Day one - The Pitch:
Everyone with an idea were given a minute to pitch. I decided to go for it as I don't get a chance to practice my public speaking skills every day so I went for it. After an adrenaline rush that lasted for over 30 minutes, I pitched my idea and I did not know how to explain it and it got lost in the sea of pitches. It was really bad.
Pitch 27: App that allows a group of friends to divide the planning for the evening.#csw5
— Startup Weekend CLT (@StartupWkndCLT) January 26, 2013
After voting for the top pitches, We had to join a team that we are interested in working with. It was tricky given that I had no interest in any of the ideas so I chose a team that needed a web developer and had other developers that I could learn from. We did not win and I really don't regret not choosing another team. I came to the event to sharpen my skills and I think I worked on a really challenging product.
Day 2: The head down coding phase:
Now that the plan is set, we divided our team to handle the development, marketing, bushiness planning and research. I decided to handle the web development given that we already had 3 developers in the team who handled the Android app and the back end of the server.. ... I was able to pull a quick web layout thanks to bootstrap and Google maps. I used Google charts for the first time and it was really easy to use.
Day 3: The catching up:
The last day. We did not code freeze and it felt as if we were moving the last pieces of a jinga game. I finished up my web development and we were really impressed by how fast we finished the product.
The presentation went better than what I expected. The marketing and project management guys were able to research the product and pulled a really nice presentation.
We did not win the contest ... But I learned a lot and met amazing people.
- I am not the only one with a "great" idea. Over half of the crowed came up to pitch and I actually liked a lot of the ideas that were not selected.
- I should practice my pitch. I failed at communicating my idea to the public and this is what they thought it was (reminder: it was about creating a bucket list for friends)
- I should be passionate about my pitch and I should show it.
- Focus on solving problems
- Prove a track record of what I done before to support my pitch.
- Think about which team to join and what project I could add the most value to.
- Bring in my business cards. I regret not marketing myself. Especially given the melting pot nature of talented people that I could network with.
- Bring in more of my friends. Knowing people makes it easier to jump into conversations and meet others.
- Take breaks and stay healthy. I think I might bring some board games to play with the team while taking breaks.
- Know my technologies and have suggestions for common solutions (web hosting, layouts, social marketing).
- Read the rules... yeah.
Great quotes I heard (paraphrasing for some of them):
"Your customers will not move away from the bad process they are following because it works. You have to make your product a 100 times better before they will adopt it." - Tim Cheadle
"The biggest mistake you could make in start up weekend is to actually work on implementing your product"
Some media coverage.
List of skills and technologies I got exposed to:
Bootstrap: I used it before but I never created a full project with it. It is a great way to prototype websites. There are a lot of great templates and themes ready to use.
Google Charts: a great way to charts. We used it to plot a pie graph of the categories and a Bar graph for the spending. We ran into an API key issue but we fixed it.
Google Maps API: Used to show multiple transaction locations.
Android Geolocation: I had to get the coordination to plot them on the map. Google resources were really helpful.
prezi: A great presentation tool.
Sublime text 2: A great text editor (Thanks +Dimitrios Arethas)