Six Programming Tools You Might Not Know About

This article was provided by Galvanize

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Even the most experienced developers often get caught in a programming pickle. Thankfully, there’s a wealth of online resources and tools to help you out when you get stuck. To get a better idea of the some of the lesser-known resources, I spoke with the the Galvanize Full Stack team about some of their favorite tools that other programmers might not know about.

Check out these six awesome tools and level up your skills:

1. Reflex

Reflex is a small tool to watch a directory and rerun a command when certain files change. It’s great for automatically running compile/lint/test tasks and for reloading your application when the code changes.

Caught your interest, didn’t I? Take a look at the awesome stuff Reflex does:

  • Reflex has no dependencies. No need to install Ruby or anything like that.
  • Reflex uses an appropriate file watching mechanism to watch for changes efficiently on your platform.
  • Reflex gives your command the name of the file that changed.
  • No DSL to learn — just give it a shell command.
  • No plugins.
  • Not tied to any language, framework, workflow, or editor.

Contributed by Peter Grunde, Software Developer at Galvanize. 

2. Chrome Tips & Tricks

The Chrome Developer Tools (DevTools for short), are a set of web authoring and debugging tools built into Google Chrome. The DevTools provide web developers deep access into the internals of the browser and their web application. You can use the DevTools to efficiently track down layout issues, set JavaScript breakpoints, and get insights for code optimization.

The DevTools are organized into task-oriented groups in the toolbar at the top of the window. Each toolbar item and corresponding panel let you work with a specific type of page or app information, including DOMelements, resources, and sources.

Here are the eight main groups of tools available view Developer Tools:

  • Elements
  • Resources
  • Network
  • Sources
  • Timeline
  • Profiles
  • Audits
  • Console

Contributed by Jonathan Dinu, VP of Academic Excellence at Galvanize. 

3. Tree

Tree is a recursive directory listing command that produces a depth indented listing of files, which is colorized ala dircolors if the LS_COLORS environment variable is set and output is to tty.

Tree has been ported and reported to work under the following operating systems: Linux, FreeBSD, OS X, Solaris, HP/UX, Cygwin, HP Nonstop and OS/2.

Here’s an example of what Tree looks like:

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Contributed by Jeff Dean, Head of Full Stack at Galvanize. 

4. xScope

What about frontend developers? One example of an incredibly effective set of tools for designers and web developers on the Mac is xScope. xScope is an app that has a wide array of features, and allows you to layout and measure elements on screen in an incredibly “Mac-Like” way. The seven included tools offer everything from color sampling to pixel spacing, and everything in between.

The 7 tools available are:

  • Dimensions
  • Rulers
  • Loupe
  • Guides
  • Frames
  • Crosshair
  • Screens

Contributed by Jeff Dean, Head of Full Stack at Galvanize. 

5. Mou

Mou is a Markdown editor for developers, on Mac OS X. It features live preview, sync scroll, auto save, powerful actions, auto pair, custom themes and CSS, HTML and PDF export, enhanced CJK support and more.

Screen Shot on 2015-06-30 at 16-37-38

Contributed by Aaron Gray, Full Stack Instructor at Galvanize.

6. Paw

Paw is a full-featured and beautifully designed Mac app that makes interaction with REST services delightful. Whether you’re an API maker or consumer, Paw helps you build HTTP requests, inspect the server’s response and even generate client code.

  • Code Generation

Build your HTTP requests with Paw, try them out, and just copy/paste code in your app.

  • Dynamic Values

Unleash your capabilities. Access data from previous responses, so you can send back whatever the server returned. Compute hashes, authentication tokens, signatures, randomize data for testing, do some maths, or anything you want.

  • Environments

Parametrize your Requests with Environment Variables, then seamlessly switch between Environments to give differents values to your variables. Ideal to set up production or test servers, or have multiple users profiles.

  • Formatters

Time matters. Paw helps you build HTTP requests quickly thanks to formatters that matches the kind of input you need.

  • Extensions

You can also extend the already broad features Paw offers through easy to build JavaScript-based Extensions. If want to generate client code for your favorite yet exotic language or compute custom authentication schemes on the fly, extensions can make this happen.

