Our first paying customer - concept is hard validated

A miracle happened this morning. I was checking my e-mails - just like I do every morning - and I saw an e-mail from PayPal. At first I thought that it was a notification e-mail saying that I had forgotten to configure something, but it was not. What it said, was that somebody subscribed to our bronze package for $9.90! Yes! We got our first paying customer!

I was so happy, that I had to tell everyone in the startup's open space (at Tech Peaks). If I drank alcohol, I would have immediately drunk a glass of champagne or preferably a beer. As I have made an oath not to drink alcohol this month, I instead drank a coffee with Milan, a friend from Tech Peaks. It was also a great opportunity to talk about our business model and strategies.

The coffee cost one euro, so I've actually spent around half of my part of the income already. Maybe it's almost nothing, but it is the beginning of something. Now we have to focus on adding another zero, to get ten paying customers. The second step will be to get a hundred paying customers and so on.

Sounds easy, doesn't it? I don't know yet how easy it is, but I feel unstoppable now! One thing is for sure, that there is at least one person who felt that our product is worthy of real money. If there is one out there, then there should be more, we just have to find them. I will let you know about our progress, hopefully I will write similar posts quite frequently.


2013 - The Year of Becoming a Global Startup

As I wrote in my last post, the very first thought about EDMdesigner was born in the end of 2012, but I did not have time to deal with the issue since that was already the exam period . As a teacher, I had lots of things to do - even more than the students did - and I still had to finish my two postgraduate programs about economics and e-commerce. I had completed the economics program one and a half year before , but I still had to write my thesis, which finally took me almost two years. I still had to take exams on the other postgraduate program too, so I had to prove myself as a student as well.

This was the time when I decided not to teach that many courses, so I can concentrate more on our project. The only class I led was a totally new one, which I already mentioned in my last post. Its title was Javascript Technologies and HTML5. This was my favorite course, we discussed cutting-edge web technologies, like Node.js and others.

The first lines of code of EDMdesigner were born in February. Actually,it was a proof of concept proving that our solution is feasible with the technologies I used and in the way I designed things, e. g. using the selected document format. To he honest, a lot of things changed since then, and the code has been refactored so many times that I can't count it on my fingers. Once it has even been reengineered. As I mentioned, by this time Michael did not participate in coding, but luckily two of my students helped me out, thank you guys.

This year we started to take going to meetups and startup related events seriously. We tried to contact with a lot of people, tried to make new friends and started to talk about our idea as much as possible. On one networking event, Roland and I agreed that networking is a little bit like picking up girls, but usually there were no or very few girls , so it was super weird for me at first.

Time passed by, we attended more and more meetups and other events, we got to know more and more people. On one of the networking events somebody told us that he knows a person who might be interested in our project and could help us a lot, since he is a real pro in building e-mails and he is a genius front-end guru. We had to meet this guy.
When I entered the pub where we met, Roland and the new guy was already there. His name is Greg. He was a freelancer those times and he was very enthusiastic about the idea. After a few beers I already knew that we needed him. He had a lot knowledge and experience about building e-mails , so I knew that he'd be a very useful member of our team.
Greg told me that he never drinks shots, because that causes big problems. Finally, the big problem had happened. The next day I had such a terrible hangover that my stomach felt funny all day long.

Greg appeared at my place at noon since we agreed to meet and show him the stuff which we were already done with. Of course, it was the pre-pre alpha version of the first "very-prototype", so I prepared Greg for seeing a kind of a conceptual sketch. We talked about the details and possibilities for a few hours. I think he liked what he saw, or he liked our attitude, because finally we decided to work together and rock the world.

Greg, the wizard ninja of e-mail building, who always said: "Quality is the first".
He taught me not to overextend my ideas and to estimate carefully instead.
[Facebook profile picture.]

One day, my partner Roland asked me if I wanted to go to an event called Lean Startup Machine. The event took place in the end of April, it lasted three days. I was like: "Okay, another event which smells like bullshit, but why not? I have to get to used to these things anyways." I was totally wrong. This event was amazing, the mentors were brilliant. Actually, I did not really know about the lean startup movement, so most topics were absolutely new for me, I learned a lot.
Their motto - which I really love - was the following:

The motto of the Lean Startup Machine.

