HE.AL Project Goals

Discourse is a new software to be provided for free and as a cloud service by the company behind stack overflow. While browsing on the project itself, I could not stop from checking the features of the application to be developed.
I would argue that 90% of the web projects that need to be developed in these days have to include these features. Therefore here is a list of those features with focus on project He.al and others.

Mobile and Tablet
Designed for touch devices from day one. Automatic mobile and touch layouts that scale to fit your device.

Optimized for Reading
To keep reading, just keep scrolling. When you reach the bottom, suggested topics keep you reading.

Summarize Topics
Use the Summarize button to condense long topics to just the most interesting and popular posts.

Express agreement, support, and highlight interesting posts with the prominent ❤ button on every post.

Inline Context
Expand quotes, expand replies, or expand what this was in reply to.

Provide translations and a good strategy to make the application usable by different demographical groups.

Real Time Notifications
Know when someone replies interact with content being watched or otherwise. Options quotes you, mentions your @name, sends you a private message, links to your post, edits your post, or recategorizes your topic.

Friendly, human readable URLs and clean HTML. Optimized for Google indexing and searching.

Allow a simple plugin system

Overlay Editor
Compose with an overlay editor which never interrupts your reading – even if you navigate to a different topic.

Social Login
Easily add Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, GitHub, and other common social logins.

Private Communities
Make your entire site private, or just certain categories.

Blog Integration
Use our WordPress plugin to integrate a HE.AL into your blog. Or embed HE.AL into static HTML sites.

Rate Limits
Rate and content limits for all user actions; stricter for new users.

Easy Spam Cleanup
Two click spammer delete, email + IP ban, and auto-removal of all content.

Spam Blocking
Comprehensive spam blocking heuristics including new user sandboxing, user flag blocking, and standard nofollow.

Dashboard for staff that shows key stats on users, topics, and all user actions – along with top referring domains and topics.

Automatic URL Embedding
URLs to popular websites like Wikipedia and YouTube will include an inline summary. We fully support OpenGraph and oEmbed.

Advanced Image Handling
Add images through upload, drag and drop, or copy and paste. Large images automatically thumbnailed and lightboxed.

File Attachments
Include arbitrary file attachments of any allowed file type or file size in your posts.

Link Tracking
External links are shown with a visible click counter. Incoming and outgoing links to other topics are displayed next to each post.

Flexible Formatting
Mix and match Markdown, BBCode, and HTML formatting in posts.

Comprehensive API
Anything you see on screen, you can also do via an API call. HE.AL might be itself a JavaScript app that talks to our API.

Local Avatars
Built-in local avatar generation with no external dependencies. Alternately, select an existing Gravatar, or upload a custom avatar.

Email Invitations
Trusted users can invite friends via email to join and reply with a single click. Admins can batch invite users by uploading email addresses.

Automatic Drafts
We auto-save replies and topics to the server in the background as you type.

Revision History
Revision tracking on every edit, with a visual difference highlighter to show changes.

Wiki Posts
Mark posts as collaboratively editable by any trusted member of the community.

Encourage positive community behaviors through the included set of badges, or add your own custom badges.

Email Notifications
When you aren’t active on the website, your notifications will be automatically sent to you via email.

Email Replies
Reply to email notifications to post without visiting the website.

Inline Moderation
Fast inline controls to split, merge, close, archive, or recategorize topics.

Flag Queue
Highly visible moderator flag queue with optional email notification. One click to agree, disagree, or defer flags. Complete history.

Mailing List Support
Opt into a special mode where all messages are sent to you via email, exactly like a mailing list. Start new topics via email.

Community Hub
Official community support hub to discuss features, bugs, and support requests.

Private Messaging
Send private messages to a single user or to groups of users.

Web Backup and Restore
Backup and restore all your site data from your browser. Take your data to any host, anywhere, in a few clicks.

Automated Backups
Automatically back up your site data every day, either to the local filesystem, or to the cloud.

CDN Support
Easily plug in any CDN provider to speed up global access to your site.

The 7 minute StartUp Pitch deck

Photo Illustration Dana Lipnicka
Photo Illustration Dana Lipnicka

A StartUp Pitch should be no longer than 7 minutes! Not even 11 minutes! Has to be the magic, infinite number 7! I say infinite because in some cultures, including my own the number 7 conceptualizes somehow an infinity. You might as well relate the number to some myths you might have heard of like th 7 lives of a cat, 700 hundred concubins of king Solomon, 777 as the number of God or as the number of Access Permissions on Unix!

Making a presentation in 7, seemed actually quite a challenge. I sat down with my partner and created 7 slides. When you present something you love, you can wither present it in one sentence (they call it elevator pitch which I dislike the begging cannotation it has), or you will need a time needed for longing-smile to your enthusiasm which might take from a few minutes up to let’s say an evening in the Pub. But as it seems, you can deliver a #pitch in 7 minutes and here is how. This is what I learned in the process of doing a 7 minute presentation with my partner for a new startup!

Rule 1: Forget the technology!

This is really hard if you are betting on a solution which is solved in an alternative technology solution and competing traditional methods. You know the vision, you know the advantages and it all starts with the technology. You expect yourself to discuss technology advantages… Wrong! There are many business or trendy people raising funds out there. They know nothing of technology, someof them cannot even create a team of developers because are so shallow and yet they can raise millions. Technology is not fundamental in a pitch, it is an adjective!

Rule 2: Focus on the problem!

Everyone you will meet coming from the business world, might this be the University Professor who know only theory, up to the banker will give you one and one advice again! Go out and do some market research, ask people for their problems. Know the problems but more important, know how to express them in proper form. The best approach is to be yourself the consumer of your solution. Personally I prefer to solve a problem concerning me. This way I will find motivation to work on the solution. I believe most enthusias young entepreneurs do the same. It is not the neccessary approach though. End-line, investors invest in a solution to a problem which affects a large “market”.

Rule 3: Numbers are all that count

I mentioned Market in Rule 2. If you want to attract the attention of investors, show them the money. Your startup is as good as the potential revenue it can make. Seems like the best you can do in 7 minutes is to convince someone that you are targeting a real problem, affecting a large market. Look at the AirBnB presentations, the only focus of the presentation is the potential revenue they will be making.

Rule 4: Competitive Advantage

This is also critical to show … how you will enter the market. Actually I thought it is about the advantages, but since Rule 1 says no technology talk, then focus on distinct aspects which you can use to show a contrast with compettors from a market perspective. The advantage that technology or your solution will give without too much focus on technology itself.

Rule 5: People are also part of the package

You cannot focus on the technology, but you can “sell” the people! Who your partners are, what makes them extraordinary people to work with, what benefits will your startup from the people in your team is all you have to convince that your solution can solve the problem you are mentioning and can challenge the competitors you are facing.

The rest is cliché.