Four days in Barcelona for 4YFN and Mobile World Congress
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Four days in Barcelona for 4YFN and Mobile World Congress

Each year, more than 100,000 telecom and tech executives and employees from around the world travel to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress and the associated, startup-centric 4 Years From Now (4YFN) conference.

At Samsung NEXT, we see this time as an opportunity to connect with founders, investors, and potential partners to learn more about the key trends that will drive the tech industry in the coming years. Here’s a brief rundown of the events and sessions our team took part in.

Mobile Sunday & Founder Drinks

Before the festivities officially kicked off, our managing director for Europe Felix Petersen took part in Tech.eu’s Mobile Sunday event.

Mobile Sunday brought together founders, investors, and technologists to have candid conversations about the state of the European startup ecosystem. Felix participated in one of those panels, in which he shared what it’s like to be an investor in Europe today.

On Monday evening, Samsung NEXT & Tech.eu welcomed portfolio founders, friends, and partners to join us for an informal evening of cocktails and conversation at Caravelle in Barcelona’s Old City.

Our ventures, partnerships, and marketing groups were all represented, and startups from the Bay Area, New York, Berlin, and Tel Aviv attended.

Reverse reverse engineering engineering

Royi Benyossef, who is our ecosystem relations manager in Tel Aviv and a longtime Android developer, led this workshop session at 4YFN to help other app makers protect their apps from reverse engineering, man-in-the-middle attacks, and other hacks they’ll face.

While some attacks are aimed at merely stealing credentials — those of developers or their users — others are aimed at wholesale cloning of apps. In that case, developers could find their revenue disrupted while also paying for cloud resources used by the cloned, thereby being punished twice.

Keeping a close eye on analytics is the best way to detect when a hack has occurred, as hackers might use your cloud resources but probably won’t change the tracking tools. Any increase in cloud usage without a rise in revenue is a red flag.

Royi also gave developers tips for how to deter hackers, including using obfuscation and encryption and using tools like ProGuard and DexGuard to protect their apps. Unfortunately, there’s no foolproof way to keep hackers at bay.

“The harder you make it, the better you are, but it’s a never ending fight,” Royi told developers at the workshop.

Being an Entrepreneur in Europe in 2018.

“It’s easier than ever to start a company in 2018, but it’s harder than ever to be successful.”

That was the key takeaway from Europe managing director Felix Petersen at his keynote on entrepreneurship in 2018. Due to the low upfront cost of starting a company, the wide availability of seed capital, and the increasing willingness of qualified talent to work at a startup, the barrier to entry has been lowered for entrepreneurs to enter the market.

But due to the size of global tech giants like Facebook and Amazon, it’s harder than ever to create network effects or get your app in people’s hands. Distribution networks are harder to hack and the cost of marketing a new service to consumers is prohibitive.

So what’s an entrepreneur today to do? According to Felix, there are three strategies they can pursue.

The first is to build a lifestyle business. Rather than trying to build a venture-backed startup, entrepreneurs can do just fine by creating a business that might not have a huge exit but could provide a more than comfortable living.

The second is to do something no one else can. If you have the background and network to go deep in a tech vertical, you can build an advantage over the competition.

But if you don’t fall into that category, the best strategy is to find a nascent category and become one of the early movers in that space. In that respect, Felix pointed to blockchain and decentralization, which he called a fundamentally new way of looking at the web.

That’s where Felix would be if he were looking to start a new company, because as he said, “It’s very easy to imagine a lot of really big companies being reinvented on top of this stack.”

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