This motto hit me in the face. Really. When I thought back and realized (again), that we were wasting a lot of time by not testing our stuff as soon as possible and we kept our precious idea as a secret, I felt very angry for myself. As I mentioned in my last post, this was one of my biggest mistakes, which I want to avoid in the future.

I became a big fan of Lean and all the related stuff, but to be honest, I think people should be careful with them because it's usual that people carry things too far if they are trendy. Blindly overusing things without thinking about the background is usually bad. Anyways, the Lean Startup concept puts a very good framework in your hands, with lots of best (or very good) practices. Embrace it, or at least know about it.

This was the event,where we first encountered with people from iCatapult. This is a business development company that works as a seed investor. We had heard that they took some startups to New York and to the Bay Area for an immersion trip to the US market. I found it great that the most important thing they give is their knowledge, not the money. Of course, they give money to the companies in which they believe, but the essence is that they work together with the target company, helping them in the first, very fragile period.
I like this attitude very, very much. Before them I had only heard about investors who want half of your company and you see them every half a year when you hand over your report. I have never had the stomach for that kind of "cooperation".

About a month after the Lean Startup Machine, iCatapult announced that they were starting a program for which startups can apply. We found that a great opportunity, so we applied. We were so enthusiastic that we even made a team video on which everybody can see that we are very awkward in front of cameras. If you find it, please do not share it and forget about it forever. :)

They probably liked our application, because they summoned us to their office to talk about our idea. From time to time we got the info that we are in the top X. X decreased by time and finally we have been told that we were in the boot camp.

We are discussing something during the bootcamp.

The boot camp was great. It was like Lean Startup Machine, but an extended version of that. It lasted two weeks and was very, very intensive. We had great mentors there as well, we had known some of them from LSM already. We had the chance to get to know most of the mentors very well.
The whole point about the boot camp was to prepare the startups for the US market. After the boot camp, we were told that iCatapult would like to cooperate with us. We were very, very happy, because we truly believed that this is the way to go on.

Oh, yeah. I almost forgot that this boot camp gave me the final kick to start blogging. First I started my technical blog and in New York I started this one.

We are signing the term sheet.

As we knew that we are one of selected the startups we became even more enthusiastic and passionate. We have been working really hard to become a really successful global startup.

The immersion trip to New York and to Boston was amazing. I won't talk about it here, because I have already written a couple of blog posts about the topic:

A dream became true, we have been to New York. What a great market for us!

After we came back from the States, we moved to a brand new office in a co-working place called Colabs Buda. It's a great feeling that there's a border between my professional and private life after several years. Before this, we were hacking at my apartment all the time and it became very tiresome after a while. Our new office had a very good effect on everybody in the team, we became more effective and regularized.

We are assembling our tables in our brand new office at Colabs Buda.

At the opening party of Colabs Buda. I tricked someone to be our sandwich-man.

We are continuously optimizing our business model - like all responsible startups do - and we are getting closer and closer to be a great startup. We are progressively making efforts to improve our processes and trying to apply the best practices as much as possible. We want to improve, we want to be the best.

2013 was the greatest and most exciting year of my life.

In this year the team of
was born and started its steps towards great success.

I truly believe that 2014 will be even greater and even more exciting. We'll launch the product in February - with which you already can create bulletproof responsive e-mails - and we are also going to have have an integration project, but that's enough for today.

Come back tomorrow to check out what we are expecting for the year of 2014.
See you on a meetup!


Prologue - My Path to the Startupper World (Things Before 2013)

As I promised, I'm writing a post about the path which led me to the startupper world. If I think about it, this process started a long-long time ago, during my university years.
When we had a project to do, I never picked from the ones which were predefined in the assignments. If I had the possibility I came up with my own ideas. It's because I always loved to create my own stuff, from the beginning till the end. In my last few years at the university, I decided to do a PhD. I thought that way I can create revolutionary new things, but in the last semester a thought nestled into my mind, and it was the following: "As a computer scientist I really should try how things work at a software developer company. I must gain industrial experience from real life." I also thought that after few years of working I still could start my PhD, if I feel like.

So I started to work as a C++ programmer at a great company called Graphisoft, I worked there for about two years (2009-2011). The first part of it was great and very exciting, I learned a lot. To be honest the second part became a little bit flat for me. If you are a software developer, such a big company is good for you for two reasons. The first is that you gain a lot of experience, you will know how things work on a professional level. The second is that you can have a comfortable chillout life with a good salary and not to much responsibility. But I wanted more and could not wait to climb up on the ladder of career. I felt like I have to do other things as well, so I started a project with one of my good friends Andrew.

Andrew with his wife, probably somewhere in England (since they live there since a while).
A great designer who became a baptist pastor.
[Twitter profile picture.]

He was the design guy, I was the code guy. We wanted to create a software development tool, with which you can generate actual code to many platforms based on an abstract declarative description.
One day, I drank a few (lot of) beers with one of my good friends - Michael - who joined the project that very day. He also participated in coding. (He was a PhD student at that time, and he defended his dissertation a few weeks months ago. Congrats Michael!)

Michael, the awesome hippie who has brain even in his ass.
He always said that money is shit.
[Facebook profile picture.]

At this point it became a serious project, we were planning to create a product out of it. Andrew always thought about it as a hobby project, nothing serious. I felt that he struggled, because he did not want to abandon us, but he felt and knew that it would be a way too much for him. That's why I asked him to have a few beers and talk through these things. That was the day when Andrew left our team.

We had a lot of iterations with this project. Michael and I came up with better and better ideas all the time and we refactored and reengineered our code base every time when we realized, that we could do better. To be honest it was very ineffective, we did not achieve anything for about a year, although some of our friends from the university helped us to code. Thank you guys anyways! (If you want to re-join our team, you are always very welcome.)

Luckily, in the meanwhile Roland joined our team and introduced formal project management methodologies, like Scrum. He is a marketer, so he always told us to create some kind of product out of it as soon as possible. I think he already knew that this code generation stuff was a dead end. Sadly it was true. From time to time we had to realize that some one else already did what we wanted to do or the thing was already existent for years, but we did not know about it, because we barely did market research. Michael and I were not product focused that time, we just wanted to create awesome stuff no matter what. Roland was the guy, who seeded the product focused viewpoint into the soil of our team. He always wanted to create something, that's his own. It was the same with me, I always loved to create. Since we have been very good friends for a long-long time, and we felt in the very same way about working and creating things, we decided to work together to change the world.

Roland, the product guy, who does everything to get things done.
He is the one who taught me that a great idea is not enough, and he is one of my co-founders in EDMdesigner now.
[Facebook profile picture.]

In the meanwhile we founded a company (May, 2011) - which I want to cease now - and I left Graphisoft a few months later because I realized that I cannot focus on our own things enough in parallel with a full-time job. (August, 2011)

I still had to eat and I needed money to do that, so I decided to find a job which is much more flexible and does not require that much time. I asked one of my university professors - she was a dean at that time - whether I could go back to the university to teach programming. I have to tell you that I was very welcome and I always tried to do my best. I taught C++ and Java programming and a course titled Data Structures and Algorithms. This was the time when I thought about going back to the university to do a PhD but finally I changed my mind because that would have broken my time into a lot of small pieces and I would not have enough time to concentrate on one or the other of my projects.

I had a very good relationship with the Dean. She trusted me so much that I had the chance to start experimental courses which did not exist before. These were Advanced Java Programming, Collaborative Learning and Javascript Technologies and HTML 5. The last was my favorite, since I already worked a lot with web technologies. Giving this course deepened my knowledge and I learned a lot new as well. This was the time when I decided that I will use Node.js as much as possible. But enough about the tech stuff, that's the topic of my other blog.

We were very stubborn those times, especially me. I did not let my GREAT idea go, I sticked to it so hard, that I barely realized that all of the mutations we created were already existent or very big companies worked hard to solve the problem. It was the biggest mistake in my professional life, I never want to do it again. The other very big mistake was that we kept our idea as a secret. We did not talk about it with others e.g. on meetups - so we did not have a decent feedback about it. Maybe if we talked about it, someone would have kicked us out of our stubbornness and we would have pivoted much earlier.

