Wednesday, April 23, 2014
I've arrived at Portland's Peloton Labs for the second day of Maine's first-ever "Startup Weekend", and the ten teams are already hard at work drawing up business plans, writing mission statements, and conducting preliminary market research.
If you're just coming to this blog for the first time, here's more background about Startup Weekend. Last night, we had a round of 60-second pitches (some of which I recorded in two liveblog posts, here and here), and those were narrowed down to ten of the best concepts, around which everyone has formed teams in order to build them into a going enterprise for a panel of judges at the end of the day on Sunday.
I just spent a few minutes eavesdropping on two of the teams, and here's what they're working on:
Community Bar: group-sourcing a mission statement
The "Community Bar" team is working on building a bricks-and-mortar version of the popular GreenDrinks event: a place where patrons to dedicate a portion of their tabs towards local social causes (this and the composting porta-potty seemed to be among the most popular concepts during last night's voting round).
At 10:40 a.m., they're discussing a potential mission statement. Travis Parker, a designer at Green Design Furniture Co., pitches this: "Community Bar is a community meeting ground that connects citizens with worthy causes... through the healthy consumption of beer."
The idea of bringing people together, in the traditional sense of a bar, while also bringing people together with social causes seems to have some traction in the group. Sean Sullivan, the original pitcher of the "Community Bar" concept, has been transcribing his group's proposed mission statements and generates a word cloud from the entire collection.
"So the biggest word [i.e., the most frequently used] is 'community', followed by 'nonprofits' and 'local'," he notes.
There seems to be more action at the next table over, the "Goals with Friends" group, so I move on.
Goals with Friends: Research the market, or start building now?
When I drop by the "Goals with Friends" group, they're in the midst of a debate over what they should be working on. One team member, Alex Lapa, has built a basic market research survey, and wants the team to send it out to their social networks to collect feedback. But Shea Gunther, another team member, is mindful that they only have until Sunday afternoon to get something made, and he's anxious to start building their product.
The "Goals with Friends" team: (from left) Erika Allison and Alex Lapa.
Erika Allison, the group's apparent leader (and the idea's original pitcher) seems anxious to move on as well, so she closes the discussion and puts the question to a vote. The team decides to share the survey via their social networks and take a look at the results when they come back, with the caveat that they won't spend too much time on it.
If you'd like to help out (and get a better idea of what "Goals With Friends" is all about), here's a link to their market research survey.
That question having been resolved, Shea reiterates his desire to get started. "Let's start building it," he says. Someone asks whether their vision is clear enough to plow forward. "I think we need to get started, and we'll clarify the vision in the process," Shea answers. They decide to take a five minute break and then get started in earnest.Tweet
Commercial Confidential tracks Maine's business leaders and economic indicators.
I'm an economics wonk and an online content producer for the Portland Press Herald.
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