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Many people have written about those glorious and surreal moments when on stage and have described that tingling-buzz afloat with giddy lightness which allows their mouths and brain to charge into an inspired auto pilot rendition of all of the visions collected in their minds from the prior preparation.

But what happens 10 minutes beforehand? Those where your body comes into a strange alignment with your thoughts and those once jittery nerves pull themselves together in preparation for that fight (or maybe flight - if you’re unlucky) response.

The room was dark and the audio was loud. They really wanted to make a show out of it. At NOAH Conference in London many of the speakers were fairly professional and conservative. That was until Seven Ventures took over the stage to present the seven international start-ups that were competing to win €7 million in total prizes in TV media thanks to ProSieben. And ProSieben knows how to entertain. Think blockbuster style thriller music and those dramatic, soothingly deep voices possible only in big budget films.

We were ushered into a quiet area for speakers where we met fellow nerve-riddled presenters who were also preparing to jump on stage. Espen, Capsule.fm’s CEO was then hooked up with his lifeline: A headset microphone and clicker to busy his hands while on stage. From here, I was in the prime position to observe the body language and behavior of Espen and the other six CEO’s moments before their entrance onto stage. 

There is a period of time, around 2 minutes before you must move onto the stage where your body disengages with rational thought and your mind becomes still. This is reflected in the gentle grasping of the hands by Espen and the soothing forward moving posture towards the front of the chair, feet spread firmly at wide braces and elbows anchored to remain strong and quiet. As your time comes, any nerves either continue to linger and are transformed into a magical surrealism which energetically charges your whole body with belief and inspiration.

I can’t say if this was the case when Espen pitched Capsule.fm at the Seven Ventures competition as part of the NOAH Conference, but something went right as the announcement of €1 million in TV Media was awarded to Capsule.fm. How do you feel before speaking on stage?

Written by Danielle Reid, CD and Co-Founder of Capsule.fm and posted on Founding In Berlin.
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Follow Capsule.fm and Danielle Reid on EyeEm. 

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This is a post written by Sophie Hechinger, the Marketing Intern at Startupbootcamp Berlin.

I like to think of Startupbootcamp Berlin as a family. The ten teams are the children and the SBCBerlin team are the parents. We suffer with them through tough times and get excited when things are going well for them

All ten teams are fundamentally different. They come from different countries and backgrounds; some of them just dropped out of school while others have already sold multiple companies. Some of them are focused on building a profitable business and others simply believe they can change the world for the better. Some of them are easy for us to understand and relate to, others have really different views and ideas of how things should get done.And yet they have one thing in common, they are some of the smartest and most motivated people I have ever met. All of them could work in jobs that pay them really well, but they are here because they chose to be.

What I have learned during the past two months is that you have to accept them for who they are. Our job is not to press them into some kind of template of success, our job is it to recognize their strengths and support their visions and the things they are good at even though they might be different from ours.It’s like parents who want their child to be a lawyer or a doctor because they value security, a good income and status but the kid just wants to be an artist. Even if they decide to follow their parents’ wish to become a lawyer, they are never going to be an exceptional one. I strongly believe that you can only excel at something that you are really passionate about.

And I feel the same is true for the teams at Startupbootcamp. They will only ever be exceptional and great at what they do if they stay true to themselves.

Not every investor clicks with every team.  Just because one investor might not see great value in a specific team, does not mean that there aren’t other people out there who identify with their vision.

Of course we are there to tell the teams when we think they make a mistake and we are the ones to talk with them about their weaknesses and concerns. But we are not the ones to decide whether they are going to be successful or not. We are there to enable them to build exceptional and great businesses, which may or may not change the world!

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Starting a company makes me interested in how others started out. I remember my first real job. Well, technically my first job involved making pizza in a family owned restaurant with a liberally salivating boss (health and safety Australia, close your eyes now) who had a temper that was something shockingly slicing that I was secretly hoping that he would delegate the task of pizza cutting to his frailly tender wife who even at my gawky age of 14 was at least a foot shorter than me. No, the first real job I had was in a small branding studio in eastern Melbourne. And by small, I mean in the bottom floor of my bosses house alongside her standard size poodle (and there is a mistake in naming those dogs standard, by standard they actually mean massive). I could never accuse her of being conformist and although perhaps misguided, a soft spot in my curiously emotional heart remains for her.