After a while we realized that we were slow and our work led to nowhere. Then - mostly thanks to Roland - we decided to start an other project. We wanted to reuse our gained knowledge - which mainly was about dynamically editable responsive surfaces - so we were looking for a project where we could apply those. This project aimed to create a responsive webshop engine, which felt to be a very good idea, since more and more people wanted to buy things on their mobile devices. The main problem with this was that there was a very big competitor on the market already, and we'd have to raise a huge pile of money to start the business and no investor would have given it to us due to the fact that this would have been yet an other webshop engine.

After a while I experienced strange things about Michael. He did not really have the mood to work on the stuff and I felt very depressed about it. I had decided to have a talk with him. I wrote a detailed e-mail about my problems and we had some beers to talk about them. It came out that he realized he did not have that attitude of "I do not care what, but I will do this", thus he did not have the spirit to finish the boring stuff as well. If I think back it seems like he really enjoyed all the things with having a company but the boring stuff. And there are much more boring stuff that you have to do anyways. He realized that he wants a scientific career and the two cannot go together. I thought that it would be a very hard talk, but we are very good friends so we could talk through the whole stuff in a very calm and friendly way. There was a big hole left after Michael, so two of my students joined us to help for a few months. Great thing that I thought at a university!

As I mentioned a few paragraphs ago, we gave up the project about the responsive webshop engine, because it would have been too expensive and there were very strong competitors on the market. We started brainstorming again about what to do. We wanted to use our gained knowledge again and we were thinking about tools with which one could build a custom user interface on the fly. We looked around on the market and became quite disappointed because there were tons of tools like that.

It was already very close to the end of the year, I barely had time for anything when my cellphone rang. It was Roland and he told me two words: "responsive e-mails". He said that it's a real pain in the ass for site builders to build e-mail templates so we should investigate this issue a little bit more. The idea of a tool for creating responsive e-mails fit to our knowledge base very, very well, and it seemed that it would have a decent market so I loved the idea. This is the idea from which EDMdesigner was born, but all the things related to this happened in 2013, so it's the topic of my next blog post.


New Year Ahead - Wrapping Up Our Startup Story So Far

The end of the year was very busy so I barely had time to blog, although a lot of great things happened lately. I've heard that it's a great idea to post a wrap up about the things happened in this year, since the end of it is almost here. Because of these two reasons I decided to write that wrap up, but I realized that I haven't written about the things before 2013, so I will write a series of posts, covering three topics:

I think all of them can be interesting. The first because I will talk about my first steps which finally led me to the startupper world. I will also talk about the very, very typical mistakes that a newcomer usually makes, and so did I. In the second post, I will talk about this year's happenings. I hope you will find it interesting because as I look back, I have to tell you that it was amazing. The third post will summarize our actual state, our perspectives, and will let the reader look a little bit into the future of our friendly little startup. It is a great opportunity for me to think through what happened with us in the last few years.

Ps: I will link these posts here when I publish them, so bookmark this post and come back every remaining day of the year. :)


A Small Startup In The Great City Of Boston

As I promised last time, I dedicate a whole post to the e-mail design conference (#TEDC13) which happened in Boston and was organized by Litmus. Without Litmus our startup would not exist, or at least it would be extremely hard to develop our tool. For those who did not hear about Litmus, it's a service for testing HTML e-mails on various e-mail clients including mobile, desktop and web based ones. I am sitting on a plane at the moment wearing a Litmus t-shirt which I got at the conference.

Needless to say, the conference was extremely valuable for us. Although we missed the first two presentations - since we went there from New York City by a random bus which dropped us at Boston's chinatown - the rest of them were very interesting and the presenters were great. When we got there we could still have lunch and we sat at a table with the following label on it: "Coding responsive emails". I was like wow, it's gonna be our place.

After we had our quick lunch, we accidentally ran into Paul, the CEO of Litmus. He already knew about our startup - that's how we could get there - and later it came out that some of the presenters were already familiar with us as well, because they talked with Paul about our tool. Great!

When we went to the conference room it was already full. A kind lady waved at us and showed that there are a few available seats at the staff area. There was the whole Litmus group. How cool is that?!

