Posted tagged ‘event’

Speaking at Nordic Game 19th – 20th May

May 15, 2009

nordic-game09

Nordic Game is the premier nordic game developer’s conference, now on its fourth year. It has been going from strength to strength and last year was an exceptionally good year with great presentations, excellent networking and a nice, tight-knit feeling to the whole event.

Last year I had a chance to participate at a panel on emerging trends, and I was very delighted to be invited back  to speak again this year. My presentation on How to start a game a company at Casual Connect Europe 2009 got tremendous feedback, and I’m happy to presenting an updated version of it at Nordic Game on Wednesday 20th of May at 14:45.

I’m also participating in the “Art of the Deal” panel on Tuesday 19th at 13-15 o’clock . This is about pitching game concept to game publishers, but I hope to bring into the discussion what I’ve learned and experienced from pitching to VCs.

If you are at the show, come and say hi!

Advertisements

Thoughts after Mini-Seedcamp

May 5, 2009

seedcamp

I spent today mentoring fellow entrepreneurs at Mini-Seedcamp at Helsingborg. Going in I felt that most value I could add would come from sharing what we have learned on the road of getting Everyplay off the ground. It turned out that while that was valuable as a background for the day, most of the time was spent in brainstorming ideas for growth, monetization and financing together with the other mentors and the entrepreneurs themselves.

After each one of the twenty startups had given their five minute pitch in the beginning of the day, we started in-depth sessions with two startups at a time. It was great working with passionate entrepreneurs and experienced fellow mentors to dig thru the startup’s assumptions and try to nail down how they could get more customers, create more revenue, scale faster and finance all of that.

There were a couple of startups that had big ideas ranging from really creative and cutting edge uses of peer to peer technology (Peerialism) to transforming paper receipts into electronic ones on any point of sale terminal (Kvittar). On the other end of the spectrum it was great to see real operational and growing business like Red Apple Apartments, who are adding a lot of value to the apartment rental business and are struggling to manage the fast growth (what a happy problem! ;-)).

The high points of the mentoring sessions definitely were those couple breakthroughs where the entrepreneur and the mentors would jointly come up with a new twist to the startup’s take on the market and you could literally see the entrepreneur’s eyes light up in a heureka moment. One of those moments took place in the mentoring session with 1Calendar, who simplify the hassle that juggling university course schedules is. After thinking thru the market and how they could scale faster, we came up with a pretty nifty crowdsourcing twist for getting more universities rapidly into the system. I can definitely see 1Calendar running with that idea and scaling a lot faster than they could have done before.

Most of the startups were really early and one shared criticism between every mentor I spoke with was the challenges in articulating what they really were doing. Way too many dressed up their perfectly good business idea into a Dilbert mission generator-esque mumbojumbo that you’d need 10 gigawatt lasers to pierce thru. It was also obvious that many of the startups need more practice on pitching and presenting as the morning presentations were somewhat lackluster except for a five-six standouts. It’s easy to critize, but I’d hope that every single startup pitching would video record themselves pitching, analyze the recording and repeat at least 15 times before appearing in front of a demanding audience like the one at Seedcamp.

One thing I felt that could have been added to the mentoring sessions is the notion of methodologies or approaches that a startup could use to structure their business development activities. I’ve become a huge believer in Customer Development, and I can’t help thinking that every startup founder needs something similar to help guide them.

Personally I’m totally stoked after working the day with fellow entrepreneurs at the Mini-Seedcamp. The passion and energy totally swept me along. Each startup had their own unique approach and I could learn something from every single one of them.

Best of luck to all of the Mini-Seedcampers – follow your passion and execute relentlessly!

Mentoring at Mini-Seedcamp at Helsingborg on 5th of May

April 21, 2009

seedcamp

Seedcamp is a catalyst for European startups. The main event is a week long bootcamp for handful of pre-qualified European startups in London. Fellow Finnish start-up Scred was selected to participate last fall. I chatted with Kristoffer from Scred after the event and he was very impressed about the learnings they were able to take away from the event.

So I was definitely excited when I got invited to act as a mentor at one of the Mini-Seedcamps being held across Europe. Karri and the crew at the ever-so-fantastic Arctic Startup blog recommended me to the Swedish organizers of the Helsingborg event held on 5th of May and I jumped at the chance to participate.

The Mini-Seedcamp mentors are VCs and serial entrepreneurs including Daniel Blomquist from Creandum, Hjalmar Winbladh from Rebtel and Thomas Weilby Knudsen from Northcap Partners.  And yours truly. It’s an interesting situation to be a mentor when we are down in the trenches at Everyplay (with nothing public to show yet). I can’t offer recent “here’s how I’ve succeeded” type of lessons. Instead I can offer “here ‘s what I think works” and “this is how we are doing it”. There are definitely war stories and lessons learned in how Everyplay got off the ground, the 17+ years spent as entrepreneur in running ASSEMBLY (6000+ participants every year, over 200 person volunteer workforce) and the parallels between pitching video games to game publishers and pitching startups to VCs.

I expect to learn at least as much from being a mentor as the startups can learn from the successes and follies I’ve encountered on my road to Mini-Seedcamp at Helsingborg.

Starting a new (game) business

February 17, 2009

So, what have I learned during the five months Everyplay has been operational? What would I loved to have known before we founded the company? What would be helpful to would-be entrepreneurs? And how much could I cover in 40 minutes?

With those questions in mind I set out to share my thoughts and opinions on how to start a new game business for the good people at the Casual Connect Europe 2009 conference. I was given the prefix “Confessions” so I used Everyplay as an example case in the presentation. We are still in stealth mode, so for those of you looking to learn about what we are building, there are a few tidbits in the presentation ;-).

