Wide World o ZuTroy

Startup Weekend

The Lean Startup
Ok, so it’s been a little while since I blogged.  Honestly I have kinda felt like there wasn’t much to blog out.  But then a few weeks ago I signed up for Startup Weekend Salt Lake City.  The event was last week and I’m still on a high from it.  I haven’t done anything that cool in years.  I’ll definitely be going back to the next one.

So What is the Startup Weekend?

Many people have started hearing the buzz about the Lean Startup movement that began about 5 years ago or so.  If you haven’t go read the following blogs:

http://www.startuplessonslearned.com/

http://www.avc.com/

http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/

http://steveblank.com/

K, all done reading those? Good. Now go buy The Lean Starup by Eric Ries and read that.

So now you know what a lean startup is.  The Startup Weekend is the ultimate crash course in entrepreneurism. Attend one of these events and you will really come to understand the words; pivot, iterate, validate, lean, and tired.  The last one comes at the end of the weekend though, not during like the others.

So What Happens at a Startup Weekend?

So I pitched an idea along with 58 other people.  We each had exactly 60 seconds to pitch.  I heard so many great ideas.  Then at the end of the pitches we each got 3 votes for which idea we would like to work on.  There were about 20 or so that I would have loved to be involved with.My idea didn’t get chosen but I had a really hard time narrowing it down to just 3 ideas to vote for.

Once the votes were tallied we selected about 14 teams for about 100 team members and each migrated toward the idea we wanted to work on.  The only thing that I would like to see change for the next event is to have more designers present.  I wasn’t planning on doing design, I was planning on doing the business/marketing side but we ended up without a designer so I did that too.

I picked a great idea that was called MyKart.  Very similar to what we wanted Deal Tracker to become back in the day but with a more modern, mobile, and social twist to it.

The next day we were supposed to finalize the idea we were working on and we pivoted about 8 times to different ideas.  By 1:00 PM when all the other teams were halfway done with development we had just come full circle for the second time to our original idea. We changed the name to WeShop to emphasize the social aspect of it better.  We knew that domain wasn’t available but we didn’t really have time to find an available domain.

The third day we had to get things buttoned down and prepare for final presentations.  We also had to validate or invalidate our theories about the app.  We actually got 24 people at the mall in about an hour to sign up to be the first users when it is launched.  We finished our proof of concept and had it working locally. We cranked out a short video with less than 30 minutes to spare. Our stuff really worked. It was awesome.  When Will and I were working on Deal Tracker we didn’t get that far in 6 months.

Finally the presentations.  A couple of the teams did so so, and some just rocked it.  Our presentation was really good but I was really doubting that we could win because there were so many great projects and presentations. For a full breakdown go read about them on Alex Lawrence’s Startup Blog before continuing on.

I thought for sure we’d be in the top 3 though.  Third place was Unicorn Sex Appeal.  Amazing AR app/game. I can’t wait until I can play this on my phone. I’d gladly pay a few bucks for this app.  Second place went to Rate My Tenents.  A well oiled and polished app for landlords to be able to get the real inside scoop on potential tenents.  I was sure Tweet Graph, or Tasquach, or Afterthought, or Cinch, or Hackladder, or Buttermilk would beat us but then all of a sudden, they announced that we had won.  Man what a feeling.  To be able to put together something so awesome in 2 days that we could compete with these other projects was more than just amazing. It was an honor.  Never before have I felt like I was so surrounded by talent and genius.

And I finally learned something about myself.  I truly am an entrepreneur.  I’m just getting started.  I’ll see you at the next Startup Weekend.

Startup Weekend Project links: (I’m posting the links as they come online)

Afterthought

Cinch

Hackladder

Tasquach

Tweetgraph

Buttermilk

Unicorn Sex Appeal

[UN]CoolPoints

RateMyTenants

Wedding Address Book