Vincent Elster

Welcome to my personal page! My name is Vincent and I am a 18-year-old student with a passion for physics and math.
I am excited to be exploring the field of artificial intelligence and natural language processing, and I am eager to continue learning and making a contribution to the field. In my free time, I enjoy cooking and watching movies.
Thank you for visiting my page. 🥳

- High School Student
- Growth Analyst
- NLP Researcher
- Artificial Intelligence(NLP),
- Philosophy,
- Cooking
Acomplishments: Winner of the young talent award in the federal competition for artificial intelligence (BWKI 2022)


Below are my most relevant projects

Unreally Logo by Author


Unreally at its core is an AI model trained to evaluate if a given News are accurate or not.
The ecosystem includes a Twitter Bot at the moment.

Fehlinformationen durch Kontext erkennen

23. Januar 2023

Keywords: NLP, Fact Checking

Um falsche Behauptungen mit Hilfe von KI zu erkennen ist Stance Detection (SD) eine geeignete Technik. Hier wird der Standpunkt zwischen zwei Texten gelernt. Dies nutzen wir zum Erkennen von Fehlinformationen, indem der Standpunkt zwischen einer Behauptung und Nachrichten-Kontext erkannt wird.
Daher untersuchen wir verschiedene Methoden zur Integration von Kontext in SD und wie diese sich auf die Leistung des von uns entwickelten Systems zum Erkennen von Fehlinformationen auswirken.


09. May 2023

Reading length: ~21 minutes

When I was between 8 and 10 years old, my role models were the inventor duo Gyro Gearlose and Little Helper (Daniel Düsentrieb & Helferlein in German) from DuckTales. They inspired me to become an inventor myself. I started sketching my own ideas in a notebook. One of my early sketches was for elongated mechanical legs that would allow you to stay seated while walking, as well as make you taller and faster.Although my early sketches may have remained just that, my desire to build something meaningful has stayed with me throughout my life. Over the past two years, I have become more technical and have built numerous projects. However, I have realized that I was not being strategic in my approach, and as a result, I did not achieve the potential I had envisioned for my projects. Moving forward, I want to continue building amazing products that people love, but I want to do it right. When done correctly, startups can leverage your projects to create something even greater.In this post, I'll share my research and learnings on how I approach my projects so they have the potential to scale as a Startup. I'll cover everything I've learned so far, from researching and evaluating startup ideas to getting your first customers.

Making the Jump 🦘

Making the jump from a project to a startup can be intimidating, but it's a necessary step for those who aspire to build something great.It's impossible to predict with certainty who will make a great founder, but the truly exceptional ones tend to possess a set of qualities that enable them to realize their vision. In my experience, the most vital quality for founders is a growth mindset and discipline. These individuals are unafraid of taking risks and betting on themselves. They have faith in their own growth trajectory, are resilient, and not afraid to make mistakes. They are comfortable with uncertainty and use it to their advantage. They possess above-average curiosity and are motivated to effect change. They are disciplined and have the drive to see their vision through to completion.In essence, they are makers who are deeply interested in understanding how things work, why they don't work, and how they can be improved. They have a passion for creating new things and are driven by their innate curiosity and need to build.If you enjoy the process of turning ideas into projects and launching them, possess a general sense of curiosity, and are considered a resilient and disciplined person obsessed with making things and growing, this might be something for you.In my experience, it's essential to surround yourself with like-minded individuals who share your passion and drive. Finding a co-founder or a team with complementary skills can help ease the burden of starting up and increase your chances of success.

