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Swedcamp '08

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Our good friends at Swede recently hosted workshops with each of the Seedcamp 7 companies to discuss brand, user experience and design, Swede’s specialities. The teams found it very useful indeed.

For those too busy to read the whole post, here were our key takeaways:

  1. Balance of speed and introspectionStartups are under constant pressure to move fast and show step change in progress all in a short time. It’s critical, especially at the early stage to take a step back and go back to what problems are we trying to solve and what users needs are 

  2. Let others in – I think all the teams learned to bring others into their small nucleus and use that fresh insight to really develop their offering and products. It’s hard to let go but important to learn how to as you grow 

  3. Guidance versus direction – There is an art itself to taking feedback and applying it. We see real growth and maturity in the way the teams participated in the sessions, took in feedback, and retained ownership rather than letting others direct their business and products  

    For more, here were the insights gleaned by the teams in their own words.

    “Swede have an excellent way of merging creativity with business logic. They walked us through the creation of a high level visual representation of the market prior to BaseKit – helping us to understand the key problems and pains that need to be addressed. We then projected an ideal solution forward into the future, creating a visual of a new better market with BaseKit as a central point. Swede helped us to see our business from refreshing angles, have helped us to gain a deeper understanding of our customers – and have helped us start to shape our ideas regarding the delivery of an exceptional user experience. Thank you Swede!”

    Richard Best, CEO BaseKit 

    “It is said that about entrepreneurs that they are so focused on their daily startup work that they can no longer see the forest from the leafs. It was our case and I think the case of every web entrepreneur out there. What Swede managed to do so elegantly was to help us extract all the things we knew about our business, mix them with our goals and aspirations and sketch a clear path for our company and us as entrepreneurs. Don’t think of them as consultants as they will not push ideas at you, but as trainers who will help you crystallize what you already knew and felt. Working with them was extremely rewarding for us, useful and fun.”

    Vladimir Oane, CEO uberVU  

    “You rarely get the chance to go into this much depth about your product with someone not immediately involved in it — such a several-hour mentoring session is immensely useful, and I’d recommend it to anyone starting a business. It’s not that *they* necessarily give you new ideas, but they make you re-examine your own assumptions by putting them up on a big board, which can lead to all kinds of insights.”

    Chris Clay, CEO Soup.io 

    Swede also wrote a summary post stuffed with useful start-up advice on brand, user experience and design. Good stuff.

    Thanks to Swede for hosting the workshops, Scottish Equity Partners and Eden Ventures for letting us use their offices.

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