With over 30 million inhabitants, an ever rising GDP, and a series of economical indicators able to put shadow even on the most beautiful inca ruins, breathtaking volcanoes and condors-ready-canyons, Perú is definitely a country and market to watch and look for.
The nation is now undergoing a process of radical positive transformation where both the government and the local population are pushing toward the birth and consolidation of an IT based entrepreneurship ecosystem, in a reasonable quest of diversifying from the country's well known established leader industries: the food industry (Perú is now recognized as one of the most active food ecosystem and cousines globally) and the ever-present mining industry.
For the past two weeks I had the pleasure of working from Perú and together with the Peruvian government, the local universities of UTEC (Lima) and TECSUP Arequipa), Gabriel and András from our own Snapp team, Roy from Wibki, and the team of UTEC Ventures, on something that turned out as one of the most fascinating and exciting experiences in my life.
Two extremely intense weeks of talks, workshops, hackathons and biz dev and user testing sessions for Snapp, originally started as an offer for help in setting up a local knowledge on entrepreneurship and mobile apps, transformed in a insanely immersive experience into the exponentially growing Peruvian entrepreneurial ecosystem as well as into an amazingly strong validation that we live in a mobile first planet where emerging economies as Perú are taking the lead and will most likely set the way for the next generation of mobile experiences and use cases.
A blog post is for sure not enough to explain the endless invaluable learnings from this trip, but I'll try to do my best. If you want to know more on the topics or want to chat on them, please find me available anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Perú's Hackweek: fighting el Niño and the power of social consciousness and innovation
As part of the Perú Hackweek we facilitated the process of running two hackathons, one in the capital city Lima, and one in the Perú's second biggest city Arequipa, with the single focus of finding solutions to the worldwide climate problem of El Niño.
El Niño is a global phenomenon caused by the sudden raise of water temperature in the Pacific ocean and that leads to a variety of problems both in Perú and globally. For instance, as a direct consequence of it, the desertic areas in the northern part of Perú then suddenly turn into tropical areas with extremely heavy rain that leads among others to mud-slavines, spread of tropical diseases as denghe and colera, roads and infrastructure failures, and many more problems.
Since centuries ago the effects of El Niño are heavily affecting Perú and the Peruvians, which over time developed a huge social consciousness on the issue, and which are now collectively looking for practical solutions to the problem.
We were called in to facilitate the process and I am honestly blown up from the results:
- Despite being one of the very first hackathon ever held in Perú, participation was simply massive, with over 300 developers, designers and entrepreneurs focusing the whole night on solving El Niño.
- Of the 31 products built during the process, mobile played a major role, soon followed by smart hardware.
- The consciousness of doing it for a great scope made the whole process way more enjoyable than the majority of the hackathons I have ever been involved in. Participants were collectively fighting El Niño, and during the process the three-hundred become only one single entity.
Overnight tens of prototypes were built, and I must admit was very glad to see the new Snapp Builder in action :) Many teams used the new builder to build a proof-of-concept prototype, before diving into designing with Sketch, mocking it all up and start testing with the amazing Invision app, to then code the first version of the app with (our beloved and suggested solution) Ionic framework.
More coverage on: CCTV, AgenciaOrbita, Publicatec Perú
User testing & mobile first
In preparation for the launch of the new Snapp Builder, and to consolidate our knowledge on mobile experience for emerging economies, over the 2 weeks in Perú we continued our common-practice habit of User Experience / UX testing.
(coming soon an entire new post on "How we run UX testing session at Snapp")
Building and designing mobile experiences for the emerging economies is an exciting and completely different and challenging experiences. Here are few high level insights we learned so far:
- mobile is mobile, and the diminishing perceived difference in between mobile web and mobile apps
- hyper language localization is key to success
- while feature phones are still a vivid reality, rapid smartphone adoption offers a huge opportunity for mobile developers (and has huge impact on design and on technical implementation)
- mobile payments is king, and credit cards are still only a far-away dream
- the average user is either a non-user, or a fully digital native with a deep understanding of mobile capabilities and interactions
(coming soon an entire new post on "Our learning on building mobile in and for emerging economies")
(Some of the more than 200 testers stress-tested, enjoyed, broke, and built meaningful apps with Snapp)
Fostering entrepreneurship; it is just the beginning
It is extremely exciting to see the first moments of the birth of the newly born entrepreneurial movement that I believe has a huge chances of generating a radical positive change in Perú. With all the major stakeholders aligned, a growing and thriving economy to sustain it, a strong technical knowledge (mainly deriving from the more established mining industry), and most importantly the willingness to generate change, Perú is now entering a new phase in life. A phase where the shy student from Arequipa and the humble student from Lima is now starting to be fully aware of his capabilities and is starting to be ready to build its own entrepreneurial future. A phase where in a night few hundreds bright minds paired together to solve a common problem. A phase where mining is not the only option and where technologies like Snapp are making more and more accessible to startup an online business.
At Snapp we believe in localized entrepreneurship and in empowering non technical users to build their own companies and future and, as such, we do not only want to be part of this change but we aim to facilitate it.
Perú is now undergoing a beautiful positive change, and hopefully in only few years we will look back and see that some of the students who came the Snapp UX testing are now successful tech entrepreneurs.
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