Butterfly Effect opens the world of game and application development for beginners and the advanced31.5.2019
In 5 months, you will create an app or game in a diverse team of people, with the help of a mentor in your specialisation and a coach for personal development. You will discover yourself, your strengths and broaden your horizons in technology development. You will also experience a lot of workshops and open the door to your career in the digital sphere. The programme is not only for coders or people with a background from IT companies, but for all technology enthusiasts. Whether you are a graphic designer, strategist, screenwriter, or experienced programmer, Butterfly can give you more opportunities than you expect.
The Butterfly Effect programme was born in the heads of the top companies of digital business and education – Michal Štencl (Sygic), Branislav Kleskeň (Leaf), Lucia and Šimon Šicko (Pixel Federation) and Peter Čerešník (HubHub). The Butterfly Effect team is based in our coworking centre in Bratislava, where the training programme itself is held.
We met Slavo Oslej, who told us more about the Butterfly Effect programme. Slavo deals with the marketing communications and synergies between communities.
What was the initial motivation to start a programme?
The primary motivation was for Slovakia to serve not only as an assembly line for cars and televisions in the future, but to develop the digital economy here as well. There is a lot of room for projects of this type, because fresh graduates do not have experience in practice, such as the so-called agile management or functioning in teams, especially multidisciplinary ones.
On the other hand, the focus of working people is too narrow. In our programme we try to give them the breadth of views and accelerate the participants, be it UX, UI designer, developer or manager. We offer them the opportunity to work in a team of people in which they create a digital product from idea to release. We will teach them how to co-create things, how to get overlaps and a multidisciplinary understanding.
Who is the programme intended for?
Our participants are mostly university students or young professionals, i. e. juniors at their positions. The programme accelerates their hard and soft skills and they are fully functional juniors after the programme. We have got business people, UX and UI designers, developers – front-end, back-end. The programme is primarily designed for juniors or even for seniors who want to switch their role or acquire a technological background.
For example, we have project managers, designers with an artistic focus, whom we will introduce to designing applications and games. For example, we will teach participants from the technical environment soft skills and they will gain team experience. We try to make everyone get value.
What motivation do the participants come with?
They want to mainly practice. They will try the whole process from idea to launch. Another thing that participants value is community, network and mentoring. Mentors from Sygic, Pixel Federation, successful start-ups and gaming studios are available to them all the time. We have 60-70 mentors from different areas who are available on Slack and also personally when needed. Each team has its own coach to deal with the issues within the team itself, such as communication and setting up their work, as well as its own Lab Master, who tracks their work and ensures personal approach to individual teams.
How do you perceive the development of participants in the programme and its greatest added value?
In particular, the participants will receive the know-how and ability to see a “big picture“. They will find out how the whole process should from A to Z, they will learn the sequences they should follow when developing a product from any position. It is not a theory of how to create something, but it is the creation itself.
Another added value is that we help the Butterfly Effect participants in finding a job. In addition, participating in the programme is already a big thing in CV and portfolio. If they are interested, they can continue to work on the project – as a start-up, with which we also help.
I see the greatest development of the participants in thinking. They will find out that everything is possible and that it is important to ask questions. They gain confidence, entrepreneurship and knowledge. We also try to help them manage different situations, such as when they are unable to present in public. They go through this during our programme, get feedback and learn how to give it.
We have both soft skills and hard skills workshops, such as app monetization, meeting management, etc. We try to be very agile. Every team is different and needs a different approach, the Lab Master takes care of that.
For example, people learn to throw away their ideas with us, which is terribly difficult. When you work on a project, you get “ownership” and then you realize that it leads nowhere – and you worked on it for a month and a half – you have to know how to throw it away. Otherwise, you would be fuelling something without any sense.
How long does Butterfly Effect take and how much does it cost?
The programme lasts 5 months and costs 2,500 EUR. We can divide the payment into 10 months of 250 EUR and the participant pays it afterwards. We have talent scholarships of up to 90% at our disposal. These are assessed separately on a portfolio basis. There is also a possibility of 90% discount for the entire team when a company submits the topic directly. If you’re doing a project for someone, he has the right to the products, and you have the experience and a reference to your CV.
