European Startups Success!

Have been closely following the Europe Tech Startup Scene closely for last 2 years & here are my few realisations.
The continent’s tech Hub scene can be easily divided into below regions :
– UK Tech Hub Scene
– Northern Europe Tech Hub Scene (Scandinivian, Netherlands, Estonia)
– Western Europe Tech Hub Scene (Berlin, Barcelona, Lisbon, Paris)
– Central + Eastern Europe Scenes

europa_accelerators

Now coming to the list of companies – the ones which have succeeded by either crossing $1Bn revenue mark or being sold to another Business Giant can be listed below :

  • Spotify!
  • Booking
  • Nokia (Till it lasted)
  • Revolut/Transferwise/ N26
  • FarFetch
  • Zalando
  • Klarna
  • BlaBla Car
  • Avito.Ru
  • Meero
  • Delivery Hero/HelloFresh/Deliveroo/JustEat
  • Badoo
  • Wix
  • Skype

atomico unicorns

Some Key Observations are :

  • British continues to rule but interesting to see how Brexit changes the scene with UK Products will have limited audience in European markets & vis-a-vis
  • US,China are still BIG as compared to European Markets however very few US, Chinese products find acceptance in Europe Markets – WhatsApp, Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft are few I know
  • Few Europe Companies Go Global in terms of office setups & market acquisition

But in my understanding, European Startups are unique in terms of offering & are Long Term for following reasons :

  • IPO Target : They target IPO first rather than being a Unicorn along or raising multiple fundings. This shows a mature Approach – Spotify is one unique example of the same
  • Focus on specific customer offering more than marketing, scaling – I have interacted, worked with multiple Startups & their insistence on researching, experimenting, testing, Data Science Approach is VERY VERY HIGH (to the point of nagging at times :))
  • Data approach, experimentation/Testing approach : Another Mature Approach is that they insist on Data for making all Key Decisions
  • Not in a hurry to scale
  • Skill Focussed & Way Upward from Down
  • Doing Simple Thing But Very well!
  • Options to move around different countries in a small space
  • Social Safety Net & Wealth Equality (Social Democratic Setup)
  • Egalitarism

I do think that where they differ is that Americans tend to be a lot better at sales and marketing from day one. They don’t even have a product and they are shouting about how good they are and really selling the product before it is even built. But Europeans will wait three years until the product is completely finished, or at least up to their standards, and say, hey, we exist. It is really bad from both sides. As a reporter, you are kind of fed up with people shouting before it is ready, because it is nonsense. But I really wish the European entrepreneurs would be a little be a little bit more proactive and shouting about their publicity and making noise and selling. They are very bad at selling.” —- Robin Wauters, Founder Tech.eu

risks chart

Ref :

https://www.businessinsider.com/most-valuable-startups-europe-2011-12?IR=T#mind-candy-pivoted-from-a-failed-idea-into-a-social-network-for-kids-thats-worth-more-than-200-million-2

How European and U.S. startups go global: A look at the numbers

https://www.ft.com/content/bf7b3dd4-127d-11e5-8cd7-00144feabdc0

https://www.inc.com/inc5000-europe/special-report.html

27 European startups that have reached unicorn status

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Zingography # 13 : Cognitive Behaviour + Data Science ; AB Test Validation Tool

I have been really fascinated by the capability of AB Testing Tool to make Designing Decisions using Data Science.
If you combine Machine Learning & Statistical Science to the same – then Previous Combo becomes more Potent & Effective.

AB Testing can be a tough Art to Master, even the most experienced ones go wrong all the time with their hypothesis & metrics selection.
Hence accepting your own & your colleagues varying opinions + navigating through the same to get most effective Long Term Impacts is they Key for Success.
But one should be honest to the science of AB Testing & how it is designed even if results are not favourable – it’s like a daily routine that should be practiced as it is.

What am here to discuss is the New Art of combining “Cognitive Design Behaviour with Data Science Algorithms” and especially use Spotify’s Playlist Recommendation for the same.

My Current Research Analysis says that Spotify’s Recommendation Engine is one of the best in this space!

