Techstars London day 16: On fleek!

Today was a fabulous day!

Started with the CTO meeting, which I have to say I am liking more and more. It’s a great forum for discussing ideas, asking for help and just basically share the pain that such a responsibility role entitles.

When you have a small team like ours, it’s good to be able to bounce ideas off people outside your business. The feedback you get is much more objective and you can see things much more clearly; even if they don’t give you the solution you are after, they serve as rubber ducking 🙂

So I continued my quest to push the tracking into analytics dashboards. And let me tell you, Mixpanel is the way to go. Easy to set up, easy to understand. I will be looking at segment.com to perhaps push more data onto other services, but for now this will do. And then plug that into Geckoboard and boom! Sorted.

After lunch I met with the lovely people that run Microsoft Ventures. Full disclosure, I have met them before, since Jesper’s company was in the last cohort – truly nice people. The best about the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator is that you get tons support, mentorship, free office space and other perks for 0% equity of your company. Pretty sweet deal eh?

Spent the rest of the evening working with Google Spreadsheets API – again, not impressed with documentation (examples of clients only in Java and .NET, waaat?). But found a pretty straight forward library for python that works wonderfully, so tomorrow I will finish the second part of my reporting. And then I can forget about analytics for a few days.

We have also made good advances in terms of where to focus our efforts next when it comes to product; and we believe that the next feature we’ll work on will be a good drive for growth. So can’t wait to get my hands dirty on that! I could totally feel the high spirits in all of us!

Oh yes I love productive days! Wohoo! Enjoying this feeling…

Too bad it won’t last long since tomorrow is deep dive and our dreams will probably be crashed. But until then, yeah yeah yeah!

Time to head home…see ya!

Summary of the day:

Time I went to sleep last night: 00:54
Total hours of sleep: 5:42
Mood: Hell yeah!  (aka, super happy with my productivity today)
Soundtrack of the day: https://open.spotify.com/track/5KhFKpzl9ynjeRR8UrDz34

 

Techstars London day 15: Progress

I felt great this morning. I had 7:23 hours sleep! Yay!

Arrive nice and early to the office. And not only I was well rested, but Charlie Feathers was there! Yay! Fluffy cuddles!

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Fluffy cuddles ❤

And believe me, I needed them. I am still dealing with analytics, and they are not my forté. But, there has been progress in that front. Following the great advice from Sofia at NomNom, I started looking at Mixpanel.

I am aware that Google Analytics is a great tool and very complete, but really, for the kind of numbers we are trying to pull at the moment, it is too convoluted. I am sure further down the line it will be good for us – but it takes a whole lot of time to get it right, time I am lacking. Mixpanel is simple, yet powerful and it is progress. And that’s what you want when you are running a startup, progress and keep moving forward as fast as you can.

One of the best things about being in Techstars is having office space. I spent the past year working from home, bootstrapping and coding away. Heck, there were days where I didn’t even go out  and felt completely isolated from society.

One of the things I missed the most from my job at Mendeley was the people. I spent 5 years of my life working there; from the very first year of its conception to the time it got acquired. Many came and many went, but most of my friends in London are from my years at Mendeley (including my boyfriend 😜).

And I am lucky enough that the Techstars office is literally round the corner from my old office. I’ve had a few déja vu moments since starting in the new office, especially since the way to work is exactly the same. But today was a bit more special, since I met with a few ex-colleagues for lunch; it almost felt like I had never left, that I was still working there (even though I went into their office and literally just knew a handful of people!). It was great to catch up!

After lunch I met with Elsa, the hacksociate designer! She’s great and has been doing some user testing on our platform and pointing out areas we should focus on improving the UX; some of them things that we have discussed before and they are already on my ever-growing TODO list.

Having said that, certain degree of frustration invades me when people point out things that you know needs to be fixed and are already in your ever-growing list of doom. Not because you don’t welcome the feedback (which I do!), but because it just reminds you the amount of things you want to fix and the very little time you have to do everything. But equally, I enjoy when people point out things you haven’t thought of and are crucial; so I just need to find a way to make my days longer for a few extra hours and the frustration due to lack of time will go away. Or just keep prioritising 🙂

I wish days were 30 hours long or that I didn’t need more than 6 hours of sleep a day. But it doesn’t work like that. And the little sleep I had last week took its toll. I have this very annoying chesty cough that just doesn’t want to go away. I am losing my voice…

This evening, the Techstars crew went down to Regent’s Park for a nice after-work international food picnic. A shame I had something else on my diary, cause I am sure it was all delicious!

