Archive for October, 2009

BuildConference – Belfast – 5th November, 2009

admin 28th of October 2009 by admin

Created for obsessive-compulsive designers, Build is no ordinary web conference. From internationally renowned speakers to a jam-packed social calendar, Build is bringing the best of the web to Belfast this week.

The conference brings together the very best knowledge and resources on hot topics including the evolving web, seductive design, passion, expertise, usability and a richer typographic web.

Internationally renowned speakers include renowned American web design consultant and author Eric Meyer, EveryBlock co-founder and previous interactive designer for Apple, Wilson Miner and lead designer for Virb.com, Ryan Sims. They will be joined over the course of the event by Cardiff-based author and design consultant Mark Boulton, CEO of one of the UKs largest web development studios, Clearleft’s Andy Budd and celebrated Belgium-based user interface designer Tim Van Damme.

The workshop day sees Andy Budd presenting a full-day session on Guerrilla Usability Testing in addition to homegrown talent the Web Standardistas speaking on HTML 5 and CSS 3 as well as Phil Strain from Belfast-based user experience lab Ecliptic speaking on Accessibility 2.0.

The conference is also accompanied by a small programme of fringe events, including an evening lecture from London design studio Airside and a screening of the Gary Hustwit documentary film, Objectified.

Full information, tickets and registration are available at http://buildconference.com.

Web2Ireland Companies in Deloitte Technology Fast 50 2009 winners

admin 28th of October 2009 by admin

At the recent Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Awards, quite a few Web2Ireland companies were represented.

Daft Media achieved the top ranking in this year’s Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Awards.

Others included Lincor Solutions, Newbay, Car Trawler, IQ Content, Exoftware, DirectSki, Newsweaver, Saadian, Hosting365, etc.

Check out the Top 50 here

Facebook connects with Ireland

admin 27th of October 2009 by admin

Facebook officially opened their EMEA HQ in Dublin today.

Currently Facebook employ 70 people, and they intend to double the workforce over the coming year (see vacancies), under the leadership of Colm Long, who has provided great support for the Facebook Garage Ireland initiatives

Facebook also has over 1m users in Ireland – which is pretty impressive.

Data storage company MPSTOR raises €1.5m and appoints CEO

admin 27th of October 2009 by admin

Cork based, MPSTOR, developer of data storage management products today announced that it has raised €1.5m in new investment, led by the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Fund and Asian Investment firm Winning Tack.

The company today also announced the appointment of Mr. Kevin Haverty as its new CEO with immediate effect. Mr. Haverty was previously CEO of Mentec International Ltd.

MPSTOR is based at the Cork Institute of Technology’s Rubicon Centre and also has an office in Dublin.

Mobile Application Development in Ireland

admin 27th of October 2009 by admin

As part of a project we’re evaluating with some mobile companies, we’d like to get some feedback/insight around Mobile Application Development in Ireland – appreciate if folks would take our very short survey

Mary Meeker, from Morgan Stanley, presented recently at Web2Summit – in summary Mobile is exploding

Realex Payments scaling up for global expansion

admin 27th of October 2009 by admin

The Irish Times has a piece on Realex Payments – and their plans for global expansion.

Led by Colm Lyon (who is also the key man behind Alliance/IGAP), Realex are hitting some great numbers.

- YTD Realex has processed over €6 billion in transactions
- €726 million in payments processed in September alone
- 3,500 clients
- Tier 1 clients like Virgin Atlantic, Vodafone and Aer Lingus
- Turnover of €6.47 million in the year ending April 2009 (12% up on 2008)
- €721,000 in profits – with more than €2.5 million of accumulated profits.
- seeking to recruit a further 15 people – team is at 70 already

Web Reservations International up for sale – £275m price tag

admin 26th of October 2009 by admin

The Sunday Times reported that Web Reservations International (WRI), owner of the Hostelworld.com and boo.com, were planning to sell for £275m after hiring investment bank Morgan Stanley to manage the process.

