Over the past month or so I have started increasing my time dedicated to my project and general interest in the technology industry. A couple of months ago I met one of my neighbors on my block who is deeply entrenched in the Baltimore tech community and recommended I check out a few events and resources. One of the events was Baltimore Innovation Week, a week filled with tech focused events and ended with Startup Weekend Baltimore, an event concurrently hosted in numerous cities around the world.
Attending my first event last Tuesday, I was quickly thrown into the world of tech startups, programming, and the people who actively participate in both. The event was a great way to learn about what’s popular and common resources, as well as helped me more better focus where I should be spending my time and effort.
As the week went on, I was able to participate in multiple events that provided varying perspectives on tech startup industry and a forum for varying levels of expertise to impart wisdom about their past experiences and recommendations. This is a good time to point out how different the tech startup world is from my current work environment, where openly sharing information is taboo and everyone must fend for themselves. It was rather refreshing to see a group of people willingly share ideas and engage one another for a focused cause.
All these events led up to the Startup Weekend Baltimore event, a three day event where the Baltimore startup community came together and collaborated around pitched ideas for 54 hours to be presented in front of a panel of judges and graded on various metrics. I was unfortunately unable to attend the first night due to a wedding dinner, but showed up early Saturday morning. The groups had already formed and I was rather at a lost about where to begin and who to engage. Fortunately, my neighbor was one of the organizers so I quickly linked up with him and after about 30 minutes of meandoring, found a team consisting of a couple of LocalUp guys.
Over the weekend we worked on an idea one of the guys had and matured it out for Sunday’s presentation. The concept was called TeamPassword focused on developing an application that allowed small businesses to manage their company’s individual and shared account passwords through an easy and intuitive interface. One of the members was clearly suited as the “developer,” where he went off and focused on developing a Chrome extension and web application (built on Ruby on Rails), while the rest of us (only 2) worked on the presentation, market research, pitch, business model, etc.
Sunday rolled around and we presented our idea along with 14 other teams. We believed we had a solid product and were able to demonstrate a working application along with a solid presentation and market feasibility. After all was said and done, we ended up first place receiving a set of prizes that further enabled the project to grow and materialize into a functional business. Here’s a little write up by TechnicallyBaltimore about the event.
Where TeamPassword goes and my level of participation is still yet to be determined, but the experiences I gained from this past week will be an invaluable resource as I continue to press on and become further involved in the tech community.