I had a great time giving the presentation and luckily quite a few people found it to be useful. My thanks to everybody who offered their kind words after the presentation!

confessions

I’ve included quite a few slide notes with the presentation for links to further information, interesting blogs and books. To access those, please download the presentation.

If you found the presentation useful, please share your thoughts in the comments!

P.S. Apologies for the crappy audio timings on the slidecast. After spending three hours battling with Slideshare’s buggy-beyond-belief slidecast tools, thus is the best that could be done.

Speaking at Casual Connect Europe 2009

January 27, 2009

casual-connect-no-date

I have a very special relationship with the Casual Connect conferences. Back in early 2006 I was totally within the  core console games “reality bubble” and I thought I should learn something about the emerging casual games market, so I took the plunge and headed to the lovely Amsterdam for the Casual Connect conference.

It totally bursted that “reality bubble”. There was a completely amazing new sub-industry being born, where new game genres were created and new business models explored. Not only did I discover the downloadable casual games segment, but also the totally rule-bending Korean virtual goods driven online games segment.

In particular one session stood out: the “Hype or Real Deal” panel. Four CEOs and founders of diverse companies on the stage holding two large sign cards: Hype and Real Deal. The moderator would ask a question and each one of the panelists had to reveal their opinions simultaneously. It was a great format that stimulated a lot of heated discussion as the panelists had to defend their positions.

erikbethkeTwo questions that the moderator asked struck me: “Will virtual goods ever work in the western world?” and “Will casual games go online and become more like MMOs?”. Just about everybody in the panel called these “Hype” while Erik Bethke, the founder of GoPets, vigorously defended them being the “Real Deal”. Erik lost out then as the whole conference really didn’t think much of these trends. But I did. The opportunities were mind-boggling. I scampered immediately after the panel ended and waylaid Erik as fast as I could for a further chat.

I have to really hand it to Erik for single handedly blowing away my ignorance (BTW, you should read his excellent blog which he updates all too infrequently =)).

As we all know, those trends become the “Real deal” already in year 2008 and they are going a lot stronger this year.

casual-connect-no-date

casual-connect

Speaking about how to start a new game business

It is an honor to be invited to speak at Casual Connect and I’m delighted I can be giving back a little as I received so much at the 2006 event. I will be speaking about how to start a new game business – something that I have gotten a bit of hands on experience during the past 6 months =). The session is on Thursday 12th of February at 11:00.

If you are at the event, I’d love to meet!

SIME Helsinki afterthoughts

September 17, 2008

SIME

SIME came to Helsinki, so of course I had to go and check it out. I had never been into one of the events previously, as I previously wasn’t in the “space” that SIME targets.

The day began with champagne, which was not quite what I would have expected from a business conference. There is definitely a certain vibe to SIME, and those more knowledgeable than me told me that the main event in Stockholm a cross between a party and a conference. Sounds fun!

The day’s program consisted of presentations and panels featuring very interesting and passionate people including digital creative agencies (e.g. Nitro), digital media properties (e.g. Microsoft Marketing), social media destination sites (e.g. Suomi24, Stardoll, Muxlim), startups (RunToShop), investors and a bunch more. It was a fascinating cross-section of entrepreneurs, corporate folks, youngsters with passion and veterans with battle proven skills.

The highlight sessions were definitely the ones with a bit of controversy. Taneli Tikka (RunToShop, also on Everyplay’s advisory board) joined the panelists from Suomi24, MySpace Nordics and Xtract on the stage to get beyond the hype of social media advertising. Aamulehti’s Matti Apunen interviewed Google Finland’s CEO Petri Kokko and got several well deserved laughs from the audience when he tightened the thumbscrews on Petri ;-). To Petri’s credit, he did well under the pressure, but perhaps a bit more straight shooting answers would have been what the audience yearned. The tug of war between newspapers and Google News was one of the topics on the stage, but the match had to be declared unresolved as next session was about to start.

I was personally very impressed by the excellent presentations and panel leadership from SIME’s Chairman Ola Ahlvarsson. This gentleman thoroughly knows how to take his audience and deliver a compelling presentation, as well as gently but firmly lead the panels into interesting discussions. Superb job Ola!.

Networking at SIME was the highpoint personally. It was great meeting old friends like Sam Weintraub (a F-Secure colleague, nowadays at the mysterious Fruugo) and catching up with the movers and shakers in digital media, social media and venture capital.

The hilarious highlight of the event were definitely the outstanding videos created by Radon. Ranging from street interviews of random Finns about the state of the Finnish digital media industry (hilarious) to asking them if they “porn surf” (the responses were outright awesome) to the legendary INTERNOT resistance group fighting for analogue lifestyle. If you haven’t yet checked it out, do it now: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3. INTERNOT! INTERNOT! INTERNOT! ;-)

I gotta hand it to the  Swedish organizing team. SIME Helsinki was a fun, different event and I’d definitely attend again.

Mindtrek coming up

September 13, 2008

Mindtrek is the biggest and longest running festival and awards ceremony for the best in digital works and culture. The Mindtrek conference is held at Tampere, Finland from 8th to 9th of October and features plenty of great seminar presentations (including yours truly ;-)), parties and naturally the Mindtrek Awards.

ASSEMBLY had the honor of winning the Mindtrek Grand Prix award in 2006. I was there with Pekka to personally receive the award, and wow, what a feeling of us and the hundreds of volunteer organizers being recognized for our efforts. I’m sure the winner of this years Grand Prix will be at least as elated. The deadline to compete has just passed, so hope you entered your amazing digital production in time!

Mindtrek is going to be a great opportunity to network, so if you are coming, let’s hook up. Hope to see everybody at Tampere in a couple of weeks time!