Startup Diary entry #4 | Why a Date is Great!

My first public presentation is coming up, and this has changed a lot! It has been way too long since my last entry so in this post I will give an update on where I am in my startup and share a little more about the project. Over the past months I have been grabbing evenings and weekends to work on my startup, progressing steadily. But now something has changed, I now have a date:  The first Barcelona Startups Demo Day.

Four weeks ago I was invited to present to fellow entrepreneurs, investors, potential customers and other students during this event, which will take place on the 8th of September. I will be one of 8 startups that will be presenting their business idea and showcasing their demo. Being invited has given me much more than an opportunity to present…  After months of working with no external deadline or pressure, all of a sudden there is a hard deadline…

What the Demo Day means

During the event every startup has to bring a 15 slide deck, a working prototype, and a 2 page executive summary. The funny thing is that this date has put everything in perspective. I have had to define exactly what I need to do to be ready on the 8th. For me this means:

  • Finishing a prototype. However, I have added a private Alpha test to this. From 2 – 7 September a test will be run with 15 users to get their feedback. If all goes well I can incorporate their feedback into the presentation on the 8th;
  • Writing the slide deck to present;
  • Writing the 2-pager to hand out on the 8th.

The Hygiene

An event like this means much more though,  It requires a lot of other things that also need to be done. The website for example has to be ready, or at least a good Launchrock type page. Also business cards need to be printed. These things aren’t direct requirements but are the “hygiene” that I feel is required. Everything needs to be nice and in order.

The Project and the Progress

I am developing a visual project management tool following three principles: Vizualize your project, delegate parts of your project to other people, and have the tool do project calculations for you. Since the last time I blogged there has been a lot of progress:

Technical

  • Finished basic security (login etc.);
  • Created a Dashboard page where users will come and see all their projects. Previously users could only have one project after they logged in, now they can have more;
  • The Dashboard will also hold a news section to communicate with alpha users and in the future beta users;
  • Finished landing page and workflow for inviting users and their first-time logins;
  • Almost finished delegation feature allowing users to delegate part of their project to someone else;
  • A bunch of CSS and Javascript tweaks to improve cross-browser compatibility (long from finished).

Non-technical

  • Started the entire alpha test preparations: identifying use cases and testers, then contacting them;
  • Started the structure of the 8 September presentation.

A Date

A date means that all of a sudden there is a point of no return. Everyone knows that I will present, and so there is no way back. It means that on the 8th, whatever slide is not finished, will be removed. Any non-functional part of the prototype will be deactivated etc.

 

A date prioritizes for you. A date pushes you to do more… “If I could only finish….” A date gives you a fixed moment in time when your entire project will be evaluated…  by the world and by yourself.

 

I think a date is great. If you are working on a project and you don’t have a date yet, I suggest you find one.

 

If you want to see my first public presentation, join us on the 8th at the first Barcelona Startups Demo Day!