Major morning task of the day was walking the standard (giant) poodle and by walking, we’re actually taking about dog poo scooping. That was fine, I liked the time in the morning light and that huge poodle was some kind of strange magnet for park conversations about running your own business and the best cuts of dog meat you could buy to enhance coat gloss. 

My boss insisted we sit on those fit balls which although surely miraculous for your back, are a miniature nightmare for those working around standard poodles who liked to sniff crotches. Leo was so forceful that I learnt that skirts were not a viable fashion option. Numerous times his wet muzzle crept so insistently down there that I was caused to roll backward on the now extremely non-ergonomic office “solution” of a ball and grasp desperately at the air, legs spreading upwards towards the ceiling, leaving the both of us (the dog and I) stunned with embarrassment. 

My boss was an interestingly open woman. Complex and sensitive, with something to prove to everyone. She was interested in neurolinguistic programming and insisted that I too undertake the course. I was thrilled and took it on with pleasure. We would sit with clients - all together on sturdy, broad fit-balls and drink coffee with such caution as to steady our balance. I was a designer and listened so intently to every syllable they spoke so that I could decide whether it would be a warm and open brand they would be suited to, or whether it was short, abrupt and spiky.

I took this job very seriously and although I learnt lots of lessons about design and dealing with clients, I think that the best skill that I came away with was learning how to turn potentially embarrassing situations into shared moments of enhanced connection. 

Danielle Reid is Co-Founder of Capsule.fm.
Source: Founding In Berlin

Source: foundinginberlin
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Can you imagine a better city in Europe where a startup working in the music space could be? Us neither. Enjoy our 6th week at #SBCBerlin!

Monday starts with the usual relaxed and easy going way Startupbootcamp is training its teams.

Tuesday shows up and we cannot ignore it. 

8 pm sharp: Dillon is tip tapping at Volksbühne. And the frestyl team is in!

Wednesday a morning meeting out of the office brings us in the Berlin fall.

Thursday it’s time again to leave the house and feel the vibes of the city. No pictures in this case: this is the first rule of Berghain. Simian Mobile Disco on stage.

Friday we need some fuel to face the weekend: speed dating afternoon. Mentors are in da house!

At 9pm we are ready for the weekend and we realize that what we need to make it to investor day is persistence, patience and just few hours of sleep! 

Written by Emanuela Tumolo, co-founder of frestyl

Text source: frestylnews 

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2012 was a curious Summer. The weather in Berlin peaked too soon and the excited glory and promises of sunshine that were proposed in May fizzled out into an anti-climatic abortion of hope.

The Summer was a let down, but the guests in our co-working space most certainly were not. And it wasn’t as though they were just renting office space: they actually slept on the couches in the back room of Weserland for a whole month and worked there during the days. There were initially 5 of them and they brought a pristine air of beauty and stealth into the dehydrated walls of the Neukölln base. Initially cautious, the rest of us co-workers curiously watched as they ingested their new home. With health and good genes on their side, we projected that the Swedes could not have been a day older than 23 and much too immature to actually want to work. 

They were founding Linkura, a service which allowed people with diabetes to track their diet and sugar intake and this is what I learned from them:

1. Lose the heirachy.

One thing that especially struck me about the Linkura team was that they would all be equally accountable for what went right. And what went wrong. On the first day that they arrived, they were told that there was a “magic number” for the door. This magic number was actually a phone number which was installed into the roller door by the crafty developers and upon calling the number, would open in a brilliantly futuristic fashion. What may have seemed clear and precise instructions by the landlord were interpreted as a completely different thing for the young team. Scrambling to find a place to finally set up their camp of the next months and lay their travel-confused heads, they began frantically searching for the place to input this magical code number. Hastily lifting and heaving the roller door, they destroyed it together and found their way inside. Upon later talking to the team about it, they confessed that feeling guilty together brought them together as a team because they shared the connection and emotion associated with the mistake.

