What we learned at Techsylvania 2018

Our European team had a fantastic time presenting Littledata's ecommerce analytics technology at this year's Techsylvania conference. But we weren't just there to speak, we were also there to listen, learn and be inspired. Here are some of our core takeaways from the 2018 event. If your mindset is set on innovation, Techsylvania is the place for you. It's the leading technology event in Eastern Europe for a reason - tech enthusiasts and business innovators come together in a spirit of collaboration and friendly competition to connect, hack and share ideas. What we learned Edward Upton, CEO: I learned so much from pitching at the Startup Avalanche competition at Techsylvania. The competition attracted startups from all over Europe and Asia, and Littledata was honoured to be chosen for the finals. After a few days of rehearsing the pitch and refining the slides, with intensive coaching from the Risky Business team, I have a much better idea of what investors want to hear - and how to communicate it succinctly. Hearing how Intercom uses speed of product development as a competitive advantage made me remember how our (already Agile) process could be improved Aside from the pitch competition, I listened to some of the great speakers from across the industry. My favorite was from Rich Archbold, a technology leader at Intercom. Hearing how they use speed of product development as a competitive advantage made me remember how our (already Agile) process could be improved. Yet, the greatest learning came from talking to founders of many interesting tech companies, some based in Cluj and others with growing offices here. Rares Ionescu, QA Guru: Techsylvania was a blast! I was especially impressed by Ralph Simon, the chief executive of Mobilium Global, a visionary with a vast experience in the entertainment world. He is known as the founder of modern mobile industry, also referred to as the "Father of the Ringtone" making a lot of trending musical references during his talk. The speech was comprehensive on building a successful start-up ecosystem. Florina Vintan, Analytics Superstar: I was impressed by the number of high-level attendees with strong technical backgrounds. I most enjoyed the conversation on Digital Transatlantic Bridges by Peter Gersak (IBM), Frederic Boulanger (Macadamian), Pat Sheridan (Modus Create) and Lucas Roh (Bigstep). The chat revolved around companies that established offices in different parts of the world to break down the transatlantic barriers. In case you didn’t know, Littledata breaks down those barriers every day with offices in London, New York and Cluj-Napoca! Bianca Dihoiu, Customer Advocate: The conference vibe was amazing, people seemed excited to be there and discuss tech stuff with their fellow enthusiasts. The talk that I enjoyed most was by Ashley Carroll from Social Capital. It focused on product management best practices and helped me to visualize our own product management more clearly. As a customer research at Littledata, I bridge the gap between Product and Support, so this was a perfect fit! Elisabeta (Bety) Crisan, Finance Pro: As an account manager, I found Luke Mawbey’s speech on money laundering the most appealing. The Head of Technology at Comply Advantage talked about a future in technology that will automatically fight financial crime. In the breaks between the conferences we managed exchange a few words on account issues and I learned some useful tips and tricks. Ioana Botian, Marketing Rockstar: Techsylvania was a vibrant event highlighted by the sharing of a lot of valuable information! I loved the Startup Avalanche pitches where startups had a chance to present their unique ideas. We were represented by Edward Upton, founder of Littledata, who charmed the audience with his charisma and insights about the many ways that fixing your analytics can lead to higher revenue -- especially with our smart automation like an analytics audit and automated reporting. I loved the Startup Avalanche pitches where startups had a chance to present their unique ideas. I also attended a mind-blowing conversation between Anda Gansca, CEO and Co-Founder of Knotch, and Katherine Manderfield, Director of Content Strategy at The New York Times about the Future of Advertising. The panel was a real eye-opener for me that made me rethink my strategy as a marketer. Alexandra Dimitriu, Analytics Maven: For me, Techsylvania was highlighted by great questions, lots of ideas and an amazing atmosphere. I had a chance to meet many passionate people that are concerned with the future in technology and are willing to make a difference in the world. My favorite speech was the one from IVCBOX. They illustrated how successfully connecting with customers can drive conversions and increase sales -- all things we're passionate about here at Littledata. What a great event! David Pascu, Biz Dev Guru: I had the chance to network with various representatives of Romanian tech companies and gather knowledge about their business and revenue drivers. Most companies admitted they are facing great difficulties when it comes to talent acquisition, so more and more are starting to invest in internship programmes. With developers in high demand here, more and more Eastern European tech companies are investing in internship programmes Having the chance to hear various experts talk about their experience in starting or managing a company encouraged me to push for roadmaps ruthlessly oriented to success, as these days the key for success in our field is to build up processes oriented and matured to have the most impact with the least drain on resources. Gabriel Bira, Galactic Overlord of Code: Although I started out sceptical about yet another “tech conference”, my opinion quickly took a U-turn. The conference coupled professionals describing an exponential progress curve of the Eastern European country in the world of tech. I had the rare opportunity of attending a speech from a local maverick, a 19-year-old Storyheap entrepreneur, Sebastian Dobrincu. The presentation revealed many insights for me on how to build a successful company from scratch. I also attended a technical event, held by a representative of Slack, Jeremy Apthorp. He presented us Electron, an open source framework that allows creative applications in JavaScript, HTML and CSS to build cross-app platform at low costs. A final thought Techsylvania was a perfect mix of tech enthusiasts, developers and entrepreneurs. A true centre of innovation and inspiration. If you or someone you know is looking to join one of the hottest startups in Cluj, I have good news. We're hiring! Check out our open positions and read about one of our newest employee's first design sprint. We can't wait for next year's conference. See you there?

