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How to make the most of your time at Web Summit

Web Summit

Photo cred: Web Summit blog

Tens of thousands of attendees. Hundreds of speakers. Too many sessions to count. How do you make sure you benefit from the Web Summit, and don’t get overwhelmed?

Here are our 6 tips for a good time at Web Summit.

WebSummit Tips1. Use the app.

Yes, the Web Summit app is a mighty piece of software that will help you get around. By favoriting the sessions that seem interesting on the schedule, you create a new part of the app: “My Schedule”.

This helps make sure you don’t miss any of the sessions you wanted to see and will also help you see when you can take the much-needed coffee, refreshments and bathroom breaks.

2. Talk to people.

If you feel like the app recommendations are just not doing it for you, ask your colleagues, friends, people you meet at your hotel, at the pub, in the lines everywhere,

“What session are you most excited for?”

fleep_illustration_02Everyone has a session or two they have stumbled upon that they will not miss, and they’ll be happy to tell you about it. It’s really a win-win: it will also help you get a grasp on what sessions people are excited for that may be of interest to you as well!

The question is also a good conversation-starter or small-talk topic – which can segway you into other interesting conversations…

3. Take notes.

Web Summit tipsSure, it’s great if you can just sit and take it all in, immersed in the talks. But with the copious amounts of information coming your way, you’ll want to write down the main nuggets you hear.

Whether it’s in a good old notepad or on your computer, taking notes will help you remember the best parts, and also helps make sure that you don’t later forget to look into all those things that sparked your interest during the event.

4. Take breaks.

Make the most of Web SummitNo matter how many times you’ve done it before, Web Summit will be overwhelming to most people. The sheer numbers of people trying to get around, mixed with all the great information and inspiration you’ll try to soak in, and the miles you’ll walk just by trying to get around the venue all add up to an exhausting couple of days,

So don’t forget to stay hydrated, take breaks to see the sunshine (or rain) outside, check the notifications on your smartphone in a quiet corner somewhere, and of course grab some grub to keep you going.

5. Get out.

Fleep at Websummit

We went to see our friends at Google during the Web Summit week!

Don’t split your time at Web Summit between the sessions and the hotel room. Go get some fresh air by exploring the town – maybe you could even walk from your hotel to the venue? (One of our best decisions was to have the hotel 20min walk from Web Summit.) Or maybe being in town is a great excuse to reconnect with the friend, partner or ex-colleague now working at Google, Facebook, IBM or any other company in town?

Then, of course there are the after hours events, as well as the the exciting exhibits and interactive parts of the summit that are worth seeing as well. Additionally, it may be worth scheduling a few meetings at local pubs with people you know are attending – in all likelihood, you probably won’t “bump into them” at the massive and busy venue, anyway.

6. Share what you enjoy.

This is pretty straightforward. #WebSummit is there for a reason. It’s not just for making your friends, family, and colleagues envious, but for being a part of it – and it will be a great memory for yourself to go back to.

Not a social bird? Share what you enjoy at Web Summit via a message, be it on Fleep, WhatsApp, HipChat, Facebook Messenger – just don’t do it via email, you’ll never find it again.

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Fleep redesign from the designer’s viewpoint

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We’re so excited to share with you what we’ve been working on for several months now. Today, we’ve started rolling out a fresh, redesigned Fleep across all platforms: Fleep 2.0, the slickest version of Fleep yet.

But this isn’t a “Yay, we did it! High fives all around!” post (although our team definitely deserves some beers high fives at this point). This also isn’t just about “What’s new?” – we’ll let the user interface and Product Hunt do the talking for that. This post sheds light on the designer’s viewpoint. Who is this wizard who made all this magic happen?

Stefan HiienurmMeet Stefan.

Stefan Hiienurm isn’t your average designer. He is the Lead Product Designer and Co-Founder of Thorgate (here’s some of Stefan’s work on Dribbble). He was also the Lead Designer for Fleep 2.0.

Stefan doesn’t just do good design, he works through every step to a great user experience – from concepts to execution. And believe us when we say he is ruthless in demanding excellence (in the best way possible).

We could go on, but let’s hear it from the man himself! Here goes: 

Q: Why did you accept the challenge of improving the Fleep brand and design?

I love challenges. Everything that is out of my comfort zone is something that I would like to do.

Q: How is the new Fleep 2.0 brand making things better? And more importantly, why?

The goal while designing the new brand was to make it more friendly. Fleep is a communication app, and when people communicate with each other, they want to feel the same emotions as in real life. So, we changed the primary brand colour from the so-called hospital green to a warm blue. We also added more secondary colors so Fleep is no longer monochromatic.

Additionally, there were many small changes and tweaks we made during the redesign process to ensure the best possible user experience, one that delivers emotions to people using Fleep.

Fleep vs Fleep 2.0

Fleep vs Fleep 2.0

Q: What were the first steps you took in the process of the redesign?

The first step was to get know the product. There were hundreds of corner cases that I needed to know before I could even start with any design work.

After getting acquainted with Fleep, I started to lay down the main User Interface (UI) Framework, which is a fundamental part of the UI design. Defining core elements and styles at the outset, and sticking to them, helped to keep the design principles consistent across all the platforms throughout the redesign process.

Q: Who were the key people behind the rebranding?