The Big Idea 💡

There is a lot of advice out there about finding "the big idea," but in my opinion, ideas are not one-size-fits-all solutions. The process is ambiguous, so it's best to embrace this.Based on my personal experience in finding project ideas, the best advice I have found is from Paul Graham's essay "How to Get New Ideas." He said: "Knowledge grows fractally. From a distance its edges look smooth, but when you learn enough to get close to one, you'll notice it's full of gaps."To find new ideas, dig deep into a topic that interests you and talk with people in that field. Learn about the problems and motivations around the topic of interest. Fill the gaps and pain points with solution hypotheses.It's important to note the existence of tarpit ideas, which are ideas that a lot of people have tried and failed, and they don't pivot out of them quickly enough. These ideas are commonly focused on B2C. They are tough because many people have tried them before, so the bar is set very high. To avoid a tarpit idea, conduct a thorough search to see if the idea has already existed. Conduct a supply and demand research; ideas with an oversupply are generally tarpits. Ideas where not many people have interest or expertise are likely to be better off.This does not necessarily mean that if there is an existing product addressing your idea, you have to give up. Let's take Airbnb as an example. There was indeed competition, like Couchsurf, Craigslist, or Vrbo. Because Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk (2/3 of the founders) needed to make rent money, they decided to rent out their apartment during conferences in the neighbourhood. Because they encountered this personal problem, they also encountered the pain points of the current solutions. Their personal experience in this topic led them to create AirBnB and they were able to solve the pain points encountered.In conclusion, finding the right idea to turn into a startup is a challenging process that requires patience, perseverance, and a willingness to embrace ambiguity. By delving deep into a topic of interest, talking with people in the field, and identifying gaps and pain points, you can create a solution hypothesis that can serve as the foundation for your startup. It's important to be aware of tarpit ideas and conduct thorough research to avoid them. However, even if there is existing competition in your field, there may still be room for innovation and success. The key is to remain focused, dedicated, and open to feedback throughout the process.

Getting Sh*t Done

As a founder, your ability to get things done is one of the most critical skills you can possess. It's not enough to have great ideas or a brilliant strategy if you can't turn them into reality. That's why I want to touch upon the importance of getting sh*t done before diving into how to build actual value.When starting a business, it's crucial to find a balance between optimism and pessimism. Both extremes can be harmful to your startup and even lead to its demise.Being too optimistic can be dangerous when it becomes magical thinking, where you start to believe in magical causes and effects without any basis in reality. This can lead to a lack of value and insights, as well as an unrealistic understanding of the market and potential customers. On the other hand, being too pessimistic can also be harmful when one negative experience causes a founder to quit or change everything about their business. This can drain the energy of others and make it difficult to move forward.Therefore, finding a balance between the two is crucial. You need a healthy dose of optimism, which can be contagious and affect the excitement of you, your team, and your users. However, it's also important to stay grounded and realistic with a dose of pessimism, which can keep you focused and help you avoid costly mistakes.In addition to balancing optimism and pessimism, it's important to understand the differences between makers and managers. Makers are individuals who perform tasks that require long periods of uninterrupted focus, such as programming, writing, and designing. Managers, on the other hand, are responsible for coordinating teams, delegating tasks, and overseeing operations.Paul Graham's essay on the Maker and Manager Schedule argues that the traditional 9-to-5 workday may not be the most productive or efficient schedule for all types of work. By accommodating different work styles and schedules, companies can optimize productivity and ensure that everyone is able to work in a way that suits them best.For instance, makers may prefer to work in longer, uninterrupted blocks of time, while managers tend to work in shorter, more fragmented blocks. By understanding these differences, companies can help their employees work more efficiently and effectively.Finally, it's important to focus on building a really good company. Remember that how you work now is how your business will work. That's why it's crucial to set a good example and not be a screw up in front of your company. By leading by example and maintaining a healthy balance of optimism and pessimism, you can set your company up for success.It's important to note that while there are common principles like perseverance, discipline, and time boxing that can help with getting sh*t done, I won't be focusing on those in this essay. There is already a wealth of information on those topics available online.Instead, focus on actually getting sh*t done. It's easy to get caught up in obsessing over how to be productive, but at the end of the day, the most important thing is to take action and make progress towards your goals.If you truly love what you're doing, getting sh*t done should come naturally with the right amount of discipline. So instead of obsessing over productivity hacks, focus on your passion and your goals, and take action every day to make progress towards them.

