February 14th, 2011
This past weekend I participated in the second Startup Weekend Edmonton event. The previous Startup Weekend took place last June, which I was unable to participate in because I was in a friend’s wedding party, so I’ve been looking forward to the second one. The weekend did not disappoint: what a fantastic experience all around!
Over 50 people attended the event and helped build projects on seven different teams ranging in size and scope from a two people team to the supersized thirteen member team I was on. We had 54 hours to build a prototype, then all met up at Original Joe’s Varsity on Sunday night to demo our work for the rest of the groups and the extended community.
For those who aren’t familiar with Startup Weekend, here’s how it works:
- Friday Night: Register, pitch ideas, form teams, make a plan.
- Saturday: Get up early and code, code, code all day long, from morning to late night. Then, after you can’t bear to stare at a computer screen any longer, go for beer until the wee hours of the morning.
- Sunday: Get up early again. Panic: not enough hours! Code and commit changes like a fiend. Then celebrate your new prototype by demoing and drinking more beer in the evening.
My team (Team Victory) came out of two idea pitches that merged into one.
The first idea was to create a social interface that would let you rate developers you’ve worked with on different skill sets, allowing you to recommend them and indicate whether you’d like to work with them again. Sort of a reputation system for IT people.
The second idea was to create a system that let you post your development project and tag it with locations and technologies to let other devs and designers see what projects are happening based on certain tags: for instance, someone involved with Edmonton’s Ruby meetup group would be able to quickly search for ongoing projects in Edmonton tagged with Ruby.
So what did we build? Something that does both! The idea behind LaunchWith.Me is to provide developers, designers and other tech-folk with a place they can show who they’ve worked with, who they love to work with, and what projects they’ve worked on. The current prototype interface isn’t complete but the underlying API is incredibly robust for something built in 54 hours. A lot of the data isn’t yet exposed because we ran out of time, but the core is there. If you’re browsing around the demo we have up keep in mind the data you see is all test data and you can’t actually create an account at this point.
I had a great time, and I learned tons. I’m a designer, BA and PM, but one of the things I loved the most about this weekend was sitting in the midst of a development space: I love to soak up information and learn new things, and boy did I ever learn a lot just by listening to the conversations happening around me. I also had the chance to dive into CSS3 for the first time, and I love how fast you can prototype things without spending hours fiddling in Photoshop.
I’d also like to give a big shout-out to Team Victory: you were a standout group to work with. I got the chance to work with some long-time friends and new people who have now become new friends. The network of amazing, brilliant people Edmonton events like DemoCamp exposes is one of the Edmonton tech community’s biggest success stories. As always, I look forward to the next event.
And if you’re wondering whether or not LaunchWith.Me will keep going, the answer from our team seems to be a resounding yes. So stay tuned for more from Team Victory and LaunchWith.Me! In the meantime, check out Mack’s Startup Weekend Flickr set and catch up with the #SWEdmonton Twitter hashtag.
Read other recaps of Startup Weekend Edmonton: