through sewell's eyes

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Startup Weekend NYC recap

I had a blast. Coding marathons, learning about new stuff, and meeting new people was a great experience. While I probably preferred either of the other two apps -- fashion mashup/geocoding or internet scavenger hunt, the group decided on the Greatest Meals Facebook app idea -- FavorEats. And since I'm a team player, Full Steam Ahead...

With most of my work experience us been on the back end infrastructure stuff, watching and listening how the UI teams work together with web developers was eye opening.The initial requirements that came out of UE were probably for a 5 day project instead of a 1.5 day hackfest. There was definitely push back by the development team and requirements were cut. But I think anymore cutting probably would have rendered the app unusable.

On the developers side there was one guy who deserved the credit. Without him I thinks the startup would have been in huge trouble and had no chance to launch. He really knew what he was doing - architecting, back-end development, front end
design, sys admin. He was helping everyone else while still trying to keep us on schedule. [I was trying to keep up but I wasn't doing a good job. My java is rusty and I hate parsing XML Documents. And by Sunday night I was ready to throw my laptop off the table.] The development team had to break up into different groups learning about the piece that they were going to work on -- Facebook API/FBML, Facebook JS(FBJS), Spelling/Restuarant APIS, EC2. These were all new things to us since no one really had real experience with and we needed to learn and understand to some small degree before start coding the application.

One thing about developing on such short time frame, even the smallest mistake can cause havoc on the schedule. For example, when doing db design on a regular project, you get at least a night to think about it what you designed and make modifications as needed with any impact to anybody. However on SW, people need to start developing on that scheme right away; And if someone finds an issue with it, BOOM! - a chunk of code just went down the drain.

Unfortunately, we weren't able to get something out the door. I think everyone was burned out by Sunday night and just wanted to rest. I still want to push out a product, so we will see what happens.

Anyway, it was an awesome experience and something I would love to do again. Someone mentioned startup weekend 08
- definitely sign me up! A big thank you goes to Andrew Hyde for organizing it. I'm curious if you could wonder how you actually can turn it into a longer event -- I guess that would be a real Startup. =)

Links about startupweekend :
- Ryan's blog on SWNYC
- Andrew Hyde's recap
- Another recap with video -- you can see me in it, sort of!
- Flickr (mine isn't showing up)
- Startup Weeked NYC
- FavorEats

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