Startup Weekend in a sentence: A place where many types of people come together, some to try to start businesses, some to help start those businesses, all in 54 hours. If I were to add another sentence: Sometimes these weekends will have prizes for the project some judges choose as the best.
Friday night, there were about 25 projects pitched (for that night, pitches were one minute presentations about the idea). We got to vote, and the 15 projects with the most votes moved on to have teams formed. Both Miranda and I chose a project based around improving library circulation. The team, led by a mid-20s former librarian named Trey, consisted of two developers, Trey, his close friend Mason, and the two Boyink kids. That night, we discussed what the product would be.
The product that we developed, called BiblioTech, is a browser extension that searches any web page for ISBN numbers while you surf the internet, and, if that number matches one in your library system’s catalog, gives you a link in a drop down to reserve the book.
We left Friday night exhausted, and didn’t get to sleep until 1:30. After 6 hours of sleep, we were back up and traveling back to IT-ology, where the event was held. Right after we got to our team’s room, two new people walked in and asked if they could defect to our team - which we instantly agreed to. Having expanded our team to 8, we began discussing our business model, which was lots of complicated stuff I only half understood. Essentially, we decided we would sell this service to the libraries, not the patrons, and also discussed other revenue possibilities later on. After lunch, we split into a few different groups and did customer validation (making sure people would use the product), research, development, and, for me, advertisement emails to libraries. The validation team returned with good news, and the developers had mostly finished our example. The evening was spent half-working on the next day’s presentation, half goofing off.
The next morning, we got there relatively early compared to the rest of the group - in other words, first. After everybody else got there, we began to really dig into the presentation, getting our slides in order and making sure Trey knew the material. By the time 4:00 rolled around, we were ready to go.
Everybody got 5 minutes of presentation and 5 minutes of question and answer. We were slotted second in the run of presentations. The first presentation creeped by, as I imagined Trey messing everything up and not saying anything. Turns out my fears were completely imagined, as he absolutely killed it. The demonstration of the prototype went beautifully, and Trey knew every answer he needed. The rest of the presentations crawled by, as both hunger and nervousness set in. After all the presentations were complete, we went out for food. While the hunger decreased, the nervousness increased.
Turns out that nervousness was also unfounded. They kept us waiting, but BiblioTech took first place. I completely believe that Trey will produce the full extension, and I hope this product takes off.
Boyink’s confession: I grabbed some of these pics off Twitter - because so often I was not in the right spot with the camera. Thanks to whoever took them.