Launching The Art of Science in the UK

Archive for the ‘Cool stuff’ Category

Acabo Games wins grand slam at Business Challenge

My colleague Markus Larsson represented Acabo Games in Swedish largest entrepreneurship competition Business Challenge, for young entrepreneurs 18-30 years old. The mission of the organization is to get more young people to start and run their own business.

The main prize “the company of the year” was EUR 11 000 and went to a cool company called Housify (a social web-based music service allowing you to discover, stream and share electronic music), but thanks to Markus efforts in applying, Acabo Games won “Best Marketing”, and “Best Sales”, both winning money and a sales workshop with the professional Jonas Möller. YEEEY!!!!

I couldn’t believe my ears when I first heard about this, it was really cool to receive this prize – all our hard work during the last year payed off!

The event was held at the renowned Grand Hotel in Stockholm, and included a full day of exposition, pitching, networking, mingling, ending with a gala dinner at the beautiful hotel. I wish I could have been there with Markus…

(Click to enlarge slideshow)

Cambridge review ‘Art of Science’

I am proud to say that Cambridge’ University science magazine Bluesci has reviewed our board game The Art of Science. They say that “overall, it is an excellent game for science fans” – yey that’s exactly what we want to hear! On the same page there is a review on a book about global warming: Cool It, by Bjorn Lomborg. Seems pretty interesting. I think there is a need to remind the world about this debate, which according to me should be taken more seriously. It is not hot anymore, which could be one reason to why many begin to doubt its consequences. I might be wrong, but to me the signs are clear.

I am also very proud of our new product pictures, taken by my friend Anna who is a great photographer (really a fashion photographer, have a look at her pics here)

Not so trivial pursuit / international media

I have been extremely bad at blogging this Summer. Inspiration just left me as soon as I left TechHub, and London. First I went on vacation, although not able to let go completely of work. Going to where I am now, working half time and still trying to enjoy Summer a little while I have taken on a lot of other projects at the same time. Not optimal…

“Not-so-trivial pursuit – A new board game tests your science knowledge.”

I was thrilled to have a guy from the BioTechniques Journal calling me a couple of months ago. Not only do I have a background in Biotech myself (studied 5 long years at the civil engineering program of Biotechnology at Uppsala), but the Journal is international and he was calling from the US! And we have done absolutely no efforts to get us a name there so far. Almost everything spreads by the web nowadays, alas Word-of-Mouth is just so much easier. And as we are a small company with limited resources, we are very thankful for this.

In the article I am quoted a couple of times, but everything can never come out right in media, I have learnt. Here it was just a minor thing. We do not claim that The Art of Science  is an educational “tool”; we have made it more as a complement to university, to motivate students in their studies, and to provide a fun game which is made specifically for people interested in science, in all ages. We want to promote science, to say: Science is cool – here is a product just for you people.

I like this description in the article:

“The Art of Science promises to rattle the nerves of even the brainiest scientist and technologist.”

Cool tech start-ups in London

Wednesday night Pora Ora had an event “Back to School”, so all tech guys @TechHub and beyond could see for themselves how their new game had turned out – and how smart a 12-year old is. “The new online world where children under 13 can play, learn and socialise with friends whilst importantly keeping the parent involved.” Below is Connor, one of the founders:

During the evening, which was full of pizza, beer, jägermeister and sweets (nice combination), there were several tournaments, where Andrew P. White from Fundapps was hard to beat. He won by far the “Globetrotter” game, but his focus let him down in the final of the Maths game “Leapfrog”, haha. Can really recommend this game for parents who want their kids to play more than “non-brain” games, here you combine fun, adventure and learning, in lots of different subjects (it’s also free which is cool).

TechHub members focused on the contest (Andrew (FundApps), David and Stefanos (Sharkius), Andy, and Nick to the right (Squadify))

I sit next to some of these guys at TechHub and must say that they definately make my day go faster. Apart from throwing stuff at me they can be really nice, sometimes giving me Kinder eggs and helping me with HTML code.

On Tuesday TechHub had a demo night, and several cool start-ups pitched themselves. 

FundApps delivers software solutions for hedge funds, this is their “beast” “the Rapptr”: “a cloud-based compliance monitoring & reporting solution. Providing full UCITS IV monitoring as well as major shareholding reporting, both pre-trade & post-trade.” From what I can understand it’s sounds like a real good solution to the costly ones that are out there today..

One  that really impressed me was MyChoicePad, “a new educational iPad app to aid choice and communication for children with learning and communication difficulties”. Apparently 1 in 10 kids have communication problems which this ipadApp can do something about, and change lives of families. Developed by Zoe Peden, a cool woman who had been working with children communication skills for a long time (at the Makaton Charity), you go!

If you like facebook games, try TechHub member David’s Sharkius: http://www.sharkius.com/, I love the look of the Teddybear one! Well I must admit I haven’t really played it, but I did register, so now I’m added  to the statistics as one of the few % above 25…

Sports related: 

Another cool start-up is Squadify; a “sports social network promoting health & fitness for all by offering free tools to find players, create teams and play matches”. I haven’t really understood the deal yet as it’s still under development, but I’m sure it will be successful, with devoted, techy and sporty founders..haha.

Another sports related one who presented themselves at the Demo night that I liked a lot as I’m quite sporty, was the community TribeSports, where you can “Connect with sports people that share your interests & create your complete sports profile. We want to inspire you to get more active and improve at your sports”. Here you can enter challenges such as “100 push-ups a day for one month”, and really do it because you get triggered and cheered on by other members. Run the marathon, anyone?

Permanent TechHub members and founders of cool start-ups: Andrew, Andy, and David at the Pora Ora event

The winners of Pora Ora announced by two of the founders

Another founder of Pora Ora presenting…

Ok next time – less about TechHub, and more about sciency things. maybe.

