DailyAfirmation (dailyafirmation) wrote,

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RTP Startup Weekend—Day 3, and bookclub...

Got here at 9:30 to find a Panera Bread-catered breakfast. I must say the food choices for the weekend have been absolutely stellar, and I understand thanks for that are due to @Chris_Rader.

My first task today was from Jeff, our Director of Marketing (a.k.a. Director of Fry Marketing), and it was to gather a couple of statistics about the fast food industry. I retrieved these two:

The fast food and quickservice (fast food) restaurant industry includes about 200,000 restaurants with combined annual revenue of about $120 billion. Major companies include McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, Subway, and Panera Bread.

Source: MarketResearch.com, 2008, http://www.marketresearch.com/browse.asp?categoryid=523&g=1

According to the NPD Group, a research company that tracks the food industry, a whopping 77% of all meals bought in the U.S. are purchased at what’s called a “quick-service restaurant.” That’s up from 73% in 1994.

Source: "Can Fast Food Be Healthy?", 04/01/2008, http://men.webmd.com/features/can-fast-food-healthy

I had to leave for a little while, and did so between 11 and 1. I stopped at Great Clips at Mission Valley, as my regular place, Cost Cutters, is closed on Sundays.

After my haircut, I stopped in the Avent Ferry Food Lion, where I bought a bag of pretzels, a can of minced clams, and a stick of cream cheese. At home, I made clam dip for tonight's book club meeting.

After a quick shower, I headed back to RTP Startup Weekend at Edge Office.

Lunch had arrived and it was another great choice—Italian fare from Amedeo's on Western Blvd. I absolutely love their bread.

My next task was error message testing and editing. I was only able to access the Web interface, where I suggested one change:

Error message for the Confirm Password field:

When what you put in this field doesn't match what's in the password field, the error message says: "Please enter the same value again."

Taken literally, this sounds like we want the user to retype what they just typed, which is what we're flagging as "wrong." What we really mean is, "Please enter the same value here that you entered above for the password."

After that, I did some usability testing, providing the following feedback:

Personally, I would not click on "Contact Me" without more information about what the implications of checking it are:

  1. Does it mean MyFriesSuck.com can contact me?

  2. Does it mean the businesses for whom I'm giving feedback can contact me?
  3. How will I be contacted, and what is my obligation once contacted? 

It would appear that our only password rule is that it be 8 characters or less. I would suggest we make this clear to the user without them having to find out after typing in less than 8 characters—either with hover text, a link to a message that displays, or just writing it out in smaller font in parentheses to the right of the word "Password" above the input box.

My recommendation would be to make the Gender selection radio buttons instead of a dropdown. I can just hear our female customers saying, "Why do WE have to do an extra step to indicate our gender?" :-)

As a user, I don't understand what "Register and Review" means. Does it mean:

  1. That MyFriesSuck.com is going to review my submission? If so, do I care as the user?

  2. Does it mean I'm going to have a chance to review my entry/profile before it's actually sent/created? If that's the case, then I would expect the button to say "Review and Register."

My point is that whichever the case, it should be clear to the user what's going to happen without them having to click to find out.

In the login screen, if you put in an invalid userid and/or password, the screen is just refreshed with blank fields, and no error message is presented. Is that what we want?

We did a take, actually a few takes, for the CNBC story, with our team standing altogether, and all saying in unison, "My fries suck dot com," and then our Director or Marketing saying, "Tell 'em what you think," and everyone again in unison, "NOW!"

One time between two of the takes, the cameraman said, "I need you to get closer together. Don't worry it won't mean you're gay or anything," to which I replied, "Not that that would be a bad thing, if you were."

We created bios, each taking a fry-related title:

James Avery
Chief Fry Cook
James is the founder and owner of Infozerk, Inc., which runs The Lounge advertising network and provides .NET and Ruby consulting. James has been personally taste testing fries since 1979.

Jeff Cohen
Director of Fry Marketing
Jeff is an advertising account executive and marketing strategist who is a blogger, photographer and social media geek. He enjoys letting the coders do what they do, but has no idea what they are talking about.

Derick Hitchcock
Potato Grappler
Derick is an underemployed web developer.

John Martin
Fry-By-Night Editor
John is a technical communicator, currently doing technical editing for major computer company. John is a lifelong learner, a daily blogger, and a word junkie who loves puns. His favorite is: Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other, "Does this taste funny to you?"

Sean McCarthy
Frymobile Driver
Sean is a master of all trades and a code junkie. He is the only guy who can re-write windows using a Texas Instruments calculator.

Fred Medlin
Chief of Fry Distribution
Fred has been freelancing and working in startups since moving to the RTP area in 1991. He is stoked by learning new technologies, better tools and different domains. Creating innovative products and working with great teams is his passion.

Curtis Mitchell
Fry Guy
Curtis is a dad of three, husband of one, and software engineer who enjoys talking about Curtis in the third person.

Brian Russell
Brian is the founder of Carrboro Coworking, a shared office space with a café-like atmosphere.

Dustin Tsang
Dustin is a recent graduate of UNC.

Caleb Wright
Spud Wrestler
Caleb is a front end developer who can even make a potato look shiny.

I had to leave Startup Weekend at just after 5:30, as I had a book club commitment for tonight at 6:00. The four startups were scheduled to give presentations at 6:30, and I intended to try and watch them from Sharon's.

I arrived at Sharon's at just after 6:00. Mary was the only other one there yet, and we both put out our appetizers—hers a small vegetable tray with a ranch dip, and mine pretzels and clam dip.

I set up my laptop in hopes of catching the 6:30 demos of our four startups, which Wayne Sutton was streaming from Edge Office. As it turned out, the audio didn't work, and after about 15 or 20 minutes of that, I turned it off.

In the meantime, Suzanne and Janet had arrived, and Sharon had added carrots and some Outback Bloomin' Onion dip to the appetizer mix. We discussed Eat, Pray, Love, while sitting around the appetizer table. Suzanne and Mary had predicted that Janet wasn't going to like the book, but as it turned out, she loved it. Seems she has delved some into Eastern philosophies and meditation, so she related to a lot in the book.

Sharon and Joe were trying a new rib recipe, and Joe had grilled them while we discussed the book. They were most delicous! Janet had a choking spell in the middle of eating them, and no one knew how to do the Heimlich maneuver, which was a little scary. Fortunately, whatever it was, expelled itself before she started turning blue or anything. Thank god!

For dessert we had some most delicious strawberries and cantaloupe, with lite whipped cream available, and some chocolate Goodberry's ice cream custard.

I was really over-committed this weekend, and starting a load of laundry at 9:30, as well as beginning to pack at that hour, only highlighted that. The reality of having to be up at 4:00 to catch a 5:40 flight out of RDU suddenly hit home.

Robert arrived between 9:30 and 10:00, and we were in the bed by 11, with the alarm set for 4:00.
Tags: msbc, rtpstartup, startupweekend

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