Instead of the picnic I went down to the Moo offices to a talk by Sam Philips, Head of Technology at Shutl, where he shared his story on scaling engineering teams in pre & post acquisition. A lot resonated with me from my Mendeley days. It was a nice reminder on how you just need to use common sense when it comes to managing people and hiring. The main takeaways from the talk in my opinion were: interview for empathy (you really want to work with nice people that can relate to others) and communication, leave the code nicer than when you found it, and don’t sweat the process (referring to being ‘Agile’). Like I said, use your common sense.

And that’s all for today. From reading this, you probably have noticed I am feeling a little bit all over the place. Hopefully tomorrow I can write a more coherent piece. Until then… peace out!

Summary of the day:

Time I went to sleep last night: 23:48
Total hours of sleep: 7:23
Mood: meh, all over the place – but in a positive way
Soundtrack of the day (because it represents well the mood):

 

Techstars London day 14: Time to get some numbers

No posts this last weekend. After the Mentor Madness last week and the party on Thursday I was pretty much dead all weekend. Mentally and physically exhausted, so I decided to take the weekend off and spend some time sleeping. It totally worked!

Today was what I consider a good day. Started it early, Maria and I were meeting Jules Coleman from Hassle.com for breakfast, to learn more about her experience as the co-founder of a marketplace. Pretty successful you see? They just got acquired! And she’s like the nicest person!

Then head to the office. Today was good in terms of meetings – only 2. One with Stan and Maria (our standup) and another one for technical office hours with Rackspace. Nice to meet these chaps.

This week is all about getting analytics. And Google is making my head spin a bit. The documentation for the old analytics was much more clear than the current Universal Analytics. The documentation is a bit all over the place and it took me a while to get my head around custom dimensions vs custom metrics. But I think I finally got it. The most annoying thing about this though, I won’t be able to see any data until tomorrow…So maybe tomorrow I figure I have been sending the wrong data all along. Hopefully not 🙂

And talking about 💩, today there was a problem with the toilets in the building and there was a lovely smell all around the office. Yes, that is written sarcasm. It was disgusting. But it got resolved quickly!

So apart from that, pretty uneventful day when it comes to super exciting stuff, but I am writing things off my list, and that feels productive. Getting things done feels good.

I did make a new friend. And it’s the cutest thing I have seen today: Plio the robotic dinosaur.

And now it’s time to head home and spend some time with my wonderful boyfriend. Not seeing him as much anymore is by far the hardest thing in this program.

And the clock keeps ticking:

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Summary of the day:

Total hours of sleep during the last weekend: ~20h (I had an epic siesta of 3hours on Saturday)
Time I went to sleep last night: 00:40
Total hours of sleep: 6:07
Mood: concentrated, happy and productive
Soundtrack of the dayhttps://open.spotify.com/track/4YUzw8WPyRqNLdt22MFTbC

 

Techstars London day 12: The party and the day after

I wrote yesterday’s blog post before the end of the working day because we were heading to Playfair Capital’s summer party and I knew I would be in no condition of writing anything by the time I’d come back home. It was a bit rushed, so I will start today’s chronicle with a little summary of the evening yesterday.

We started the all hands meeting by sharing the wins of the week. We had a few, but I am not allowed to share publicly (company secrets!) – then the bad stuff; we personally didn’t have any worth sharing (other than the mentor madness was indeed madness and the 7.30am meetings).

The moment Stan pointed at us: “My co-founders Maria and Rosario, that if you haven’t seen them yet I am sure you have heard them”. Photo credit: Nakkeeran, lovely Techstars associate. The moment Stan pointed at us: “My co-founders Maria and Rosario, that if you haven’t seen them yet I am sure you have heard them”. Photo credit: Nakkeeran, lovely Techstars associate.

After that, it was the turn of half the companies to present their businesses (the ones that didn’t get to present last week). We were among the ones yesterday and I thought Stan did a good job. My favourite part was when he was presenting Maria and myself: “My co-founders Maria and Rosario, that if you haven’t seen them yet I am sure you have heard them”. Yes, you guessed well, we are both very loud; but hey, it comes from the passion within, so deal with it.

Right after the presentations it was the turn for the “Mentor Whiplash”; denomination that comes from the contrarian views that the ~35 people that you meet all week have about your business. A few examples of what was said (by different companies which I will not identify, because really, there’s no need): “You should go for the B2B market” vs “Go for B2C” vs “I don’t see why you cannot just do both”. Or “you should totally start looking for investment” vs “you should totally avoid investment, you won’t need it”. But my favourite was “you should apply to YCombinator” – we all laughed pretty hard at this moment!

