DailyAfirmation (dailyafirmation) wrote,
DailyAfirmation
dailyafirmation

RTP Startup Weekend Day 1—A non-programmer's experience...

I arrived at Edge Office at just after six to a pretty decent crowd already. First thing I did was set up my laptop to start the "note taking process." Next was check-in with Jason DiMambro, from whom I secured my t-shirt.



There was a table of goodies, which included, but was not limited to: olives, Brie cheese, various crackers, chips, and dips, a basket of miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and miniature York Peppermint Patties, strawberries and grapes, and the ever-popular Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

Social hour was from 6:0-7:00. I met a couple of people, but not near as many as I "should" have. I'm so not a good "mingler" and "meet and greeter." These are the times I always question my "extrovert" designation. And it doesn't help that I'm an ESFJ in a sea of presumed INTPs. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

However uncomfortable it was for me, it wasn't unexpected. I discussed it in this blog entry in which I indicated that this weekend was going to put me "outside of my comfort zone" in that respect.



Jess Martin kicked off the event, by introducing Startup Weekend to the group of approximately 53 participants. A quick show of hands revealed that 6 or 7 people had been to Startup Weekends before. This is the 21st Startup Weekend (SUW) that has taken place. Jess acknowledged Wayne Sutton and Jason DiMambro for all of their work in pulling the event together.

Wayne asked us to join him in thanking the sponsors of SUW: Edge Office, who provided the venue, Sun Microsystems, winedrip, iContact, Sutton Insurance, Marvel Internetworking, Cafe Helios, and Startup Weekend.

Next, Wayne talked about creating a lot of online buzz about our weekend here. NBC-17 and CNBC are both going to be here all weekend covering the event. We also agreed to use #rtpstartup and #startupweekend tags on all social networking sites when blogging or tweeting about what's going on here.

All participants using Twitter were asked to tweet: @rtpstartup check-in, from which this Quickboard was created.



Due to the large number of participants, individual introductions were precluded by a show of hands for the role each person signed up for when purchasing a SUW ticket. The choices were: Developer-Backend, Developer-Sys Admin, Developer-Architect, Developer-Front End, PR, User Experience, Business Development, Designer, Legal, Project Manager, and Cook. FWIW–We had two people registered as cooks. Yay!

Next on the agenda was to take ideas for startup ventures to possibly work on this weekend. Let's just say that there was no shortage of suggestions. Afterwards, each person voted on three of the ideas about which they could get excited about working on.

I had prepared an idea—complete with an 8-slide Powerpoint presentation (just to use as speaking points)—and at one point I put my hand up to share it. I was not called on "next," and in retrospect, I'm glad I wasn't.

At the time, there were about 4 ideas on the table so I didn't know how many there'd end up being. There were two things at that time that I didn't realize, which had I known would have kept me from sharing my idea any way: (1) My idea would have been the only idea involving a "bricks and mortar" business, and (2) It pretty much ended up that the person whose idea was selected ended up being the team leader of the group.

Idea
Number
SuggesterIdeaVotes
1DaveLanguage learning platform for leaning (audio based)2
2JustisA site that crowdsources the identification of problems of solutions6
3LucA group deal site8
4ScottVirtual reality game, alternative reality treasure hunt15
5WaltIncredible Tree web app, make easy to record details, capture idea, thoughts3
6BrianiPhone video recording app to be able to share, upload to flickr, video 6
7FredPromoters and self-promoters to a physical address, which they can upload to get better feedback on the music -- a site to distribute tracks for reviews.2
8ChrisA site to help you cross-reference where things you like can be found (e.g., if you like Canadian Club and playing foosball, where's the best place to go to find that)13
9AhsonWidget-based platform for project management5
10TaylorWhen you're in a coffee shop or bar, a way (social, mobile jukebox) combined with Chris' - piggy-backed on that... a live concert way to give feedback to the band on what the crowd wants to hear.12
11Jakeigotnoplans.com -- a way to say where you are and when you want to go (right now, usually) and it returns things that are available to do. 11
12JasonOnline reputation management (e.g., to help kids understand all of the implications of their online presence)2
13RoeyRemote 9115
14AdamiPhone app... foreign language translator 4
15Markcreate a suite of plugins for wordpress to turn your blog, for example, into a business (example shopping cart system)5
16LukeBeer stock market, twitter message5
17JeffMashup of a twitter service and a game tracker type service, mobile phone update, system to follow sports players, by stats or actions2
18DougTake information off cell phone and put it on a web page (e.g., recent calls, missed calls)2
10LukeBeer stock market, twitter message5
20Jamesmyfriessuck.com - an iPhone app to report good/bad customer service or experiences, and then sell the information to the companies25
21DebiA location-based tracking sweet spy–gps/dash - mashup between location-based service and twitter4
22ChrisA consumer-based text message system. App on your phone to let people know if something expires or happens suddenly6
23TaylorMicro-finance site for teenagers (like a local kiva.com) 3
24ChrisiPhone holistic app to make a remote control to use for all of your electronic devices, Bluetooth, etc.2
25BrandonPersonal price tracker3


