Monday, November 15, 2010

Startup Weekend

It's been a long time since I've posted anything here, almost a year and a half.  I'm not going to go into why right now, but instead I want to talk about this past weekend, which was really cool.  I participated in a "Startup Weekend" event.  The basic idea was to pitch ideas, form teams, and create a functional business - all in one weekend.  Sounds insane?  It is.

And a hell of a lot of fun.

So here are some of my thoughts on the experience.

Day 1:

Arrived at about 5:30 with a friend in tow.  Lots of pizza there, and lots of pizza.  Saw a couple familiar faces.  Mixed and mingled, heard a good speaker, and about 20 people pitched ideas, including me.  (An idea I had over a year ago.)  My idea was similar enough to 2 other ideas that we merged teams.  Then people voted for ideas, with the idea that the team with the most votes would stand up and pitch again, and people would join that team.  Ours went first and wound up with about 14 people, a lot for an event like this.  A couple other ideas I really liked, but I stayed with mine.

We all then split into our groups and began working on the projects, staying until midnight.

Day 2:

Arrive at 8:30, the doors open at 9.  Go in, have breakfast, get to work.  There are updates given, but each team is working like crazy.  A few people vanish from our team.  I am the only back end dev, and I am scrambling with server problems, and DNS isn't helping.  Finally I give up on Rails 3 ever working on my server and restart with Rails 2.  Shortly before midnight I get FB Login working, returning some values.

Early in the day we settled on a name - Likedity - and got the domain name.

Day 3:

Arrive at 10 and work.  The team is down to 6.  A speaker at one point, an update somewhere in the day, final pitches at 5:30.  I'm working to get the front end design pulled in.  It takes a while, but I finally realize that FB isn't sending me location information in any way.  I give up and quickly set up GeoIP with Maxmind, which is a snap.  A very short while later I get event information from Eventful working, using the GeoIP.  This is at about 4.  The business people in the team are working to get a presentation put together.  We wrap up at 5:30, and pitches are actually at 6.  We go second.

We didn't win the overall contest to go on to the next round, but there's quite a bit of interest in the app, and encouragement to keep moving.  The top 2 apps - and statssquared - really, honestly, kick ass.  Statssquared wins, and deservedly so.  They have something really cool.

Below is a list of the final companies that came out of this, roughly in the same order as the final pitches, although I am a bit fuzzy on the middle ones.
  1. Scigle
  2. Likedity
  4. Gnomaddesk
  5. Notesee
  6. Waitmate
  7. Statssquared
Go check them all out.