2018-06-27

My first design sprint

Littledata believes that happiness and productivity go hand-in-hand, but what does that look like in practice? In this post I'll share a bit about our workplace culture and most recent design sprint, from the perspective of me, our newest team member! Four years ago a new company emerged - Littledata. Fast forward to today and we have major ecommerce customers around the world, including Made.com, Figleaves and Age UK. Our consulting business has grown to develop a suite of ecommerce analytics technology that anybody can use - including an industry-leading analytics audit, automated reporting with Google Analytics and even a dedicated Shopify reporting app. And the team has continued to expand - Meet our great team here My story I joined Littledata two months ago, and it's already been an amazing journey. I was working as a marketing specialist at a Romanian company when a friend pinged me about the opportunity to work at Littledata. I was not looking for a job at the time but I was impressed about the innovative app they had created, so I knew I had to meet them. Initially, I applied for an open position listed on Littledata's careers page. Unfortunately, my background experience in that field was not so generous and I did not get the job. (True story!) But no worries there, as Littledata saw potential in my good attitude, proactive work ethic and willingness to learn. After some additional interviews and a test project, they gave me a chance and created a new position for me as a marketing assistant. This was a clear sign of an open-minded work culture that invests in its employees and focuses as much on potential as on experience. In short, I accepted the job and joined the European team. It was one of the best professional decisions I've ever made. Since I joined Littledata I've learned more in two months than in an entire year at other companies. My colleagues and supervisor took time and patience to teach me and guide me through skills that otherwise I couldn’t have learned by myself. Littledata is a data company - and Google Analytics isn’t easy stuff - but since we’re dedicated to making analytics as painless and as useful as possible to our customers, it’s an exciting and exhilarating place to work. There are new challenges and great successes every single day in the office. Besides the best mentorship I am receiving, my peers proved to be very fun and sociable. It’s a place where we do work as a TEAM, helping and supporting each other. The only competition we have is from our competitors. Moreover, the perks I got with the job with remote-working hours and annual offsites in a different countries, easily trump the perks of working at big corporations. I discovered that the fast evolution of Littledata is due to its employees. Littledata’s senior staff believes that true innovation comes from happy employees. (Want to see the data? There is statistical evidence that happiness and a positive workplace culture drive both productivity and profit.) By focusing on building a strong internal bond, offering excellent benefits and driving diversity, Littledata created a one-of-a-kind workplace environment. Things weren’t always easy tough. They’ve had their share of challenges. See how Littledata went through the challenges of developing a Shopify integration. Where do we work? As Littledata grew, the team expanded worldwide. Our offices are located in New York City, London and Cluj-Napoca (Romania), and we have employees and consultants in over 8 different cities. Here in Cluj, the workspace was recently renovated and each room is personalised after each employee’s personal mark. In this way, we all feel comfortable and productive at our workspace. Many times we don’t even use our office desks, preferring to work intently on our sofas and bean bag chairs, or outside in the hammocks. We might have a remote work culture, but we stay constantly connected. Our communication strategy includes Skype for official meetings and Google products (Calendar, Drive, etc) and Slack for fast chatting, collaborating and updating. To keep track of our projects we use Trello cards, where we split the team into different boards, depending on their department. We found that it’s the best way to connect all our team and not get lost in a messaging abyss despite the different time zones. My first design sprint In order to bring clarity in our