From this list, five projects were decided upon:


  1. Scott – virtual reality game, alternate reality treasure hunt – 7 open conference room

  2. Chris – bar finder site that has all cross records, that list drinks, games, food, tourist attractions

  3. Jay – Steam: I got no plans, mashup site, topics, movies, music 10 – main conference Room

  4. James – my fries suck - iphone app that you report when food is good or bad – 12 Back Room

  5. Chris – a consumer based text mess. App on your phone to let people know if something expires or happens suddenly




Next, Jess reminded us of the groundrules of the weekend, by talking about Richard Florida's (controversial) notion of The Creative Class."

He noted that the kind of people who are here display the leading characteristics of the creative class: They're flexible and they like challenges.

He then reminded us of the goals for this weekend:


  1. The primary goal of the weekend is to bring a community together. It was not to create a money-making enterprise.

  2. The secondary goal was to create a space in which to learn something.

And, finally, he reminded us of the "Two Feet Rule": If you're not in a good place at any time here, use your two feet to take you somewhere where you can have fun.

After narrowing the field of ideas down to five, and with this framework in mind, we each expressed interest in participating in one of them.



After a break, we heard from the guest speaker, John Glushkin of Intersouth Partners, on what VCs look for in a startup. This started at just after 9:00, and was a non sequitur due to travel mishaps.

These are some things the VCs look at:

  1. Management team: how easy is it going to be for you to attract a management team for your idea.

  2. Technology ideas: the value proposition is usually pretty clear. It needs to be something that can engage the user all day. "share of mind" and "the hook" and "stickiness" (the "switching cost" is something they look for) (his company 8 out of a 1000 ideas they fund)

  3. the eco-system coming into as a business: most companies that are successful..
Jess asked what makes a VC person feel good about the presentation of an idea and what are turn-offs.

John indicated that one of the first thing he looks at is "the person." Are they making eye contact? Are they confident? Are they listening to me as much as I'm listening to them?"

After that the conversation usually moves toward what he knows about the industry in which the idea is based, his experience with other startup attempts in that arena, etc.

The biggest turn-off to him is if the presenter or company appears to not be adaptable—if they are stuck on implementing their idea the way that it is. 100% of the companies that his firm has funded, which is about 96 of them, have all ended up with something different than what was originally presented.

Also, he wants the company to see its relationship with the VC as a partnership.



I joined the MyFriesSuck.com group, and we spent a lot of time talking about the interface, and things like whether we should require users to sign up in order to use the service, and what kind of feedback to collect, particular trying to keep in mind what kind of information businesses might be willing to pay for.



This evening, I waffled way too much between this being good for me and me "taking my two feet to somewhere where I'd be having fun." I want to quit, but I feel like it's a growth experience that I need to forge on with.

I spent too much time thinking about "calling in sick" tomorrow, and just not coming back. Then I thought about @waynesutton, @jessmartin, and @dimambro and everything they've put into this, and I didn't want to lie to them.

Back and forth. Back and forth. I called it a night at about 10:30, and most of the team stayed on. I did leave with the intention of returning in the morning, though.
Tags: rtpstartup startupweekend
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