The 10 best prezis of 2012

Fresh from the Prezi blog:

When you open a new canvas in Prezi, the vast, empty space holds a lot of opportunities and perhaps a couple of failures. This is why it is important to have a reference point that guides you in developing the structure, content, and visuals for your prezi. Afterall, that’s what inspiration is all about! Well-designed prezis work not only as a whole, complete story you can enjoy, but also as real-life examples that show the details and guidelines that make the result so fantastic.

In this post we have collected a top 10 list of the best prezis of 2012. These can act as a great board of inspiration for your next prezi, no matter if it is a university or a business presentation, or even a hobby project.

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Startups Exits Event on the 17th Jan, 2013

Join us and corporate development principals and successful entrepreneurs for a special evening event on the topic of Startup Exits.

Hear stories from entrepreneurs who’ve sold their companies; how they did it, what they learned and what they would do differently next time.
Meet M&A leaders from some of the most active acquirers in the cloud, B2B, and enterprise space. Learn what they’re looking for, how their processes work, and how you can best position your startup for a healthy acquisition.

Enjoy complimentary appetizers and network with colleagues over an open bar.

It’s shaping up to be a fantastic event; we have speakers from A16Z, Marketo, Jive, Zendesk, Salesforce, Exact Target and DropBox confirmed. This is a great platform to socialize with a targeted, high-potential, and very-appreciative audience of about ~150 startup founders (including many from YC, TechStars, 500Startup, etc.).

BootstrapLabs is co-hosting this event with our partner, Venture Archetypes, and it’s on location at our San Francisco office right at Rocket Space (181 Fremont St).

More details and RSVP here:

Happy Holidays!

From all of us at BootstrapLabs to all of you, Prezified Happy Holidays!

(Note Prezi below will not play on Mobile Web Browsers, click here for more options)

Getting a Leg Up in the Managed Services Market

Fresh from Witsbits:

One type of company we’ve been working with a lot recently is providers of managed IT services (often called Managed Service Providers or MSPs), which typically support “working IT” for their clients.  As I’ve been working across the industry to help MSPs get more efficient with virtualization, I’ve recognized some common challenges that many providers face:

1.  Keeping Costs Under Control: It’s a competitive world out there, and the MSP space is no exception. All MSPs are working hard to keep their costs down while providing high service levels. Their clients often pay a fixed monthly price, so it’s up to the MSP to deliver quality while minimizing cost (which is the typical way MSPs can increase their margins).

2.  Delivering Quality Efficiently: In contrast to many consultants that actually make more money when they spend more time on a task, MSPs get more profitable by spending less time making IT work. Their clients don’t care as much about the details of how everything is done, as long as their email, business apps, etc. all work consistently.

3.  Managing Distributed Infrastructures: The very nature of an MSP targeting small to medium-sized businesses requires managing small sets of servers in many locations – on-site at each customer’s offices, and sometime in combination with servers in the MSPs data center or in other hosted facilities. As a matter of fact, the more successful an MSP is, the more distributed and diverse its environment becomes, and the bigger infrastructure headaches it deals with.

With challenges like these, it’s no surprise that successful MSPs are some of the most well-oiled companies I’ve seen. I’ve noticed three key best practices that are common amongst the best MSPs:

1.  Serving a Niche: While not unique to MSPs, this best practice is even more critical when so much (but certainly not all) of what an MSP does is based on largely commoditized technologies – and hardware and bandwidth are getting cheaper all the time. Not only can deep knowledge of the most popular technologies for a particular industry, company size, or geography help customers feel comfortable that their IT provider understands their business, it can also help the MSP save time and keep margins high.

2.  On-boarding Customers Quickly: MSPs at the top of their game can be amazingly fast at getting their customers’ servers and applications up and running, including initial setup and conversion from old systems.  This in turn helps those MSPs offer lower prices, which reduces barriers and increases ROI for new customers as they switch providers and/or systems. Streamlining customer on-boarding is a great way for MSPs to win more deals.

3.  Leveraging Strategic Virtualization: Admittedly I’m biased, but I’ve seen MSPs save massive amounts of time and money by leveraging virtualization with centralized management and automation. SaaS-based virtualization solutions like Witsbits offer MSPs greater flexibility and ease of use, so they can seamlessly manage very disparate, hybrid environments.

As a matter of fact, Witsbits is undergoing pilot projects with several technology service providers to help them get more efficient and keep costs low.  Some specific examples include an MSP that’s managing servers spread out over more than 100 of its customers’ geographically dispersed locations; a point of sale provider that’s working to improve efficiency as it manages and monitors its clients’ point of sale servers; and an infrastructure-as-a-service provider that’s deploying virtual machines for its public and private cloud environments powered by 30,000 servers.

