Ciklum = Outsourcing 2.0

Posted by Franco Dal Molin on September 14th, 2009

Check out this short SlideShare presentation:

New Job: Country Manager Switzerland at Ciklum

Posted by Franco Dal Molin on July 14th, 2009

Just a short post to share the news. I have decided to take on the position of Country Manager Switzerland at Ciklum.

Ciklum focuses on creating client’s own dedicated nearshore software development teams in Ukraine and a community of knowledge sharing to help clients to market quickly with less risk and minimal investment.

The IT outsourcing market is evolving, not only geographically, but with innovative new business models, services and methods in which providers and clients operate. Ciklum specializes in nearshore software development in Ukraine by employing a unique merge of technical expertise, human resources and administrative efficiencies in outsourcing.

As CTO of Collanos Software I always keep eyes and ears open for the best service providers and new innovative offerings. Back in May 2008 I came across Ciklum the first time, while I was researching the software outsourcing market specifically in the “Dedicated Development Teams” space. I was immediately intrigued by Ciklum’s unique offering, focus on establishing exclusive client development teams, and their overall transparency and professionalism! From many years of experience I can say, these are not attributes typically found with “traditional project-oriented” outsourcing providers out there.

As Country Manager I will represent and promote Ciklum and all its services in Switzerland. In parallel I will contunue to be President & CTO at Collanos Software, a company I founded in 2003.

UNYK – How unique can yet another social network be?

Posted by Franco Dal Molin on November 9th, 2008

I recently received the first invitation to join UNYK. Oh my… Yet another social network!? As of today, I am already on a number of networks:

  • Plaxo: 711 addresses / 175 connections
  • Xing: 310 contacts
  • LinkedIn: 219 connections
  • Facebook: 165 friends

Additionally, I registered and played around with Spock, Naymz, Blue and a several more, but never committed to use them on a regular on-going basis. On how many different social networks can or should one possibly be? What makes sense? Is this still manageable?

Back to UNYK.


The invitation mentioned something about “Better than Plaxo”, so I decided to at least have a quick look. The main difference between Plaxo/UNYK and all other social networks is that Plaxo/UNYK are address books combined with social networks features, which means you can manage ALL of your addresses/contacts, even if they are not registered on Plaxo/UNYK. So the question would possibly narrow down to “Is UNYK better than Plaxo and why would an existing Plaxo member want to change to UNYK?”

It was hard to find good reviews and comparisons online. A few users expressed their concerns about Plaxo being acquired by ComCast, the omni powerful US cable provider, and were worried about their privacy. UNYK on the other hand is a Canadian private company. Others said they liked the “early Plaxo” better, when it was focusing primarily on being an online address book with great synchronization/backup features. Not everybody seems to like the new “overloaded” (with Connections, Pulse, Calendar, etc.) Plaxo. In fact, I had noticed myself that important sync features, like “LinkedIn <–> Plaxo” were suddenly not available anymore. No wonder, if they begin to eat into LinkedIn’s turf.

From a features point of view of the “core” capabilities (address book and connecting), the two systems are probably comparable. A more extensive comparison would be needed. Right now I don’t have the time to do that.

As of now, I have little motivation (and reason) to migrate my 711 addresses and 175 connections from Plaxo to UNYK, that’s for sure. The switching pain is just too big. The “lock-in” seems to work. On the other side, it is GREAT – and important – to know that there is a serious alternative to Plaxo!

If you are already on UNYK of would like to test it, please feel free to connect with me. Check out my UNIK web profile and invite me using my UNYK ID: 235 YHT. Share your own opinion by posting a short comment.

Nearshoring to Eastern Europe (Group on Xing)

Posted by Franco Dal Molin on April 6th, 2008

Many European organizations (from small start-ups to large corporations) are outsourcing their software development, testing, and maintenance tasks to specialized providers in Eastern Europe and the CIS. Because of the the geographical proximity, this outsourcing model is often called “nearshoring”.

I have created a new group on the Xing business network. The goal of the group is to represent the interests of the buyers’ side, by sharing practical experiences, exchanging tips and advises, bringing transparency into the practices of this industry, learning from each others, collecting best practices, avoiding typical pitfalls, and so forth.

The group is exclusive to European professionals in the software industry BUYING the services in Eastern Europe. Outsourcing providers trying to find new customers will not be allowed to join the group. With this narrow focus and membership profile, the group will actually be able to much better build-up trust between its members and become a highly relevant resource for many European professionals.