Yeah better than Apple‘s iTunes, Alibaba‘s + Amazon’s Return HomePage Pages Recommendations or Similar SKU suggestions, Google‘s Search Engine or Google News Feed, Netflix‘s Similar Shows Features. What makes Spotify shine here is how it has used the Music Preferences Attributes along with Human Emotion Capture Calculations ! They use a unique score assigned to each song preferences & suggest them if your attributes matches the range of moods/preferences! Also their Engine is constantly improving & updating based on bigger cluster preferences. What I appreciate is that they are not using Other Platforms similar data but trusting self engines to contribute. Secondly, it empowers the customers to play with the algorithm to change preferences.

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As per further search, AB Testing plays a very important role in making below decisions:

  • UI Decisions : Button Shape, Contrast colour, Position, Text, Headline, Icons (+ vs Heart), Widget Decisions, Hamburger Menu
  • Page Format – list view vs card view, the information architecture, number of information shared in a single page view
  • Metrics selection & Order Prioritisation for Making recommendations of Playlist
  • Deciding the Weightage of different Key Factors for engine’s Logic – which is the Highlight of Spotify’s Success!

  • Localising + Personalising the Site : https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-gb/success-stories/how-spotify-increased-premium-subscriptions-using-google-optimize-360/
  • Optimising the Keywords Search : When users in Germany searched for “audiobook” and clicked on one of Spotify’s ads, they were either brought to the custom page or to the original page.
  • Creating Culture of Experimentation & Real Time AB Testing Result platform which is most crucial. (They were earlier using Google’s Optimizely for a long time)

Did I ever share the perfect method of conducting an AB Test Experiment :

  1. Define the Problem – To increase conversion, to increase revenue
  2. Come up with a series of ideas to work around the same basis historical data, recent findings, industry insights – This should be a collective + collaborative process wherein everyone should be heard & allowed to explain their logic. Also while prospecting, one has to think about the impact % on success metrics with what confidence, duration, sample size.  Do not hesitate to use AB Testing calculator for same.
  3. Finally one has to prioritise these ideas basis their impact, time + effort + cost and decide on the order of these tests
  4. While designing the test – decide the Hypothesis that by doing so & so the impact shall increase. What is important to note is that while choosing these tests – they have to be such that can be proven only by data results. Also for tests with drastically different options – it can be a short duration test while for closer options, sample size hence duration has to be longer.
  5. So Hypothesis, success metric, options selection are very crucial aspects of the test
  6. Keep observing the performance of key metrics (Primary, Secondary at least) during the tests – no need to take sudden decisions basis this but observe the pattern.
  7. Let the test complete & observe the results – if results are drastically different, you have a clear winner. If test results are negative (do not worry), try with a different hypothesis & options. If test results are closer then decide whether to increase sample size or to discard the test or to go ahead with partial winner (last one not recommended but call can be taken depending on experience/circumstance/influence of other tests).
  8. Keep doing the same for different cases

My Moroccan Diaries…

I chose Morocco coz I wanted to experience the different offerings of Middle East World Zone – The blue, white & Brown Arabic Architecture in between the inter-twining streets against the Blue Sky & Blue Sea with Quiet & Conventional People Folks really appealed to me as a place I really wanted to see.

I had been to Mountains a lot, European destinations, South East Asian Beaches, Cape Town’s valley streets but never to Middle Eastern World & that appealed to me as something I have to see with my eyes to experience. And surely, overall I was not disappointed.

Here are the things I loved :

