1. Causathon: The Altruistic Side of Hacking

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    My cross-country journey comes to close as I write this on a planeheading back from LAX. As I look out across the skyline, I reflect back on a weekend of hacking for good. 

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    The final hour was upon us at General Assembly’s (GA) Santa Monica office. Sunlight seeped through the large windows, exposing a mixture of hope and determination on participants’ faces.

    11 teams had been coding away for the past 23 hours as part of Brand-Knew’s inaugural hackathon, Causathon, a #hackforgood event created to tackle the gap between the non-profit sector and the tech world. Each participating team was partnered with a non-profit to create a solution to an assigned social problem within a 24 hour period.

    Representing Mailjet as a sponsor, I was soon to make the toughest decision of the weekend — crowning our API contest winner. The team with the most innovative and impactful hack would go home with a Parrot A.R. Drone, in addition to the one month premium Mailjet subscription given to each Causathon participant.

    Over the course of the night, the GA hall saw a delightful synergy of engineering and creativity. I had spent the earlier hours of the hackathon setting teams up with free accounts and educating developers on how to integrate with our APIs. Teams were assigned a range of social issues from education for disadvantaged youth to Parkinson’s and poverty.

    Each team took their own approach to tackling their recently assigned project.  Some went to the back to the white boards, carefully diagraming, wireframing out an approach, while others dove right into the deep end — fired up their terminals, opened their text editors and started writing code. The languages of choice seemed to be Objective-C (iOS) and Ruby on Rails.

    As the clock neared midnight and teams began to get to the heart of their hacks, I worked to re-inject energy into the crowd with an email tech talk, a few rounds of Red Bull, and then proceed to fire up the Parrot A.R. Drone and fly it around. Maneuvering it all around the hall, I hovered close over each of the participating teams’ tables; it could be seen that the cool downwash from propellers was just what the hackers needed to keep going through the night.

    When the 24 hour countdown reached zero, it was time to hear the presentations.  So many great ideas paired with equally awesome execution! Teams proposed a range of solutions from helping Parkinson’s patients with transportation to encouraging youth to vote by educating them on various political candidates via a “Tinder-like” app to a safe social platform for Middle Eastern citizens to anonymously voice their thoughts. It was time to decide the winners…

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    After a long period of deliberation, the Mailjet API winning title was given to Raymond and Mengmeng for their Enough Project app. They truly hit it over the fence with their hack to end genocide and crimes against humanity. The seamless and elegant Enough Project solution makes it easy for people to get involved, to spread awareness and take action. With just a few clicks, a user can send personalized emails to friends about various human rights issues around the globe.

    Overall, it was a true honor to work beside all of the altruistic hackers at Causathon, to see their ideas grow into something tangible that will drive positive, meaningful change in the world. It could definitely be said that no matter who went home with the prize, every participant won at making a difference.

                                                             ….

    I’m about to get some sleep and I hope you guys are too! Thanks for having us, Brand-Knew and General Assembly, it was great to meet everyone. Good job to everyone who participated!

     

    Over and out.

     

    Tyler Nappy

    Developer Evangelist

  2. Mailjet keeps Berlin cool at Webmontag Summer Party

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    At a fully booked event Monday night, the best of the Berlin startup scene got together at Webmontag’s third annual Summer Party. As the sun set over Kreuzberg, around 500 entrepreneurs, developers, designers, and start-ups gathered to celebrate that summer is finally here - and Mailjet was of course there to join the party!

    For those of our readers who have never been to a party in Berlin, we can tell you that the three following things are a must: beer, a good DJ and Bratwurst. This party was no exception. With the smooth mix of electronic beats and the smell of German gourmet sausages roasting on the grill flowing through the air, the scene was set for a lovely summer evening.

    We were happy to support Webmontag in making the party happen and had the chance to meet and get to know a lot of people from the Berlin startup community. And with the current heatwave of over 30 degrees Celsius in Berlin, our Mailjet koozies were the perfect party accessory to keep everyone’s beverages cool.

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  3. A Win-Win Situation

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    This past week, we came across a great triggered email from Squarespace; sent to users a day before their 14-day free trial ends, the email reminds them to upgrade to continue using the service. We like to call this type of message a win-win situation.

    The average consumer sees roughly 5,000 marketing messages a day. That’s before we factor in interactions with family, friends and co-workers. With so much clutter in our daily lives, a little automated reminder goes a long way to keep your brand top of mind.

    As marketers, automating certain processes can free up time to focus on mining data, understanding your customers and brainstorming new solutions.

