#meettheinterns: Alex Morais Tejerina

Today, we interviewed Alex Morais Tejerina, one of our interns. Read on to learn more about the Kuorum CTO’s right-hand man!

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Alex Morais Tejerina, intern
20 years old
Studies computer science at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos


How did you hear about Kuorum?

“Good question. I was looking for an internship position this summer and I found a post from Kuorum seeking an intern who could help the CTO, Iñaki. I applied, and waited, and got a reply saying that I got the position. After summer was over, I actually started the job. And now, here I am.”

What does your typical day look like?
“I spent the beginning of my position in October learning about how Kuorum works. After my preparation, I just went ahead and started helping Iñaki with fixing bugs on Kuorum’s website. Additionally, I measure WordPress analytics – checking, for example, how many clicks a user makes in one session.”

Do you have any specific tasks you want to accomplish during your internship?

“Iñaki has told me he wants to develop SEO (search engine optimization) for the website so people can find Kuorum easier in Google. He also wants me to be able to handle SEM (search engine marketing) so we know how much we need to pay Google to appear higher up in a search. I also am going to try to make some additional features for the website.”

What are you looking forward to learning during your internship with Kuorum?
“I want to learn how a startup works. I, myself, have a startup called Parkfy that I started two years ago with my peers. It’s been quite nice for the time-being, but we have trouble with organization because we work from different locations. Being able to work from home is a challenge we must overcome to move further, and this year I want to come together in an office so we can work better. Being with Kuorum is helping me learn how a startup functions, and hopefully I can take what I learn here and practice it with Parkfy.”

Tell me more about Parkfy.
“Parkfy is a platform where you can rent your parking space. You can search it and then rent it to anyone.”

And back to Kuorum, what has been your favorite part about working with the organization?

“The best thing so far has simply been working all together with the Kuorum team. I’m looking forward to the new challenges that I will face throughout my position here.”

What is one piece of advice you would give to somebody in your field?
“People always say that to make a good startup, you need to be competitive and persistent. I think those are the main two qualities you need to have to make a successful startup.”

Lastly, do you have a favorite quote or motto that you live by?

“Do you know the Youtuber Casey Neistat? He has a tattoo on his arm that says ‘DO MORE.’ It’s a reminder for him to wake up each day and feel motivated to be productive, which is something I resonate with.”

View Alex Morais Tejerina’s LinkedIn here.


This is the third post in our #meettheinterns series, profiling the dedicated individuals that intern with Kuorum. Click here for posts one and two of the series.

Myths and lies about online political campaigns

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Let me get this straight: Online political campaigning is not the misterious witchcraft some [self-appointed] gurus proclaim. Digital advocacy is just as unsexy as any other communication science. Nonetheless, it is still interesting enough for Hillary Clinton to spend $500k in it. And similar customs apply on the other side of the puddle, with Spain’s acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy investing some €300k in Facebook Ads and David Cameron squandering £400k to conquer Downing Street a bit more than one year ago (OMG Dave, that was fast!).

But what’s the truth behind the scenes? For a campaign manager worth his salt online tools are just a fancy complement. They are as essential as accesory, and should be understood in the context of a broader picture. Every political campaign has three main goals: Gaining volunteers, donors and voters. And in order to reach that aim one needs to follow four major steps:

  • ANALYTICS: Analyze the context, identify your target audience, define a message and choose the best channels to reach that sector of the population.
  • OUTREAH: Disseminate your message through the chosen channels.
  • LEADS: Identify and get in touch with the most engaged individuals of your target audience.
  • ENGAGEMENT: Establish a relationship of trust with those influencers before converting them into your brand new broadcasters.

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Online analytics begins to play a role in public opinion research, mainly due to the decreasing penetration of landline – the technology traditionally used by polling companies. But the penetration of internet and social networks is neither significant enough to come up with solid results. And that situation has set the whole sector on fire, with an open war between advocates and detractors of big data as a source of information. Online analytics is thus not the step where politicians are spending a big part of their budgets. At least not yet, not until it reaches the state-of-the-art. Although some options like Blurrt begin to stand out.

