Lessons for building a solid startup

Building a startup is not easy. Keeping it alive even less. From the moment an entrepreneur makes the decision to start a business, it is crucial that they follow the right steps in order not to waste a commendable initial effort. In this post, I want to point out six important things about building a startup:


Pitching a business does not come naturally. In the context of the bootcamp, a startup has to convey what their business is about but also convince someone to vote for them or simply agree it’s a great idea. And that is within five minutes or less and an ever-changing panel of judges. You must be able state the problem you are solving in a sentence, and how you are going to make money with your solution within a few more. It’s a good skill for convincing almost anyone of anything!

Having a solid team

We welcomed some single founders and some teams. While we do recommend having a mix of skills (hence a team), what matters and helped individuals and teams over the weekend was the ability to not lose their nerves, to be able to change their game quickly and to keep their focus.

Networking and interacting

Getting into the startup game is not only about business but also about connections. You will – and must – meet all kinds of people. These are people that could be your next co-founder, or investors or just the random person who will see the glitch in your rocket ship idea.

Things happen when you turn up and participate. And you never know just what that might be.

Overcoming crisis

Our bootcamp is both a competition and a learning experience. In both cases, the feedback will be honest, aiming to help but also, sometimes brutal.

If you have truly done the background work, and taken your idea through some good validation processes then take it with a pinch of salt. Otherwise, do not despair and take feedback for what it is too, advice from smart people and fellow entrepreneurs.

Crisis of confidence are one of the most common reasons businesses fail. Do not doubt yourself, make it happen!

Tech is not everything

People, entrepreneurs or not, often need a reminder that technology does not make a product. A need in a sizeable market may. And potential customers in that niche who would be ready to pay for your product will. Success on the market comes from relieving a (real) pain point, that many people have, with a solution that, also, makes good financial sense.

Experience has value

Experience is another pitfall of startups. There is also a reason why 40+ is the age of the most successful startup founders… experience (and networks). We try to bring a mix of experience to startups taking part in the bootcamp as well as highly-skilled enthusiasm in order to add value all along.

Server room

Web Application Security Tips

Your website may be fortified against hackers and other security threats, but even the strongest walls have vulnerabilities that can be exploited by those with the knowledge and motivation to break into them. That’s why it’s crucial for businesses to understand the threats that exist for web applications and some of the most vital techniques and tips for fighting them. This is especially critical for smaller businesses, which may not have the time to think about protecting their web applications from attacks. Because a cyberattack can be devastating for any business, web application security should be at the top of every company’s priority list.

There are numerous ways hackers and other types of cybercriminals can exploit weaknesses in web applications. These cyberattacks can include denial of service, which puts a web application out of commission; exfiltration, which involves the loss of customers’ sensitive information; or code injection, which can lead to a hacker gaining complete control over an application. In every situation, these types of cyberattacks can lead to serious consequences for a small business, including but not limited to lost business and lost trust from customers. Small businesses that want to avoid these catastrophic situations must understand the threats and how to combat them.

For example, an insecure direct object reference attack involves an authorized user changing a parameter value to access a resource he or she should not have been able to access. Malicious users can exploit this type of attack to steal or abuse data and functionality that they should not have been permitted to use. Protecting your small business from these types of attacks can involve using drop-down menus to limit users to a list of authorized resources. Because, it eliminates the possibility of users changing parameter values. This can be highly effective in preventing this particular type of attack.

The following guide contains information about many of the most common types of web application attacks and how small businesses can guard themselves against them. Follow this advice, and you can better ensure that the walls around your website will be as strong as possible.

Web Application Security Tips from tCell

Author bio: Boris Chen is Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of tCell. He has more than 20 years of industry experience building high-performance web infrastructure and data technology. Before co-founding tCell, Chen spent five years at Splunk as VP of Engineering, from startup through IPO, where he helped drive Splunk’s petabyte-scale deployments and integration with Hadoop. Prior to joining Splunk, Chen was Director of Engineering at LucidEra, an early “Business Intelligence as a Service” innovator. At BEA Systems, where he was part of the original WebLogic acquisition, he led engineering teams working on the JRockit Java Virtual Machine, EAI and message bus products. Chen holds a B.S. in EECS from the University of California, Berkeley.  