Will I not get such a value in an incubator, for free?
The intensity there is not the same. The time we devote to each participant is disproportionately larger than in any other development programme. It’s 22 hours a week and someone mentors them for a large part of that time. The price also includes access to the software and HubHub offices.
What if I know I will have to skip some weeks for work or vacation?
The meetings take place 3 times a week for 5 months. We realize that it is difficult, so we can be flexible. We have a Slack chat tool available and we can plan within an individual team when someone can’t participate. However, we know from experience that people feel responsible to the team and can arrange their program so that they usually can show up.
How do I sign up and what awaits me?
The sign up requires just filling in an application form, adding a CV and ideally a portfolio as well. We also have a blog on our site with an example how it should look. Not having a portfolio is not an issue. At least they need to show everything they did – even unfinished projects.
We want to see how adepts think about things and when they do not have a portfolio, we can send a job. This is followed by a personal interview where we want to get to know a person as far as his values are concerned, where we can see what he is like. Of course, those we do not accept will receive feedback. We cannot accept everyone, because we are putting a lot of energy into our participants.
If you are interested in the programme, it is now open for sign up closing on 2 June. Visit the Butterfly Effect website for more information.
Participants work on real apps and games. Do they choose the theme themselves or do they get it?
In the case of games, they can choose the theme themselves, in the case of apps we limit them gently, but the assignment is not entirely specific. It is up to them on which platform and in what style they will develop the application. We select topics based on where we have mentoring coverage and where we see the potential for each participant to find something there and get out of his element a little. For example, people from a bank were given an assignment for a public transport app. We currently have two topics for apps – Smart city and Social good and for games it’s Hyper casual game and the last theme is Spin-off game.
After the programme, can participants continue to work with the product they develop?
We are glad when they do. The products are placed on the market, but we know from experience that they need space after the programme and return to projects after some time. Several participants from two teams have even teamed up and work on their own project. It is very individual, but if they decide to continue with the project, we try to help them and continue to include them in our activities.
Who owns the games and apps?
If it was an assignment from a company, the company would offer the participants scholarships, but it would keep the rights to the final product. This was the case only by Curaprox so far, all other applications are open source and the students can keep the rights. What they do with them after is up to them.
You mentioned helping the participants to find a job. What is their success rate?
75% of participants found a job within 3 months after the completion of the first year of the programme. The remaining percentages are students completing their studies. We have no evaluation of the last participants who finished in February. We try to help them mainly with information, we inform our befriended companies, various start-ups and studios about them. Smart people are “gone“ quickly.
When we look at the participants so far, do they pay for the programme themselves, or their employers apply for it?
Most of them have paid for it themselves so far. We currently have around a fifth of corporal participants.
How many members does your team currently have and why did you decide to work in coworking?
Our Butterfly Effect team has 3 members. We decided for HubHub because it is our co-founder, we love the local community and also for economic reasons. For us it makes sense that we directly connect our participants and the companies that have a place of business here. It also has an excellent strategic location for our mentors who are close. The neighborhood Nivy is very strategic for the digital economy.
What do you like about HubHub?
A lot of things are taken care of here – from good coffee, fast internet to nice spaces and order. In addition, the aforementioned good location for mentors. All this makes HubHub the ideal place for us. Our participants also like it here, and during the programme they can use the spaces for their work.
What do you think is the biggest myth about coworking and how it really is?
I previously considered coworking to be one big room where people are disturbing each other, turning off air conditioning and drinking hipster coffee. However, HubHub is different. There are a lot of different spaces, lots of corners, so I can change the space based on the need and concentration. When you need a company, you go to the kitchen when it is warm, to the terrace when you need privacy, you go to the private compartment. It depends on the actual personal mood, and the Internet connection is great everywhere.
What is your favourite meeting place?
Game Zone. Or I like the “coupé“. People sit opposite each other and there is a possibility to draw, so it’s a great place to visualise something.
Thank you for the interview!
Article in cooperation with www.dailyupgrade.co.