Many of the presentations were about design - of course, that's in the conference's name - and the ultimate hot topic was responsive e-mail design. That was totally great, since our tool aims to radically ease the process of creating responsive e-mails. One of the things I already suspected before is that most of the e-mail designers care about iPhones only. There are several reasons for this. The first is that in some cases the consumers use iPhones. The second reason is that it is very hard to measure android devices because they don't download the measuring images automatically (but iPhones do). In my opinion, this second issue is invalidating the first one because no one can tell how many people opened the newsletter from android devices. The only thing we can tell is how many people downloaded the images. This is why I don't really like the concept of open rate, which is a much liked and used expression by e-mail marketers. The proper name would be something like "measure-image download ratio". I know that it sounds stupid but at least it's not misleading like the open rate. Even on iPhones one can disable automatic image downloading, so this ratio is totally bad and distorted. And I didn't even mention the web-based e-mail clients.

There were presentations about measurements and experimentations. The most interesting parts for me were the ones which dealt with the effect of responsiveness to the click through rate. Generally, it can be said that responsiveness has a very positive effect on this ratio but - this was really surprising for me - the time when you send it has a very, very big increasing effect on this ratio. I was like wow, that's something. If I think this through, it is very trivial, but I would have never realized this by myself. People use their mobile more in the mornings, use their desktop pc or laptop during the day, and at home they prefer to use tablets. On the way we use our phones again, and on the weekends people use mobile devices more frequently. Maybe these assumptions are a little bit too general, but from measurements it can be seen that in most of the cases they are quite valid.

There were interactive optimization sessions as well, where people could send in their templates and the others could give advices. In some cases - much more than I thought - people did not design for mobile. The most obvious sign of this was that in lot of cases the templates were not responsive. If a template is not responsive then it should be a one-column design at least. If you create a multi-column layout and it's not responsive then you'll have to zoom and pinch or swipe to the sides all the time, and that's very annoying. Most people just delete the mail when they encounter these problems, and what's even worse, a relatively high percentage unsubscribes. Unfortunately, lots of e-mail clients - especially on android devices - do not handle media queries, thus if you created a template which would reorder the desktop version to fit in the small smartphone screen, that just won't happen on these devices. (And don't forget that more than ten thousand different device types exist in the android world.)
Lots of e-mail marketers say that most of their audience read their mails on iPhones or iPads. This is usually a distorted picture because of the issues with the open rate what I mentioned earlier.
The other very important thing is that it's very hard to click (tap) on links on smart phones, so it's convenient to use buttons instead. On the mobile screen it should be - almost - 100% wide and at least 44px high, making it very easy to tap on the right spot. What people did not mention but I think is another very important thing about buttons is that they direct your attention very well, they shout to you that they should be clicked and something will happen. Although the rules are very similar, people always emphasized that e-mail design is not equivalent to web design. There are also different rules, sometimes it really feels like we are in the '90-s, very old techniques and hacks have to be used. I think this is the reason why there's no proper tool for designing e-mail templates yet. Actually I'm very happy with this state of the universe, because it's a great chance for us, and I'm sure that EDMdesigner will be the numero uno on this field.
Anyways, I must say that it was great to listen to the experts of these topics, I went home with a lot of takeaways from both days.

After the first day's presentations the program continued in a bar nearby, where we had the chance to get to know the attendees and the local beers a little bit more. (Harpoon IPA, yay!) I had to realize that every major players on the e-mail marketing field had representation there. I am talking about Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, Exact Target and all the big fish. I also had a chance to talk to people who design and create e-mail templates themselves, and surprisingly, most of them were not very excited about our tool, or if they were, that was only politeness. I think they consider themselves too much of a pro to use anything else than a text editor to create e-mail templates. It was a very interesting and eye-opening experience. The other half of the people, who are involved in e-mail marketing but they don't deal - or they don't want to deal that much - with template building were very, very excited and curious. Some of them wanted to start to use it on the spot, some of them told me that it would be great to integrate it with existing systems and some people from the big fish told me that we should consider to cooperate with them somehow since they do not have this functionality yet.

