Day 1:
So it’s finally here! Chicago Startup Weekend is where a 54-hour period can change your life.
As the evening approaches, my nerves began to send a rush of emotions over me with anticipation. Focusing on the best route to manage my commute, I more than rushed the final hour of the workday. In a hot pursuit, I approached Wacker Drive with excitement as I exited the elevator. Greeted with a grand “Welcome to Startup Weekend! #swchi”, which excited me more that a text message from a friend that reads, “ yes, I’ll pay that for you!” – It felt like I was home.

With no absolute knowledge of who or what was to come out of this experience, I must’ve taken in about 30 names of people on a similar quest of achieving entrepreneurship in a weekend. It consumed the air as if it replaced oxygen and it felt good. In a preserved state many people were analytical at first encounter trying to protect the preservation of self, ideas and expectations.

After a round of pitch fire ideas that came faster than the speed of light, votes were tallied, brainstorming sessions commenced and certain connections formed. Groups of passionate people emerged seamlessly and embarked on a journey with one vision. The Idea! I gravitated toward assisting in developing Belated.co (You can read more on that later) as we refined the overall problem and user focus. In building the user experience behind the idea, I sketched out a quick workflow of the process complete with some rough wireframes and layouts that could adhere easily with the front-end coding and back end API integrations. After a lengthy day of creativity, we departed around midnight to recharge and arrive rejuvenated with the goal in mind.

End of Day 1

Day 2:
Waking up with a sense of urgency to change the world, the insomnia was initiated after logically sorting out how I would go about completing my task assigned the evening before. Entering the team’s bat cave served with delicious bagels, fresh fruit and coffee truly got the party started. Firing through objectives, deliverables and processes with people I’d never met before was exhilarating while challenging. Think, Create and Iterate!

The staff did an excellent job in providing awesome meals for the attendees and members of the event. Highly respected facilitators helped coach and get through hurdles along the way to save time and resources. It’s amazing how an outside perspective can help shape the direction of an idea in the most organic form. You can see some of our insider brain thinking below. Awesome stuff.

Thinking of a clever way to build momentum around the idea, we hit the fabulous streets of Chicago and began some quick field research. Check out some the footage captured below:

Hammering away endlessly, we departed around 1am to prep for presentations.

End of Day 2

Day 3
This was the big day for it all to come together in pure harmony, no matter the outcome. In a quest to win it all and have total fun while doing it, check out the final presentation that was done by the belated team below.

Considerations: Key Takeaways
Focus on the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and then scale.
Never hold tightly to just your own idea. Be flexible in altering, including and changing a bit.
Execution is the determining factor of a winning idea and seeing it to its end.
Be open to learning something NEW from people that you don’t know.
Think, Create and Iterate.

Everything is what you make of it and risks are the things that fuel it. In taking a risk to attend, meet and contribute to something grand means more than just reading about it. Although team Belated did not win first place (), we won in spirit and success of collaboration. Now go and take on a new challenge and enjoy it every step of the way.
I did; Thanks team Belated!

Until Then,

Design with LIFE in Mind…

Duke

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