Potentially nice pay day for Ray Nolan, Tom Kennedy, Paddy Holohan and Paul McGuinness

Product Management – Useful tips

admin 22nd of October 2009 by admin

In Ireland we constantly hear that we don’t have enough skills/resources @ product management.

Here is some useful tips, resources, etc to check out.

The Role
The role of product manager is to capture the product vision and make it happen. The person is usually a jack of all trades, with a background in Computer Science/MBA. They normally work with small, agile engineering teams.

Initial Idea – Product Vision
Initial product requirements are captured – usually on a wiki – from a variety of sources [powerpoint, napkin, funding documents, etc]

Check out some useful wiki services – such as Google sites, Socialtext or Confluence.

One useful trick is to apply the Working Backwards model – as used in Amazon, Microsoft, etc.

The Lean Startup
The Lean Startup is a practical approach for creating and managing a new breed of company that excels in low-cost experimentation, rapid iteration, and true customer insight.

Check this video from Eric Ries, at the recent Seedcamp

One of the key concepts from Lean Startup is Customer Development – and I would recommend everyone to read Steve Blank’s book on the subject – Four Steps to the Epiphany

Sean Ellis, presented at recent Seedcamp on Customer Development [note: Sean is participating in IGAP Programme]

Once you have a plan/idea documented, you can start to build stuff. Currently most teams work to an iterative Agile process like Scrum. Some great tools that support these methologies are Jira/Greenhopper – great for small teams, who maybe located all over the world, who want to ensure transparency on what’s getting done.

This video is good at explaining Scrum

Most VCs and Angel investors, are preaching the power of Lean Startups – check what Ron Conway and Mike Maples have to say in these videos.

Watch it on Academic Earth

Product/Market Fit
Original product designs are usually minimalist – Product Management conduct some user studies, with a focus on asking lots questions – What does user really care about?

With lots of experimentation – a focus on low fidelity prototyping. Tools such as balsamiq make prototyping UI very easy.

In a lot of cases – releasing an early version into public domain, to see if users respond well.

Bottom Line – you’re looking for Product Market Fit.

Analytics
Finally analytics play a critical part in product management. The goal is to make the product better over time from feedback, from metrics, etc.

Dave McClure is one of the best guys at articulating Startup Metrics – amongst others like Andrew Chen, Scott Rafer, etc.

Check out a recent presentation from Dave at FOWA

Start-up Metrics that Matter by Dave McClure from Carsonified on Vimeo.

Summary

1. Work Backwards
2. Lean Startup
3. Customer Development
4. Product/Market Fit
5. Analytics

I-CANDO – Your Passport to the Smart Economy

admin 22nd of October 2009 by admin

Those involved in the technology industry, who are constantly asked to help family and friends to help them with digital things, may want to check out i-cando – so they can point their family members, etc to this site.

I-CANDO is an Irish start-up based in the Digital Hub and it created a programme that could help people. It is an e-learning programme that uses a blend of classroom lending. The best way to describe it is a next step beyond the European Computer Driving Licence Programme (ECDL) for the 21st century.

where they can learn themselves how to use a computer properly, upload a digital photo, use a digital video camera, iPOD and apps like Skype, Twitter and Facebook.

Smartcamp – The Winners

admin 20th of October 2009 by admin

The winners at the recent Smartcamp Final in Dublin were

Treemetrics – A Forestry Management Company are the overall SmartCamp winner. They will receive a three month mentorship program with IBM to help them build an ‘investor ready’ proposition. They also receive entry into the NDRC program with also includes funding of up to €25,000.

HeyStacks – a social search company also received entry into the NDRC program

Green Diamond – An Energy Efficiency Management Company won the Vodafone mentorship and and investment offer from AIB Seed Capital Fund will €50,000 .


ResourceKraft
also received an investment offer from AIB Seed Capital for the same amount – both of these are subject to normal diligence.

Congratulations to all the winners, and also to Martin Kelly and his colleagues at IBM Ireland for a great event.