    Let’s break down this Squarespace email to see what lessons can be learned from design and copy.

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    Your Free Trial Expires in 24 hours

    The call-to-action here is loud and clear — notice the choice of words too. Squarespace says 24 hours, not one day. Numbers drive a greater sense of urgency and are proven to catch the reader’s attention in both subject lines and copy.

    Checking in with users the beginning of the conversion funnel can help generate good feedback and build a stronger relationship.

    Rekindle the Spark

    Remind your customers why they were drawn to you in the first place — reiterate how they will benefit from staying with your product. This email shows rather than just telling what features a paid membership will offer.

    Link Throughout

    Sprinkle links throughout the body of the email to maximize the opportunities for a user to interact with your brand. Squarespace does a great job of including multiple touchpoints, while not detracting from the main call-to-action, the upgrade button at the bottom.

    Support

    Make it easy for users to reach out — especially while they are still exploring your product. Let users know their feedback is valued and build a relationship that will win their trust.

    Be Genuine

    Squarespace starts by addressing your website address (blurred out in green above) and signs off the email with a handwritten signature. We feel special! Okay, so we also know that this is a pre-scheduled email sent to plenty of other users, but it’s more humanized. This says that they’ve taken the time out to know and understand us.


    What kind of work are you currently doing with triggered emails? What would you like to learn more about? Sound off in the comments below!

  4. Flight School Friday: DMARC Results in 90% Reduction in Spam

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    Alex Stamos, Chief Information Security Officer at Yahoo!, recently testified in front of a US Senate sub-committee that Yahoo!’s implementation of DMARC has reduced spam purported to come from Yahoo email accounts by over 90%. His testimony was part of a wider investigation into online advertising and hidden hazards to consumer security and data privacy. Stamos emphasized that spam is the easiest way for malicious parties to earn illicit money online. Email spoofing in particular, is a commonly used method; spammers will impersonate a person or brand you are familiar with and solicit personal information (credit card numbers, online accounts).

    DMARC, Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance, is a technical specification created by a group of organizations to help reduce email spoofing. It expands on the established authentication tools SPF and DKIM, allowing senders to indicate which mechanism they are using and includes a policy that applies actions a receiving email server should take in the event that an email fails authentication (report, quarantine, reject). DMARC standardizes how the receiving email server handles these events and provides a mechanism for it to report failed authentication to the sending server.

    Email spoofing is a serious threat to brand credibility; the yearly sent volume is astounding. In a press release DMARC.org published earlier this year, Twitter said it discovered 2.5 billion spoofed emails related to its domains over the course of a 45-day monitoring period. Customers are pretty wary of sharing personal information these days, possibly because of the increase in circulated spam. In a recent study conducted by SDL, 62% of survey respondents said they worry about how brands are using their information.

    Implementing DMARC will significantly reduce the risk of email spoofing and strengthen customer-brand relationship. Twitter reported that they saw a significant drop in spoofed emails once they implemented DMARC. What was once a whopping 110 million attack messages a day is now down to a few thousand.

    Customer trust is hard to win, but the data that results is extremely valuable. Globally, 79% of customers are more willing to share personal information with a brand they trust. Mining this customer data helps brands understand customer behavior and shape future communication.

    Mailjet fully supports DMARC, reach out to the Mailjet team to learn more about implementing this mechanism on your domains.

  5. 5 Email Apps To Supercharge Your Productivity

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    At Mailjet, we’re focused on helping create and deliver compelling emails that break through the noise of your contacts’ inboxes. But we realize there’s probably noise in your own inbox that you’d like some help managing. Spend less time organizing and more time doing! Here is a roundup of a few great apps to help clear the clutter, vouched for by some of your very own Mailjet crew members!

    Mailbox

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    Contrary to popular belief, it’s possible to get to inbox zero from your phone! Mailbox is an email client for iOS and Android that aims to give you a better overview of your inbox. If you’re looking for a fresh start, we recommend their “Help Me Get to Zero” button which offers a few smart options to collectively archive all emails, or just your unread or starred messages. Mailbox’s app also simplifies the day-to-day inbox experience with four simple commands; swipe right to Archive, long swipe right to Delete, swipe left to snooze and long swipe left to Add To List.

    Our favorite productivity hack is to create lists (long swipe left to save). Try out some of the lists we use; receipt (for expenses), to-do, social media, news.

    Streak

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    Streak is a small CRM plug-in for Google Chrome that tracks when recipients open an email you’ve sent and how you’ve interacted with them in the past. Alright, we’ll admit we feel a little “Big Brother” using this tool on our friends, but the business applications are justifiable.

