The following is a guest post from Elizabeth (Beth Ann) Crabtree, a Startup Weekend Evansville 2.0 participant.
I first found out about Startup Weekend through an email. As I skimmed through the email, I noticed the word “entrepreneur.” This stood out to me because I was undecided on a major, but career aptitude test results showed that I had potential in that field. I saw this as an opportunity knocking and answered. My original intention was to go and observe, but that changed Friday.
I went to Startup Weekend Evansville 2.0 not knowing much about what all we were going to be doing. I assumed there would be a lot of different speakers on the entrepreneurial process, but I did not realize people would be pitching their ideas. Before all of the pitches started everyone seemed to be discussing ideas, inventions and products. A few people asked me if I was going to pitch anything, but each time I said that I had not really thought anything through. However, something that I had thought of while running on a treadmill a few nights before was on my mind. My idea was to develop something that would allow a person to slide their gym ID on any cardio machine and their customized workout would be programed on to the machine so they would not have to bother with changing the intervals, speed, etc. This would allow for more efficient training. Everyone I spoke with thought I should pitch my idea so I typed up what I wanted to say on my phone and pitched that night. After the pitching process the voting process began. Not many people voted for my idea, but two other participants really seemed to like it along with one of the mentors. We formed the Easy Slide Fitness Team. We went into a classroom with three large white boards and started jotting down different ideas. We had so many different possibilities and different directions we could go, but we had trouble narrowing down what would be proposed and how we could propose it in only five minutes.
On Saturday morning we got to work by trying to fill out the business model. A survey was set up to show a need for our product, and we also met with a patent attorney. Throughout the day, however, the concept of this idea kept evolving.
Idea #1: The original idea was the scan card idea.
Idea #2: Scan Card with Phone Application
Idea #3: The Smart Gym
Idea #4: Finger Print Scanner instead of Scan Card
Idea #5: The Bluetooth Treadmill
Idea #6: QR Code Reader
The evolution of this idea was great, but the objective of Startup Weekend was to present a business model for potential investors. With so many ideas we had trouble finding out who would buy our product and who would use it. Around nine that night, we were not on the same page as a team. We had so many potential ideas but we could not seem to stick with one and even worse we were all starting to argue. At this point I decided to backtrack, so I wrote down everything we had come up with so far and the flaws in each of these ideas. Time was running out to prepare a successful pitch and the only option I saw was to present what I had experienced over the weekend. I parted ways with my group.
On Sunday I presented my experience. I went through and showed the judges that we were unsuccessful, but we did not fail. Over the course of the weekend, I learned that being able to work well with others is a good trait to have. In order to be successful, everyone needs to be on the same page and everyone needs to contribute. You must be able to explain your idea to others. If you can’t simply explain your idea in a way that others can easily understand it, then you should not be presenting that idea. You have to be passionate about your idea. It isn’t about the money–it’s about being able to create something that will make society better in some way. You must stay true to yourself and your idea. Trust your intuition. If something seems off, then it most likely is. Part of being an entrepreneur is being able to look back at your mistakes and learn from them.