Contributed by Peter Grunde, Software Developer at Galvanize. 

If you are a developer, you can never have too many resources. What are some of your favorite – and perhaps, lesser known –  programming tools? Let me know in the comments below.








Building Relationships

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Networking is one of the most crucial skills for entrepreneurs at any stage. It’s also one of the hardest to master–especially for women. Building meaningful relationships will distinguish you in a sea of constantly networking entrepreneurs and business cards.

It is not enough to simply produce the best work: you have to be engaged in discussions where decisions are being made. Rachel Braun Scherl walks you through maintaining focus and approaching each conversation, not as an opening through which to push yourself or your product, but as an opportunity to develop a genuine relationship with someone.

Want more? Rachel’s entire 10-step lesson is available for free at Zana.io. Zana is the leading source of resources for entrepreneurs, from the experts who helped build the companies you love.








How I Got a Job at a Startup (without Being Technical)

This content was provided by Galvanize

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If you’re not technical, landing a gig at a growing startup can seem impossible. But you don’t have to be a programmer or data scientist to land your dream job (though it certainly helps). As long as your do research, play up your strengths, and talk to the right people, joining a startup is within reach.

Take me for example: I’m a recent college graduate with a degree in Communications. I took a web development class during my time in college, but unless you’re looking for someone to build an extremely basic website, I’m probably not your ideal candidate. However, I was able to land a job at Galvanize about a month ago as part of the marketing team – despite not being able to code anything besides basic html and the occasional emoji.

You may not realize that even the most tech-heavy startups aren’t only comprised of developers. Think of all the positions in support, community management, PR, marketing, business development, operations, and other departments. A cursory look at Uber’s dauntingly large list of job openings reveals hundreds of openings in non-technical positions.

When I discovered Galvanize through a friend (on Snapchat, of all places), I instantly became intrigued. And the more I looked into what they were doing, the more I wanted to be part of such a fast-growing company. I love where I am.

If you want to join a startup, here are a few tips on how to land that dream job:

Know the Company’s Culture
Before you consider applying for a position with a startup, you need to understand the culture of their community. Dive in head first and do lots of research. Learn about the company’s mission, their products, the work environment, who works there, the hours you’ll be working, and how your skills and knowledge can contribute to the growth of their business.

All startups have a founding story, and knowing how a company got started and what it has grown into today will allow you to position yourself as a great fit for the organization. Here’s a simple checklist of things you should know:

  • Who the founders are
  • How much money the company has raised, and when
  • Who’s invested in the company
  • Details of the company’s last major announcement

Again, these are just the basics. Showing them how much you already know about their culture and company trajectory will make you a much better candidate.

Build Connections and Be Yourself
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people who can help – send an email, shake a hand, take a name or a business card. In a world where it’s not only what you know, but who you know, you have to be ready to build personal connections. Reach out to your network and see who can introduce you to the right contacts at the company.

Once you send in your application, be professional, but be yourself. Think of it as the beginning of a relationship with your potential manager and employer: people want to see who the person is behind the resume. If you have any interesting or unique accomplishments, bring them during the interview process. Did you work on an anti-bullying campaign? Do you hold a world record in hula-hooping? Did you used to be a traveling musician? This information not only shows that you’re interesting, but also demonstrates drive and ambition – both qualities that are extremely important for a startup employee.

Throw in Some Elbow Grease
If you want to work in a startup, commit to putting in significant time and effort before you land your dream job. When you eventually get hired, you’ll likely be working long hours on many different projects.

Remember to stay organized during the job hunt and after, and be willing to adapt to any situation or opportunity that comes your way. You definitely aren’t going to know everything, and that’s OK. Just make sure you’re always learning – turn your weaknesses into positive outcomes by being creative and resourceful.

Don’t let being non-technical stop you from pursuing your goals of working at a startup. If you can show that you’re more than just a resume, find the right people in your network, and show off your unique personality, I guarantee you’ll be able to find an amazing company that you can grow with.








Startup Weekend Iran (Infographic)

This post originally appeared on Techrasa.com.