roadmap and kickstart new features, we embrace the Design Sprint philosophy. A design sprint is a five-phase framework that helps answer business questions through a fast-paced prototyping and user testing. Understand (review background and user insights) Diverge (brainstorm what’s possible) Converge (rank solutions, pick one) Prototype (create a minimum viable concept) Test (validate with users) Basically, we pick a time and a place where we all gather up every three months and do some Sprint-Planning focused on a specific goal. The process helps to spark innovation and align team members under a shared vision. Through this hyper-focus, we can build better features and launch them faster. I recently joined a Design Sprint that took place in a beautiful villa on the island of Mallorca. In the first day I assisted at a short introduction from our organizer, followed-up by the schedule presentation of our 5 day sprint-design and reviews from my colleagues regarding the last Sprint. Afterwards, we separated into two groups, the product team and the marketing team. I joined the marketing team, and for the next 5 days we worked on new ways to promote Littledata by answering the needs and the common questions our customers have. After we all agreed on the most important topics to cover we split up into three teams of two people each. One team managed a new promotional video, the other took on the app’s features process and the last one worked on a customer onboarding process. I was in the app’s features team - check them out: Littledata’s features. The product team came up with a way to increase engagement in our Shopify app and started to develop an exciting new feature that we’ll be launching next quarter! On the 4th day the product team and the marketing team reunited, presented their work and ideas, and voted on each other’s ideas. The last working day was the prototype day where both teams tested their prototypes with real customers. This was an essential part of the Sprint and definitely worth doing if you’re thinking of running a Design Sprint yourself! The Sprint-Planning was also a great way for catching up with each other and spend quality time with all the team members. Our leisure time was spent in Spain, traveling and engaging in fun activities. Work hard, play hard! We even spotted one of our customer's products, Micro-scooters, in a shop window Palma's old city! Perks In my opinion, one of the biggest perks of working at Littledata is the remote-working hours. A flexible and personalized work schedule gives the employees the opportunity to balance work and personal life very efficiently. Besides, the company offers the benefit of working from home when needed. We can work from a coffee shop, a HubSpot, a park or wherever we feel like it. You can work from anywhere ... just make sure to have a good internet connection. Healthcare is also assured. No need to worry about this topic, because for employees in Romania, Littledata grants personal health insurance through our Groupama collaborators. Wellness is also supported by weekly fruit baskets, tea, coffee and other yummy snacks. Integrating all of these pieces together we create a comfy and positive environment for our employees. Workplace culture (PS we're hiring) Our growing team is opened in hiring new staff members who bring value and personality into Littledata. A strong professional background helpful, but a drive to learn is just as important - get involved and be proactive, we encourage learning in all of our activities. We look for people that are passionate, ambitious and always want to challenge themselves. Another criteria that we are fond of is respect. Our company has a strong policy in respecting its employees. As we are very diverse in culture, we coordinate to celebrate each person's holiday and major life event. And last but not least, we are fun folks. Be serious in your work but have a positive and cheerful attitude. And guess what? We are hiring! We have big plans building some awesome products. So come join us, either as an employee or as a collaborator, to create new features using the latest analytics technology. Check out our open positions here. We’d love to hear your opinion - what do you think a great workplace looks like? Leave a comment below and subscribe to our newsletter for the latest in everything analytics.

2018-06-05

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