My answer on Quora: How can we better connect the startup scene in Cambridge with others in the London and abroad e.g. Paris, Berlin,Tallinn? Do we want to?
I am particularly interested in connecting with the Tallinn startup scene myself, but others are interesting too
If you would like to connect with other startup scenes more that I do not know. But if you decide to do so (which I surely recommend - Tallinn) then perhaps my answer below gives you some means for the ‘How’ part of your question.
Estonian startup industry has become very active over the past years. There are many reasons for this, e.g. we have already seen some great success stories for our little entrepreneurial country and also, we have now more tech savvy eager start-up guys who have initiated number of startup events. Indeed, we cannot forget the freshly emerged VC initiatives in Estonia, e.g. Estonian Development fund etc.
But to answer your question it depends what type of contact you are looking.
To start with, I recommend initially to take contact with the umbrella organizations who are more active on the start-up scene. I have listed some below. Thereafter, VC companies and people themselves.
Garage48 - a 48h hackathon event for startups. Organizers are great and have fantastic knowledge and oversight of Estonian start-up scene. http://garage48.org/
Tehnopol - Tallinn Science Park Tehnopol is a business environment with more than 150 technology based companies. They do start-up incubation and mentoring and events etc. They also rent rooms etc. http://www.tehnopol.ee/
Start-up wiseguys - this is a new initiative established 2012. It is a first real Estonian start-up accelerator. Check out the mentor section - they have plenty of Estonian guys there who are active in the scene. This is done jointly with Jon Bradford (founder for Springboard, Difference Engine, Ingite100 accelerator programs in UK) http://startupwiseguys.com/
Start-up Leaders Club - an organization that gathers some start-up leaders/founders/CEO’s etc. http://www.startupleadersclub.com/
Connect Estonia - an organization that organizes various events in start-up scene. It is a private initiative-based support network. They are known for the spring board program. http://www.connectestonia.net
To get some specific start-up names and founders, please check another Quora question on this as the MTVP partner Allan Martinson lists out a short-list of people to meet: Who are the entrepreneurs and startup founders I should meet in Estonia?
To get connected with Estonians in San Francisco and Valley area then check out the FB page ‘Eesti By the Bay’ - https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Eesti-By-The-Bay/61157290758
Venture Capital or Funding
VC is weak in Estonia. However, we have some organizations who are doing investments, additionally we have private individuals.
Ambient Sound Investments (ASI) - most famous Estonian VC company. ASI was established in 2003 as an equal partnership by four founding engineers at Skype. http://asi.ee/
MTVP - founded by Allan Martinson, Estonian first tech VC, MTVP is a private equity partnership focusing
exclusively on technology, media and telecom related investment
opportunities in Russia, Baltic States and other Central and Eastern European
Arengufond - Estonian Development Fund also is in the VC business. They invest in Estonian start-ups only. http://www.arengufond.ee/eng/VC/principles
Poohtech - an investment company that makes technology investments as well as traditional ones. The managing partner is Herty Tammo (founder of Start-up WiseGuys) and has co-partner Toivo Annus (ex-Skype founding engineer and partner in Ambient Sound Investments). http://poohtech.com/
R&D organizations that also work with start-ups
ELIKO - ELIKO Technology Competence Centre in Electronics-, Info- and Communication Technologies is an independent state supported research organization focusing on industrial and applied research in the area of smart environment systems. It is a PPP where companies provide their financing and government the other set of financing. http://www.eliko.ee/
STACC - The Software Technology and Applications Competence Centre (STACC) is a research and development organization that conducts high-priority applied research. It is the same as ELIKO, yet focused more on information technology. http://www.eliko.ee/
Social Media and other things to follow
#estonianmafia - on Twitter follow #estonianmafia and you will see and hear a lot about what is going on the in start-up scene in Estonia and sometimes also in Baltic’s. https://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/%23estonianmafia
Estonian Start-up calendar - this calendar is about start-up events in Estonia. It is a public calendar to list all Estonian public startup events to grow the ecosystem. The calendar was started by Estonian Startup Leaders Club and Garage48. Today the calendar is managed by Arengufond, Tehnopol, Ajujaht, Connect Estonia and others. You can also embed this calendar to your website or subscribe to it. Public url: https://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=d6im4a5d7fpv03piogrf09a0bo%40group.calendar.google.com&ctz=Europe/Tallinn
By nature, Estonian start-up people are relatively friendly. Hence, if you get connected to some they can easily refer to others and make you acquainted.