Facebook Ads and Google Adwords are, on the contrary, mature technologies that allow for political parties to reach their target audiences at a reasonable price. The outreach process has been completely disrupted by these companies. We can now have real time feedback about the progress of our campaing. And there is far more room to manouver on our initial strategy. A/B testing is used to identify the most effective messages and the cheapest ways to spread them. But what happens next?

Once our message is out, we shouldn’t step back and behold our community managers celebrating Facebook likes with champagne. Because Facebook likes are not votes. And therefore you’ll see every candidate builds its own website. Those websites are what I like to call “lead generators”. A simple template with input boxes for supporters to leave their emails and zip codes. Some are chicer than other. But in the end they all have the same purpose, getting in touch with potential broadcasters who will reduce the cost of your outreach and increase the efficiency of your campaign.

Finally, any campaign manager needs a tool to put some order into their mailing lists. Years ago rallies and post mail where the only ways to engage with affiliated members and party supporters. But today email segmentation enables us to communicate more effectively with our broadcasters. By knowing who is opening and clicking in which emails, we’ll be able to profile our contacts and talk to the right people about the right issues and at the right time. That’s the whole secret behind the successful campaigns of Obama but also the same strategy used by the Strongerin Campaign at the Brexit Referendum – although no guru will claim autorship to that because failure is not sexy.

Long story short, internet hasn’t changed the way political campaigning works. It has only opened new ways to carry out the same old tasks more effectively. So when deciding on which online tools to use for an advocacy campaign, campaign managers should repeatedly ask themselves the same question: Is this tool going to help me gain more votes, volunteers and donors at a lower cost? This is what we had in mind when we developed the premium features of Kuorum. And there are also plenty of other wonderful resources that might fit your campaign better depending on your budget and goals. You can find some of them in the graph below. But please, don’t let any guru fool you with a load of digital mumbo jumbo. They are just as lost as anyone of us.

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Optimise Your Kuorum Profile

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Kuorum.Org is essentially a database for Politicians and Citizens to engage and learn from each other. The only way for users to get an A-grade experience, is to have a stellar profile.

Here are quick, simple tips that will see a long-term result on making your Kuorum Profile stand out:

Professional, high-quality image for your profile picture and header
A high-quality image is far more likely to attract viewers than a blurry, low-quality profile picture. Choose quality photos for your profile, preferably a headshot. Similar to LinkedIn, choose a profile that’s business-appropriate. Nobody will be impressed with that photo of you and your friends at that bar you went to last week.

Add social-media links
Viewers “trust” profiles with more information and those whom have more social media accounts. Try to add all your social media accounts so people can connect with you on other networks. Also, link your Kuorum profile on your other social media accounts. Interconnecting is key!

Write a great, succinct bio!

Write about yourself in a clear, entertaining way. Think of it as that job interview question employers always ask ‘Tell me about yourself’. Make it easy to read, and ENJOYABLE to read – this can be done by writing through your own voice. Furthermore, make it relevant to the rest of your profile. Write about your political standings and/or beliefs. Don’t just waffle.

Follow Politicians and Causes
We want to know which politicians you support and what causes you are passionate about. Make sure to share what your top causes are such as Education, Health, etc. and follow the profiles of these politicians you back. It’s all about encouraging political activeness!

Kuorum’s Web Whiz | Antonio Martos Ortega

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Not all the faces in Kuorum’s Madrid headquarters comprise the whole team.
We have Kuorum team members who (lucky enough) work remotely, and it’s time to shed some light on one of them.

Antonio Martos Ortega or Toni the Web Guy is Kuorum’s Web Developer and Web Scraper. Ultimately, he knows the in and out’s of what comprises Kuorum.org’s website. And he performs these genius things, all from his casa.

‘I come from Spain, and I recently finished my studies as an Industrial Engineer at University. During the last 3 years, I’ve been getting experience in Web Development as a trainee, and I’m ending up my academic training in Kuorum, improving my skills in the same area and trying to help in their product development.’

A self-confessed geek, Toni spends his free time reading about technology news, devices and enjoys “weird books” or TV series. Although on his own mostly, Toni enjoys the dynamic of a team.

