followers on Facebook, he posed a
lot of stuff, a lot of content about new start-ups, he meets, he talks, he is
really great. People are listening to him in Silicon Valley. And funny thing is he
interviewed us, we actually managed to get to this guy to interview us, he interviewed us life on
Facebook Mentions. It was watched by almost 8,000 people. There were a lot of comments,
questions, shares. Yeah, he has six hundred fifty thousand followers on Facebook. He is very
powerful, almost as powerful as TechCrunch itself. even one of the
comments were: “Polish people are on some next level, so much talent in
that country”. This is what we managed to achieve for the whole Poland. But how did you get there? It’s actually not in the
context of Hackathon, it’s not that we met this guy on Hackathon or on TechCrunch Disrupt. I planned to
do so, but unfortunately, just before the Hackathon he posted on Facebook that he is leaving
for Brazil, so he won’t be there. It was my plan, actually to go there and approach him, talk to him, show him what we’ve got. He wrote that he won’t be in San Francisco that week. So, what I did? I answered
him in his comments. I actually approached him there and I told him I want to pitch him, I want to show him what I’ve got and what might be interesting for
his company. I explained it in two sentences and see what happened. Just one
minute later he said: “Ok. When can we meet?” The outcome of this, the lesson, very important one, is:
cold calling works. Maybe not calling, this is just the other medium. It can happen. Don’t let
anyone make you believe that something cannot be done. This is most powerful
tech influencer in the world. I’m just a start up from Poland in Europe, maybe some Americans even
don’t know where exactly Poland is. I managed to get it to him without any help,
without any introduction, anyone into nothing and this truth is valid for everything you
do. Don’t let anyone tell you, that something is not doable. Thank you.

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