(from Sam) P.S: This is a guest post, courtesy of tCell. “Guest” is not “Sponsored” and while the content is theirs, I selected and approved it as it covers a topic offering added value to businesses. As such, I want to thank them for giving me the opportunity to feature this guest post here.

Capture of a Google search about battery dying

Battery dying fast iPhone… Enters Huawei

Let’s talk smartphones, battery life and Huawei Mate 10. I actually started this post thinking that I would just make the most of a recent post I send to the interwebs sea in a social media bottle. However, since the SEO Gods and Google may night really like the fact that I would copy-paste not only the content but also the title, I set out on a – launch Google, type search – journey to find the perfect title for this post.

The topic of this article ? Smartphone batteries. The problem? Dying. The search? “Battery dying”. The results? To be seen in the headline picture and title 😉

Enters Huawei. You know? That technology company powering the telecommunications networks on a worldwide scale, that company that started selling phones and consumer technology at scale only a few years ago and is now holding a strong 3rd place, worldwide, when it comes to selling smartphones. And has its sights set not only on Apple, the number 2, but also the top spot still (miraculously?) held by Samsung.

Beyond the trade war bullshit (pardon my French) of the USA currently on a “China is spying” rampage that not any other civilised country is backing, Huawei are thriving and just recently launched the Huawei P20 and P20 Pro which are proving next level when it comes to smartphone quality, UX and camera quality.

Babbling aside, this piece aims at, simply, publishing an infographic these guys recently put together for the lazy me, featuring the outcomes and results of my trying out their battery challenge. In a few words, try to drain your smartphone’s battery, if you can!

Bummer, I failed. Success, I worked for 16 hours on my phone without a charge nor the need for one.

Enough talk now – Shut up, would ya! – let the figures do the talking. Feast your eyes on the experience and quality of the battery on the Huawei Mate 10:

Infographic Samuel Pavin data on Huawei Mate 10 battery challenge


bunch of wrapped chocolate eggs

Life is like a box of (sour) chocolates…

Life is like a box of chocolates… . Yes, this is a rant on the direction humanity seems to be taking; helped or not by the evolution of technology and embodied in current behaviours and acts like these of Cambridge Analytica and Facebook.

Life eh! And so is a good ol’ commute. Testament to the plunging IQ of the worlwide population and our newfound concerns for privacy in a day and age when people post their nudes online for all to enjoy, nothing embodies all these faces more than a good old commute. Take just a random day, place and train – or other transportation.

As manners and good habits would call for, each and every person would expect to sit tight, plug in the headphones and enjoy a (sometimes lengthy) travel. whether working, reading, playing a stupid mobile game or enjoying some social media time.

These days, however, such behaviours has gone down the gutter.

Take my commute of the day.

Life of dumb

In a fairly old and dying train coach, probably older than I am (and sadly the actual best fitted type available for any form of semi-comfortable and productive travel), I find myself surrounded by the stereo sound of phone conversations. That is despite headphones and music on (to a level of sound remaining decent but non-lethal to my hears).

Of course you, common humans, value your privacy, personal space, peace and quiet. Yet, taking a long, long, long call, on a packed train, to tell the tales of your preferred passion fruit, your lost keys upstairs and every (fucking!) bit of your life, public and private alike seems like no problem at all.

Bear in mind, while you are whining about Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and all these big bad networks spying on you that, not only are you telling it all to about a dozen of strangers (at least) and that, instead of just typing my thoughts I could have been writing the transcripts of your conversation.

