London Startup Talks #2: How to become a Bot Builder

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Hey everyone!

It’s been quite a long time since my first ever London Startup Talk with the founder of Social Belly, and that happened for a couple of reasons: I’ve been experimenting a lot with my blog and I’ve decided to reserve this space to introduce amazing women entrepreneurs in tech.

Why the London Startup Talks Series?

During this year of blogging and consultancy for startups, I realised that, even if women are engaged in amazing projects, they’re less exposed than men and that’s not fair. We’re working twice as much, why can’t we have the same treatment? We’re always involved in diversity and equality topics or easily involved in the fashion industry or blogging contests, but why can’t we just talk about tech or engineering? Is it that strange asking a woman about her love for tech?
As I’m in love with tech, I’ve decided to interview the most amazing women I know and not only because we share the same love, but also to give them exposure and highlight what they do.
And of course to give you a bit of insight of what I feel about tech. ūüôā

So, a few months ago I went to a Chatbot Meetup and together with the amazing organiser Kriti Sharma (recently featured on BBC for Ada Lovelace Day) I met with Anindita from Gupshup, a Bot Builder Platform, and Susana Duran, Director of Mobile Development at Sage.
I was curious to hear from them, learning about their experience, concerns and ideas about Bots and the next technologies, that’s why I decided to ask them a few questions.
And today I’m very happy to share this interview with all of you!

The interview with Anindita and Susana

1) When did you understand you wanted to be in tech?

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Pic by Ian Schneider

Anindita: It was a natural progression. I always wanted to do something that would help people interact. Communicate better and faster. Technology is evolving so rapidly that every day is a new with a million promises.

Susana: My parents bought me my first computer when I was 10 years old and that was a long time ago. I liked it and I took some programming lessons by that time although it wasn’t very usual. Time went by and I started my Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science and after that a master degree.

2) Did someone help you achieving it? If yes, how big was his/her contribution?

Anindita: My mentor, boss and guide, the CEO of Gupshup.io. Mr. Beerud Sheth. He changed my perspective. Sometimes it is important to be futuristic yet elegantly simple.

Susana: My parents. Although they would have preferred other traditional careers, they provided all the support I needed since I was very young.

3) Why do you think Bots are the next big thing in tech?

Anindita: It is a once in a decade paradigm shift. It is similar to the web or the app wave. It will change the way people use technology to communicate. It will be a bigger and more powerful medium than anything we have seen before.

Susana: Mobile is the future and immediate and quick actions are the key. Mobile apps are also trying to follow the trail of bots with solutions like Google with Android Instant Apps but now bots provide the best and most complete solution for any platform.

Bots represent a once-in-a-decade paradigm shift. It is similar to the web or the app wave. It will change the way people use technology to communicate. It will be a bigger and more powerful medium than anything we have seen before.

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Pic by Fabian Irsara

4) Do you think there are more or fewer obstacles being Women in Tech?

Anindita: Depends. I think technology is a great leveller. It does not look at gender. It looks at innovation, usability and reach. If you have the grit and willingness to change and adapt to new things and to serve people, there is no stopping you.

Susana: Although everybody says there is no difference, women need to demonstrate more than men and by default are considered less valid for tech issues.

5) How do you think we can improve a more gender equality in STEM?

Anindita: Ability, humility and hard work. The world is changing. Gender biases will have to go away if there is talent.

Susana: Family is still a matter that is considered a woman duty, as well as all tech stuff is a man thing. Equality will be achieved when both things can be imagined for anyone.

6) Who’s inspiring you?

Anindita: My mentor, boss and guide, the CEO of Gupshup.io. Mr. Beerud Sheth

Susana:  There are lots of entrepreneurs and people who deserve being our inspiration but my inspiration mainly comes from my own overcoming instinct and my willing of continuous evolution. My family give me their support and even when I am frustrated and I think that this is too much they are always there to hug me and make me smile again.

Family is still a matter that is considered a woman duty, as well as all tech stuff is a man thing. Equality will be achieved when both things can be imagined for anyone.

7) The best advice to give to an 18-years old girl looking to find/build her future path

Anindita
:  it is important to be focused, but it is equally important to have fun. Great ideas come from a free mind. Changing these ideas to reality come with a disciplined self. All the best!

Susana: Do what will make you happy as you will probably spend the most part of your time and life on it. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s not going to be easy just try it.

 

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Conclusion

..and now we need to follow their advice, girls: do what makes you happy and remember to step outside your comfort zone! And if you feeling stupid, just do it anyway, it won’t be that stupid if it’s really what you want to do!

How are you feeling, girls?
Say hello on Twitter!

How are you feeling boys?
Does it sound like a bunch of stupid words? Read why we need your help

Why a mobile responsive website is not enough

Last time I’ve been to Italy, I took the chance to meet some colleagues and share our experience about working in web marketing and startups.
It was great seeing that things are really improving in my home country, even if approaches, money involved and business relationships are really different..

So, today I really like to talk about the different approach of providing a native app and a mobile optimized website. Because it’s a completely different approach.
Being mobile is really important: Mobile devices, accessed both via mobile sites and mobile apps, have become a key source of information, utility and point of contact between users and brands across industries. Today, a staggering 86% of all time spent on mobile devices happens in apps.

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So, when I was in Italy, I had a few conversations with people, saying that “their mobile optimized website was not really different from developing a native app”.
Do you know why you should developing a native app?