‘I’m also a sportsman, mostly practicing team sports, as I enjoy multi-role activities better than singular/individual activities.’

Thanks to Skype and other communication platforms, Toni is able to chime in and participate with the “little, multicultural family” he believes Kuorum has. Co-working is a big factor in working at Kuorum, according to the web developer.

When Toni isn’t being Kuorum’s web guy, he’s the main guy, the spear-header of something else.

‘Actually, I’m already working on my own startup with a small group of partners. In Kuorum I’ve witnessed the basic steps of any startup to get launched up, and that is already helping me in my own very new adventure.’

Being Kuorum’s web guy and now a co-founder of his own venture, Toni has thought about what the key to success is for the new work culture that is emerging.

‘The startup’s golden rule: be adaptive! Kuorum has shown me a perfect example of adaptability. Have adaptability and attitude, and possibilities will be infinite.’

Traditional work philosophies are shifting due to the millennials’ fresh approach and what they expect from their companies. Flexibility, rapid progression and training to name a few.

Millennials are transforming the whole nature of professionalism: paving new definitions of success, developing new paths to success and new ways of perceiving what a successful company is. However these new principles may be just what we need if the final result are entrepreneurial, self-starters like Toni. Individuals who can largely impact Kuorum’s road to success, but also seek opportunities to create their own.

View Antonio Martos Ortega’s LinkedIn here

How to Talk Politics

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As seen in recent controversies and events that have unfolded in 2016, it is crucial now than ever to have political conversations. Improving political conversations can be the key to turning passive citizens into proactive, politically aware citizens. If we talked about running parties, issues affecting our nations, policies being put into place – we would be able to make better, informed decisions. And therefore a satisfying political landscape would emerge.

So we must ask the question: Why is it becoming increasingly uncomfortable to express our own beliefs?

In a recent article by BBC News, journalist Zaria Gorvett mentions that individuals “[see] things through the prism of their ideology, ethnicity or social class”. Thus, tension ensues when people with contrasting cultures discuss their ideologies, their ethnicity or any subjective issue. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to politics, and people don’t like that. However, it doesn’t mean it should be a topic that is avoided.

Here are our golden rules for having a rewarding political discussion:


Stay Calm
You probably well know before you have this conversation, that it isn’t going to be smooth sailing. Everyone has an opinion and they’re going to be different. Take deep breaths, go to your happy place, keep your zen, do what it takes to not get riled up.

Stay Informed
The best way to articulately state your beliefs is to always know the facts. Stay informed about the political issues and parties you rally for.

Stay Respectful
Everyone has a right to their own opinion; stay grounded when you have these conversations. Don’t get so easily offended or to retaliate at every disagreement. Resist from saying ‘No’ or any other negative response. Opt for ‘I understand’ or ‘I see your perspective’.

Note the similarities/common ground
In these types of discussions, we tend to focus on the negative. We should also point out the common beliefs we share. Most of the negativity surrounding political conversations nowadays is because of the conflict of opinion. So find the upside, by outlining the political ideas you share in common to make political discussions enjoyable and efficient.
An example of this is by discussing political issues in your area rather than political figures or parties. Again, this is achieved by staying informed!

It’s a conversation, not an argument
It’s easy for a simple chat to spiral downwards into a debate about whose right or wrong. In the world of politics, there’s no black and white, no good or bad party. Always remember that this is a forum, it’s a chance to present our side of things, not rebut the point of views we don’t agree with.

Don’t swerve the conversation
Just as important as not arguing, is to not change the topic once the atmosphere gets heated. You’ve reached a tense point, find out the root reason of why an individual has this opinion, what’s the point of this conversation? Don’t just stop when you’ve only scratched the surface, dig deeper. That person will appreciate you wanting to know more about their side, than just changing the topic to something more agreeable.

Research
What is also just as important as having a political conversation, is remembering what was talked about. Research about points that were made by friends or family and observe what aspects of the conversation interested you the most. Investigate it, just make sure to check the sources of your information! The internet is filled with biased, sponsored sources.