I would say everybody on the Fleep Team. Designers only give visual input and bring the idea together –  but in general, everybody involved gives their ideas for the new updated brand.

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Thanks for working with us, Stefan – and thank you for sharing your thoughts on the redesign process. 

That’s it. You’re now ready for the fresh Fleep 2.0 experience. Check Fleep 2.0 out on webAndroid, and iOS today. We hope you love it. You can also read more about the redesign from our Product Owner and CEO Henn in this blog post.

Let us know what you think on Twitter, Facebook or directly to Fleep Support (support@fleep.io)!

Geekend 2015 highlights

We recently attended Geekend, the awesome annual interactive conference that takes place in Savannah, GA.

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It’s a weekend full of engaging presentations, panels and workshops on innovation in the tech and digital worlds. This year, the topics covered ranged from virtual reality to healthcare to selfie sticks. In fact, the range of topics was quite possibly our favorite part of the whole shindig – it made the conference welcoming to creatives from all walks of life so you could easily explore new ideas and get to see what everyone is excited about in their field.

Here are our highlights from Geekend 2015:

The Beyond Email panel

Beyond Email

We would be lying if we didn’t admit that getting on the stage with some smart people to discuss things we care about was one of our highlights of Geekend. Katheriin from Fleep was a part of the panel discussion “What’s beyond email” – talking about what’s wrong with email (hint: a lot), and how to move beyond email - with Kevin Lawver (Planted), Josh Nichols (Github) and Steve Ross (Oak.Works).

In short, the panel concluded that email is not a great tool for almost anything. And thanks to Kevin, our session was actually entertaining! (Note to self and to anyone ever speaking at conferences: include memes and gifs in your slide deck to make the session more engaging. See our slide deck here.)

Ben Sykes – “Hacking Creative Innovation”

Now this was an engaging session. Ben explained and ran the audience through several design gaming techniques, to help anyone (!) think outside the box and come up with creative ideas. The 2-hour workshop may have looked daunting on the schedule but was in fact the most fun one! You can have a sneak peek of everything Ben had to share from his slide deck.

The crowd!

People had traveled from all over to Geekend, but we especially loved seeing how diverse and talented the creative community of Savannah is!

This Southern town is known for its parks and architecture, and has a reputation for being a party town (even the passport control official at JFK airport welcomed us by asking if we were going to “party it down” in Savannah) – there’s really much more to it.

Among other creatives, Savannah is home to Aetho (recently launched Aeon that makes your GoPro footage look like it’s shot by a Hollywood director), the team behind the recent redesign of 500px, the prime business jet company Gulfstream, the top art & design college SCAD, and the town even has its own makerspace. Naturally, all of the aforementioned were also represented at Geekend.

Thanks for a great conference, Geekend! Thanks for the Southern hospitality, Savannah!

What makes an awesome hackathon? People, communication and location!

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Garage48 e-Residency hackathon

Recently, Fleep partnered up with Garage48 for a hackathon that focused on e-Residency. More than 100 people gathered on a small remote island in Estonia, to develop services for e-Residents. We left the hackathon re-energized, inspired and only slightly sleep-deprived.

Priit and Kai from Garage48 running the hackathon

This clearly was not the first rodeo for Garage48. What made the hackathon so awesome? We think it was the people, the hackathon communication and the location.

The people

This is pretty straightforward – just look at the Garage48 e-Residency hackathon example.

First, the people organizing it were pros, making sure there was a good framework to work with (theme for the hackathon, in this case, e-Residency), that everything ran to schedule and that there was a good support system present: food, caffeine and mentors.

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e-Residency program director Kaspar Korjus was a key mentor at the hackathon

Secondly, the people who were invited to the hackathon as mentors were professionals whose advice and guidance was crucial – e-Residency specialists, e-governance professionals, information system pros etc.

Third, the people participating were a diverse bunch – there were 26 nationalities present and, even more importantly, the hackathon had attracted people with diverse skills: design, front-end and backend development, QA, marketing, etc.

The communication

The organizers, mentors and participants of the hackathon used Fleep as the team communication tool throughout the event.

First, there was a general conversation for all general hackathon communication and sharing information – the schedule, any updates and last minute notes etc.

Evelyn Sepp getting acquainted with Fleep at the e-Residency hackathon

Additionally, the participants created their own conversations in Fleep for team communication throughout the hackathon. Newbies discovered Fleep, veterans shared Fleep best practices, some older users re-discovered Fleep and all of its newer features… (There was even a Fleep user story was born out of the conversations we had at the hackathon!)

The location

The idea of having a hackathon in a remote location is just brilliant. As all the participants at the e-Residency hackathon on Vormsi island were cut off from their normal environment, the secluded location helped make sure there were few distractions. Additionally, the remote island made the hackathon feel a little like a summer camp, sparking feelings of camaraderie between the participants.

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Vormsi – the remote island where the e-Residency hackathon took place

Sure, there is a lot more that goes into hosting an awesome hackathon. We chose these three variables as it seems that what the success of a hackathon really boils down to is the community and teamwork. And to build up the community and teamwork, you need the right mix of people, brought together in a great location, and you need to ensure seamless communication. That’s when the hackathon event format is at its best, with diverse people having fun together in a slightly unconventional way.

All photo credit goes to Maido Parv.

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