On the following day, we had the chance to have lunch with the founders of Litmus (Paul - the CEO, Matt - the CTO and David - the COO), for which I was greatly honored. This company is the one that's known to everyone who is involved in e-mail marketing and takes his or her job seriously and wants to create high quality newsletters.
We had a nice conversation about our businesses, processes inside the companies, software development and project management methodologies, and of course about the e-mail market itself.
I even showed them our tool and it seemed like they were very interested. It was a short demo which I started with a project that was the exact copy of their e-mail about the conference. They really liked it, and it looked like that they were impressed that it's possible with our tool to produce such a thing in a relatively short time.
We discussed lots of technical details, for example the way we generate the HTML code from the abstract representation - the way how we use media queries and HTML conditionals. We talked about the applied technologies, the architecture of the whole software, the problematic parts and those parts where heavy refactoring was needed.
I think they liked what they saw and I really hope that we will work together with these great guys in the very near future. Here is a photo about the demo:

On our way back to the bus station we found the office of LogMeIn. Few blocks further I heard a conversation in my native tongue which is kind of a strange thing in the middle of Boston. We introduced ourselves and these guys showed us a great burger place. Could you guess where these guys work?

After this we went back to New York with the chinatown bus and the next day we flew home. What a great trip it was!

Finally, check out my first Brickflow, it's about the conference:


Heading To Boston To Hustle

Roland - one of my fellow co-founders - and I are heading to Boston at the moment. We had to get up very early to catch the bus which left at seven a.m. The whole bus trip takes about four and a half hours, so finally I have some time to organize and write down my thoughts about our immersion to the huge US market.
In my opinion, this trip is the cherry on the top of our journey, since we got two tickets for an e-mail design conference from the organizers. (Thank you Litmus.com)
Great things happened during our staying in New York, so I will get back to the Boston trip later. I will assign a whole post for this event, that's for sure.

Our three weeks in the Big Apple was totally crammed with activities, I could barely  find time slots to skype with people at home. On the top of that, I haven't seen the Brooklyn bridge - which I really wanted to check out - and I only had a chance to glance at the Statue of Liberty's back side from the gym every second morning. We sticked to Manhattan since that is the place where business is, so the boroughs are still unknown for me. The only touristic stuff we did was when we went to the amazing Central Park just to wander around, everybody really enjoyed that.

One could say that we should have visited more attractions, but we are not on holiday. It's a business trip, right? The reason why we are here is business development. We came to get to know a lot of valuable new people. By widening our network we tried to get future customers - our product is still in the private beta testing phase - potential partners, and a lot of feedback.

As I mentioned in my last post, there was a point when we realized that we have to pull ourselves together, and we did it. The regularization and formalization of our "co-founder only" meetings had a very good effect on our little organization. Our business model is more and more clarified, and I have to say that at this state I can already see the unstoppable stream of future revenue.

Our value proposition is very simple and clear: marketing e-mails created with our tool will be legible (readable) on each and every mobile device, thus conversion rates will  necessarily increase. This is a big issue since more and more people read their e-mails on smart phones. There is no questioning that we solve a problem which is an unbearable pain for lots of e-mail marketers. For those who don't feel this pain and don't care about this issue, I say three words: measure, measure and measure. If you do, you can find the weak spots of your campaign, and it's highly likely that you will have problems with smart phones, especially android devices, since there are more than ten thousand different types. (Bah.)

Startups are looking for the best - but at least a sustainable - business model and try to apply them continuously. We still need to fine tune our business model and we haven't made some of the strategic decisions yet, but it's already clear that people feel the pain for which our tool is the painkiller. Some very big names are already interested in our product, for example Walmart, Gust and Gawker. We also had some time to talk about the technical issues of their interest, and to come up with great solutions. Greg, my other co-founder came up with a very great idea which involves phantom.js. I will write about that in my technical blog.

The meetup scene in New York is very good and it gets better and better. I enjoyed these meetups very much, most of the times they were very useful in some way. There were times - sometimes on tech meetups - when the topics or the presentations weren't that interesting or advanced, but in this case we could shine in the role of the East-Central European gurus coming from a tech heavy environment. People in the USA admire knowledge, and I appreciate that very much. We try to help people with our know-how under the flag of the give first movement. I am sure that these things will pay off. No doubt.