A social change needs to happen in regards to talking about good ol’ pol. And this starts with us.
Make political discussions an everyday, essential part of our social activity. If we can become more comfortable with politics and discard the “taboo” attitude surrounding it, the better we can collectively influence how politics is shaping our lifestyles and the world around us.

#meettheinterns: Arianne Zaragoza

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Have you ever wondered whose behind the social media posts for Kuorum? We would like to introduce our social media whiz and fellow kangaroo (we’ve never had an Australian!) Arianne Zaragoza.

I studied Media specifically Film at Macquarie University in Sydney. I’ve dabbled in all areas of media: from social media to public relations and journalism. I’m basically all over the place in content production.

Arianne has had quite a few roles before, but still hasn’t experienced anything similar to working at Kuorum. Far from home, Arianne notes many of the differences between our Spanish-born company with ones she had previously worked for in Down Under.

I think Kuorum is very open in that they are learning as we (employees) are. Kuorum isn’t afraid to take risks or try new methods of doing things. This is a very goal-oriented company, and I believe it’s been beneficial for everyone to have something to work towards constantly. I also believe that the employer-employee dynamic is different here, maybe in Spain in general, but it’s definitely a more “equals” relationship rather than a superior-inferior dynamic. Everyone is still respectful, but it’s nice to have supervisors who treat me like I am just as capable and influential as them.

It’s been a cultural and professional learning experience for Arianne, and Kuorum has also gained much media wisdom from the Australian. Due to her variety of skills, Arianne has an extensive role in the communications sector.

I’m in charge of content marketing at Kuorum. I’m in charge of the social media accounts, and the Kuorum blog. I also am helping with some PR duties such as making pitches for the sellable product and thinking of the best strategies in contacting politicians and press.

With a weighty load of tasks, it’s a miracle Arianne is still chill as a cucumber! She believes it’s all due to the team and their attitude.

The company is small and close, and we are able to work together harmoniously. I think everyone is open-minded and creative here, so I believe that has worked quite well in expressing our thoughts and asking for help in a comfortable way.

The team, like many of the other members, is why Kuorum has been an enjoyable place to work for Arianne.

There are many things to favour in working here. The most being the team and work culture. Everyone is professional, but has a relaxed, light approach. We can joke around, but still work hard. I also love the diversity of things we can take up here in Kuorum. If you show interest in doing something other than what you’re good at, you feel empowered to learn about it.

Here at Kuorum, we like to think we let our members do tasks that they have potential for, not just tasks with their already-developed skill. We should only be limited to how our tasks will affect our goals, not by our abilities.

I think our current goal is to become the prominent, nonpartisan platform for Political Information…to be transparent, to be accessible. I think that our management team does a great job in deciding the moves to make to always stay consistent with the vision of Kuorum. I think we’re in a state of progression and Kuorum has some exciting things ahead, and everyone has been gearing towards making sure the developments within the company are successful.

It’s been a hectic past few months with Kuorum grinding hard for this milestone within the company coming up. Arianne and the other team members have been investing long hours in the office in preparation for that moment.

I definitely have learnt that you get what you put in.
You’re only going to see results by doing the hard work behind it.
Everyone here around me is hard working and they all have achieved a lot for themselves and for Kuorum collectively, I’ve definitely improved my work ethic since starting here.

View Arianne Zaragoza’s LinkedIn here.

This is the second post in our #meettheinterns series, profiling the dedicated individuals that intern with Kuorum. Click here for post one of the series.

Kuorum’s Sales Strategist: Jiaxi Huang

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Jixi Huang is the MVP when it comes to Kuorum’s sales and business strategy. You could say she’s the fortune-teller of Kuorum, advising us what moves to make and what paths we should steer clear from. We hope it’s all-good omens ahead!

I’m from China and I study in the University of Manchester. I did Finance and Economics in my Bachelor’s degree and now I’m studying Business Analysis. I’m helping Kuorum with the sales plan for its first sellable product. This will also be the topic of my dissertation of my degree.‘ Jiaxi is both a sale professional and a professional for cracking jokes and easing the sometimes-stressed headquarters in Madrid.

