Truth be told, I was not going to go to StartupWeekend-Boulder last weekend. I was going to go camping with my Fiance. However, the weather worked out so that was a bad idea (wet tents and apartment life mean lots of mold). Not only that, but my friend Jason was all over me about StartupWeekend. At one point he seriously said,
You MUST go if you are serious about startups.
My first reaction to this was that Jason was just being obsessive. Turns out, my gut reaction was way wrong. I thanked Jason probably three different times for harrassing me (about 12 emails… seriously) to go.
Why did I thank Jason? Because, not only did I go, I pitched an idea that I had essentially thrown in the garbage and it took. By “it took” I mean that after we were all done pitching ideas, I had 4 people talking to me about it almost immediately. I didn’t have to make a political rally type sign or anything. I will say though, that if this didnt work out, I was very interested in @penguin‘s idea for “Pools I can jump into, and parties I don’t have to clean up after”.
So, to backtrack a little, this is how startup weekend went for me:
Friday 9:00 AM
2 more emails from Jason about stupid Startup Weekend
Signed up and registered after finding out about the weather, getting permission from the Fiance, and talking to Jason AGAIN about StartupWeekend.
Jason shows up at my office, on the dot no less, and we leave for Boulder
I pitch my idea, LivingOffCampus to the group.
I have a group of about 4 guys who are interested in exploring the project more. We start talking, planning, scheming. I keep pitching to people who stop to talk.
Later that night
Bar time. Delicious Raspberry Wheat Beer
Bed time, after talking about this idea that I was now completely invested in again.
Saturday morning through Sunday 6PM
Seriously, these two days are a blur. We planned, we coded, we planned, we ate lunch, we coded. By this time there were a solid 6 of us cranking out business plans, logos, functionality, market analysis, a WordPress plugin, an API, marketing ideas, logo, slogan, and T-shirts. Yes, T-shirts. Oh yeah, a slogan and a pair of shorts with our slogan placed right on the butt. (when you see the slogan below, you will understand)
By Sunday afternoon there were probably 8 or 9 of us who were seriously putting 125% into the idea. It was amazing.
Everyone joined back up in one of the Leeds Business School’s classrooms that was build like a miniature auditorium with stadium seating, projectors and everything.
By this time, we all had our new SpotGrab.com T-shirts on and were standing in front of the rest of StartupWeekend-Boulder ready to present. Did I mention that the guys put together an amazing presentation on PowerPoint? Or that they had figured out, with our initial pricing estimates we came in 5-7x less per month in cost than our nearest competitor?
We presented the core product, the features we had, the wordpress plugin, threw out the extra T-shirts and the shorts. They all said, “Find your spot and grab it!”.
I talked with the group and everyone seems excited to continue with the project. It is an amazing thing, and it seems to have traction and momentum. Both of which I lacked when the project was called LivingOffCampus.
I hope that I continue to get to work with this great team that we put together, I have never seen so many people get so much done in such a short amount of time. The amount of drive, innovation, and tenacity that came with this group is unrivaled.
A couple of the amazing things that came out of the project:
Logo and “Best Marketing Idea. Ever.” Courtesy of Grant Grigorian
“SpotGrab Shorts” Pic courtesy of @heyrich
T-shirts and shorts put together by Dave Mayer