And finally, before we got to the party, the co-founder of Deliveroo, William Shu joined us to talk a bit about his experience with his startup, and he even ordered some food for us! Though there were plenty of hungry geeks around and I didn’t get to catch any of it!.

And the time to go to the party arrived! It was held at The Collective, pretty impressive place. Tons of lovely people and free drinks! The best part(*) of the night was to have time to socialise with fellow companies at the cohort without it being running up and down in between mentor madness or deep dives; also my good friends who work at Osper; Jesper; my good friend Lesya and some other lovely people that I got to meet there.

There were two remarkable moments of the night: a conversation with Max (Kelly) that was overdue and “The terrible twins” DJ skills; they totally brought the party to the next level – for 10 minutes (the time they were “allowed” to perform, just before we got kicked out – closing time).

From left to right, CEO of Ambie.fm Gideon Chain and CEO of Headliner Stan Mcleod, collectively known as The Terrible Twins.  From left to right, CEO of Ambie.fm Gideon Chain and CEO of Headliner Stan Mcleod, collectively known as The Terrible Twins.

The Terrible Twins vs DJ Swedish Amateur, aka Jesper The Terrible Twins vs DJ Swedish Amateur, aka Jesper

All in all, very good party (Thanks for the invite Playfair!). You know, I am a firm believer in partying. It relaxes you, which is pretty much needed with all the stress we are exposed too, and what the heck, because is fun. So my motto lately has been: “Word hard, play hard”. Keep the balance, or you’ll go mental. Especially if you are a social animal like the Headliner founders are; we are an entertainment company after all!

With Lesya (left) - Aware there's a hand in the photo, but it's the only one I have where you can see both our faces well. With Lesya (left) – Aware there’s a hand in the photo, but it’s the only one I have where you can see both our faces well.

My lovely co-founder Maria (right) and I after leaving the party.  My lovely co-founder Maria (right) and I after leaving the party.

Not all in this life is work; live a little, have a laugh and a little dance, you’ll feel much better afterwards.

 

…Until the next day that is. If not, ask Stan, who had to be in the office for the CEO meeting at 7:30am after a late night partying. I am proud and impressed! I arrived by 9am and even though I did not feel hangover, I did feel tired and felt like you could totally tell I was out the night before. Good thing I had some concealer in the office!

Despite all the tiredness though, today was actually productive. I didn’t join any meetings today (as I explained in my previous post) so that left more time for coding.

But by 5.30pm I really felt like I needed to leave. So I did. And now I am here finishing this blog post with the font extra big so I can see what I write cause my eyes keep closing more and more. So I am gonna call it a night, and wish you all a very happy weekend.

Lesya (left), myself (center) and the amazing Emma (right) from Warner Yard.  Lesya (left), myself (center) and the amazing Emma (right) from Warner Yard.

Summary of the day:

Time I went to sleep last night: 3.10am
Total hours of sleep: 4.11 (deep sleep: 2.45)
Mood: I have giggled a lot today due to the tiredness, but that means I am happy. At this very moment, I just want to pass out on the sofa.
Soundtrack for the day: https://open.spotify.com/track/49ErwcBYfYRPNBdRuPvpYA (the song that we got a taste of but never finished, courtesy of ‘The terrible twins’ soon available to book on Headliner for your next party).

(*) In no particular order

PS: Squarespace truly is terrible for blogging so I am gonna be migrating sometime over the weekend. More on this later.

Techstars London day 11: It’s party time!

Quick one today since there’s not much new stuff to report that I haven’t talked about yet. 

Another great morning meeting mentors. We get the feeling that the idea is going down well and we are likeable people 🙂 

Quick deep dive (only 45 minutes this time) with Max, Ben and Jon to talk through our big rocks and a nice TODO list for next week.

Today is Thursday and that means….All hands meeting! And drinks afterwards! Special today though, it’s Playfair Capital’s Summer party and I intend to have a drink or two (not many though!). And if there’s a chance, then show some moves like these.

Summary of the day:

Time I went to sleep last night: 00:27
Total hours of sleep: 6:27
Mood: tired, but happy and looking forward to the party. Also, I am hungry.
Soundtrack for the day: https://open.spotify.com/track/6reLfBSO38qmFgHgz6kAs0

I will keep posting if I survive this party! Good nigh!

Techstars London Day 10: Crazy hours will make you double park

Disclaimer: All the emoticons today are dedicated to Tak, since he explicitly asked for them. Enjoy bruv! 

Shout out!: To all you lovely people that are reading these posts, retweeting and letting me know that you are enjoying the blogging. You give me motivation to be writing even though i should probably be sleeping at this very moment. 