In the Madrid offices, Kuorum is surrounded by several other startups. One level in the Telefonica building that is the workspace of 20+ companies. Jiaxi loves the creative energy in the workplace.

It’s a very collaborative working environment. The office is trying to make it more collaborative because there are no walls between us. It’s a more relaxed environment to work that helps people collaborate.

I think this workplace helps to work quicker and be more efficient… I worked in a big company before as an intern, and it feels bureaucratic. Everybody was distant so you’re actually afraid to ask questions and you hesitate about interrupting somebody, but here we have a good working environment, it actually makes me work faster.

It’s a good thing Jiaxi is inspired to work faster here, because with our small team, each member has an important role with a hefty number of responsibilities to oversee. You know that quote “Work hard, play hard”? Kuorum can testify to this.

I do the product benchmarking which basically analyses the market…What existing products are on the market and its features, advantages and disadvantages…and I also identify the target group that will buy the product.‘ Taking a moment to think, she adds ‘Which are the best channels to sell, the high efficiency channels, the cheaper channels and the ones that will acquire the most customers.

We don’t know how she does it, but we’re glad she completes everything! Jiaxi also credits the team atmosphere in aiding her productivity.

Everybody here is working so well with each other and we go out to have lunch sometimes, to know each other more and collaborate better, to solve problems and to talk about issues in work…To basically have no issues with talking to anybody. It helps a lot with my work because I can talk to Matias, Iñaki and everybody basically to get the information I need.

The team makes an effort for everyone to understand each other’s work. And being able to observe the other functions of Kuorum, has enhanced Jiaxi’s knowledge of her own specialization.

Thinking from different positions has been adding more things into my work that makes the strategy better.‘ Being handed the role of devising the sales plan strategy is a big task, but a task Jiaxi enjoys tackling.

For Kuorum the sales strategy that I’m doing is what they will actually use this summer…I feel responsible for it …I feel like I’m contributing, I’m important for the company, it makes me feel really good.

Jiaxi has an unquestionably impressive skillset, an easygoing personality, but she does admit she wasn’t so detail-oriented before coming to Kuorum.

I’m not the kind of person that plans in details but actually our management team surprised me by getting so planned and organized and everybody has their weekly goals. It helps people to increase everybody’s efficiency every week with goals that are clear and in detail. I think this is a good way to work, so in my future work I will start setting future goals as well.

Kuorum has proven to be a mine of opportunity and experience for Jiaxi’s career, a learning curve and a space to present her expertise.

I want to get experience on real things, not just a summer intern for a few months doing nothing, getting real things done and getting work experience, it will help me to be smoother on my future job…

Kuorum is working onward and upward to achieve our aspirations, and at the same time, we try to enrich our employees’ time by giving them the experience they need to reach their goals too. We’re all about empowering and encouraging at Kuorum!

View Jiaxi Huang’s LinkedIn here.

A Kuorum Victory!

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The Kuorum team is in celebratory mode as we have just received the Best Technology of the Year Applied to Politics Award at the Victory Awards in Washington DC last week.

This is a feat achieved by our hardworking team and the Kuorum community! We would not be able to have gained the recognition and opportunities offered to us if it weren’t for you supporting our mission and vision.

Our CEO Matias Nso was there to accept the award on behalf of the company.

Read the transcript of his acceptance speech down below:
“We want to dedicate this award to the fool ones. Three years ago, when my partners and I decided to abandon our engineering careers working for big multinational companies to develop tech for politics, many said we were fools. Good thing about fool people is they never walk alone, so more fools joined us: Renowned political consultants like María de Reparaz or Imma Aguilar, universities like Harvard or the London School of Economics, transparency organizations like MySociety… And together we built the world’s largest politician database. But we didn’t stop there and we designed an audience segmentation tool that allows politicians to save up to a 70% of their budget for digital campaigns. So now our technology is used by politicians in more than 5 countries, and the conservative party already requested a demo of the new service we are launching in October. Therefore we want to dedicate this award to those fools who dared to dream with us. Because it seems that being a fool is not such a bad thing after all”

Read CEO Matias’ post here!