When dumb goes dumber

The story does not end though. Humanity seems to have a way with getting from bad to worse (and worst?). Let’s kick it up one notch with two guys arguing about how they are not getting consideration enough for their work, that this is BS and so on! In the next coach, through the closed door, on a decibel level that turns heads even from our heavy phone talkers.

Now, said phone sucker, not noticing their own noise would still notice and complain about the noise these guys are making, visibly disturbing her own phone conversation. How not to point out the irony of the situation when every other normal person in a large, large radius has been enjoying the ever-annoying noise of a screaming contest in closed space.

Are humans even still able to learn?

We are living in interesting and scary times. While humanity could now benefit from tools, knowledge and freedom to create an amazing world, every piece of data out there points towards civilisation crumbling. People’s intelligence (IQ) keeps decreasing, cultural awareness, in an age of easy and cheap worlwide travel is becoming inexistent, environmental crisis are gearing up to be the new norm and WW3 seems to be only a matter of months away.

And while information are everywhere to be found, culture and real knowledge seem to be disappearing. Replaced by bite-sized, easily-consumed and rarely trustworthy content. As content creators, we bear a part of responsibility here, at least in ensuring not to partake in the race to the bottom for the sake of a one-time gratification of likes… .

As a society, it does seem, though, that most have relinquished intelligence and adopted the easy life of not making efforts anymore.

When did greater knowledge availability come to mean less responsibility?

Marketing Tactics That Aren’t Really Outdated

It is no exaggeration to say that the Internet changed marketing forever. Thanks to the wealth of information provided by analytics it is now easier than ever to generate targeted adverts supplied by AI predictions. However, this is not to say that the older methods of marketing and advertising have no place or value. If anything, these older techniques are being overlooked when they are still incredibly efficient.

Word of Mouth

These days, companies rely on data, AI and other technology like eVoice virtual numbers for a whole range of aspects of their marketing strategy. Arguably, the old methods are still the most effective. Some still think that word of mouth is the most essential marketing tactic of them all. All the online marketing with targeted videos featuring the audience’s favourite celebrities does not hold any weight against the heartfelt recommendation of a friend or close family member. It is not necessary for people to be talking about a product. If the topic of conversation is how admirable a company is then that all but guarantees a sale in the future.

Alternatively, there is a power to overhearing somebody else talking about a product or a service. Even if the listener does not know the speaker, the very fact that someone else thinks something is worth talking about will draw the listener’s attention and will cause them to be on the lookout for that thing shortly.


Flyers are more than a piece of paper with some details. As a way of conveying information, they are little different from posters or billboards. Where they stand out is in the human element. Since it must be somebody’s job to hand out the fliers that person has the opportunity to engage with potential customers. That person will be far more effective in selling something that the information contained on the flyer alone. Its role is to later serve as a reminder to the customer and direct them in how they can get access to whatever it is they have been sold.

Of course, the success of this tactic comes down to the quality of the person doing the handing out. If they are being handed up by somebody who merely stands mute, then they may as well be a poster or some other static method. Charisma is everything.


Some things simply have to be in action. A demonstration has many of the same strengths as someone handing out flyers. It gives a representative the chance to engage with the audience and lets their charisma do a lot of the work in selling.

However, demonstrations go one step further. They do not assert claims about the product and ask the audience to take it on faith; they also prove it. This is particularly useful for products that the audience can try for themselves. They may find that they enjoy using whatever it is on display. People who are having fun are far more likely to make a purchase right then and there. If they have to go home first, then they may rethink their decision to buy, or an unrelated experience may put them off by souring their mood. Demonstrations grant the ability to provide a positive experience in the way that no other form of marketing can.

By no means do we suggest only using these older methods to market your business. However, you should overlook them just because new channels are available to you. Take your time to trial different tactics and see what brings the best ROI, you might be surprised.


This is a guest post for which I thank Ellie, the author. Ellie Saunders is a young mother who is passionate about digital businesses. She is currently enjoying her marketing role at eVoice, a place where businesses can get virtual and toll free numbers.