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Alen Malkoc - The world is not enough — The personal and business endeavors of Alen Malkoc.
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Welcome to My Personal Blog.

Currently in Chicago. Loving life, work, and the pleasure of enjoying every day as it were my last... There are no bad students, just bad teachers. Entrepreneur, Soccer, Chess, and Student of Life and Economics at Northwestern University.
My presentation for Optyn at gener8tor demo day

My presentation for Optyn at gener8tor demo day

Thought I’d share this. This was my demo day presentation during gener8tor’s 2013 event.

April 8, 2014 9 comments Read More
My Resolutions for 2014

My Resolutions for 2014

Happy New Year!

Every year, perhaps due to the holiday spirit and lifted aspirations that come with holidays, we start making resolutions and possibly predictions we hope to accomplish for 2014. I too, indulge in this activity from time to time (you should see my new fitbit force).

However, I always say that I want to improve my life and everything else that comes with it but on a more frequent basis. Just how you set business goals and objectives on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually basis, you should probably do the same for your personal aspirations.

January 4, 2014 33 comments Read More
The best 3 months we ever spent as a startup and entrepreneurs.

The best 3 months we ever spent as a startup and entrepreneurs.

gener8tor's new office

Today is the big day for us, Optyn, and for me. I will be presenting Optyn to about 400 investors, entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts today at #gener8torlaunch. In hindsight, I would like to share the experience of the best 3 months I’ve ever had as an entrepreneur and as a startup team.

Here’s why the last 3 months were the best most useful time we spent working and building our business:

  • It was intense. It was hard. It was a lot of work. The hardest I’ve ever worked and for the people that know me, I do work hard (most of the time). But it was awesome. It was fun. It was enjoyable. It was everything you would want in a 3 month accelerator program.
  • Their network is unbelievable. In our Optyn Blog, we mentioned it here but I will reiterate. The network is extensive. Yes, it’s Wisconsin and the Midwest but that is the best part. You don’t have to compete against millions of startups such as in California, and you truly get the personal touch and excitement of nice people willing to help (investors, enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, and others). 
  • You want to pitch your startup? No problemo. We pitched over 50 investors which were angels, angel groups, vc funds, and some pretty big names across the country. If you want the exposure they will give it to you.
  • The “customer service” was unbelievable. I say customer service because gener8tor truly considers us as customers, not their investment portfolio. And that means the world to me and our team because we can be open and we can ask for things without getting the “Why?” If you need their help in any way, they will do anything they can to make it happen. 
  • Perfect example is that we wanted introductions to ex-executives in the space to help us validate our assumptions around the problem we are solving. Troy spend his Sunday night sending out emails and introducing me to over 10 ex-executives. These are the people who we needed to talk to and he made it happen. 
  • Joel spent a lot of time with Lou (Optyn’s COO) calling up customers and ask them if they could help validate the problem and the solution. Priceless.
  • Jon made sure to introduce me to some of the brightest people I’ve ever spoken to and pick their brain. He was relentless in finding the best people I should be talking to…like Brian Wiegand, Paul Jadin, Michael Baum, and many others. 
  • Joe spent days and nights perfecting my pitch. Anytime, we needed them, they were there and many other countless occasions. 

I could go on. The reality is that without gener8tor, we would not be where we are today. We would not be on the path of raising a good round. We would not be on the path of having a few good partnerships in place (EatStreet, Huterra, etc). We would just not be as far along without them.

Therefore, a huge thank you to the entire team from me and my team. We couldn’t have gotten to this point without you and you are part of this business and our story…forever.

Thank you.

Alen and the Optyn Team (Lou, Gaurav, and Amer)

August 29, 2013 20 comments Read More
Dear 1871…

Dear 1871…

Dear 1871, 

It’s been 3 months since we officially met. And I must, finally, profess my love to you. You are simply awesome and you have made this relationship stronger.
We have had some 3 awesome months together and here’s some personal highlights for me, and Optyn:
  • We got a lot of work done! MVP is ready and private beta starts next week.
  • We got accepted into an accelerator, gener8tor, that we met at 1871.
  • Got a seed investment!
  • Met a few key people that could potentially become advisors.
  • Got a lot of good and honest feedback from fellow techpreneurs.
  • Met 1 more developer that joined our team!
  • Met the Mayor and the Governor and the Ballmmmmmmerr!
  • Saw Abby do the robot while she thought no one was watching.
  • Unfortunately, played very little ping pong – no true challengers!
  • Learned valuable lessons.
  • Drank a lot of coffee from a lot of different places.
  • Did not steal from the self-service kiosk. (This is a joke. Never crossed our minds and plus, there are cameras).