Wildfire at TechHub – help me with campaign!

Another week at TechHub starting with interesting events. First on Monday the Social media marketing company Wildfire (and VirginAtlantic, and Facebook) was there, to talk about what they do and celebrate their launch in the UK. They were founded in 2008 and have become quite huge in the US so far. I became really inspired by CEO and founder Victoria Ransom; a true entrepreneur, and so easy going and interested. She talked about how you can accelerate your marketing through social media, especially Facebook (naturally giving us examples of success stories about companies who have used Wildfire). Gavin Sathianathan from Facebook then gave us the latest trends and tools for Facebook marketing, very interesting.

So I though why not try out Wildfire? Our company is on a very restricted marketing budget, which is not a problem with them. Very cheaply you can still create all sorts of campaigns. I chose the “Standard account” which costs 25 dollars + 2.99/day. So check out my first campaign! (I’m seeing it as more of a test-campaign, but still hoping it will create a buzz..)

Check out and enter the sweepstakes by clicking on the image!

So I’m very excited to see what will come out of this campaign. You need to do the promoting work yourself on social media, so it all depends how well people LIKE and SHARE the campaign, so as it can spread to new networks of people. So PLEASE – HELP ME SHARING IT and I’ll be forever grateful! =)

it’s really easy to enter the sweepstakes as well! (and of course free)

here is the link: http://wildfireapp.com/website/302/contests/130519

No, by clicking on this link:

http://wildfireapp.com/website/302/contests/130519

Branding workshop at Centralworking

Attended a very inspiring branding event last night at Central, a new business hub in Soho for entrepreneurs/start-ups who want to network and have an inspiring place where they can work a couple of hours to 3 days a week, and have all the usual facilities of an office. It is a very friendly and cool place, can definately recommend it.

The speaker was the Central co-founder and serial entrepreneur James Layfield, who has been working with Richard Brandson and marketed brands like Coca Cola and Absolut. Inspiring guy, I must say.

"How to build a brand" with James Layfield

We discussed that marketing and branding is not rocket science, but the thing is that so many people get it wrong, so it can’t be that easy! Even the mega brands get it wrong. Here are some of the key points from the evening: (with my own twist)

– Get the customers along when you develop your business idea. The more you talk about your ideas, and get feedback from it, the more you can improve it and customize it to your target audience. – Understand what your audience needs!

(James put out all his suggestions of a logo for Centralworking on the web for people to vote which one they liked the best – just to get it right. I like that he actually action as he preaches! To the right is the one which people selected, now their logo!)

– Be authentic: Why do you even start the business, what is it that you can do better than others? Do what you say you are going to do! Keep promises, then you are creating a truth to the the customers, a meaning around what you do.

Connect with people! The more you can connect with people (twitter, blogs etc., face to face..), they can connect you to new people. Your message “should live in the hearts and minds of customers.”

Keep it simple: Your message can’t be complicated. You need to be able to describe your business in one sentence! Back the the authentic truth. People have little time, or don’t care, they need to be able to grasp your product in a few seconds.

– Be consistent: Stick to your style! One consistent message; this is what we do. This should be the driving force.

This was just some of the most important stuff discussed during the evening. Most of it I had heard before, but it was really good to get it refreshed, and to start thinking in new terms about things to improve with our own brand Acabo Games. Why is our logo not as glammy as Central’s? hahaha. Well, we do have another target group, but perhaps we should have used crowdsourcing before we decided on one. Anyhow, if you have read this far, please let me know which version you prefer out of these two colour combinations?

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Cool Sciency blogs

I’ve been busy lately finding cool science blogs to become inspired, and to find potential bloggers for The Art of Science, of course. Here are four:

One of the top 5 UK science blogs is Bad Science, by Dr Ben Goldacre, who describes himself as a “best-selling authour, broadcaster, medical doctor and academic who specialises in unpicking dodgy scientific claims from drug companies, newspapers, government reports, PR people and quacks.” I’m  curious about his book “Bad Science” (probably behind rest of the world not having heard of it), maybe I’ll get around buying it for the holiday actually. He’s apparently coming out with a book next year about misbehaviours in the pharmaceutical industry, very interesting…

 

 

A young guy who’s also high on the science blog rankings in the UK is the Imperial College student Ben Good, with B Good Science Blog. One fun recent post is about scientists who have been testing (very scientifically) the old Danish myth that you can get drunk by putting your feet into alcohol, “submerging your feet”. “Their results, indicate that unfortunately a Fosters footbath is unlikely to become the new way to consume your drinks.”, Ben Good writes. This also shows that Scientists have a very good sense of humor!

The secondary outcome was self assessment of intoxication related symptoms (self-confidence, urge to speak, and number of spontaneous hugs)”

Examining the intoxication levels from putting feet in alcohol

When speaking about science and humor, Scientist and author David Brin has just written a great post about top choices in Science-Oriented webcomics. According to him one of the most widely known is by Randall Munroe. Here’s an illustration that mocks Frank Drake’s infamous Drake Equation, attempting to calculate the number of “intelligent” extraterrestrial cilivizations in the Milky Way Galaxy…

I’m not sure how focused this other big blogger Crispian Jago is on science, describing his blog: “Dipping the reason stick in a fresh pile of steaming dog dirt and waving it in the general direction of irrational nonsense.”  but he has created a few cool sciency stuff; one is a great “Modern Science Map” of the most important people in science over “500 years of Science, Reason & Critical Thinking”. Click on the image to get to see it properly, it’s quite cool. You can click on each name to get more information, there are even pictures of all the scientists! So all you science geeks and science intellectuals – have a look if you haven’t seen this already!!!  Print it and put it up on the wall or something =).

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