Seattle Startup Weekend, Day 2

I would have liveblogged Day 2 of the Seattle Startup Weekend event like I did Day 1, but I was so busy the whole day that it proved impossible. Even scratching my butt would have required taking my hands off the keyboard (Ed: you use two hands? Sometimes.). But I haven’t had more fun during a 14-hour workday for a long long time.

So, first things first: our assembled rock stars collectively chose a name for our new startup, and it is:

*REDACTED*

Ha ha! You didn’t think I’d spill the beans here, do you? There are all sorts of market-penetrating, first-mover, Secret Squirrel reasons why I’m not revealing the name right now. Our marketing and PR folks are busy at work crafting a Steve-Jobs-worthy product rollout strategy. I think it will be something like those “I’m a Mac” commercials, only it will be “I’m a *REDACTED*“. Ha ha! You almost got me to reveal the name again!

So, on to the day. As a developer, I first have to critique the food selection, and it was awesome. Bagels, fruit and cheese for breakfast; subs for lunch; and burritos/nachos for dinner. Thanks to the fine human beings at Jott, Madrona Venture Group, and LockerGnome for their participation. Oh, and someone brought cake. I think that was one of the people from the marketing team. Yay.

Next: the propeller-heads in the room had settled the night before on Python/Django, so the morning was spent getting environments set up, ramping up on syntax, etc. I’ve been working with compiled languages my whole life, so Python looks odd — it’s sort of like when you go into a museum and see a cat skeleton — if you look hard enough, you can see what it is supposed to be, but it still makes you shudder and toss salt over your left shoulder. Nevertheless, mad props to the three Django guys who spent the whole day acting as roving professors — I overheard some of their conversations and they are awesomely critical to the success of the weekend. Great job!

Seattle Startup Weekend Whiteboard

Every developer loves a whiteboard

I volunteered to be QA since (a) I love testing and (b) I don’t know Python. So I (drum roll please)…learned Ruby! Ruby’s another one of these interpreted OO languages, only it performs worse than Python and has a fragmented community. So it’s perfect. I ramped up on Watir, which one of my QA guys had turned me on to about 15 months ago, and it was fairly easy to get going. Luckily another dev at SSW named Craig has been around for me to ask questions about Ruby. Watir is not exactly NUnit and TestDriven.NET on Visual Studio, but it’s pretty neat nonetheless, and I really feel like I’m learning something.

I also did the domain-name acquisition. GoDaddy.com is really a terrible-looking website, but at least it’s not Network Solutions.

The UX team (Cassie, Bob, Adam, Jocelyn, a couple others whose names I didn’t know) did an AWESOME job of putting together a functional diagram for our website, with help from Matt on our team. Everyone loved the specs, especially the developers, who now know what they are supposed to break.

Seattle Startup Weekend Discussion

Conquering the world, one byte at a time

Off on the other side of the room, we got updates from business development, design, and other groups periodically throughout the day. There’s apparently such a thing as a “doorstep pitch”, which is like yesterday’s “elevator pitch”, only you have like three seconds to impress the person before their eyes glaze over and their mind goes off to relive last night’s Celebrity Apprentice. Also, we have a logo, and it rocks! It’s really amazing what a group of talented, motivated people can do when they need to. That’s the main lesson I’m taking away from this weekend.

In the afternoon, Scott Andrew performed some music for the group. He’s really talented. Nice set, and thanks for coming, Scott!

Seattle Startup Weekend Scott Andrew

Scott Andrew

I feel pretty good. The atmosphere is still friendly, productive, and nobody has gone postal (yet!). There’s a fun guy named Sam who cusses like he was raised in an Dublin brothel, but he’s got a great attitude and appears to be the type of person who is so talented he could flash EEPROMs during breaks, using only an Apple Newton and some paper clips. I also think our dev lead, Scott, is doing a great job, with backup from Mike. Both are SW veterans, I think.

Seattle Startup Weekend Swag

Swagalicious!

Day 3 starts here in an hour or so. I’m getting caffeinated for today’s 12-hour mad rush to the finish line. Should be awesome!

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