To join the group (you must be a Xing member), please click here:

I look forward to many new members and a valuable exchange of experiences.

MS-DOS 5 Upgrade Video

Posted by Franco Dal Molin on September 13th, 2007

This is hilarious. Check it out. Why is software not promoted this way more often?

Two Years in San Francisco – Now Back in Zurich

Posted by Franco Dal Molin on August 25th, 2007

Last month I returned to my hometown, Zurich, Switzerland, for good. I had spent almost two years in the San Francisco Bay Area on a mission for my start-up Collanos Software. It was a very valuable time and Collanos came a long way during this period; many milestones and goals were reached! Initially, it was an exploratory approach, not exactly knowing what Silicon Valley, the world’s premier epicenter of technology innovation, entrepreneurship and venture capital, would bear for our company. One of the initial ideas and options was to fully re-launch Collanos as an US company, including raising venture capital locally. It turned out differently. During the first 3-4 months, I was mainly bootstrapping our initiatives, networking a lot, attending dozens and dozens of technology and business events in the Valley, and meeting with local professionals on a regular basis. The Bay Area is indeed full of experienced “been there, done that” serial entrepreneurs. Exchanging thoughts and bouncing business plans is common place – everybody does it, all the time, everywhere! I might write a separate story about my experiences in the Bay Area. In the beginning of 2006 it was clear: Collanos would keep its HQ in Zurich and open a subsidiary in San Francisco. I was responsible for incepting the US operations, launching the first public Beta version of our software, and hiring a number of US “angel” employees, contractors and consultants. Interestingly, we found our main investors and strategic partners in Switzerland, not in the US! You can read all about these events chronologically on Collanos’ company blog.


To make a long story short: In the spring of 2007 the board of Collanos decided that the US subsidiary would focus only on PR, marketing and community support, covering mainly the English speaking American territories. Furthermore, we hired an innovative outbound PR agency, Future Works, which continues to promote our services and enhance our visibility in the Americas. All technology related activities, such as product management, research & development, as well as operations & infrastructure, are now being concentrated in Switzerland. We are also managing our software development teams in Ukraine and India from Zurich. As Collanos’ CTO I will be in charge of all these areas and work primarily out of Zurich.


Of course, it is very nice to be back “home”. After all, Zurich is the city with the highest life quality of the world. It’s not a coincidence that Google establishes its second largest campus (after the Googleplex in Mountain View) here in Zurich. That’s right, Zurich is also a highly attractive European location for many leading ICT companies.

Seedcamp for European Entrepreneurs

Posted by Franco Dal Molin on July 16th, 2007

European VC’s (Index, 3i) have launched Seedcamp, an intensive boot camp week in London for European entrepreneurs. Teams with prototypes can apply and 20 will be selected by an expert board. The 5 finalists will receive Euro 50k in funding (for a 10% stake in the start-up company) as well as additional non-monetary support.


I like what Seedcamp “Believes In”:

    • Europe has all the right ingredients – environment, talent, capital and role models – to build world beating technology businesses
    • It’s hard for young entrepreneurs to secure funding, develop the right connections and build teams to supercharge their business
    • Once a year, we will bring together Europe’s top young founders and a world class network of mentors in one place
    • We will provide seed funding, but more importantly we will expose these teams to the collective experience of people who can help inspire the next generation of Europe’s future serial entrepreneurs

      There is also a Seedcamp Blog.

      Free Resources from Enterprise 2.0 Conference

      Posted by Franco Dal Molin on July 12th, 2007

      If you are interested in collaboration software solutions and adoption strategies in the enterprise, check out the resources the organizers of the Enterprise 2.0 conference have just made available online. You will find great keynote videos, photos, podcasts, speaker slides, and more.


      Collanos Software was also invited to present as one of the four LaunchPad companies. The above picture was taken during Collanos’ six minutes announcement of our new Voice Services.

      Best Commute Ever

      Posted by Franco Dal Molin on July 10th, 2007

      Living in the Potrero Hill neighbourhood (aka “On the Hill”) and working downtown San Francisco has been quite a fantastic experience; especially when it comes to the daily 20 minutes (one way) easy commute with a bicycle on mild and rain-free summer days.

      I always wanted to explore the new Google Maps features, so I decided to document my commute as a public “My Map”.


      The map embeds a series of pictures I took while riding my bike to the office. The actual pictures are stored on flickr and mashed-up in Google Map’s “Placemarks”. It took me about an hour to create the whole thing. Enjoy!