  • The Medina walks with amazingly interesting architecture, culture, people, markets, practices (one of the most fascinating was how pretty houses were hidden inside non revealing brown walls), lives insights, handicraft industries (though my new friend Gracia mentioned that its not possible to make so much of stuff by hand alone – I agree).
  • The Hasan Mosque in Casablanca was breath-taking with its architecture & grandness – Pure Grandness of location & design – WOW!
  • The landscape were varying from Mountains (Green, Brown) to small villages to loads of markets to wide open spaces. Morocco has apparently everything from seas, deserts, mountains, modernism & medina lives to offer.
  • How the infrastructure is so much in place – very similar to Europe & a developed Islamic Country – very impressive.
  • The hotels we stayed in were majorly 4 star with lovely swimming pool views
  • Some Interesting travel places thrown in form of Roman Remains, French ski resort amongst many others.
  • I was amazed with what Progressive Islamic nation with Monarchy Dictatorship focussed on public spends at infrastructure, education, tourism, agriculture (oranges, indigo, handicrafts) can go on to achieve – my regards for this small (in geographical area) has gone up many times.
  • Though I did not expect the group I got – was able to make friends with two Italian ladies which worked out rather well & also got to see how Italians & Spanish families travel which was quite interesting
  • Morocco was filled with visitors at this point & hence one could see all age groups & nationalities floating around with so many Japanese thrown in with their selfie sticks!
  • I got some time to do self evaluation which is MOST CRITICAL for me while travelling
  • The weather was mostly pleasant with some times becoming too hot or cold
  • Also very few Indian tourists thankfully.. and no extra charge for camera..

For my next travel, here are my thoughts :

  • I would like to be more involved in the planning & probably do it on my own totally & see how it goes
  • I would want to know the itinerary more in detail so I can plan what to buy, what to wear, what to carry a bit more in advance
  • I think 4 days is enough for me to get a flavour of the place & I would like to explore something more new next quickly

Will share the pictures & some more insights in some days.

Zingography 11 : Cognitive Abilities in PM

Cognitive Science involves linguistics, psychology, artificial intelligence, philosophy, neuroscience and anthropology. My learning & experience says that if we are able to include Cognitive Science into our Product Management Process – they results shall be much more refined, Long term & closest to objective.

Cognitive Science has to include multiple stakeholders views from :

  • Customers perspective
  • Team management perspective
  • Leadership & changing Business Landscape perspective

Am quite sure of developing successful models around the same for different PM Cycle stages & this is my effort for the same.

Below are the key PM Stages & recommended Models for the same :

  1. Business Strategy Roadmap based on Market Research & Secondary Research Data Insights — Model 1 (Leadership Management + Market Analysis – BCG Matrix, PLC, 7S Framework, Value Chain)
  2. Need Gap Analysis Identification — Model 2 (STP + 5Porters Forces)
  3. Recommendation Solutions & Prioritisation of Features (New & Enhancements) – Model 3 (Phase Gate Model/ Spider Mapping Technique ; High & Low Impact)
  4. User Persona Identification – Model 4 (Demography & Behaviour (Tech & Products) Mapping)
  5. Roadmapping + Project Management – Model 5 (Gantt Chart)
  6. BRD/ PRD – Model 6 (Process Note, Unified Modelling Language)
  7. MVP Approach – Model 7 (User – Action – Story ; Pain – Gain)
  8. User Journeys/Scenarios mapping – Model 8 (Decision Tree)
  9. Designing-> with quick dipsticks & quick changes around suggestions Model 9 : Neurological Emotional Branding + Decision of buying

Screenshot 2019-03-07 at 8.25.22 PM

10. Development/Middleware – Library & its adaptations for agile expansion
11. UAT all scenarios/Hackathon (Model 10) /CUG – AB Testing Hypothesis linked to Data          Mining & Big Data Analysis…. Statistics & its variance test analysis! Frequentist vs              Bayesian ..
12. Success Metrics formulation (Model 11) Data visualisation /K Nearest neighbours/              Regression/Clustering ; Random Forests; Time series/sequence; text mining!
13. Launch & Optimise
14. Team Management Model

Disclaimer : My suggestions are based on my experience, research, interactions with other companies & my own theories/understandings on this space. Am quite confident of their inter-relationship with each other.

Some Books I recommend in this regard are :

  • Design of everyday Life
  • Sapiens
  • Art of Deduction
  • Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
  • Cognitive Science
  • Psychology of Persuasion
  • Infographica

Emotional Quotient

EQ is a very rare quality in a human being & even a rarer quality in a Successful Leader.

I used to study & try to understand in college, but it’s a different ball game when you appear in work arena & then see how work demands/pressures are to be met with the People/Cultural aspects.

Of course one learns to manage the work demands & skill demands depending on one’s capacity. It’s always the people skill management that is the trickiest to master as it is very dynamic, variable to unpredictability.