Since the first Startup Weekend began in Tehran in September 2012, Iran’s startup ecosystem has flourished rapidly. The tremendous impact this program has had on educating the young entrepreneurial enthusiasts in Iran, is undeniable. See for yourself!

Startup-Weekend-Iran Infographic






Techstars Partners with 4.0 Schools to Grow Education Entrepreneurs

Startup-Weekend-Education-RGB_REVERSE-BLK_rgb-v0.4Since 2010, Startup Weekend Education has empowered people around the world, giving them not only a seat at the table and a voice, but equipping them to bring new education solutions to life.

Startup Weekend Education’s early success resulted in requests from the community to expand its offerings to support entrepreneurs beyond the initial launch of a new edtech product. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided a huge boost to make expansion possible.

In the fall of 2013, a new leadership team was hired. By the following summer, Education Entrepreneurs made its debut, strengthening and scaling Startup Weekend Education events, while expanding support for aspiring entrepreneurs with Startup Digest Education, Workshops, Summits, and online resources. Partnerships with Edsurge, Imagine K12, and 4.0 Schools gave participants even more support on their entrepreneurial journey.

To date, Education Entrepreneurs has helped over 6,000 people across 6 continents play an active role in shaping the future of education. (See full impact report here). Last year alone, Education Entrepreneurs hosted 46 Startup Weekend Education events worldwide, including 22 in the United States, as well as 9 workshops or meetups.

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A New Chapter

Education Entrepreneurs’ parent organization, UP Global, recently announced it is joining Techstars. UP Global and Techstars are committed to education entrepreneurship and growing the Education Entrepreneurs Community.To that end, Techstars has established a partnership with leading education incubator 4.0 Schools, who will operate Startup Weekend Education events and Workshops across the United States while the Techstars Community Programs team will continue to service Startup Weekend Education events taking place outside of the U.S.

Effective immediately, all Education Entrepreneurs programming in the United States will be operated by the 4.0 Schools team. Startup Weekend Education and other resources initiated under Education Entrepreneurs will join 4.0’s other two flagship programs for education entrepreneurs, Essentials (a three day workshop) and Launch (a three month incubator).   From this starting point, 4.0’s Essentials and Launch programs and other opportunities like Startup Next and Techstars’ accelerator programs will serve as a cohesive pathway for entrepreneurs emerging from these events around the country.

The Techstars Community Programs team will continue to support Startup Weekend Education events taking place outside of the U.S., and those Organizers will also have the option to access education-specific resources and opportunities offered by 4.0 Schools. As part of the transition to 4.0 Schools, Mandela Schumacher-Hodge, who has led Education Entrepreneurs global expansion the past two years, is stepping down from her role as Director. Mandela is excited to continue supporting the development of entrepreneurs around the world via her new project, and she looks forward to participating in the Education Entrepreneurs community as a volunteer and advisor. John Baldo, the Program Manager for Education Entrepreneurs, will be joining 4.0 Schools full-time to continue his work supporting the Education Entrepreneurs community.

Education Entrepreneurs and 4.0 Schools share a commitment to developing and training incredible education entrepreneurs who will imagine new ventures that improve and reimagine education. This shared commitment has already led to a slate of entrepreneurs who have benefited from both programs – including the teams behind Fantasy Geopolitics, Classtracks, Vidcode, and ImagiLabs. This new partnership aims to provide many more education-focused teams with the launchpad and support they need to create new education solutions. Moving forward, the EE and 4.0 Schools communities will be a united movement of entrepreneurs, educators, parents, teachers, students, and others working to improve education through entrepreneurship.

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Want to learn more? Attend office hours on Thursday at 1pm central time and Friday at 2pm central time – Click to join or call in: +1-415-655-0001, code: 192 090 557.

Additional questions? See below for FAQs, press, and to submit any questions you may have.

Interested in getting involved? Register to attend an event, or apply to organize one in your community.

Want to learn about 4.0 Schools? Go to their website at www.4pt0.org or follow them on twitter. You can also read this report on their work. You can find Startup Weekend Education’s new home here.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Techstars partnering with 4.0 Schools? How are you better together?