If you want to get connected to some people, use LinkedIn. Estonia is small and most probably the person you are looking for is a second link from another one you might know.
Tips on how to make an annual plan to achieve your goals (New Year’s Resolutions)
I do not like vague and naive New Year’s resolutions that people set. I believe that having an annual personal development plan or annual plan of goals instead of emotional set of resolutions is much viable way to achieve what one wishes for over one, two and longer years’ time period.
For the past years I have set myself annual goals, deriving them from my long term visions. I have done this couple of years now and go through new plans every December whilst also evaluating the year behind.
I have gathered here some suggestions that I have and I hope they help you as well.
1. Always use present tense and indicative sentences. This way you have better and stronger psychological influence to yourself.
E.g . I go twice a week to Joga trainings until March.
Bad example: I will start Joga trainings.
2. Use SMART goals to be sure that you can follow-up on them.
SMART stands for Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.
This means that if you set a goal then be aware that it is simple to understand even if months are passing. Be sure that they can be measured (e.g. twice a week), that it is achievable, realistic and relevant to your long term visions. Additionally, see that the goals are indicating when can something be done or achieved. The latter can be sometimes – but not always – ignored as you set your goals for the year.
3. Differentiate your goals in categories that matter to you.
I use four main categories. These can be seen below:
Category 1: Personal development
Actions and goals that relate to your personal development. E.g. I read 12 books a year, including fiction. I read 15 minutes per day before I go to bed.
Category 2: Professional life
Actions and goals that you want to achieve in your professional life. E.g. I make at least 1 customer visit per week throughout the year.
Category 3: Relationships
Actions and goals regarding topics that influence your close ones and yourself. E.g. I take my parents out for dinner every month.
Category 3: Finances and materiality
Actions and goals regarding your financial situation and independence. E.g. I invest each month X% of my income to ETF-s (Exhange-Traded Funds) and monitor results weekly for further decisions.
4. Monthly list of important events.
I find this technique to be very valuable in order to stay on track and not to go crazy with all the plans.
I make a list of months under which I wrote down 3-5 important events or actions that relate to events and things that matter to me in my life. That is mostly related to my personal life and then each month I also have bullets regarding my professional career. This technique provides a quick overview of important things that matter to you and also helps to stay on track with the four categories I mentioned before.
- I buy and prepare a present to my cousin and attend her birthday on the 13th of January.
- I organize a dinner party for my friends during the last weekend of January.
- I sign a sport-centre contract for three month period.
- I finalize our organization’s strategy for 2012-2015
5. Use Evernote to save your personal plan of goals
Evernote is software that can be used for free for various devices – including PC, mac, iPhone and Android based phone. The software is meant for saving notes and it synchronises between devices through the cloud. You can use Portfolios (called notebooks) and labels in order to sort and search.
You can also send your thoughts via e-mail directly to your Evernote account and map them with the category you wish for.
The main reason I use it for my personal goals is that it is important I can always access my goals and see them. I check them every once in a while on the go, at work and at home and I use different devices in each and every locations. This means that I can have them always in sync and I can access them wherever I am.
Will Windows Phone save Nokia?
So after couple of days of heavy speculation the news is finally out: Nokia To Partner With Microsoft On Smart Phones. My first impression was if one wreck saves another wreck or as I tweeted:
Two sinking ships go down together…
However, now after my emotions are faded I am to wonder. Is Microsoft going to be the golden gun for Nokia? Nokia’s Symbian is dead on the smart phone market, MeeGo did not succeed and now they need something or rather somebody that could actually drive them with something old/new like Windows Phone platform?
It definitely is something that has not happened on such quick path market like mobile market before. I mean Siemens merged with BenQ at one point, but they were not serious (read: remarkable) players on the market.
I believe this partnership was important for both players among other reason because of:
- Microsoft seeks desperately to get involved in the mobile market. They have not succeeded with their previous mobile platforms before and Nokia provides them essential thing - market strength. Nokia still has the highest market share in EU at least in the general mobile market.
- Nokia needs Microsoft as it has not succeeded developing simple, yet comprehensive and popular smart phone platform for users and app makers. Hence, for Nokia to survive this heavy competition from other mobile manufacturers and platforms such as iOS and Android they needed to change something radically - they needed new platform and stronger names. Will MSFT be the provider of this? Let’s see.
I heard that today it was also Nokia Investor Day, which means that CEO Stephen Elop also needed to justify his 6 months of work and pump up the stock perhaps? We’ll a little at least…