2. Lose your inhibitions.

We went out together. In Berlin, going out means not doing anything by halves and allowing yourself to fully succumb to the delights and temptations of this untamed city. I would have thought this a dangerous and revealing pastime, wanting to save my alcohol-induced opinionated passion for typography (especially the letter g) for close friends and family only. Losing their inhibitions and sharing their dreams, visions and worst dance moves brought a high level of understanding into the team and built empathy.

3. Lose your expectations.

I chatted to the developer about networking. It felt like such a dirty word to both of us and we discussed just how incredibly stressful it felt to get out and talk about ourselves and our visions. To do our elevator pitch somehow felt a little duplicitous and not because we didn’t believe in what we were doing or talking about, but because we are both natural introverts. After chatting from sometime, we realized that without actually having to do the awkward pitch to each other, we had gained a huge understanding into each others visions and ideas just by opening ourselves up and losing the expectations of how we should act. By clearing the slate and opening our minds, we were able to fully communicate in an honest and effective way without ever having to feel like a slimy american salesman.

Written by Danielle Reid, co-founder and creative director of Capsule.fm
Text source: foundinginberlin
Photo source: Danielle on EyeEm

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The key...

Everyone has heard it before and it is impossible to truly understand until you are actually going through it, but founding a startup is one of the most intense, exhilarating, and emotional things that I think you can ever do. And going through an accelerator program such as startupbootcamp just amplifies all these feelings times ten. One minute you are riding the high of an amazing meeting or a huge coding breakthrough and the next you find yourself wondering ‘why would anyone use this’ and doubting yourself and your vision. 

Whenever I walk home from the office, I try to take a different route. Berlin is full of amazing and inspiring street art so I enjoy taking different routes and experiencing the charm of all the little streets (a feeling which, by the way, my startup is attempting to recreate digitally) and one day when I was feeling particularly confused and doubtful about our product I came across the street art I posted above and it really stuck with me; this couldn’t have been more true for the situation I was in. Managing a startup like the one I am building is, in my opinion, all about this exact kind balance. On one hand you have to care about what you are doing but at the same time you have to not care about it enough to stay agile. You have to care about what your advisors say but balance that out with remaining unbothered by negative opinions. Not everyone is going to like your product. Not everyone is going to use your product. But if you truly believe in what you are creating, it is difficult to come to terms with this; you want EVERYONE to love your product and buy into your vision, but this will never be the case. You need to balance making it as open to as many users as possible while at the same time make it most useful for that tiny subset of the world which you are targeting. 

So in terms of creating a successful startup, what I think I’ve learned is who cares if not everyone thinks what you are doing is the great idea that you know it is. Don’t let the fear of certain people not liking your idea stop you from talking to EVERYONE about it. This is the most important part. You find a way to not care about the negative feedback yet still care about it enough to internalize these thoughts in order to help you build something even better. 

Source: thinkonezero.tumblr.com

Twitter: @Raidarrr @ramirez_luis_m

Website: www.raidarrr.com

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I started this week still slightly hungover from our housewarming on Friday - great start!

It didn’t get much better from there. I fell into the startup trap of strategising and predicting what customers want without talking to a single one. The result? I went a little crazy. Thankfully the cure was simple. I just listed 50 potential customers and got out of the building!

Pitching tips

High point this week was receiving pitching tips from Bill Liao, Co-founder Xing. We pitched over Skype, which meant we were greeted with a 3x3 meter projection of Bill’s head and shoulders - pretty intimidating! Some great advice though. The most important being:

"Don’t start your pitch with a boring word." - Bill Liao

This includes: ‘we, us, I and your company name!’. He advises people to structure their pitch as follows: 1) Crisis - what’s the problem 2) Struggle - explain how you got to the solution whilst convincing your audience you understand their pain and are credible 3) Resolution - how are you going to fix it? Pretty simple stuff. Good luck nailing it, I’m on version 20+!

Around Berlin

If Banksy was born in Berlin instead of Bristol, he’d have ended up an accountant. No one would have noticed him. There’s so much graffiti here that there aren’t any clean canvasses left!

Quotes and what the author was getting at

"No one wants to buy reality"- when you’re pitching to investors you must sell the dream/vision.