  • Users behaviour. Users like apps, it‚Äôs more engaging and immediate.An app allows for 1-to-1 contact with a user. Options that include signin, tailored content and personalisation feel more directly tailored to an individual user, whereas mobile web often feels tailored to an entire audience. You can try to tell people that a mobile responsive website will deliver the same experience, but you know that‚Äôs not true. Even the shittiest app will give your customers a deeper experience browsing your product/service compared to a website.
  • Push notifications. You can drive your users to buy, engage and surf products you want thanks to push notifications. Well, be careful and not abuse it but for some products it does really make a difference.
  • Deliver a unique brand experience. The majority of websites have more or less the same structure, meaning the UX, technology and design are not really different. How do you deliver a unique experience? Through apps, brands can connect with users where they spend the majority of their time, making it crucial to provide an engaging and high-performing mobile app experience.

Are you still undecided on whether you should go with a native app? Have a look at this infographic and let me know your feedback writing a comment below!

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L’ultima volta che sono stata in Italia, mi sono presa un po’ di tempo per andare a trovare un po’ di amici e conoscenti qua e la’ ed √®¬†sempre bello passare in quel di Rovigo a trovare gli amici di Marketing Arena.
Con alcuni di loro sono nate anche delle piacevoli discussioni in ambito web marketing, e da li’ nasce questo post.
Perch√® avere un’app o un sito mobile responsive non¬†√® la stessa cosa. Sapete che quando avete il vostro telefono tra le mani, l’86% del tempo lo passate interagendo con le app?

 

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Ecco perchè un sito mobile responsive potrebbe non bastarvi:

  • Comportamento: le app piacciono, sono pi√ļ immediate ed engaging. Con un app potete sviluppare un contatto diretto con un utente, poich√® potete sviluppare contenuti tailorizzati e personalizzati per l’individuo, mentre con un sito dovete necessariamente rivolgervi ad un pubblico pi√ļ generale. Potete tentare di convincere che con il vostro sito mobile responsive, i vostri utenti vivranno lo stesso tipo di esperienza, ma sapete benissimo che non √®¬†cos√¨.
  • Push notifications. Attraverso le notifiche in-app potete spingere i vostri clienti ad acquistare, cliccare e visualizzare prodotti particolari. Non abusatene per√≤! Per alcuni prodotti e business fa veramente la differenza.
  • Sviluppate una esperienza di brand unica. La maggior parte dei siti web hanno pi√Ļ¬†o meno la stessa struttura, nel senso che tutti utilizzano la migliore tecnologia, UI e design disponibili. Questo significa che chi arriva nel vostro sito non accede ad un’esperienza unica nel suo genere. Questo tipo di esperienza di brand potete fornirla attraverso le app, dove fra l’altro gli utenti preferiscono passare la maggior parte del loro tempo.

Siete ancora convinti che avere un’app o un sito mobile responsive sia circa la stessa cosa?
Date un’occhiata a questa infografica se siete ancora confusi nel percorso da intraprendere e fatemi sapere che cosa ne pensate!

 

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What’s the future of online payments?

Boring. I think it’s what you have¬†thought after reading¬†the title. But, keep¬†reading, I think you’re wrong.
In this article,¬†I’ll talk about an e-commerce startup, a Geek GIRLS event and current payment tools China.
I told you, I hate being boring. ūüėÄ

So, how to make your e-commerce successful? Thanks to my experience at Moorbi, I can tell you should focus on 3 main things:

  • Branding strategy: make sure you have a determined value proposition and a branding strategy, to picture your company on customers mind.¬†You need to be reliable and distinguished yourself from the mass!
  • Customize people’s¬†experience: it’s all about analytics and target audience. You have to reach an audience, create particular offers and help your customers to come back and then buy again. So, forget about social media and paid campaigns and focus on your website before!
  • Online Payments: this is the most delicate part of the journey so expect a lot of drop-offs if: ¬†the whole experience is not integrated¬†with the rest of the website. And don’t forget about people’s payment habits.

And here my post: how do you know what people’s payments habits are? Well, this is quite tricky, especially because: 1) it really depends on our culture, sensations, ecc… 2) everyday there are new payment solutions.

So, last week I’ve been to a meetup organised by Geek Girls to learn more about it!

All Saints’ and Badoo people were awesome giving us a lot of tips and suggestions to improve the customers experience when it’s related to online payments.

For example I did learn that adding a new payment option, for example Paypal or Amazon payments¬†to your e-commerce website could terrifically increase your conversion rate (a 34% rise)! In fact, as I was saying before, customers behaviour depends a lot on habits so if people see their favourite payment option, it will be easier for them¬†buying your items. Also, comparing a few options¬†you’ll find out that the time it takes to make a purchase is really making a difference [thanks to¬†Christiane Binder for these great insights!]

Also, if you’re serving a global market, you should understand that the performances and habits are really different: there are countries where mobile payments are not a trustworthy method. ¬†In fact, even if mobile platform revenues have overtaken the Web, but payouts and flows are still very poor.

Finally, to have a better idea of how the culture has an huge impact on this topic we digitally went to China to learn more about payment methods there. And well, Monica Chien‘s speech¬†was very impressive!
Do you know that before making business in China you should became friends and people are easily adding you on Wechat?
So, people using online payments are 20yrs old, they’re using 3rd parties features for personal financing planning reasons (P&L accessible anytime). Also, they mainly used online payments to send money to their parents in the countryside.

Payments gateways are mainly driven by 3 key players: Alipay, Tenpay and 3rd parties tools.

Finally..what’s the future of online payments? Well, for sure integrating those tools within a B2b environment, for example using Alipay to pay salaries. Are we so far away from this scenario?
Or, how about selfies? Nope, I’m not getting crazy, don’t you think that¬†facial recognition could be an interesting option to reduce¬†fraud losses?¬†Check out¬†this article and let me know what you think!

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