    When pursuing a sales lead, you’ll be able to group all conversations with a customer into one chain to provide context for future interactions. Also open a spreadsheet right inside your inbox to quickly visualize and manage your prospects and dealflow.

    Streak is easy to install and automatically syncs up to your Gmail account, so each email you send will include a small bar at the bottom with a Track/Untracked check box and the ability to schedule the email to deploy at a later time. Say goodbye to the email “black hole” because you’ll never again wonder if your email was received — you’ll know.

    Acompli

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    Acompli reaches beyond email organization and attacks the heart of on-the-go work productivity. Their mobile app neatly tabs out mail, calendar, attachments and contacts. A helpful feature is that you can attach your calendar availability into the body of an email. No more awkward toggling between Gmail, Google Docs and your calendar. If you’re looking for a multi-tasking solution on your phone, Acompli is it.

    Boomerang

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    Important emails getting lost in the mix of things? Need a reminder to follow up on an email after the weekend? Have your emails stored away and sent back to you at the appropriate time with Boomerang. This Chrome plug-in will sync into your Gmail account with a red “Send Later” button at the bottom of every new email you create. Never forget to follow up with a client or miss a bill payment again!

    Unroll.me

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    Manage all your subscriptions in one click with Unroll.me. After signing up, the app shows all of your subscriptions on one page, allowing you to quickly unsubscribe from messaging that is no longer relevant. Then, combine all of your subscriptions into one daily digest called The Rollup. See all of your updates in one go, at a time of your choosing. This three year old startup will prove to be a win-win for both consumers and marketers; consumers have more control to open their Rollup when they’re most inclined to buy, leading to a more engaged audience and higher ROI for businesses.

    Did we miss any apps? Let us know what your favorite tools are - share in the comments below.

  6. TechCrunch Disrupt In Review

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    We wrapped up our first ever TechCrunch Disrupt Conference this past week! It was a great five days packed with creative hacks, well-prepared pitches and some big-name speakers.

    Disrupt kicked off bright and early Saturday morning, when we set up our booth at the Manhattan Center - our temporary home for both the Hackathon and the Conference.

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    With the launch of our new v3 API, we hosted a custom contest for the over three hundred developers at the Hackathon. The top three teams to build hacks with both the most creative use of our APIs and best overall execution would go home with prize packages (cash, Fancy gift cards and Karma hotspots). Teams had from 1:30pm Saturday to 9:30am Sunday to conceptualize and build their products.

    Our rockstar Developer Evangelists Tyler Nappy and Shubam Sharma were on hand around the clock, to help brainstorm and accelerate. We came out of the 20 hour hack session survivors of an impromptu Nerf War, highly caffeinated and having met a good number of the hacking teams. It turns out sleep deprivation is a great relationship builder!

    Also, the Mailjet/TechCrunch Disrupt Tour Concert tee proved to be a pretty popular piece of swag. By sunrise, we were nearly through our supply! Some of the hackers even went on to present in our tees (Thanks for the love, guys!).

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    A range of apps were built on the Mailjet APIs; from practical to practically hilarious. It was a tough decision, but ultimately we narrowed down the winners to; Concur Trip, Employee Appreciation and It Gon Rain.  Again, a big congratulations to these three teams!

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    By Monday morning, the Mailjet team had caught up on some sleep and we were ready to roll again, kicking off the conference with the announcement of our newest v3 features; A/x testing, Campaign Comparison, Segmentation & Personalization.  

    These features will allow marketers and developers to take their insights to the next level by leveraging historical data and understanding customers from a one-to-one relationship. For now, some of these are in private beta, but we’re very excited to be rolling out the remainder of these features on plans over the course of the next month. Check out our demos here!

    When not manning the booth and showcasing our demo, we got a chance to listen to speakers from a variety of industries, including Astro Teller of Google[x], David Byttow, CEO and Co-Founder of Secret, Shane Smith CEO of Vice and Marissa Mayer CEO of Yahoo!. TechCrunch reporters probed the speakers with insightful questions, giving an inside look at how some of these large media and software companies are looking to revolutionize social interactions and how we as consumers are also influencing this process. “The strategy is to make [your product] as good as possible, not try to convince people it’s good.” said Chris Wanstrath, CEO of Github.

    Missed the conference? Fret not, catch the best of Disrupt on TechCrunch’s Youtube Channel.