I struggled with the same as well – majorly because there were a lot of aspects about myself that I had not explored or made myself aware e.g. how I respond to pressure, to a New team person, to a vendor, etc. Since I had not given them any thoughts consciously, mastering them was a far away task.

I think – till the age of 28, and 5 years of work experience – the effort was more or less optimise/adjust for survival and observe around. But I think it was during my 6th year of work experience, in 2015 when I decided to do a proper analysis & self haul of :

  1. Who i am?

  2. What do i want in life?

  3. What do I want in work life?

  4. What I need to do achieve 2 & 3?

This gave a lot of perspective & a lot of peace to myself as I then felt am moving in life with some sort of direction (not 100% clear but still some LIGHT). This made a lot of people interactions & my senior leadership alignments easier as well. I won’t say that it has been absolutely smooth sailing since then but still the choppy waters have seemed manageable & the belief to be able to make it the shore has grown stronger.

global-economics-effect-emotional-4-228-g001

Of course, the presence of my last manager & a few other leaders with higher EQ has made me realise even stronger & clearer on what I want in life & am thankful for that. I cannot stress more on the importance on such People focussed Leaders who groom young people & motivate them to achieve what they want in Life. They become life coaches & mentors, role models for them in moments of crisis.

Last week, one of the senior women leaders decided to move out of the company & it made me feel bad beyond what I imagined. Of course in the short span that I got to know her – she came across as an extremely understanding, warm, affectionate and easy to approach (Again rare leadership qualities). The extent to which she understood your position & could advise you accordingly amazed me – High High EQ. The amount of comfort she offered to a non – direct team member speaks volumes on her ability to connect. The fact that it wells up my eyes every time I think about the fact that she could not continue due to family commitments, speaks volumes about her ability to connect & leave a positive mark.
I do wish to be always there in her life & vice versa plus also hope for many more such people in life moving forward to make it worth it!

Law of Attraction!

So I have been thinking about it a lot recently… that you DO control & are responsible for everything happening to you in most of the ways! You chose those experiences.

Its mystical & probably mythical but I do Believe in this Totally.

When I go back into my past & try look at critical moments from an unattached way – I do find lots of answers for Present being the Way it is.

jack-canfield-law-of-attraction-quote

Somethings are pre-defined or pre-subscribed like the macro-economic factors, your Physical Appearances, Your Lineage/Birth, Your career path (to great extent) but the extract you take out of it is completely YOUR OWN & YOUR VERY OWN!

This is What defines your Remarkableness or Your Quest for Greatness !

Seek That Juice Made for you & Keep it like Your Secret Portion coz no one else can create that is meant for you.
Let that juice have all the ingredients you wish for – money, fame, social acceptance, satisfaction, peace, Love, Sex, Physical intimacy, spirituality, knowledge, fitness, Pride – my only secret addition will be that of Empathy or Compassion for other Human Beings! Coz Our World needs it Badly.

How quickly can you understand the other people’s needs, issues, challenges & provide for that will define the success of this human race & in a way of your own.

Try & Find Values Dear To you & Stick by them forever – they will be Your Guiding Light! But Learn to master them by not letting you do the same mistake again n again.

Have 0 Resolutions, 100 More Dreams!

Yes! Dreams Work!

Visualise them, clearly, cleanly & with no references nor influences. See them with a Happy & Relaxed Mindset with no pressures & no desires. Just visualise where You See yourself doing what, with who!

It is important that you see your Dream Vividly & Stay Honest to IT all the while.

Believe.

Now find steps to reach them & Get after them Non – Stop with complete focus & belief.

Surround Yourself with People who will be happy to see you there!

Be Patient.

Yes, its that Simple – Dream, Be Focussed, Find Steps, Work incessantly & Surround Yourself with Right People.

All Your Dreams will come True Like A Brightly Lit Sky Full of Stars & The Moon! Just Believe & Be Focussed.

Changing faces of Us & Our “Friendships”

Hello! So am back to write after a small self forced hiatus 🙂 It feels good to see the words flowing from your brain to your fingertips & appearing in front of your eyes again!

