Matt Glover (Duchy Software) – Winner of BeMyApp London – http://appolympics.bemyapp.com
So I boldly opened the door unsure who or what to expect from this event, especially of it’s size. I already knew over 120 people had registered so if nothing else it was a good chance to touch base with some like-minded geeks.
First mission – Get Sticker’d Up
There was a line, longer than any I’ve seen at a candy store. What were they/we queuing for ? I edged closer to the front and realised, it was the coloured dots that we’d be wearing for the evening. These dots were key, they made our names irrelevant. They gave us an identity. They gave us easy chat-up lines, “So you’re a Dev, cool”, “Ah, a fellow Idea Generator … what’s yours (am I wasting my time, is it better than mine .. hmmm ?).
Pitching Ideas – Earning Votes – “Did I make the cut’
Inspired by my daughter’s ‘Marble Jar’ reward system at school, I wanted to do something cool and fun for the family … I knew carrying a ‘Marble Jar’ around with me was gonna become annoying. My idea was simple … A Mobile app with a catalogue of ‘Rewards’, a way to record ‘Excellent Behaviour’ and a ‘Fun’ way to store/share these ‘Star Events’.
The idea was clear in my mind, I had already visualised it … I already imagined using it as a family. I’m a developer at heart, yes I was also a idea generator, but primarily I’m a dev (and proud) … so you can imagine my pitch wasn’t the best rehearsed 1 minute I had spent. Hence, only 4 votes ..
‘Did I make the cut’ – No
but there was hope, I was invited as a wildcard … but it was too late to form a team. But hey, I was in London for the weekend – Go for it !!
I’ll go to bed and think about it
Think Wildcard, Think Goran Ivanišević (Croatian Tennis Player – Wimbledon 2001 Winner)
Really ?? Could a wildcard really make any impact against the ‘big dogs’, the teams of 4 or 5 or 11 ??
Thank you Goran … you inspired me to continue during moments of despair.
Getting going … ok, Wireframes.
There’s nothing like dumping the idea from my brain down on paper .. my advice to anyone taking this approach: “Buy a pencil and eraser” … “No ink”
“Oh .. that’s a lot of work for the time I’ve got”, remembering the size of my team : 1.
Ok, let’s roll … and see where we land.
Friends, Advisors and Mentors
I was making friends though out the day, there was always someone to say hello to at the refreshment table .. so I was getting used to picking up names and gathering their pity when I tell them I had to go it alone. This didn’t seem to phase the mentors who had more than 1 minute to digest my idea.
Needless to say, I had loads left to do to even make a half decent presentation … so I set up an office in my rented room and worked until my body asked if I wouldn’t mind coming to bed now. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse … literally.
Fast Forward to Sunday
I was so pleased, Last night’s effort had paid off, I had overcome some of the more technically challenging aspects of my app. All that was left to was to work on the bluetooth sharing and ‘Remote Stars Transfer’ that was my main focus … I realised I just wouldn’t have time to add any more polish to the app.
Sunday morning quickly turned into Sunday afternoon … teams around me were practising their presentations, patching and minor bug fixes and UI tweaks … some were even out gathering market research at the local markets and stores. Where did they find the time … I had only about 5 secs to scratch my backside.
I was allocated Presenter #9 … which meant I had another 40-45 mins to pull together my keynote presentation, slightly unfair on the guys up first, but it was the lucky break I needed. Neil from mashery.com offered some valuable advice that I think only a few teams picked up on, “Don’t go straight into a slide-deck .. tell a story first”. Amazing advice !!
I was free to be creative and be fantastical, it reminded me that this is Fun. It was a breath of fresh air and got my mind re-aligned.
The presentation was a blur … ask me now and I couldn’t tell you how it went. All I remember is those beautiful stars pouring from the top of my iPhone and floated gracefully into the iPad’s ‘Star Jar’.
Awards / Chocolate-Shower
“So, 3rd – StampChamp” (Digital Voucher/Loyalty Capture system)
“2nd – Twittgift” (Mobile gifts based on you Twitter profile and amount to spend)
“and in 1st place” – Star Jar (Holy Shit, no way !!!!)
It’s nice hearing the judges announce me as the winner … however, what’s even better (and slightly emotional) is hearing the audience call ‘Star Jar‘ moments before the announcement. That’s the moment I’ll never forget, thank you friends, and of course Goran.