I’m kind of glad we are not in an exclusive relationship because you have so much more to give to others who need it.

Thanks to the entire 1871 team for the support and continued efforts of improving the value that is 1871. Free coffee on me whenever you wish. Just click on your name below.


Claim your free coffee Katie, Kristi, Kevin, Mike, Melissa, Abby, Kristin, Una, and the cool guys behind the scenes.


So thank you again for everything that you do and for making the little guys matter!


With unprecedentedly unprofessed love,
Alen & the Optyn team
May 31, 2013 45 comments Read More
Defining Success for Startups and Entrepreneurs

Defining Success for Startups and Entrepreneurs

I’ve recently read Brad Feld’s post about Measuring Success and I thought I’d give my thoughts on defining success as an entrepreneur.

To me, success is not absolute. Sure, you can only win or lose, especially in Sports (trust me I know), but I see it differently. To me, success should be measured in relative proportions, which is point A, start of something, and point B, the end of something. And I think this is a great way to look and define success as an entrepreneur or a startup, and eventually life.

May 21, 2013 38 comments Read More
A World without Impulse Purchases

A World without Impulse Purchases

impulse buying

Are you one of these people? If so, you are not alone.

We have an epidemic on our hands.  We all have that donut maker or the all-in-one gym sitting in the basement collecting dust.  While in the moment, we thought we were making a useful purchase, which by now we fully regret and question the logic behind it.  There had to be something in our mind to make us logically approve the decision of making that type of purchase, right?  Thanks to impulsive behavior, the answer is no.  This is where impulse purchasing takes over and it becomes a nightmare for us, and a sweet dream for marketers.  Impulse purchasing is the act of buying a product in a spur of the moment.  In retrospect, we realize something triggered us to buy these items, and we need to figure out what it is before we run out of cash.  As with many Americans, the credit card debt is one of the undesired end results of impulse purchases.  Figuring out the science of impulse purchases will give us a good understanding of why it happens and how we can control it, or if we can at all?

April 10, 2013 22,205 comments Read More
Top Ten Free Tools for your Startups

Top Ten Free Tools for your Startups

I wanted to share some awesome free, or low-cost tools, that will get you and your startup on the right track. I use them all and they are great and most importantly they aren’t time consuming and they help you collaborate much better.

Here they are:

  • Redbooth- Redbooth is great to collaborate with your team and start keeping track of your ideas, tasks, time, and more. The first 5 users are free for life.
  • Heroku / Amazon AWS – Why pay for web hosting when you can get free web hosting forever? Both Heroku and Amazon AWS offer free hosting tiers so you don’t have to worry about paying for hosting until you start scaling.
April 1, 2013 41 comments Read More
The lefty – 1:02 – 1:10

The lefty – 1:02 – 1:10

April 1, 2013 20 comments Read More
Why did I subscribe?

Why did I subscribe?


So, I’ve been following, for a few reasons, some of these apps that are trying to solve the inbox overload problem. Quite frankly, I’m not impressed. I think the idea of solving inbox overload is a great idea and the problem definitely needs attention. However, I don’t think the approach is quite right.

March 15, 2013 17 comments Read More
My First Post

My First Post

This is my first post. Yay! I hope you are not expecting too much of me but it will be enough to keep you interested in what I have to say next. I’m not a big blogger or social network person, just because I chose to spend my time doing different things, mostly what I consider productivity. But, being a blogger or a socialite can be productive, especially if you are trying to accomplish spreading your message or name.

We all value our opinions and I think I have some cool things to say. I invite you to debate me on anything (in a nice tone please) as I believe we all benefit from questions.

Until Next time,


February 8, 2013 26 comments Read More

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