Building Value 👷

As a startup founder, your ultimate goal is to create value for your customers. You can have the most innovative ideas, the best team, and the most well-funded operation, but if you’re not solving a valuable problem, you’re not building any value and won’t succeed.Creating value starts with your value proposition. You need to be crystal clear on what you offer and why it matters to your customers. Recheck your assumptions and validate your value proposition by talking to your customers. Make sure you're addressing the 4U need (unworkable, unavoidable, urgent, underserved market), with a 3D solution (discontinuous - in stages, defensible, disruptive).Once you have a solid value proposition, it's time to build your Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Don't try to build a product for everyone in your target market. Find a small segment of your target market with consistent needs that align with your value proposition, that you can reference, lead, and eventually dominate. Talk to your customers, attend events, and engage with them in any way you can to gain insights on their needs and how you can provide value, articulate your big vision while starting small. Remember, a good product is very rarely built in isolation.When talking to your customers, focus on their problems, not your features. Ask questions like: Are people paying money for solutions in this space today? Have you tried to solve this problem on your own? And be careful not to ask leading questions that bias your interviewee's answers.Synthesize your learnings, create a problem/solution hypothesis, and start sketching out the MVP. Show people your prototype and have them describe exactly what they're thinking. Keep these interviewees throughout the process to provide feedback and validation.Rinse and repeat this process. Even after your first six iterations, you’ll see great improvement on your product. Repeat this process and slow and steady expand into other segments. This process is not just for the starting up phase, you should work this way through out the company’s lifetime.When it comes to your business model, make sure your product is simple to install and use, has low to no initial cost, provides instant and ongoing value, and plays well with other products in the ecosystem. Package your product for pull, meaning that customers come to you because they see the value in what you offer.In summary, creating value is about delivering solutions that meet the needs of your customers. You need to start with a solid value proposition, build an MVP that addresses a small segment of your target market, and validate your product with your customers throughout the process. Keep your focus on creating value, and you'll be on your way to building a successful startup.

Lunch 🍱

As entrepreneurs, we all know that launching a product or service can be a daunting task. It's like preparing for a big meal, you want everything to be perfect, but you don't want to keep your guests waiting too long. The truth is, launching is not a one-time event, it's something that you do continuously. It's like having lunch every day, you need to eat to survive, and you need to launch to grow your business.One of the biggest mistakes that many entrepreneurs make is waiting too long to launch. They want everything to be perfect before they put their product out there. The problem with this approach is that it's impossible to know if your product is perfect until you get feedback from your users. So, my advice is to launch right now. Don't wait for everything to be perfect, because it never will be. Launch and iterate until you have a few users that really care about you.Launching early will help you figure out what to focus on. It will give you insight into what is it about your product that they love, and where you can find more users like them. Launching early is not just about getting feedback, it's also about building momentum. When you launch, you create buzz and excitement around your product. This buzz can lead to more users and more feedback, which will help you improve your product.There are various types of launches, and each one has its own benefits. You can do a soft launch, which is a limited release of your product to a small group of users. This can help you test your product in a controlled environment before releasing it to the masses. You can also do a hard launch, which is a big release of your product to the world. This can create buzz and excitement around your product, and can lead to a lot of users signing up.In conclusion, launching is not a one-time event, it's something that you do continuously. Launch early and iterate until you have a few users that really care about you. This will help you figure out what to focus on and where to find more users like them. Just like lunch, launching can help you expand. So, don't wait, launch right now!

Maintenance 🧹

Maintaining this ongoing process is a crucial aspect of building a successful business, and it involves reiterating, measuring, and keeping in touch with customers. It is important to continuously iterate on your product, gather feedback, and measure the effectiveness of your efforts. By doing this, you can identify what your customers love about your product and find more users like them.At this point in starting up sales is another important aspect, and founders should learn how to do sales themselves. A love for solving customer problems is infectious, and founders should be able to convey this passion to potential customers. It's also important to use a simple CRM software and to work backward from your goal. By taking notes and tracking all conversions, you can optimize your sales funnel and reduce churn.Being obsessed with metrics and setting SMART goals is also important. However, it's important to avoid playing stupid games and winning stupid prizes. Instead, focus on building a really good company, and don't be a screw up in front of it. By setting and accomplishing goals, some companies are able to move faster than ever expected.

Final Thoughts

Building a successful startup requires focusing on the right things. Starting with a strong value proposition, finding a consistent market segment, and creating a minimum viable product are key steps in the process. It is important to keep talking to customers, iterating, and measuring progress. Sales and marketing efforts should be focused on building a strong sales funnel and founders should learn how to do sales themselves. Metrics should be tracked and goals set to avoid playing "stupid games" and winning "stupid prizes." Finally, it is important to remember that fundraising and leadership are important but not as crucial in the early stages of building a successful startup and it’s something people who want to found a company tend to get caught up with, that’s the reason why I neglected them in this essay.Remember to also enjoy the process and stay focused on building something that you truly believe in. As Reid Hoffman said, it's like building a plane on the way down. Keep building value, keep iterating, and keep learning from your mistakes. With the right mindset, approach, and luck, you can turn your project into a successful and thriving start up.
This is all you need to know. Everything else, you will learn from falling on your face. A lot.
Good luck!

Special thanks to the guys from YC from whom I've learned a lot over the years following them virtually.
Also a big thank you to my co-founder of various projects and friend Caspar Pagel, for reading drafts of this.


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