Techstars is partnering with 4.0 Schools because we both have a strong commitment to the growth of education entrepreneurship and we believe that we can accomplish more in this domain together than we could separately. Working with 4.0 Schools, who already runs earlier stage programming with their Essentials and Launch programs, provides a cohesive pathway for early-stage education entrepreneurs to grow into follow on programs like Startup Next or an accelerator program like Techstars.

How is the partnership going to work?

Techstars and 4.0 schools will work closely together to continue to grow education entrepreneurship and the mission of Education Entrepreneurs. 4.0 Schools will operate Startup Weekend Education events across the United States while the Techstars Community Programs team will continue to service Startup Weekend Education events taking place outside of the U.S.

What will be the difference between support for Startup Weekend Education events in the United States and those organized internationally?

4.0 Schools will directly support Startup Weekend Education events organized in the United States.  Their team will directly support organizers to fuel ticket sales, strategize on mentors and judges, connect with local educators, etc.  International organizers will be supported directly by the Startup Weekend team at Techstars, like any other Startup Weekend event.  New resources created by 4.0 specifically for education entrepreneurs at Startup Weekend will be shared with all Startup Weekend Education organizers, including those internationally.

Will anything change about Startup Weekend Education programming?

Nope. For now, you can expect things to operate just as they always have.  Over time, 4.0 will work with local organizers to supplement existing materials with additional education-specific resources that will support Startup Weekend Education teams to focus their efforts on the toughest challenges facing students, families, and teachers.

How will the partnership affect the employees at Startup Weekend Education?

John Baldo will be joining the 4.0 Schools team full-time to continue to support Startup Weekend Education programming across the United States.  Mandela Schumacher-Hodge will be moving on, but is committed to supporting the development of entrepreneurs around the world via her new project. She will continue to serve as a volunteer, mentor, facilitator, and advisor for Startup Weekend Education events.

Is Techstars planning any other similar partnerships for other programming?

No, not at this time, but Techstars is open to new partnerships that can help advance specific domain areas and 4.0 schools is a perfect complement for the work that Techstars and UP Global have done in edtech.

How do I get involved in Startup Weekend Education?

Find an event to attend at educationentrepreneurs.co/attend.  To apply to run a Startup Weekend Education event in your hometown, go to http://www.educationentrepreneurs.co/organize.   To stay up to date on all future Startup Weekend Education events in the United States, join 4.0’s mailing list here.

How can I learn more about 4.0 Schools and their work?

Lots of ways. Go to their website at www.4pt0.org or follow them on twitter. You can also read this report on their work.

 








Mastering the Pitch

Jenny Lefcourt on Mastering the Pitch

Pitching to investors can be the make or break point for startups. The impression you make on them can be the difference between getting the funding you need to continue to the next stage of startup success, or finding your product, research, and ideas on the chopping block.

In this video short, Jenny Lefcourt teaches the science behind pitching: start big and broad and dive into specifics as the investor asks more involved questions. Treat investment meetings like a dialogue instead of a speech and hit the essentials before getting more granular.

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Piqued your interest? Watch more of Jenny’s free, 10-step lesson on mastering the pitch, at Zana.io. Zana is the leading source of resources for entrepreneurs, from the experts who helped build the companies you love.








Video Tips for Startups

Article provided by DreamItReel.

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When launching a startup, having a video has become more or less required.  Here are a few important tips for creating an effective business video.

1. Cut to the Chase
Attention spans are short. No one wants to sit through a meandering 10 minute video detailing your company’s entire history and workflow. They want to get the condensed version of what you’re about and what you do, then move on with their lives.

We typically recommend a business video be no longer than 2 minutes with 60-90 seconds as the sweet spot. If you can deliver your story in a minute, your potential users will appreciate you respecting their time. A shorter runtime also encourages you to make the most of it and not include anything extraneous.

2. Show Some Personality
This video might be your one chance to make an impression, so do everything you can to stand out from the rest. By creating a video that shows off your personality and sense of humor, you’ll create something unique to your company and that doesn’t fit into any existing mold.

Quirky and playful videos go a long way in building a brand and resonating with your viewers. If you can stick in someone’s head, they’re much more likely to check out your company and share it with others.

