Startup weekend Brno took place on 19th June – 21 June 2015 at KoPlac. I didn’t go there as an attendee because I had been at 2 startup weekends in Zilina before and I told myself I have to work on my projects, not on someone else’s project. I went there primarily to see pitches and final presentations.
International startup weekend
I was surprised that this startup weekend was in English. There were people from Australia, UK, Peru, Austria, Estonia, Czech republic, Slovakia…
There were 10 pitches and about 25 attendees. One pitch was exceptional and it changed my mind that I just want to see the pitches and go home. The pitch was about helping people to learn to code. As you might know, I work on my own e-learning platform called CoderMania and I do an online web development school. When I heard this pitch I immediately wanted this idea to be selected. And it happened. The idea got the most votes and what’s surprising, 10 people joined this team. Originally, I wanted to go home after the pitches but I couldn’t. I had an urge to join this team.
The initial idea
The initial idea was to help people to learn to code locally. To create communities around the world, to translate learning resources, to do local workshops etc.
As we had 10 people in our team, there were a lot of ideas. We diverted away from the initial idea. There were ideas for creating a game that should teach people to code. That sounds good, right?
I asked: “Do we have developers for building a game?”
The answer was: “No, but we will find a developer later”.
“Are you sure? You know there is a shortage of developers, do you think you will find a developer who will be able to build the game?”, I asked again.
When I saw their faces, I knew the answer. Actually, I had knew the answer before I asked the question. The answer was: “You are right, it will be hard to find a developer”.
We all knew it. Everyone who pitched at this startup weekend needed a web or mobile developer, or both. There were not many developers. Even if there were developers, they were busy with their full-time job, so they could not continue to work on a project. There is a shortage of developers and we would hardly solve this problem by creating a game that would teach people to code. Moreover, the game already exists. We would have to explain to the jury how we differ from it. I wanted to create something unique.
So I told how I see the problem and the solution.
The problem is obviously a shortage of web developers and developers generally. We needed to go to the core. Why there is not enough developers? Probably because students don’t learn practical things at school. Probably because people struggle with learning to code. I know many people who want to learn to code, but they don’t know how to start. They can’t afford to pay expensive coding courses.
The solution is to offer free or donation based coding courses. Education should be free. I would never go to college if it costs much money. We could teach people to code for free and make money from recruiting. We could ship our students to companies and companies would pay for it.
“You are a genius!”, okay the reaction was not exactly like this but the team liked the idea.
The result is surprising for me. We have done a lot of work, but the most important for me was our video and presentation.
People laughed a lot about this video during our presentation. When I saw this video for the first time, I had tears in my eyes how much I laughed. I think it will become viral soon, haha.
We got positive feedback from people after our presentation. We also got business cards from our potential partners/investors. That’s a good start I think.
We would like to do long term coding courses in duration of 6 months. Something like code school. A student who knows nothing about coding will be able to build his own web or mobile application during this school. We would like to increase quantity and quality of developers, train them according to needs of individual companies so students can get a job. I think this idea is unique and that is exactly what I needed when I started learning to code. I would like to have someone who could teach me technologies that companies use.
There were 5 final presentations. You can watch them on Youtube! Coderhood‘s presentation is at 01:06:15.
We didn’t win. We ended up on the 2nd place. The winner is mySmarties (44:45 on the video above). Congratulations!
It’s not important to win but to participate. I think all attendees of this startup weekend learned something new. And not only that, they made new friends and connections. I think they are all winners.
I went to this startup weekend to meet new people. I met a lot of people, I can’t even count it how many people I met. This weekend was crazy. Like a big roller coaster.
The friendships and connections I made during one weekend are incredibly valuable. At least, I think so.
Thank you startup weekend
I thought I will not get new experience as this was my third startup weekend but I learned something new. I learned to better cooperate with larger team. I understood I cannot do everything. I need to delegate work so I can focus on what I love to do – programming, writing and teaching.
Thanks to my team that helped to create something unique. The team was passionate about Coderhood idea for the duration of the startup weekend and I hope their passion will last longer than just a few days.
Special thanks to the organizers of the first startup weekend in Brno. This event would never see light of this world without them. They even allowed me to join this startup weekend later so I could work on what I am passionate about.
Thanks to all attendees for coming and I hope I will see you soon. Good luck with your projects!