Speaking of technical knowledge and give first, there was a funny story that I'd like to share with you. Greg and I attended an internet marketing meetup at a random pub in Manhattan where the organizers did not show up. We were like "okay, then let's collect the people who showed up around us to have at least a decent conversation". After a while people thought that we were the organizers and they even wanted to pay us money to attend. It was very funny. We had the chance to talk with everybody there and it came out that my co-founder is the biggest pro in SEO there. He gave advices to lot of people and he even helped to analyze their sites later. That's the spirit of give first that we embrace.

We have already arrived to the conference, I'm sure that we will learn a lot from these great people.


You StartUp? You Speak Up

It seemed like we were too slow for New York City. Our schedule on the first week was so full, that we barely had time to digest all the things that happened to us. If you still have jetlag, it is kind of hard to keep up with the pace. (And you barely have time for blogging. Sorry for that.)

Everything is very, very fast here, at least if we compare it with things at home. Personally, I thought that we are okay, but we had to realize that we were not organized enough, information barely flowed within the team and some behavioral patterns of us just did not fit here. Some of these were cultural stuff, some of them were/are personal misbehavior. Usually, these are quite small and forgettable things if we encounter them separately, but if these issues come up from time to time they can be very annoying. Or even worse: ineffective.

This is the reason why we started to focus on handling these things consciously. We decided to schedule meetings where only the three of us (the co-founders) are present to discuss a wide range topics. 
Lot of them are about personal stuff, we give advice to each other to improve our social skills. Another part is when we discuss what happened lately, and last is the continuous and returning topic of the business models and corresponding technologies. (Yes, we are a very early stage startup.)
One very important topic of our meetings is in-house communication. There are lots of cases when someone says something, and the other misunderstands it or, due to non-verbal communication, it seems totally arrogant to the receiver, although the sender absolutely did not mean that. In my opinion, people should talk about these issues to prevent their accumulation, and thus prevent explosions.
The other thing is communication with other people, like potential partners, customers or anyone else. It is not necessarily about the way of communication, but the discussion of what or how the different individuals understood about different situations. I truly believe that its mandatory to listen to others - especially your partners - thus you can gain a lot via discussion or even via some healthy debate. The observation of others can open your eyes and shed light to everything from a totally different perspective.

Debates are a natural part of being a startupper. If you don't debate with your co-founders, then something is wrong, that's for sure. In my opinion, good teams consist of very different people, thus it's inherent that you have debates with your co-founders from time to time. This is the way to keep things on the rails, since different thoughts and viewpoints are extremely important for a more general and better understanding.
Although debates are useful and natural, they have their drawbacks. Namely, debates can easily turn into fights and that's a different story. If you fight with someone, you usually lose your common sense, you just stick to your opinion no matter what. I find that very disruptive and totally unnecessary. If it is combined with stubbornness, that's even worse. If it is combined with energetic personalities, that's probably the worst situation what a human being can imagine.
Now think about startuppers. Are they stubborn and energetic? Are they strong personalities? Do they want to achieve their goals no matter what? I guess your answer is yes.
This is why it's inherent to have debates in your team, but be careful, don't let these constructive debates turn into destructive fights.
People like us have to learn to handle these kind of situations. To be honest it's very true for my team and me as well. Some of us have to be less stubborn, some of us less energetic and some of us more careful about what he says if it's about in-house communication. Do not be an arrogant ass, and please try to flush your pessimism in the toilet, because these things have very bad effect on the others. I know that you - as a startupper - are a very strong character, but please, forget about your ego, because it's very likely that it will have bad effect on your team. Only one thing matters eventually, and that is the goal of the team and the way you can reach it.

Practice, practice, practice. That is the key to lots of things in life and it's the same with communication and with all the other stuff I mentioned before. The information flow in the team is already much better, so I think we are on the right track. I'm not the best if it's about communication - to be honest - all of us in the team need to practice, but I tell you that we are not the guys who will give up. Probably we should have introduced these very focused meetings earlier but I think that we are on the right path. We are improving ourselves all the time to become one of the real successful global startups and I have to tell you, my friend, that no one will stop us!