In50Hrs – An Enriching Experience

In case, you are not familiar, this is what happens at in50hrs (run every quarter by Vijay and The Startup Centre team):

  • People come up with ideas and present them to their peers. They give a short pitch to describe what they want to build. Some times this pitch is to validate an idea and get questions. Some times, it is to attract developers to come and work on their idea. Some  have their own development/design teams (this means, they already sold the idea and brought a few people along to slog with them over the weekend).
  • A set of designers/developers/mentors come to this event as well. Most of them actually come to help any one who needs their skills/advice.
  • After the presentations, the audience votes for their favorite ideas. This is one level of validation.
  • The participants network and form teams. Those who cannot find supporters find other teams to work with.
  • The pitches happen on a Friday evening and the demos happen on Sunday evenings. So from the time to pitch to demo is barely 50 hours.
  • During demo time, a larger audience shows up. Some of them are just curious. Some others have been to past events and enjoy being there. Some of them are regulars who can not resist being there. A small group of more experienced entrepreneurs are invited by Vijay and team to come and give feedback.
  • After each demo (which last 3 minutes), audience can ask questions, make suggestions.

Now let me tell you why I go there whenever I can.

  • Listening to ideas is always fun. But some times I get to ask questions and understand what people are trying to do. I get to make a few helpful suggestions. 
  • Some ideas are good. You want to see them as products. You do your bit for those teams.
  • I learn a lot from the discussions during the demos. When we have other experienced entrepreneurs present, some of their suggestions are useful too. Every one has  different perspective and that is very valuable.
  • The main reason I go there is to meet some really cool people. They are different from the hundreds of thousands of others in a special way. They take the initiative. Knowing such people is always a pleasure.

In50hrs tag line is “an idea to prototype in 50 hours”. But something more than that happens there. I think it is a bit of magic. I am glad to be part of it. It is an enriching experience.

Sponsored Projects

We have been experimenting with some ideas at in50hrs and 32hourstartup and here is the latest incarnation of one of those ideas – Sponsored Projects.

Why Sponsored Projects?

Sponsored Projects allow you to work with developers in the region to get concept prototypes built over a weekend. From the developer’s point of view, they get to work with companies and gain experience.

Why Should Companies Be Interested?

There are a few good reasons.

  1. Many of us have ideas but never get the time to work on prototyping them. This is a chance to try out a few of those ideas over a weekend.
  2. We may not have the time or the required knowledge of technology to build concept/functional prototypes. We can get help from the developers in the community.
  3. You time box your effort. The entire effort takes a little bit more time than a weekend.
  4. The process of working through a prototype implementation refines your idea further.
  5. By participating, you help and encourage students and budding entrepreneurs in your community.

How Does It Work?

Do you want to sponsor a project at in50hrs? This is how it works.

  1. Create a project entry (one for each project) consisting of project name, brief description, required skills.
  2. In50hrs hosts this list and requests developers to register expression of interest.
  3. Registered developers sign up for one or two projects to show that they are interested.
  4. You contact developers who show interest in their projects and short list a few.
  5. You will pay the  registration fees for the selected developer(s).
  6. You create a  pitch, specifications (including UI), define milestones and mentor  developers at the event.
  7. You will help present the prototype at the final demo event

Why Should Developers Be Interested?

If you are a developer, there are several reasons to look at sponsored projects.

  1. You will get a project mentor who will be involved in the project.
  2. You will get to choose from a few ideas, before the event.
  3. You will have some one to brainstorm with about specs, milestones, design, features.
  4. It is  great learning experience (especially if you are a student).
  5. There will be some one to review your work and make useful suggestions and provide feedback.

How Do Students Register?

  1. Go to the in50hrs website and click on the sponsored projects link (it is not there yet, but will be put up by 1st Nov).
  2. Choose one or two projects and apply by filling a form.
  3. If you are accepted, the company will contact you through email.
  4. Register for the event and show up on 4th evening to start working on the project.

If you are interested in being a sponsor or working on a sponsored project, leave a comment here with your questions. We will put up some forms for sign up at in50hrs site by 1st Nov 2011.

Ideas for In50Hrs

In50hrs is more than just executing an idea. It is about learning, bonding with fellow developers and entrepreneurs, sharing experiences and having fun together.

If you are coming with your own ideas, great. If not, we can help. Here are some broad categories (they are orthogonal. For example you can mash up a couple of these categories to come up with something cool).

  1. Browser extensions – They can be developed easily and can be very powerful. Specifically the ones that analyze text provide some cool visualizations etc. You need to know javascript reasonably well though.
  2. AIML projects – Artificial Intelligence Markup Language is a language for storing knowledge. These knowledge bases can be typically used by chat bots to interact with people. Some simple ideas include building interactive tutors or question answering systems.
  3. Twitter Applications – There are so many already but you can make a lot more. There are some exciting ones to build. Examples include interest graphs and finding experts in a specific area.
  4. Natural Language Apps – Using natural language tool kits available in various languages, you can build some fun applications.
  5. Interactive mind map generators – There are techniques for building mind maps without actually drawing them. Curious? Let us talk.
  6. Build a mini browser. Yes that is right. You can build a simple browser in a high level language for special applications. A great learning experience.
  7. Cool Tools. I have kept this category vague. The reason is simple. What is cool for me may not be cool for you. So let us figure out what excites you and come up with a few tools you and others can use.

You really don’t have to worry that you don’t have an idea. Do you know a little programming and willing to learn and work? There is plenty to do. There will be lots of people with many ideas and problems looking for solutions. Show up at in50hrs and you will understand what I mean.