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

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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Create a top Email strategy: Digital Marketing [challenge] Meetup

I don’t know if you use Meetup, but I love it! Here in London if you don’t know what to do, you’d like to do something but you don’t really know how..well there’s Meetup, where you can probably find wherever you want.

From language practice courses, to gigs, show cases and learning workshops! Well, it’s also a great way to meet other people with common interests.
So, I was saying, if you’d like to learn something, meetups are great and..free (most of them)!
Of course it’s not like attending¬†a course, you won’t find¬†proper lectures, but if you want to ¬†hear more about particular topics, go for it!

So, this week I¬†went¬†to a¬†Digital Marketing Challenge Meetup¬†about E-mail marketing. Even if I already know how to set up an E-mail campaign¬†strategy, I think¬†it’s always great teaming up with people sharing different¬†points of view and create something from scratch: you always learn something new.Digital-Challenge-Meetup

So that’s what I did. The evening was¬†great, organised by the¬†brilliant guys from Outreach Digital and sponsored by Mailjet.
There were two business studies: a music content platform and a chat support platform. I teamed up with some guys and we start working on the music one. We had several ideas, the most successful one was to create a challenge/game email campaign to outline our audience and then: analytics & further segmentation depending on the CTR and content people were interested in.

Of course I learnt a lot, especially in terms of team building. ¬†For example in London team work is slightly different: compared to Italy, people are really polite when working in a team and they never tell someone when an ideas is not really good. Also, everyone is participating to the discussion, even if they have no experience at all. And I think it’s great, even if talking about Facebook targeting is not really related to Email campaigns! ūüėÄ
I think team working is amazing, especially when there’s a mix of culture and multiple experiences.

So, how could you create a top E-mail strategy?

  • Think Responsive
  • Keep it simple
  • Call to action: one is enough
  • Keep it simple, especially if you’re a designer/developer
  • Test, Test, Test
  • Content is King
  • Big Data is real: A/B Testing, Tinyclues, Kickdynamic
  • Presume no rules, learn from your customers

Ah..and we didn’t win, but we had a lot of fun! ūüėÄ