Please contact us if you’re an MSP that’s interested in gaining better efficiencies using SaaS-based virtualization. We’re here to help and love to hear from you!

Mikael Lirbank, CEO, Witsbits

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New features for Audiodraft Music Library

Fresh from Audiodraft:

We just published our first update from many to come for Audiodraft Music Library. It now allows two new uses – 1) you can request customization for the tracks easily directly from the composer and 2) you are able to bid for the price for a specific license. Both of these are explained in detail below.

Get production music customized to your needs

All the content on Audiodraft Music Library is produced by our network of over 15,000 music composers. We are proud to present a new feature which allows you to request changes to our production music tracks directly from the composers themselves.

Start by searching our production music library to find a track that matches your needs. By registering to Audiodraft you also get access to the “My Favorites” section, which allows you to collect suitable tracks to favorite lists for easier access when reviewing the possibilities. Once you’ve found your perfect tune, click the “Buy” button and select the “Customize” option from the page. You can also license the track as it is by clicking the “Select this license”.

On the “Custom Music Library request” page, start by selecting the duration of the license you need. This will automatically fill in the price for the license. You have the option to change the price you offer. The more customization you need for the track the more you should add to the licensing price. Once you have the license and price information inputted, click the “Request for modifications” link on the bottom of the page and input the details of your customization needs.

Once you click the “Send offer” button, the request will be sent for the composer’s approval. Once they have accepted your offer, you can pay for the licensing fee. This will open up a separate project page where the composer can upload the files you requested and you have the option to review everything. Once you’re satisfied, click the “Release payment” button and you will be able to download all the files and we will handle the payment to the composer. Simple and secure.

Bid for the price of the license

Audiodraft Music Library now also allows you to make an offer for any of the license types. The process also works through the customization feature (see the chapter above).

Start by finding a perfect track from the Music Libary. After clicking the “Buy” button, and selecting the “Customize” option, you will end up on the “Custom Music Library Request” page. When you select the duration for your license, the price field will be populated with a default price for the defined duration. All you have to do is to change the price and send the offer for the composer to approve.

Please note that we still do not allow bidding with prices lower to the 1 year license default price.

Updates to Audiodraft

We are constantly improving Audiodraft and adding new features and more music to Audiodraft Music Library. The best way to keep up to date is to subscribe to our customer newsletter.

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New Release: Install Any Operating System

Fresh from Witsbits:

This release is particularly cool! You may now install any guest operating system, where ever the server is located. Just select a guest operating system from the list of installation ISO images, or if your favorite or custom operating system is not available, then you can just add it to your custom list of images. We’ve also thrown in a bunch of user interface upgrades and other enhancements with this release.

Check it out!

The reason we’re a bit extra exited about this release is because it’s the last step in making Witsbits completely flexible in regards to VM formats and supported guest operating systems.

You can now:

  • launch VMs from the list of pre-configured templates,
  • add you own VMs from other hypervisors,
  • install guest operating systems from a list of ISOs
  • or add an installation ISO for what ever weird operating system you can come to think of.
You may host your VMs on:
  • your own physical servers, or
  • on servers provided by our hosting partners.
Kind cool, huh?
Next, screenshots!
Hit Start on any ISO image (ISOs have a round icon to the left)
Give your VM a name and a password and choose where you want to deploy it, then hit Power On
The VM starts with the ISO image and now you should click Connect
The connect guide pops up and if you connect with VNC you can perform the regular installation procedure for your guest operating system – that’s it, you have a new custom VM

What if my favorite operating system is not in the list?

You may add any ISO image to your library. Click the Add Template button, pick a name and enter the URL to your ISO image, and don’t forget to check the This is an installation ISO – then click Add and you have a new ISO template that you can use with the steps described above

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New Release: Import Virtual Machines

Fresh from Witsbits:

New stuff – You can now (or actually since November 1) extend our library of pre-configured VMs with your own custom VMs or templates. Just add your VMs to Witsbits and you can quickly launch them on any server, in any location, when ever you want to.

The following virtual machine containers are currently supported

  • VMDK – Virtual Machine Disk (VMware),
  • VDI – Virtual Disk Image (VirtualBox)
  • QCOW2 – QEMU Copy On Write (KVM and Red Hat)
Please let us know if you need support for another format and we’d be happy to add it for you.

This is how it works:

Click the Add button.
Type a name for the template, enter the URL to the VM container and select the OS type. Then click Add.
The template is in your list of templates.
Click Start on the template to open the start dialog. Then enter a name for the VM and choose where to deploy it. Next, click Power On to start the VM.

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Building a cloud computing pioneer

Fresh from Witsbits:

This post was originally posted at Compare The Cloud

Lately I’ve been getting lots of questions about being one of the original cloud computing pioneers and the story of Witsbits, so I thought I’d get it down here. My co-founders and I created Witsbits in 2006, and after experimenting with a few different cloud offerings, we eventually shifted our focus onto selling software for cloud deployments. By 2010, everyone wanted to jump on the cloud bandwagon, but we quickly realized that most companies were intimidated by the complexity of available products. This troubled me.

One day in January 2011, I woke up on a typically dark and cold Swedish morning with an idea that I just couldn’t shake. I’d occasionally dreamt up ideas before, but those seemingly great thoughts always turned out to really suck after only a short period of sober contemplation. So I didn’t expect this one to be any different, but it was.

Continue reading

Mikael Lirbank, CEO, Witsbits

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New LIVEvisor – smaller, better, faster

Fresh from Witsbits:

Today we’re very happy to annonce a major release of LIVEvisor. The fastest way to virtualize your servers has gotten even better.

The new LIVEvisor is:

  • Smaller – Reduced memory footprint
  • Better – Support for broader range of hardware
  • Faster – Increased performance

LIVE visor is a bare-metal hypervisor on a CD or USB memory that you just boot your servers from. It is self-configuring and requires no installation. How it works?

How do I get my hands on it?
  1. Sign up and log in to Witsbits Director
  2. Click Start on one of the VMs in the Library and the Start VM modal opens.
  3. Then select Add an in-house server from the Run on drop-down list.
  4. Follow the guide.

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New release: VM Failover

Fresh from Witsbits:

The new Witsbits release enables failover by allowing users to switchover virtual machines from a failed host server to an operational host server. If one of your host server fails then log in to the web based management console, select a VM on a failed host, click the Failover button and select an operational server to re-launch it on. Witsbits will move the VM from the failed host to the operational host. This capability is automatically enabled for all VMs on host servers with network attached storage.

This release also upgrades the management interface with numerous additions and fixes. Check it out and see for your self – and let me know what you think!

The screenshots:

A host with a VM has failed
Select the VM and click on the Failover button
Select an operational host server to switchover the VM to and click Failover

Stay cool,

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Scandinavian Startup Night at RocketSpace

We know it is last minute, but join us and meet founders of your favorite Scandinavian startups, among others Prezi CEO/Founder Peter Arvai, and hear them reflect on their journey to the Valley. The event is at Rocket Space, what BootstrapLabs and many of our startups call home in San Francisco.

Learn how the Scandinavian mindset plays in a startup context and how deeply ingrained social norms must be challenged to run a startup. Develop an understanding of why Scandinavians are hard workers in general – and why their startups are prone for success.

Register here:

LinkedIn, Thanks For The Product Validation

Fresh from Zerply:

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so we would like to extend our thanks to the LinkedIn product team 🙂


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New release: Delegate Management Access

Fresh from Witsbits:

With the new release of Witsbits you can now assign individual users access to manage particular servers. This is very useful if you wish to delegate privileges to particular employees or customers (so they can manage their servers themselves) but don’t want them to have access to your whole infrastructure.

There is no upgrade procedure, all hypervisors are already upgraded (release occurred last Friday).

Your users can be Administrators (full access) or Restricted Users (only access to assigned servers)
Check the servers you want to assign to the selected user
The restricted user can now log in and will have access to manage the assigned servers

That’s it until next time. Stay cool!
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New release: VM Migration

Fresh from Witsbits:

We are happy to announce a new release of Witsbits. The next time you log in, you’ll be able to migrate virtual machines between different host servers. Just click Migrate on the virtual machine you want to migrate and then select the destination host and you’re done.

It’s also worth mentioning that we have upgraded the UI to support more flexible snapshots, enabling you to take snapshots of any of your running virtual machines with the click of a button. In the name of ease of use we had previously integrated this into the off-site backup capability, but it turned out we’ve been taking it a step too far and thus we revert to making snapshots a separate function.

With the click of a button you can make snapshots of your running virtual machines or trigger a migration of your virtual machines from one host to another (marked in purple):

Select the destination server to migrate your virtual machine to, and click Migrate:

That’s it, thanks!

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Join BootstrapLabs founder and meet the best in Northern Europe on 16th to 18th of October 2012

Join BootstrapLabs founder and CEO, Nicolai Wadstrom as he keynotes Arctic 15 on the 16th of October this year!

Arctic 15 is the annual conference for Nordic and Baltic growth entrepreneurs. Two days full of action, including an invite only day for  founders, investors, C-level executives and our partners. Besides our own Founder of BootstrapLabs, great startups and networking, you will hear an amazing line-up of speakers: Founder of Evernote – Phil Libin, Founder of Zendesk – Mikkel Svane, Founder of Klarna – Niklas Adelberth and the Founder of Erply – Kristjan Hiiemaa.

Read more at the Arctive 15 website