#meettheinterns: Will Davis

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Will Davis, from Wichita, Kansas and Marketing, Spanish and Latin American studies major at Colorado State University is to thank for the design and technical upgrades Kuorum has experienced recently.

I’ve always wanted to come work in Spain for a marketing company.‘ Will has a composed, but relaxed aura reflecting his maturity and enjoyment working here. Don’t let his hipster appearance fool you, Will is the brain behind the SEO and Marketing facets of Kuorum. A nitty gritty job influencing the circulation Kuorum receives around the Internet.

There’s plentiful opportunity to learn and expand your skill-set as an intern at Kuorum. Not only would you be improving on your own skill-set, but also Will mentions the possibilities of learning beyond your discipline.

It started out very broadly as a marketing intern…I don’t think there was a specific title to it… I was mostly focused towards content marketing but as I kind of progressed and talked with Matias and Iñaki, I expressed interest in SEO and website design. It was pretty awesome and they saw I had an interest in it and saw there was room for improvement.’ He talks enthusiastically about the windows of opportunity to enter areas of the company he has little prior knowledge about. ‘They let me go to town on SEO and SEM and the best practices to get the website to basically have a better search engine optimization.

Kuorum is an innovative player when it comes to Political Communication tools. Will believes that the Communications system of Politics was “broken” and sees Kuorum as a positive indication of the direction this industry is heading towards…. ‘Being able to combine marketing and politics with the outcome of trying to improve the political system and the communications system I always thought was broken…it’s a dream company, a pretty perfect set-up….

A big part of the reason Will enjoys working at Kuorum, is because of the team dynamic here in the Madrid headquarters.
My favourite part is the people I work with, meeting Iñaki and Matias. It’s been a blast. Everyone has a similar fun attitude, and they want to help where they can, everyone here wants to be here. And I’m paired with some quirky personalities.

We’re a happy camp here at Kuorum, with a clear vision and we’re filled with passion to reach our objectives. As a small team, it takes a lot of drive to deliver the results we’ve seen so far!

I think be passionate about what you do, because no matter how good you’re at something, or how much you work at it, if you’re not passionate about it, you don’t want to be doing it, it will show in your work. It really manifests itself in what my coworkers are doing. It will be fun, it won’t necessarily be easy, but it will make the hard work enjoyable.

Here at Kuorum, the team is constantly changing with different, exciting individuals contributing to the Kuorum experience. In our blog, we hope to showcase the faces that work behind the scenes of our database like Will!

View Will Davis’ LinkedIn here.

This is the first post in our #meettheinterns series, profiling the dedicated individuals that intern with Kuorum.

Our Mission and Vision

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Our mission is to improve communication between politicians and citizens by fostering and promoting transparency, accountability, and participation.

Transparency: Transparency is the most effective tool to combat corruption. Kuorum’s Internet Politician Database (IPDb) initiative is designed to deliver accurate and unbiased information. From voting records to stances concerning key issues the IPDp delivers transparency by providing citizens a platform to find the information they need to make educated decisions about their representatives.

Accountability: In today’s political landscape it often seems that there is no one to hold our representatives accountable. With scandals and stories of corruption filling our news headlines it is evident that there is currently not enough accountability in today’s political system. Kuorum´s communication tools allows citizens to keep politicians accountable. If a politician is not fulfilling their obligations you will know about it first in Kuorum. Real time public opinion evaluations will let you know how citizens feel about their representatives. Accurate and unbiased voter records and news allow you to fact check politicians on their actions.

Inclusion: Citizens are encouraged to participate in politics if they want to see change. However our current political system fosters a culture exclusion. It can be hard for the everyday citizen to ensure that their representatives hear their feedback or start a 5,000 person rally. Therefore we work to reduce the digital divide by training people in risk of exclusion on how to participate in political life, and empower them to do so online. With this purpose we created the consortium WE. Kuorum let’s citizens get involved and make their voices heard. Kuorum fostered a culture of inclusion, communicate with politicians and fellow citizens, debate on issues that matter, and drive awareness for causes that you care about.