3. Get Specific
People love to throw around buzzwords. They have their place, but it’s not in your explainer video. Avoid verbiage like “We let you leverage userbase data to disrupt the growth hacking market”. Your script will turn into a muddled cliché that no one will absorb.You also don’t want to rely too much on another business’s model to describe your own. Saying “we’re the Airbnb of car rentals” or “Yelp for nursing homes” might be a good shortcut for an elevator pitch, but it’s a waste in your video. Describe the problem you’re solving, then give the viewers a visual explanation of your solution. Going into specific examples will illustrate your value and drive the message home.

4. Call to Action
We’re going against our own advice by using a buzzword here, but call to action is an essential ingredient in any advertisement. You need to leave your audience not just informed on your product, but knowing exactly what their next step should be. Whether it’s download, sign up, order now, it doesn’t matter, just give them a direction to take.

There’s a lot more that goes into creating a successful promo video, but these four concepts should be on your mind every step of the process. At DreamItReel, we create promotional videos for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Reach out to us at general@dreamitreel.com if you need any advice on how to create the perfect video to launch your startup or campaign, we’d be happy to help.

 








Enough Money To Start A Company? (Infographic)

This post originally appeared on fundersandfounders.com.

It may seem like all the successful startups found funding early on. But is it so? And if yes, how much funding is enough for a startup to take off? How much money is enough to start?

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How a Top Productivity Company Was Born out of Startup Weekend Magic

Responses provided by Yana Vlatchkova, COO of Swipes. Yana is one of the three co-founders of the Danish-Bulgarian startup that’s reinventing how people achieve their goals. And you know what – the team got together because of the serendipity of Startup Weekend.

At Swipes, Yana has her hands full running business development, marketing, PR and forging partnerships to grow the product worldwide.

We love what we do and you can see it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When did you realize you were an entrepreneur? How did it start for you? Was there a spark or revealing moment?

My mom is an entrepreneur, and this is where my story starts too. When I was a kid, I used to play with business cards, coming up with names for her companies, pretending to be a salesperson. I loved it.

I’ve always thought that work is something you create for yourself. But it was only in my third year at university when I started creating my own projects, brainstorming on ideas with friends and truly diving in the entrepreneurial world.

What was your biggest feeling associated with the beginning of your journey?

When I started working on my first project together with my brother and a friend of mine, I didn’t know much about the challenges of creating something from scratch. But because there’s a ton of research that needs to be done in the beginning, and I was confident in this activity, I felt only excitement then. It was like a school project, but on a topic I had chosen myself and loved.

As it so often happens, eventually the rollercoaster of emotions began. Frustration that you don’t know what you’re doing and how it would turn out. Fear that you will fail, hyper-excitement over the small wins, exhaustion interchanging with happiness.

You’re always on a mood-swing when you’re working on your own project. But the beginning is beautiful. You’re blessed with the excitement of embarking on a new journey and you don’t see any obstacles on the road.

What is your one-sentence company pitch?

Swipes is one of the leading startups in the productivity space. We help people make the most of their time by reinventing task management.

What problem is your company trying to solve?

Time is the most valuable resource we possess, both as individuals and as teams. How we use it to achieve our goals is a very complex matter. It involves goal-setting, day-to-day progress, motivation and coordination of activities.

Swipes helps you set your priorities and work on the most important things. It also allows you to have the mind space you need to use your full potential because you can focus on one thing at a time, instead of wasting your energy on multitasking.

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What value proposition does your company offer over competitors?

Technology should de-clutter the time management process and streamline some of the activities to truly help people in achieving their goals.

With Swipes, we give people more than a tool. We give them a mindset and a method how to collect all their tasks together, organize them into priorities and take action on one thing at a time. We blend the method of working and the technology into one powerful tool. This allows us to walk our users through a success experience of completing their tasks for the day rather than storing plans into lists.

Has your startup had a “near death experience?” along the way?

When you’re launching a startup, you’re essentially creating a unique value in the world every single day. It has not existed before. This process is very challenging. Sometimes I get frustrated. I get scared. I get stressed. Now, when you transfer that on the team level, it gets really interesting.

For us the most challenging period was when we were bootstrapping Swipes during its first year.

