Startup Weekend is a global network, which encourages ‘No Talk, All Action’ entrepreneurship. The incredible events bring together aspiring entrepreneurs (from technical, design, or business backgrounds) , create business plans, build products and launch the businesses – all in under 54 hours! The event organisers draft in local technology and startup leaders to mentor the teams or judge the final pitches. Cyber-Duck’s Danny Bluestone was invited to be a speaker and a judge at Startup Weekend London, held at the Google Campus.
Danny kick-started the event on Friday night, by sharing the highlights from his ‘UX Principles’ talk, designed to encourage startups to incorporate UX into their business models. He revealed how the best UX aims to achieve an ‘addictive’ experience, creating a product which is constantly meaningful for the user; all design decisions should be informed by ongoing, tangible research, and made with the ‘future in mind’ (or, being sensitive to the emergence of new devices through responsive web design). He chose Harvest, the popular time-tracking device, as a great example of persuasive UX; a delightful experience is created through the design’s blend of utility, credibility, and an emotional buy-in. An easy example of this is how the Harvest tool displays an inspirational quote on blank timesheets, to start the day. More detail on the full talk can be found on the blog’s coverage of the Co-Founders Bootcamp, and the slides are below.
On Sunday, Danny returned to Google Campus to judge the teams’ coffee-fuelled final pitches and business plans! Acclaimed business and technology leaders were judging alongside Danny; these included Joshua Green, the Investment Director at Arts Alliance; Andrew Hoag, the MD Europe at Startup Institute; Hayley Conick, Country Manager of Elance UK; David James, Professor of Marketing at the Hult International Business School; and Abhishek Garodia, the Founder and CEO of PlayEnable.
Judges assessed the viability of the business model, user experience design, and execution of the final presentation; they were particularly impressed with the amount of teams who had squeezed in field research, to establish whether their target audience required the product. The creative range of startup ideas pulled together across the weekend were very impressive; ventures included creating apps for personalised shopping experiences and creating exciting travel itineraries through drawing on the expertise of locals.
Danny shared the key principles of UX, tailored for startups.
However, the well-deserved win of the weekend was ChopChop, an interactive iPad cooking app that aims to reduce the stress of organising large dinner parties. Hosts can view and select a shortlist of recipes to send to their guest list, asking them to vote for their preference for the evening. At the cooking stage, the app can read out recipes, and even uses voice recognition to move on to the next direction, as the cook confirms the previous one is ‘done’. Their charismatic presentation and demo secured their success; Danny had placed the project in his top 3!
We’d like to thank Caroline Gutman for inviting us to the fantastic event, and wish the new startups all the best in the future.