"Build a business with substance" - don’t be a flash in the pan startup and instead build something sustainable and of value. 

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This week I decided a direction for Streetvite; had Streetvite torn apart by a mentor in the morning and praised 2 hours later by different ones; threw a house party for SBC and took a power-nap in a nightclub!

Agreeing the idea

Agreeing a direction wasn’t easy. I struggled with conflicting mentor advice and my own clichéd dreams to make my first startup revolutionise X or disrupt Y. The reality? My idea currently isn’t that different from what’s out there. 

I mentioned this last week, but it troubled me a lot so I thought I’d share how I reached a decision. I thought about what really motivates me: I’m driven to create a successful business first, closely followed by the desire to innovate and disrupt. So I’ve decided to ditch my clichéd dreams until this business gives me the millions to pursue them! 

Some much needed thinking time…

My thoughts on dealing with advice

Don’t worry too much about what others think. Good ideas create debate. If you try and please everyone you’ll create a dull compromise that no one want. 

That said, you should listen to some people. I challenge you to decipher the picture below. I promise it is worth more than a 1,000 words! Think it might be upside-down :) 

Berlin observation

How is it that cyclists in Berlin are at the top of the food chain? If you’re a Berliner and planning to cycle in London you’re in for a shock! You may find yourself being chased by a London cabbie as he uses you to entertain his passengers! 

Quotes

"Ride the wave" - if a space is busy it’s a good thing. Be more worried if you can’t find competitors! 

"Good ideas are often 10% different"

SBC Wall in my flat!

This fine work of art was produced during the house party. Think all the SBC teams plus a few Berlin startups are in it. 


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The second week of Startupbootcamp Berlin has been a whirlwind of flutter and activity. Here’s how it looked from the eyes of Danielle Reid, Co-Founder / VD of Capsule.fm.

Pitch practicing under the beautiful architecture at Webworker in Berlin where the Startupbootcamp teams work.

Having our photo be featured on EyeEm’s Blog! We’re so excited to be included in a community of talented photographers.

We had surprising and welcome VIP guests at Startupbootcamp Berlin headquarters.

Hard work requires energy and audio.

Got to meet the talents from EyeEm at their ultra cool Mitte office and take part in a focus group.

Had exciting leads in offices near Alexanderplatz where we started to see the lights!

Made great friends with the rest of the teams here at Startupbootcamp. Kit and Phillip from Liquid State showing true team spirit.

Found new ways to be inspired at the office on a Saturday: 2 minutes in the sunshine with good audio.

Networking and learning at the great Geek Girl Meetup at Betahaus.

 

Took advantage of the very inspiring (and delicious) event by AirBnB "The Local List" where we got to try all of the best stuff in Berlin for free!

Source: foundinginberlin
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Great first week! Exhausting, challenging and inspiring!

On the non-business side my kitchen and whole flat have been too dirty to eat in which has meant takeaways morning, noon and night - ask me for recommendations in Berlin, I’m getting pretty good! 

I’ve also discovered the alarmingly common Berlin phenomenon of “poo pockets”. These are, as the name suggests, pockets of air roughly 20 meters in diameter that smell like poo. If you’re half asleep there’s nothing like ammonia up your nostrils to kick start the day!

On the business side, here are three useful things I’ve learnt this week.

1)    It’s OK to be a “me too” business. It’s even a good thing if it’s your first business. People get hung up trying to disrupt/transform/revolutionise their industry. What really counts is whether you can execute your idea. Have a read of http://businessofsoftware.org/2012/09/me-too-products-are-fine/

2)    “It takes longer than you think”. A quote from one of the SBC mentors. I’m sure the other mentors will agree since many of them stuck with their businesses even when VCs were starting to ask “how have you managed to spend 5 of my $6 million and still don’t have a single paying customer?!” Glad I wasn’t there for that one. I guess it’s saying, if your persistence is guided, it’ll pay off.

3)    Lastly, sometimes an ‘elevator pitch’ is literally that, a pitch in an elevator. I had the pleasure in Venture Village’s HQ in Berlin. Check out my nervous pic

Article of the week: http://venturevillage.eu/startup-hipster