Saturday, November 10, 2012

My Gift to myself : Startup weekend @ Cincinnati

After an year of trying, finally got to gift myself a weekend. Yes it was a long pending gift for some better retrospection and future re-expectation. Deliberately chose a location which was close to 4 hours away to give a enough time to meditate off the normal day today chaos.
I will try to put in the events in my day-o-day format.
Day 1:
Reached Cincinnati and drove directly drove to The Mets center. Location is a massive training facility and with an amazing infrastructure.
Registrations were pushed by 30 mins. Was the third one to check in. There you go the event kicks off

Networking, meet and greet. It was quite electric environment getting built up. Without much expectation I was living every moment and trying to absorb every bit of excitement of being with some nerds and agony of not taken any next steps towards my dreams. But that’s probably is a part of the plan – more or less.
Event unfolds. Usual anchoring starts with an anchor seemingly less prepared but still managing her ground. Quite interestingly,confirmed that she was the last minute pick for the MC. I don’t know what the heck that means…just can take a guess…must be something to do with anchoring the event.

Before the actual Day-1 pitch process there was a good trailer.Picking two random words and creating a startup (pitch) in 15 mins. Our words were “Bludgeoned” & “Princess”. We as a team were quite creative to carve a horny pitch out of the words we chose.
Then starts, the actual pitching process. i have had been intrigued always reading, seeing videos etc and hence  I definitely wanted to try my hands, and not leave any experience untouched in my first Startup weekend. I was one of the 17 pitchers (idea testers). There was couple of cool pitches. I personally like 2 and was quite amazed at the thoughts and catalysts for those.

Around the room, among the 50 current, to be entrepreneurs, I could see, everyone wanted a Developer, Designer on their teams, BUT no mention of tester. Felt this is the moment. So changed my pitch at last moment to give some mileage to the craft I am passionate of.
I think I did a good job of presentation, got a very solid feedback on the idea. But since it was a service driven idea, it was not “SEXY”.During voting, I expectedly got only 2 votes. All the ideas with >6 votes were supposed to create teams.

Now came my pivot. Quickly changed gears when I knew my idea is out of race, started to dig into the 2. I liked the most to be apart. Split up, went with my gut and joined the idea targetting the education of youth. We got together and there you go the actual fun started.
We got into the room and started the actual work I had been looking to. Our team had Ryan (idea owner), Andrew (Developer), Eric (Developer), Suraj (Developer),Mark (still unclear) and myself (Test architect)

After the usual round of introductions, talking about our strengths and weakness we hit the ground running. Spent the 1.5 hours to hash out the ifs and buts, bells and whistles and focus for the next 50 hours or so.
This was probably the meat of the day-1 effort, where we got disciplined and streamlined the features we would working on for the next 48 hours, workflow and prototyping strategy.

Key take away’s personally on Day 1

1.       There is a lot of passion around, so need to get addicted to the same

2.       Ideas are good, but it’s just a first step. Fun is taking the plunge and executing on the idea
Day 2…will be on its way Sunday morning…


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