Two Huge Weeks!

Hello everyone! It’s been a very action-packed time here in our Poznan villa, but we finally managed to wrap up what happened here during the last two weeks. Read on!

We started on 31st of March with all the 19 participants and no less than fifteen (!) mentors who joined us for the weekend. The first day was all about getting to know each other, setting up the barbecue, playing table tennis and having a great time together. (See it all in the Facebook album).
Check out these interviews recorded by Dziennik Internautów [PL]:

Mentors speaking about Huge Thing

Ola and Ania share their first impressions

Next day – it was Sunday – was marked with a first mentoring session with Bartek Gola from SpeedUp Group. He presented a presentation about presenting presentations and later the teams presented him their presentations – that’s a LOT of presenting for one day! Bartek gave our participants invaluable feedback about their their slides, storytelling nad presentation technique. (And it’s really incredible how the teams applied his advice afterwards – they are much better in describing their projects today. We can only wonder how amazing they will be during the demo day!)

In this video from Dziennik Internautów Arek summarises first weekend

Things got serious on Thursday, with a whole-day workshop about business models. Two gurus from GreenHat Innovations – Rafał Kołodziej and Bartek Kluczyński – pushed the teams to their limits: making them build marshmallow towers (best result was 87 cm!), sending them outside (!) to talk with random people on streets and practicing Lean Canvas. Lean Canvas is the cornerstone of Huge Thing program, guiding the progress and keeping the startups focused on their goal.

That exhausting experience made our participants rethink their original business ideas – we saw a number of long faces, and „pivot“ became a most popular word in the house. And during the short Easter break some pivots actually happened! Everyone is getting closer to something huge… It’s pleasantly suprising how creative Huge Things‘ girls and guys are!

Now it’s time to absorb more knowledge: Monday will be filled with UX workshop conducted by Agnieszka Szóstek. Other mentors are already in line for days devoted to customer development, competitive advantage, strategy and leadership. A real crash course in enterpreneurship!
Stay tuned for the next update and follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

Introducing Mentor: Arek Skuza

When you look at our Mentors page you see nearly 30 friendly faces. Today we start our series “Introducing Mentors” so you can learn more about these gals and guys.

Arek Skuza is a natural born entrepreneur. When you read through what is an entrepreneur DNA according to Mark Suster, Arek has it all. On top of that Arek has gathered few valuable experiences. He was working for a telco corporation and he got kicked out – he just did not fit in. Then he was lucky enough to live and work in States – he felt in love with web analytics while working for Facebook as a contractor. After that he learned his first lesson as a startup CEO with public funding and finally he started iTraff Technology – venture capital backed company with focus on photo recognition technology.
First iTraff product was SaveUp. With SaveUp over last 2 years Arek was able to deliver great results. These include being recognized in Europe (SaveUp was included in top 10 interesting startups at Startup Week 2011 in Vienna) and in Poland (SaveUp won several startup competition including Startup Fest 2011).
Apart from being startup CEO is also a father to a baby boy, Kuba. That’s source of bunch of great lessons too.

So, what Arek can bring to the table as Huge Thing mentor? I asked Arek to tell you that in person and he did.
Watch this 3 minutes intro:

You can follow Arek at his personal blog in English, at his personal blog Polish, on Twitter, on Google Plus, on Facebook.

The team

So, this is all fine and dandy, but you ask yourself who is behind Huge Thing? 
And you should care, because it makes all the difference.

The main responsible is called Arkadiusz Hajduk, although Arek will be enough.
In his own words:

Arkadiusz has an extensive experience in concept and product development, project management, human resources management, customer support, business development, operations management and any other aspect of running a business.
Currently, Arkadiusz is working as an investment manager at Speed Up Venture Capital Group where he works with potential investments and portfolio startups.
Previously Arkadiusz spent in few web startups, including one of the leading European social lending platforms smava, where he was serving a number of different roles, also co-founder.
Arkadiusz was blessed with opportunity to work within multinational teams of great people, while living in Denmark, Hungary, Sweden, Canada and Poland. Arkadiusz earned his M.Sc. degree at Technical University of Denmark (DTU).

You can learn more about Arkadiusz from his Linkedin profile, Twitter or his personal page.

Arkadiusz is not acting alone.
Michal “Ols” Olszewski brings to the table his extensive involvment with online community management, few years spend in large Polish Internet corporations and recently, his investor experience. He is also the guy who came up with the Huge Thing name!
Tomasz Czaplinski is the numbers guy using his consulting background and investor experience to stand firmly on the business ground.
Michal Romanowski with his undeniable charm and a head full of ideas helps to keep “lets dream big” component.

Additionally, Huge Thing is drawing extensively the knowledge and experience of Partners from Speed Up Venture Capital Group led by Bartek Gola.

As you can see, the Huge Thing team is a group of people who pretty much know what it takes to get to investable venture stage. What it is and why is it so important? Do follow us and you will learn soon.

Hello world!

It’s time for Huge Thing to say something.

We will tell you more what exactly is Huge Thing, introduce all the mentors and try to answer all the questions you might have about the program.

Let the blogging begin!