Working on a startup teaches you a lot of things. Actually it might be the most powerful experience one can get into learning how to make something from nothing and overcome difficulties and conquer challenges.
An effective approach we developed towards design at iCartApp is to challenge every single design decision we take and create ways to test those decisions. Brainstorming, random app testing, focus groups, split testing are some of the ways we challenge our own approaches to a UI or UX decision.
We think of ourselves as providers and supporters as opposed to know-all entrepreneurs. We’re working on creating something remarkable and then let our users decide how it should behave and feel. Stay tuned!
Just a short review of the amazing things I had the opportunity to do in 2009.
First of all thanks for everyone that’s been around. It’s next to impossible to make anything worthy on your own so everyone that sees a connection to things on the following list should know that I am very grateful.
- Started year with some rather important foreign clients for management consulting and local business representation. High-level meetings with local IT&C people took place. Great way to start the year.
- Been attending regularly the weekly OpenCoffee Bucharest meetings. There’s a bunch of great people meeting there every week discussing all kinds of geeky topics.
- On the management consulting front things were really intense. Got three active clients plus a couple more on queue.
- Finally gave up hosting my websites on GoDaddy after a dozen major issues and hundreds of support emails. Moved everything to HostGator to a much better level of service & support. Kind of important decision when you receive tens of thousands of daily hits spread across tens of websites.
- Romanian economy has really slowed down at this point. Getting any deal done is next to impossible as companies lost any expansion appetite while struggling to survive. Major local IT companies become extinct. Things are not looking too good.
- Co-founded TwiMarket.com, a startup meant to become the place for classifieds on social networks.
- Start blogging at Mafteianu.com. Still on of my better decisions regarding personal branding. It’s great to have a place to post your ideas and thoughts. Find it rather interesting that I owned a blogging network for about 5 years but did not start a personal blog for myself in the meantime. Think urgent vs important.
- The need for external aid got me to buy an iRobot Roomba. Things became really busy for me at this point so any help was highly welcome…
- Start discussing the selling of some of the more important news blogs from BloggerWork. One month later I stopped worrying about traffic spikes, keyword density and daily articles as a deal is reached and the blogs get sold.
- Pitch TwiMarket.com at some local events to warm up for the event to come. Also we get featured in a local startup news website among other Internet buzz.
- Started the eWiki.ro project meant at becoming the ‘Online Wiki of the Romanian Internet Market‘. It has got some traction from the community and got some cool projects and people featured there.
- Started discussing about getting seed funding for TwiMarket.com though some connections obtained from the participation at Seedcamp. Happily the deals felt through.
- Upgraded from the original iPhone to the new 3G one. Gave up the Blackberry soon after as I got tired of carrying three cellphones with me everywhere.
- Start attending Startup School at the recommendation of a Seedcamp advisor. Soon afterwards I accept the invitation to become their Romanian ambassador as I was amazed at the number of great entrepreneurs they managed to bring to the community.
- Consider starting a local (mostly) online lead generation business. Test the concept with some people but do not find the right partner and delay starting this business indefinitely.
- Organize OpenGrill #2, a road trip to the ‘best road in the world‘ attended by some of the best Romanian entrepreneurs.
- Start an IT hardware/services business. I’ve been reminded this way of the joys of the Romanian employee and what great culture inheritance we got from the communist regime regarding how employees see work and deliver results. There used to be an communist blue-collar worker saying ‘We pretend to work and they pretend to pay up”. Go figure…
- Become a co-founder in iCartApp.com. The desired outcome of this project is to create an easy entry point for anyone wanting to extend their ecommerce store to the new mobile commerce market. Along with a very focused development team project lead by a visionary co-founder we manage to get a private beta in just one month.
- I turn 22 years old. Feel really old as something is now fundamentally changed. I am not longer the youngest guy in the room at every meeting.
- Graduate from Dragos Roua‘s mentorship program of. Been reminded that doing things your way it part of what makes doing business great.
- Visited Budapest and Vienna. Both are really beautiful cities.
- Start thinking more seriously of starting an iPhone apps development business as augmented reality gets more and more hype.
- Request one of those new biometric passports as they are required to travel to the place where Silicon Valley is located.
Disclaimer: The list is not meant to be complete, but rather on overview of why I think this year was great for me and what I learnt from it.
Happy to announce today we entered the closed beta state with iCartApp.com, a mobile shop platform. What it essentially does is to enable shop owners to have a mobile store in just a couple of minutes and offer the very best experience in shopping from a mobile device.
Taking into account the recents growth stats for the iPhone and iPod touch we decided to support the iPhone OS as the first platform. iCartApp.com creates an online store accessible from the mobile browser and offers a seamless shopping experience, a major improvement compared to the standard web shop, with many design elements familiar to iPhone users.
Read more info about the project on its eWiki.ro page and request your private beta invite on the iCartApp.com mobile shopping cart platform homepage.