Life has been a bit different with the new role & hence the changes – its weird that how my Life has undergone so many changes around the job roles I have done in past few years. Shows good that my job profile is the most important thing for me in these years but bad that am not able to keep my own personal life in control to be unaffected with changes around it!

I do feel certainly that I took time to find MY SHOE FIT.

But am glad I tried so many different ones & then finally found my best fitting, comfortable ones that were customised to my needs. Did that with my lifestyle, career & now am optimistic of same happening for my Life Partner.

Now coming to the subject of “Friendships” which has been my favourite subject unconsciously since childhood days.

anyone-who-encourages-intellectual-spiritual-and-emotional-growth-is-worth-6875440.png

Emotion is one of the strong things that I was introduced to as a kid during my growing up years – valuing your family, respecting your elders, always speaking good, believing in God & the values, understanding our history & ancestry to learn good practices.

1_O47XpAz1w6fDR1DNW0JnVw

So I could never forget it!

And I always valued it a lot wherever I found it – it was like me becoming a gemstone expert & start wanting to polish the gems as soon as I locate one during my education, travel, professions, social circle, etc.
What I also figured out with relating to emotion was that investment was not foolhardy, it was giving me returns to be a more self aware, worldly wise, mature human so I continued to invest & even do so now.
Maybe my portfolio selection has undergone a change now thanks to a few bad experiences in the past where I either invested too much too soon (more) or I failed to overlook a good opportunity (less).

And I do feel proud that I have become wiser to selection of my people – friends, colleagues, networking groups & others thanks to updating my qualifying parameters & accordingly updating myself + tastes. I definitely do not take things on face value any more & I definitely do not make an opinion about others or try to form a bond inorganically.

With People, it is best when it is ORGANIC!

Getting-Personal-Physical-and-Emotional-Growth

Sometimes, circumstances play a role in making that judgement or bond formation quicker but as a qualified and self aware human – one should understand those factors well! I feel this is the beauty of a human being always be able to prove it’s superiority over machines.

ADAPTABILITY & EMOTIONAL BONDING makes HUMAN > MACHINES

Am happy where I have reached so far in my journey – looking forward to explore More & Meet New interesting people before reaching my final destination.

I wish to become more quieter, observing, less expressing, A polished Digital Consultant (who is truly a PM at basics) Profile, socially more acceptable & enhance my intake of ignoring the unnecessary (Thickening of SKIIN – adding more Onion Layers Happily) !

Colorful_emotions_by_Samsshi

Goodness in History!

History always fascinates me! (Such a Young Sheldon inspired line ;))

Because of the stories, because of the varied characters, their intentions, motives, emotions – it is always interesting for me to hear & read, discuss about Roman/ Greek Culture + Renaissance + Industrial Revolution & Indian, Mongol history along with cultural, social changes.

Its most fascinating for me to imagine how the times & the people were in those times & how it has resulted in creating new world order. In my experience, as much one learns about the history & culture better – they are able to do better with current space as the understanding for present increases & what all is feasible for future becomes better.

One may argue that it limits your understanding about possibilities but for me it only works as an inspiration for the imaginations in my head.
I feel, since the life was much simpler before even if it was less safer and hence people had more time & less distractions towards focussing energy what they wanted to do. Hence one sees the efforts people put in inventions, discoveries, writings – the quality of thoughts, the depth of meaning shows.

So it’s not correct to discard the history & learnings altogether.

Even in my space of technology & business – I do see there are enough examples of great technical inventions, business models, good companies, leaders to provide learnings for current & future generations.

Perhaps this is what education/ qualification/ degrees provide – enough examples, inspiration, insights for the subject one is interested in. The motivation/ inspiration/ new ideas/ in depth findings, etc. are supposed to be brought by oneself towards their own causes. Also the dedication to keep on going to create your own path is to be brought by one’s own life story.

An example worth noting is how America has been able to bring up some strong models in almost every field of Technology, politics, economics, social welfare, cultural celebration, policy making, justice, media setups, etc. That’s because of the true advancement it made during the 40s, 50s in setting the foundations strong for a society which is fed on innovation, independence & human excellence. That way one has to appreciate American forefathers.

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