Web Monday Zurich 2012 #4

This Monday was Web Monday which means I had the chance to see the lounge of the Swisscom building for this 4th 2012 event of Zurich startups and ideas coming together. These are my notes from the event, taken largely in the Gonzo style and sent off to press with minimal editing. Inaccuracies, misspelled thoughts and rampant exaggerations are to be expected. Read at your own risk…

There were just two fantastic topics on hand at this fine Web Monday Zurich: the Blue Lion incubator and Online conversion / optimization for startups, our fantastic host was Swisscom, the main telecommunications company in Switzerland.

Swisscom (Urs Stender)

Swisscom has support for startups, contact them with ideas. I like this, and it’s the way the economy should work. A company gives support to the startup scene and instead of having a large research staff you get motivated energetic people building products at the startup level and then large companies like Google or Swisscom can buy them out. Of course, you need a health startup ecosystem for this to work, and the Zurich scene is building up with the opening of the Blue Lion.

BlueLion Incubator (Gert Christen)

It sounds like a new hip bar for bankers on Bahnhofstrasse (made me think of the Weisser Wind in Niederdorf), but it’s actually a startup incubator in Zurich focused on ICT (software tech) and CleanTech. Three years in the making, and finally launched on April 1st 2012, the blue comes from the color of Zurich and they’re looking for lions – people who what to metaphysically transform into beasts of old reborn in the new tech world and eager to eat up their competitors in the ICT-greentech jungle. Somehow, I’m now thinking of Achilles landing on the shores of Troy…

Let no man forget how menacing we are, we are lions! Do you know what’s waiting beyond that beach? Immortality! Take it! It’s yours!

Of course, lions need a den, a place to work and network at along with coaching and office services, and that’s what the Blue Lion incubator offers. Why? Cause Zurich is a tech hub with, ummm, Gorilla companies like Disney, Google, banks, etc. There’s lots of R&D spending, excellent universities like ETH, potential for innovative projects, market-oriented startups, etc. So the city of Zurich sees this, and they have taken decision on where to go, and therefore formed the Blue Lion. Sweet, I like it.

The Blue Lion is part of the strategy of the city of Zurich, and exists along side initiatives like E-Zurich, promoting ICT in schools and everywhere in the region. And for this we want more ICT startups. So those were the drivers. Currently 12 companies at Blue Lion, started operations on April 1st 2012, support by the City of Zurich, Swisscom and ZKB were the main partners, with people like Dr. Christian Wenger and ETH is also on-board for coaching, etc. Now, the Blue Lion is not the only incubator in town, there’s also StartZentrum (for example). How do they differ?

Blue Lion:

Focus is on ICT and CleanTech, 100 people per year, intensive coaching, early stage incubator, support for Born Global startups in 2 key industries. Can stay max 36 months or 10 employees, which ever one comes first.


Zurich single point of contact for self employment, with a large mix of industries, 1500 people per year, public events, personal consultations, coaching as needed, training, incubator. Creating new and diversified jobs in Zurich.

Blue Lion has total flexibility in the workspace, nothing is bolted to the ground, you can move around and work with people, sounds awesome. 1200 square meters, optimal space, not impersonal, not cramped, just right. Drop in meeting rooms, lounge and kitchen, single desks, totally furnished, all less than 1000 CHF per month. Includes internet, phone (Swisscom), training/event room. Spontacts, novel social network is currently in the Blue Lion. Get feedback on your business idea, discus questions, your tax dollars at work (if you’re paying taxes in Zurich of course). Check them out at http://www.bluelion.ch/

Online conversion / optimization for startups (Alex Greve)

Deploy these conversion strategies and you will get results, you will double or triple your conversion rates…well, that got my attention so I gave Alex my undivided attention. The main enemy of conversion rate optimization…is the ego, once you are emotionally involved, problems arise. So ditch it and move forward. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Inflict pain on customer
  • Use emotional copy
  • Flip the frame

See, in 1999 is was easy to get money till the bubble burst, half an A4 for you business plan and you had financing, Alex has been an internet marketeer since 2004. Now he’s pulling in 28,000 Euro since January with one single product, in most competitive market, weight loss. All on auto pilot via one website. Here’s a question: What’s the number one scarcity on the internet.

  • Money
  • Attention
  • Adult entertainment

For sure it’s attention. So you must develop a unique selling point (or whatever you call it). Of course, you know this, you need a unique problem to solve. If attention is scarce, how can you communicate your USP? Imagine Jabba the Hut is your customer. This is the mindset: lazy, thinks he’s in control, not interested, bored, and now here you come, so what do you do? Well, he has a reptile brain, a lizard brain…the bullshit protector alarm.

It’s the oldest part of your brain, oldest to evolve, the instinctual part of the brain, primal instinct. Survival, comes first, and new information has to get past the reptile part. If not, your idea is tossed out. So, you just inflict pain on Jabba, invoke pain in his brain, it’s all about aggravating the worst outcome. You don’t stand out by being nice. What is the worst outcome if a person doesn’t buy your product?

Think of fire extinguishers (this is what you want to sell to Jabba), you don’t show the product, you show the effect of a house brining down, is it the house of Jabba? No not yet, you must imply danger, show a burnt teddy bear, if you have a family you think of them, and now it’s personal, show the worst outcome, and you have them. But if you exaggerate and show a burn leg, it’s overly dramatic and the lizard tosses you out the other ear, you have to be in the sweet spot.

Women are afraid of being a social outcast, maybe they’re over weight, so you show a picture of thin pears together with one disfigured pear off by itself. Result, conversion rate up 14%, bounce rate went down, average time on site increased 43%. What is the thing you’re selling? Weight loss.

You need to give compelling reasons to act now, scarcity, motivation to do it, ok, but why? Give a valid reason for why the sale is for a certain time. That’s called naked scarcity. Want to know more?


So, that was Web Monday Zurich #4, thank you to Swisscom for hosting and Amazee Labs for organizing. Looking forward to the next one.

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