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Did you say Xavier? We say spring – IT Spring! (Part 2)

So, what were we up to at IT Spring?

Mobile Trends

Where money is in the mobile and how to monetize your apps: myths and reality

Yuri Gursky, Alex Krakovetskyi and Maxim Babich showed us some nice figures and warned that all that glitters is not gold.

Takeaways:

  • Cross-platform mobile development is often not worth the pain;
  • Focus on UX, it’s that very KING in the mobile;
  • The mobile is used as a powerful branding tool for consumer companies;
  • It’s difficult for a small fish to get noticed by users unlike for brand-name clients;
  • Mobile business has a major obstacle these days – marketing costs are getting too high to leverage traditional monetization models;
  • Options to get your ROI from mobile apps: freemium, in-app purchasing, in-app ads, paid apps, but better…
  • Start working on the backend of your apps and switch to B2B market (as Y.Gursky advised).

Effective Management

Agile and Scrum are in the spotlight

We were ready to roll up our sleeves to pick up the best practices from Agile and Scrum experts, who mentored the audience on how-tos of effective project management. Tatiana Belova, Vladimir Dobrov, Alexey Minkevich, Vladimir Ivanov gave their views of the right project process and management.

While Maxim Dorofeev and Dmitry Maleev threw into the traditional approach some fresh ideas and food for thought.

Takeaways:

  • If more than 400 000 Chinese make business by earning virtual gold and selling it for real money to gamers, then gamification can work well for managing and motivating IT teams (by Dmitry Maleev);
  • Try on the shoes of both a client and an IT team on the contractor’s side to spot where these shoes are tight – do care about the end-users of your software and create Green IT peace, create value (double-sided view of closing IT deals and contracts by Maxim Dorofeev).

Money

How to get money in Outsourcing? Or is it better to go and build your own product

We have witnessed panel discussions with successful outsourcers and product owners (Arkadiy Dobkin, Pavel Obod, Viktar Khamianok), listened to several presentations on how to make money in outsourcing and software product development tips and tricks (Pavel Obod, Steve Mezak, Pavel Kravchenko, Tim Evgrashin, Dmitry Zavalishin).

Takeaway:

  • You can be successful both as an outsourcer and a product owner, the only thing you need is passion for what you do – interesting projects are hidden within both of these business models.

Be your own boss: startups and freelancing

This topic was elaborated in a session of presentations (Ivan Semizhon, Aleksandr Sorokoumov, Alexey Meandrov, Stas Davydov, Denis Shavruk, Aleksandr Orlov and Slava Pankratov, Serhiy Berezhnyy, and Tom Herman), in hands-on tips from foreign investors (Seth Elliot and John Ason) and a round of startup pitches from Belarusian entrepreneurs and guys, who try to kick-start their own projects (Tripmate, Orderino, Cliqus, Survey 3.0). The round was hosted by a successful Belarusian entrepreneur Mikita Mikado, owner of Quote Roller, and assessed and advised by experienced venture capitalists and angels from the USA.

Takeaways:

  • Accept the idea that you may fail;
  • Focus on a narrow niche – it’s better to be successful with one project than fail with many projects;
  • Investors seek for good people: money would rather go to a great team with a mediocre idea than to a bad team with a great idea;
  • Do your homework! Show investors that you’ve done research, realized the pain of your users and you are convinced that this pain is not scarce (comprises about 2 users around the world), analyzed your competitors and, in general, paid due attention to the business side of the project;
  • Practice, practice and practice! (by Seth Elliot)

Startups Mixer has demonstrated that Belarusian IT scene has a lot of guys with great ideas, but, for now, they often fail to polish the business side of their projects to make them look lucrative and promising for investors. American venture capitalists and angels – experts at Startups Mixer – again have proved that there are major differences in our cultures, regarding our business mindset. Americans have innate dealer’s eye and practical business approach since they are born and raised in the culture of the American dream pursuit and believe that everyone can be an architect of their own fortune, whereas here in Belarus we tend to get enthusiastic about an idea and plunge into the project straight away, discarding such down-to-earth issues as money. Keep it in mind if you want to deep-dive into your own venture.

Budgeting: how to treat your money right

Another round of presentations during our IT hangout was dedicated to the budgeting process with Kirill Golub, Mihail Sorokin, Sergey Dmitriev giving their view on this point.

Takeaway:

  • Good budgeting is not only about calculations on your side, it’s an art to make your clients believe that they will have a real bargain and value for their money.

Dreams

We even talked a little bit about our IT dreams with Katherine Lazarevich and Maxim Dorofeev.

Takeaways:

  • Let’s make our IT world uncluttered, vote for Green IT peace!
  • Do not reinvent the bicycle, be honest with your clients, when they ask for another “excel with an extra pair of arms”;
  • Eliminate information-for-responsibility exchange chains with a row of god-knows-what-they-are-here-for delegates;
  • Be passionate about what you do, because this attitude is contagious and makes you stand out in the crowd when you try to win a project;
  • Research the niche of your client since in-depth domain knowledge adds your company extra value in the eyes of your clients;
  • Differentiate your client personas and work out custom selling techniques that meet the specific pains of your clients’ profile;
  • Use technical knowledge at presell stages if you can;
  • Don’t be afraid to be different and invent your own approach to appeal to your clients.
  • Small is beautiful :-)

IT Spring 2013 is said to be about money in IT. Honestly, it can be well pronouned to be about Smart IT.

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