Ok my friends, middle of the week. I hit a record today! I woke up at 5:45am (*) 😱! And I am absolutely knackered 😱😱! 

We had a very early CTO meeting – 7.30am. You see, when there’s mentor madness, we still get together to discuss CTO stuff, which is very exclusive stuff that CTOs talk about; there were a few intruders (Gideon, I am looking at you!), but we are a nice bunch and we allow it 😏 

I was totally dead. I arrived by 7.10am in the office and there was literally one other person there. 

Feeling a nausea creeping up 😵, I dragged myself to the kitchen to get a coffee (coffee gives me migraines, but it cures the exhaustion nausea and sometimes you just need to compromise) – but oh no! The coffee machine is not working 💩💩💩! 

At that time Łukasz from NomNom arrived and we went to Exmouth Market to grab a quick ☕️ before heading into the meeting. By the time we came back to the office, Tak was downstairs waiting for some more people to guess what: go to Exmouth market to do the meeting there! Whaaaat 😳😳??? We just came back from there! And it’s raining!! (And we had no 🌂).

As I am writing this, I am realising that it might sound pretty boring and that I am whining, but let me assure you, it was actually great fun: the back and forth in the rain, the confusion 😕 in our faces (do we stay? do we go? are they coming back?). 

You see, extreme tiredness gets me either into “silly survival mode” or “extremely cranky mode” – today it was the turn of silly survival mode, aka embrace the tiredness and giggle at everything. In all seriousness now, great meeting. 

After that, straight into mentor madness 🙈. Yesterday though, after discussing it with Stan and Maria, we decided that I would only join for the meetings that would make sense that I join, not because I do not want to meet all the mentors (which I do!) but because someone has to do the coding. And that someone happens to be me 🐒. So today I only joined 3 of them (all great btw) – despite that, not much code done unfortunately, though certainly more than the rest of this week (it’s never enough!). 

We went to lunch and had a chat about how the meetings went and how we could improve the story telling of what we are all about. I think we are getting really good at it now – lots of practice! 

At about 2:45pm I started feeling on the verge of collapsing 💀. It was getting all a bit ridiculous. More meetings, this time with a couple of hacksociates to touch on some design work that needs to be done and later with the lovely Sendgrid guys at technical office hours. 

And finally, 6.30pm arrives. By this time… I just can’t remember any more. I went down to Iberica (lovely Spanish restaurant by Farringdon) for dinner. And that’s how the double parking came about – to basically survive the dinner before heading home, write this post and hit the hay. That’s 🍷🍸🍤🎉

So having said all that, here’s the summary of the day:

Time I went to sleep last night: 23:27
Total hours of sleep: 6.13 (2:28h light sleep vs 3:45h of deep sleep – making some progress here!)
Mood: Utterly dog-tired (**) 
Soundtrack of the day: https://open.spotify.com/track/1AH8YEUuQZ7B4PhZq0taRm (<— This is a great tune! Go on and listen to it! And watch the TV show ‘Utopia’ where it is from – good stuff!)

(*) Dom, is this early enough for you now? 😝

(**) I am running out of ways to express the tiredness I am feeling at this moment, and I will need a good scale if I want to have a good track of this – for the time being, “utterly dog-tired” is a combination of synonyms that Google suggested for “Absolutely exhausted”. If any native English speaker wants to send a cool phrase my way, this Spaniard💃 will be happy to learn cool idioms. 

Techstars London day 9: more madness and more mentors

I am writing this post from the office. Stan and I just finished a 2 hour roadmap session to flesh out the product and be realistic about what we can achieve in these 3 months. Let me tell you, this is HARD. There’s so many things we want to be doing, and every single thing seems so important. However, having a time constraint really makes you think about what your absolute priorities are. 

It was a good session and I think we narrowed it down pretty well. Now we just need to get it done. Execution is key. Do more faster.

Now onto the mentors. Today was a fantastic day! Just to be clear, the mentors yesterday were great too, but today I was in much higher spirits which allowed me to be able to digest all the info better than yesterday.

After mentor madness, the lovely AWS guys (tech office hours) took all us CTOs for lunch; #freefood plus #support = epic win.

Got a bit more coding done today, but not as much as I’d like. Hopefully tomorrow… Oh wait! More mentor madness tomorrow. 

And the clock keeps ticking…

Right, time to go home and sleep… 7.30am meeting tomorrow morning.

Summary of the day: 

Time I went to sleep last night: 00:56
Total hours of sleep: 5.15 (1:42 light sleep vs 3:33 deep sleep)
Mood: Absolutely exhausted (tonight will be an early night)
Soundtrack of the dayhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LO2RPDZkY88