Kasper, one of the three co-founders, and myself had taken the decision to move from Denmark to Bulgaria to bootstrap. Our third co-founder, Stefan, stayed in Denmark and took on some freelance projects to pay the bills. But we seemed to be in a slump. We couldn’t raise an investment over and over again and we were getting desperate, tired and stressed.

One day in December 2013, all these emotions broke out and every one of us felt hurt and worn off. We had a fight about who worked how much, who loved it more, who said what. This approach of attacking each other could have killed us.

Then we spoke with one of our advisors and he was wise enough to point out that we all had a hard time managing the pressure and the remote coworking. We needed to improve our communication and make sure everyone felt appreciated. Rethinking the challenges and putting effort to set our egos aside saved our relations and our company.

What are your short-term future challenges? Longer term?

Our short-term challenges relate to finding new ways and getting better at spreading the word about Swipes. This includes involving new colleagues into the process and enabling them to unleash their potential.

In the long term, the challenges are to break out of the day-to-day operations and what we know today, and instead focus on bigger innovations and goals that will bring us closer to Swipes’ vision. We are reinventing one of the most fascinating areas of life – how we work. It’s inevitable that we would face many challenges and need to be resilient.

Proudest achievement?

Swipes’ proudest achievement so far was to receive the Best New Startup award by Evernote, one of the greatest companies in our space. In mid-October 2014, they nominated us as a finalist. We got to compete for the final prize with an on-stage presentation in front of 1,500 people on their annual development conference.

Winning this award was a big accomplishment for us, as it represented nine months of hard work, not a month of competing. We didn’t just develop an integration with Evernote, we actually planned how to get a big company like them to care about us by creating something awesome. We made a bunch of videos and campaigns and forged contacts that pushed us up as the winner.

Kasper, our CEO, recently made a great presentation on all our tips and tricks on building partnerships and why we’re so proud of this achievement.

Yana presenting at the Evernote conference.
Yana presenting at the Evernote conference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tell Us About Your Startup Weekend Experience.

I have participated in two Startup Weekends as a team leader, three-four times as a coach and two times as an organizer. I love the spirit of the Startup Weekend events and the magic that happens when you bring so many like-minded people together. This magic also turned out quite important for the Swipes team!

Stefan, one of our co-founders, and myself attended our first Startup Weekend together. We were university students, passionate about the whole tech scene. At the event we met Kasper, our third co-founder. He was organizing the event and helping our teams with coaching and tips. Later on, I joined him as a co-organizer to the event and saw the great potential that working together in this format holds. Thanks to this Startup Weekend, the three of us got together as a team and started Swipes.

What was the hardest thing for you to overcome at Startup Weekend?

I had to overcome my fear to step up as a team leader. This was a whole new area for me and quite different from the university setting in which I was used to be.

Our team was restricted by time, we were all smashed, as we hadn’t slept in 48h, so we needed everybody to be aligned on what we want to achieve. And I had to step up my game and lead this team of strangers into a direction that I believed was the right one.

Any advice for others entering Startup Weekend?

Take the event and yourself darn serious! Just fake that this is the big thing in your life and that you’re the leader. Try to put yourself in a situation as close to reality as possible.

Startup Weekend is not about the event itself, it’s about the test you put yourself through. You can get invaluable knowledge from it – what you’re good at, what you’re bad at, what you like doing or absolutely hate. Most importantly, you get a free chance to try if the rollercoaster life of an entrepreneur is right for you.

Swipes has been already downloaded by more than 350,000 people.

Timeline:

  • June 2013 – Launch Swipes on iOS
  • September 2013 – Kasper and Yana move to Bulgaria
  • December 2013 – First 50,000 users
  • By March 2014 – Rejected by 20 accelerators & investors
  • April 2014 – First two new colleagues join Swipes
  • June 2014 – We close a deal with our angel investor
  • October 2014 – Awarded Best New Startup by Evernote
  • December 2014 – Close an early seed round and opened an office in Sofia, Bulgaria
  • January 2015 – We grow to eight people
  • March 2015 – Launch Swipes on Android and grew to 250,000 users
  • April 2015 – Webby Award Nomination for one of World’s Top 5 Productivity App
  • June 2015 – Growth and building the happiest place in Bulgaria to work in

