SHiFT: Innovation Under Stress

by Luke Wroblewski October 1, 2006

Celso Martinho from Portugal’s largest Web site, Sapo, spoke at Shift 2006 about Innovation Under Stress. Sapo was founded twelve years ago at a Portugese University and now averages one million visitors a day and employs about 100 people.

Despite Sapo’s popularity in the Portugese market, Martinho pointed out that the company has big problems keeping up with the rate of product innovation at large international Web companies such as Google and Yahoo! Sapo does not have nearly as many resources and as a result, they are not leading the Portugese market in email, social networking, instant messaging and more. Martinho’s suggestions for innovating under the “stress” of this global competition included:

  • Leverage the open source community and give back. Sapo not only uses open source software, they distribute their tools via open source as well.
  • Take advantage of your small size to gain focus.
  • Create value with what you know best. In Sapo’s case it is the language and culture of Portugese users.
  • Keep the start-up flame alive within your culture.
  • Promote challenges.
  • Communicate concepts within your organization.

Martinho also announced a new open source information broker with a few sample applications including a map of Portugal that displayed what users search for in real time and real time click map of the Sapo home page.