Just a day before the event was to be held; I overheard a friend talking about himself making a mistake while choosing a particular city to start his company. He mentioned it casually, as an afterthought, in a context where someone asked him about his first startup. I visualized what if there is a platform on web where people can learn from others’ mistakes? Having known what and how an idea can be formed from a brief, I thought, let me try if this event can be won for whatever I am worth. But, the thought of enrolling for the Bangalore Startup Weekend seemed to be fun. So I enrolled. There were few friends from Bangalore Startups who participated.
The event was well organized and things were starting on time without much confusion. All the participants were given a chance to pitch their ideas and few ideas were hilarious. Everybody gets 60 seconds to pitch their ideas; explain a problem, how this can be solved, who do they need.
I took my 60 seconds to say “My idea is about mistakes. What if there is a platform where people can post and share their mistakes, while they learn from others. It could be the Google for mistakes. What if you had a platform now where you could look for mistakes about how not to pitch an idea?” And I said, “Oh, It will be called Mistakopedia.” There, everybody was in agreement in their conscious that it is a radical idea. I felt it. After everyone pitched their ideas, It was time for people who are participants themselves to vote for an idea that they think is better, expect their own.
In a crowd of over 100, 16 ideas were selected. Everybody started hunting for team mates. Lot of interesting guys approached me. Initially too many people came towards me because my idea was liked most. I could have chosen anyone, but I didn’t. Now looking back, my mistake was, not being ready to pick what skill-sets do I need to look in a person. Everybody started forming groups and discussing strategy and present their ideas. I decided to work with Nanda, one of the participants
It’s a great place to meet new interesting people who are all there for a single purpose; Ideas to product. I had few friends in the event who were also building interesting products. Some were still looking for, sharing, and still forming teams. It is important not to make the mistake of sticking with a team building the product when you don’t believe on the direction of the execution of the idea. So people were still leaving and joining teams till noon.
Some ideas needed initial consumer responses, so few of the team members were asking all kinds of survey. It was fun to see people react to a product imagining how it would be. There were some great insights. Just a note, which Pankaj Jain always mentions, there will be some talks about stakes and its better to get it over with in a nice way before working together. Not doing that is a Mistake.
By now, Mentors started coming to see what’s happening. There was Mukund Mohan, and Pallav ; I can recall. They were all kind and happy to listen to ideas and respond as user, advisor and Potential investors. The validation of idea from them is very helpful to consider before shaping up the product for the demo day which was on Sunday. Mentors came, helped and left. Now, it was all in focus for everybody. The initial euphoria of idea being liked is inversely proportional to shape of the idea a day later after it manages the adversary of positive and negative criticism, stripping it off naked to its bare truth, validation, team split and time shortage to name a few. The Ideas that survive the day two and stay intact are taken to the third day with much vigor and passion that can only be felt at the event.
The next day was the day, that so many wonderful young minds, some are just out of college, some are working somewhere, some planning to quit and work on their own, some who would be the next facebook or google, were all fine tuning their nuts and bolts of Bangalore Startup Ecosystem with the help of Startup Weekend India, that promotes the motto. No Talk. All action. Which means work the hell out for three days and take home a product.
Everybody started presenting one by one. Some were ok. Some were brilliant in their approach and execution. Some had that sheer passion to do something different. Judges were very cool yet objective. They gave their feed back to each team. Most were very good at the demo, totally different from the way they had presented their ideas at pitch session. You can find below my presentation.
It took few a months later to contemplate on the question raised by the judge at the end, “how will you motivate the user to post mistakes?” I guess the sheer audacity of the idea and it’s freshness was enough to give some basic points for the idea. What helped apart from the objective approval for it’s potential as a big idea, was the audience who cheered so passionately for mistakopedia.com as the most popular idea that night. Mistakopedia won the first place. As a winner, I realized that my idea can be a product and people might like it.
Everybody went into the event with just few half baked ideas and a dream to build a product and came out with products, and team mates, friends, and most importantly the zeal to keep at your idea that can and will change the world, sooner or later.
To the new entrants to BSW this time, make the mistake of trying and validating your product and idea than just sleep on it waiting for things to get better by themselves.
Mistakopedia.com can save participants time by helping them learn from mistakes others have made across the world in building products that includes, coding, strategy, logo design, brand positioning etc. By searching using relevant keywords, anyone can find the mistakes done earlier by anyone in the world. Knowing that, will help the teams to focus on what to do in the right way without repeating mistakes.
This is a guest post by Srinivas Murthy, a participant and a winner of Startup Weekend Bangalore 2011. Srinivas Murthy’s bio can be found here :
I was infatuated with the advertising profession at Mudra, McCann and Ogilvy for a few years as creative. Then I grew out of it to become a startup two years ago! My passion is to ask ‘what if?’. The answer could be a new product, a service, a book, a movie, a relationship, or asersd oferdfs. My company is called Howard Roark Laughed Web Products, LLC.
More about my current products can be viewed here www.howardroarklaughed.org.
The complete blog could be read at www.mistakopedia.com/blog