Co-founders: Kasper Pihl Tornoee, Stefan Vladimirov, Yana Vlatchkova

  • Employees: 7 people
  • Customers served: 300,000 people
  • Products shipped: http://swipesapp.com/product/
  • Revenue generated: Still in a growth phase
  • Partners signed up: Evernote
  • Funding secured: 5 business angels and one of the elite Danish investment funds – Seed capital
  • Industry: Productivity software
  • Country: Bulgarian/ Danish startup
  • Platform: iOS, Android, web, Mac – http://swipesapp.com/product/







Ask An Entrepreneur: How Do I Create a Brand Identity?

Answer Provided by Yuliya Suleymanova, Founder of SULÉY Group.

Yuliya Suleymanova has extensive multi-disciplinary experience in branding, fashion, beauty, and art, which lead her to begin her research for a Business Administration Doctoral program with the thesis on Luxury Fashion goods, and consumer behavior. Yuliya is Brand Starategist & Founder at a Brand management company, SULÉY Group LLC, where she consults and educates companies on how to enhance their brands applying leading brand management techniques and consumer behavior research. Yuliya is a Professor of Marketing/Branding at the Art Institute of Seattle.

How Do I Create a Brand Identity?

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SULÉY Group is not just another marketing or creative agency. We are a team of researchers specializing on a deep study of consumer behaviors and the relations between consumers and brands.  The easiest and understandable way for consumers to relate to brands is to associate brands with human characteristics. That way consumers build a solid emotional association on what a brand means to them, how it makes them feel, what other people may think of them wearing, eating, driving a brand. These emotional associations build brand loyalty and human connection to a brand, so that consumers begin to treat a brand as an extension of themselves, a friend that they can always rely on. For example, they say “I love Chanel,” I am Chanel. To make a Chanel tattoo on your visible part of your body – a neck or arm – becomes a “tribal” identity symbol saying to the world that he/she belongs to “Chanel tribe,” and those who don’t have Chanel tattoo can’t really be a fully recognized as a Chanel devoted fan. Google Chanel brand body tattoos, and you will find thousands of images of people tattooed their bodies of this high-end designer brand.

To create such a strong emotional connection is what defines branding. It is your gut feeling, and it is NOT your logo or website. How can you create this powerful emotional consumer drive for your brand? Building a strong brand bond for your consumers and potential prospects happens way before you start creating your logo, and website. First and foremost you begin putting a brand strategy together, that then will dictate your logo and website design, your social media campaigning and public relations connections.

Having a distinctive personality, a brand has an ability to assist consumers to express themselves in different aspects of their lives. Brand personality is defined as “the set of human characteristics associated with a brand” (Aaker 1997). You don’t say what your brand is, you say WHO your brand is.

People who have a very vibrant and distinctive personality and style become their own brand. To name a few: Michael Jordan, is an American former professional basketball player, created his own Jordan Brand with Nike, Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani, a fashion designer, has become Valentino high-end fashion brand, Karl Lagerfeld, a fashion designer, has become its own brand Karl Lagerfeld.

Michael Jordan, Valentino, and Karl Lagerfeld are people with individual characteristics that are very enticing to people, so that consumers want to imitate them. Jordan Brand has personality of its founder, a leader, someone who takes charge of his life. Valentino has a sensual and feminine personality that easily translates into his designs for women described as elegant, flowing, and timeless. Karl Lagerfeld has a strong personality of a trendsetter, and has a defined and timeless look, which reflects in all his collections he designs for a high-end fashion Chanel brand.

To identify your brand personality is not an easy task. It is a process. This process implies a homework for an entrepreneur. We conduct a series of questionnaires, surveying a business owner, and his/her existing customers if applicable.

At SULÉY Group we have developed a strategic brand plan that assists entrepreneurs in finding and determining his/her brand message, and therefore a market positioning, which in turn formulates a brand development and management plan in a long run.

 

References: Aaker, J.L. (1997). Dimensions of brand personality.  Journal of Marketing Research, 34 (8), 347-356.