I suppose it’s worth saying that these lessons come hard-earned; my company of eight people produced a viable prototype, but failed to land any prizes in the final competition against the twenty-one other startups at the Weekend; I have some ideas as to why.
So This is What the Future Looks Like
For those that haven’t been, the Weekend is a little surreal. It’s entirely based around tech startups – and a surprisingly homogenous class of web-app-like technology at that. I suspect that the negligible cost of remixing today’s information economy has allowed something of a gold rush mentality, complete with the shabby chic and messenger-bag cultural tide that carries tomorrow’s gurus.
My own part was as makeshift team leader – I had a dream of starting up a game company and racing to a first prototype in 48 hours, using a mixture of the Unity engine and backend metrics through an analytics engine like MixPanel.
I found out quickly that games weren’t really represented during this weekend. Information mashups, yes, automated forms, sure, but not games. Maybe they weren’t known, maybe nobody cared. Whatever the case, our initial team of three were the only game developers willing to represent there, when all was said and done.
Undaunted, I pitched the game company idea during the Friday “speed-dating” portion of the weekend, and it stuck well enough – out of the 60 ideas that were looking for teams, mine made the final cut of 20. By Friday night, my initial team of three had become a team of eight. By Saturday at noon, I promised, we’d have our game idea chosen and coding started.
It took us until Sunday afternoon to have everything done; we’d fought through idea changes, tech failures, sickness and absences, and a metric ton of conflicting priorities to come up with something viable – and a business plan around it – to show off to investors Sunday evening.
Thinking back on it, we really made a lot of mistakes.