     

  7. Stress Hacks: How to win at the Techcrunch Disrupt Hackathon

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    Techcrunch Disrupt Hackers, this one’s for you. On the eve of the Hackathon, you’re likely mapping out your game plan for the weekend ahead, stress levels may be rising…

    Here are some tips to make the most of your session and go home with a working prototype and prizes in hand:

    1) Leverage Mailjet’s APIs

    If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our highly adaptable APIs. Take some time to read through our API documentation and blog posts for some product inspiration. Sign up for a Mailjet account as well to get a head start. This will save you valuable time at the beginning of the day and you will be able to jump right into building.

    2) Pace Your “Run”

    The Hackathon is much like a marathon; it takes endurance and keeping the finish line in mind. Be sure to pace yourself and rotate taking breaks with your teammates. Shubham, our Developer Evangelist, advises taking a breather every three hours. “You can’t be awake all the time, or else your productivity will go down. I’ve found from my experience that three hours is a good balance to stay well rested,” he says.

    3) Don’t Expect To Do It All; Divide And Conquer

    Although the Hackathon is by nature a developer focused event, it is beneficial to stack your team with a diverse range of specialities. Instead of working together to tackle the larger theme you’ve been tasked with, divide the issue into smaller more digestible pieces for your team to solve. Marketing and business focused team members can work on packaging the bigger picture for the presentation while Product Managers can draft up a timeline and ensure everything is progressing along and your team is communicating efficiently.

    4) Don’t Get Caught Up In the Details

    Don’t forget that the end goal is to create a MVP (Minimum Viable Product). The design doesn’t need to be all there, just the core functionalities. Be sure to set aside some time with your team at the beginning of the Hackathon to define these goals. What features are most important in telling the overall story of your product? What will resonate most with the audience?

    5) Energy Drinks

    These fizzy, sugary drinks will be your best friend once the early morning hours hit. Just be sure not to overdo it! The sugar crash is not pretty.

  8. Inside Mailjet’s HQ

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    This past week, I’ve been drinking espresso shots, eating fresh pastries and hustling from the Paris HQ! Myself and the rest of the Mailjet NY team visited HQ for some training and team building, which proved to be extremely valuable as we prepare for TechCrunch Disrupt.

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    Our HQ offices are located in Sentier, a quaint neighborhood in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris. Historically known as the Garment District, Sentier has become home to the emerging French startup scene in recent years, now taking on the nickname “Silicon Sentier”.  

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     It’s amazing to be part of a bilingual company where French and English is used interchangeably. Our global growth becomes very evident when the Mailjet team comes together to meet. Over the course of the past year, we’ve grown into a larger office (pictured here) and we’re in a much stronger position to serve our clients with dedicated staff to tailor services for each major market.

    Aside from HQ, we have offices in 5 other countries, so we typically do a lot of our meetings through Skype. It was a great treat to meet in person with a whiteboard to brainstorm and discuss. There was some very productive discussion, we have a lot of cool things planned for you guys at TechCrunch Disrupt and in the coming weeks — so stay tuned!

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    Work hard, play hard. At the very back corner of the office, you’ll find a small Nerf gun armory tucked away in the corner. Perfect for a mid-day ambush! Always be on alert at HQ, because not only are Mailjet crewmembers skilled at email, they have pretty decent aim too. 

  9. Mailjet’s Teaming Up with AirPair!

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    At Mailjet, we believe in simple, easy-to-use but impactful experiences. As a result, we offer a full REST API that allows you to integrate email into your apps or services and innovate with maximum flexibility so that you can build as your vision sees fit. Sky’s the limit.

    To take this experience one step further, we’re excited to take part in AirPair, a service that allows you to remotely partner with expert developers via recorded video chats and screen sharing. This pair programming technique allows you to consult with developers who have used our product and have found success with your APIs. These experts can not only help with code at a line by line level but also help to inspire with some real-use cases. The neat part is that according to The Economist, code developed under pair programming is 70-85% less prone to errors.

    Being part of AirPair’s Trusted Partner Community, we have Mailjet Experts on hand at our AirPair on-demand site, waiting to help you out with your next project.

    Already a pro with our APIs and want to give back with your knowledge? Sign up to be a Mailjet Expert now

  10. Hack with Mailjet at TechCrunch Disrupt!

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    Last week we announced that we are sponsoring the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon May 3-4. This week, we’re announcing the details! If you hack with Mailjet’s APIs, you have a chance to win one of our awesome prize packages - including some very exciting prizes from Fancy and Karma!

    There are only two weeks left until the big weekend, so if you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign up for a Mailjet account to get a head start!

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