Making it in Madeira

Living outside of the big cities or big technology/financial hubs sometimes is the synonym of being left out of everything whats going on and being far away of many opportunities for your own professional development. On these places the ecosystem is vibrant with lots of events and meetups, either focused on networking or to share knowledge about a given topic.

Unfortunately for those leaving far away of these centers, even though remote working is more prevalent nowadays, we still are not able to attend and be part of these things regularly.

That is why I see with great pleasure the recent grow in this kind of activity in Funchal. Institutions like the University of Madeira, Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute, Startup Madeira and some other people, have been organizing recently several of this events and promoting an entrepreneurial mindset and a culture of innovation. This might turn the city’s ecosystem more dynamic and help exploring new and open opportunities, specially related with technology and the digital economy, in an island that is somewhat dependent on tourism.

As an example in the last few weeks, we’ve had a informal business networking event called “Afterwork” which as been happening  with some regularity, we had some talks in several fields given by experts in M-ITI open to the public and we also had a workshop of “marketing for startups” given by Felipe Ávila Da Costa from Infraspeak (previously UPTEC).

Of course this should be just the staring of a long walk, but is good to see some movement in this area. Because I see much potential in other areas, that are not tied to location or raw materials, to be developed and “shipped”  to the rest of the world from Madeira, we just have to change to a doing mindset and explore the existing global opportunities while living here.

Foto by Tiago Aguiar (

And lets get real, who doesn’t prefer to work and live in a beautiful island with great weather all year round, instead of endure crazy cold winters and burning hot summers?

Also, have I already talked about the great co-working spaces we have here? Perhaps I will do it in a future post.

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Tribes and Startups

Yesterday I’ve read a very interesting post, on the blog “onStartups“, about the different roles you can find in a tribe and how that structure can be compared to today’s startups.

For me the great value of article, is the explanation about how different people with different skills and backgrounds, are actually quite important to achieve your company’s goals, and none of them is more important than the other.

They elaborated one video summarizing the key points (you can find it bellow), that is a good introduction to the rest of the content.

Here you can find the whole article.

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“Client” the specie who rules the earth

One thing that i always heard about and read through the Internet, was that dealing with some customers isn’t an easy task. I don’t have much experience in that matter but slowly I’m starting to believe in that. Recently I took some time to read a bunch of quotes from the blog “Clients from hell” and I have to say that some of the stuff we can find there are hilarious.

Below you can find the selection I made from this Christmas season:

Client: Can you just get rid of this here?

Me: The Lorum Ipsum?

Client: Yeah, just fill it with dummy text that doesn’t mean anything.

Good idea!

Client: Hey, I need to make sure my name, email address and phone number are up on our contact page.

Me: I’m not at a computer right now, can you click on the contact page?

Client: (click…click) Ah, there it is.  Thanks!

It wasn’t there, i swear!

“We need an illustrator with a medical or veterinarian background. We’re expecting a lot of responses, so make sure to give as low a quote as possible!”

yeah, people with that set of skills are everywhere!

A client asked me to book some hotel rooms.

Me: Do you want a room with one bed or two beds?

Client: What’s the difference?

You’re right, none!

And now to conclude, one video that says it all:

Old Posts

Coimbra on the move

These are difficult times for every student in Portugal, the amount of jobs available, for those who are finishing their studies in the next few years, is limited and in some areas rare is the appropriate word. So most of the graduating students already are looking for opportunities, not in our country but in many others around the world.

This article has one simple objective, that is show other vision and attitude. What I am about to say, you are probably sick of hearing or reading trough the Internet, Television or even on those boring talks about how great entrepreneurship is, but I simply have to share what I’ve been seeing in this student oriented city called Coimbra.

Some days ago, I and some colleagues of mine, managed to organize a little Hackathon called “Exception Handled”,  and we were surprised with the quality of the ideas and prototypes, that the few teams present at the event were able to do in just 48h. So I’ve been wondering why I don’t see in this city that “startup fever” that lots of other places in other countries have (or at least is what I read all over the Internet).

Students with ideas and will to create something new , groups of specialized people that are in the ground giving advice and support to the “creators” like GAPI 2.0 and nothing more and nothing less than the best technology based incubator in the world, are things that you can find in this city and a little bit all around the country.

So what is missing? In my own opinion, is just that spark that starts an engine and puts the machine on the move. This little spark is about making the students realize that they can do it. Yes, start a company isn’t for everybody but we have to make sure that the ones that have what it takes, find out that they are able to do it.

Is in this context that events like “Startup Weekend“, “Ineo Weekend” or even some hackathons (this one is more focused for tech students) have a great role, because, there people learn about the steps to create a successful company, students try it themselves without the commitment or the risk of actually starting a company, they have the help of more experienced people and can have the taste of  the excitement produced by the creation of something brand new, that came from their ideas.

Luckily this kind of events are becoming more and more frequent, every year I see new ones and for me that is a really good sign because if they are coming back is because people are signing for them.

For example in the beginning of the next year,a team inside jeKnowledge has already scheduled the first “3 Day Startupin Portugal and it will realized in Coimbra. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, you can find more information at their website. The already interested students can apply here. Just to show the output from the last editions of this event, below you can find a quote from 3DS website:

12 events in the US and Europe have given rise to 14 companies receiving $4 million in funding. 7 companies from 3DS have been accepted to accelerators such as Y Combinator, 500 Startups, and Dreamit Ventures.

The signups for the interview will stay open until the first day of 2012 (less than 1 month).
I’m sure it will be a great event and lets hope that the accepted participants, are able to add one more company to the “3 Day Startup” statistics. The country needs it!

Old Posts

“Now I Know”

The Internet is full of contents about entrepreneurship like blog articles, ebooks, interviews, videos, podcasts etc. But the vast majority of that content is usually long and boring, most of the time i can’t consume it to the end or i don’t even watch because of its length.

There are for sure quality content around the web, that needs time to send the message and i don’t mind to spend 1/2 hours of my day to learn something worthwhile. However in the common case the essential message of that content doest’t need more than 2/3 minutes to make the consumer understand the message.

Answering this question, and while we wait for “The Startup Kids” (that promises to be a great documentary), there is a new video series called “Now I Know” made by Sprinkle Lab, that i discovered trough Techcrunch, that solves this issue. With 1/2 minutes videos and one message at a time, they share the lessons learned, told in person, by well known people in the technology area.

I already watched all the available videos simply because they leave you wanting to know the next tip. Just take a look at the following example:

Old Posts

Coimbra Startup Weekend: to go or not to go?


It seems to be a nice event and a well spent weekend with lots of things to be learned.

I don’t know if i’m the kind of participant they are hoping for or even if i’m ready, but nevertheless i’ll stay tunned for more information.