The weekend before last, I attended my first ever Startup Weekend. I saw an ad in the newspaper at work, and thought…that could be fun? Maybe I will meet some creative, curious people. That definitely happened.
So I rock up, alone of course, to Bergen’s Creative Fagskole (fag means subject in Norwegian, yes, it’s hilarious), and walk through a kitchen where I am handed a bag of stuff (yay, stuff!), a t-shirt, and a tag that says ‘non-tech’…ok, I guess so. Through to a room full of…thankfully not just guys, was definitely worried about a 400 to 1 ratio, nei takk, some talking, some sitting, some devicing…yeah. This is what I spent all day getting prepared for. KAT YOU WILL TALK TO STRANGERS TODAY oh god no do I have to YES THAT WAS THE POINT OF GOING but strangers are scary BITCH YOU CAN DO THIS I’ll give you bitch Are you arguing with yourself again? yes Go do the thing fiiiiine third internal voice of reason…deep breath…DIVE.
Actually, it was pretty cool. Most people knew someone, but not many people, many came in with an idea, but plenty didn’t, some of us hyper-creatives (guilty) pitched twice, because, I can, and it was pretty entertaining!
I pitched two ideas. The Dialect Project (watch this space, still thinking about this one), where I create a website with many videos of different Norwegian dialects, browsed by location, as almost all audio for learning Norwegian is Oslo dialect..which is useless in Bergen. No one speaks Oslo here, it sounds different enough to seem another language at first. HÆ?? Is all I have to say to you. So that was my pitch that I was particularly attached to.
The other pitch was a, why not, based on this xkcd comic:
Which wasn’t serious, and more just curious to see what happened. But not really the kind of idea that gets finished in a weekend, not unless someone happened to also manufacture refrigerators….or make rolly things…or something.
I learnt an important lesson in winning. My Dialect Project just missed the cut off. JUST. Had I a) put all my votes on mine, instead of walking around, being fair or some bullshit, put one on three different projects I liked and b) hounded some others to vote for me, then my project would have gone through. But hey, we live, we learn.
And anyway, the project I did end up working on, mainly because my husband loves beer and is making his own beer, and seems to think it’s incredible (like, it’s decent, but there is still work to do), was BREWTAL TRUTH, and we are a glorious team. Give homebrewers the BREWTAL TRUTH they need about their beer. It’s always a little bit personal.
I do like beer, and homebrew that is good (Hi Eivind, your beer is amazing) rocks my socks off. Which is bad when it’s cold (I need those!), but hey, good beer is good.
I digress. So after I did not make the cut (boo hoo), we had to go around and choose what project we did want to work on, discussing with said leader of project if we would be a good fit. I was attracted to two projects: Personal Chef and Brewer’s Home (Andreas found our snazzy name later). The duty free one seemed cool, but I did not really feel it was a place I would flourish (I like to lead. I like people to listen to me. I’m bawsy…yup.), and other ideas were interesting too (all the ideas were awesome), but if I was going to commit a weekend, it better be about a subject I LOVE. And I love food, and I love beer. Eeny, meeny, miney, mo. Yeah, that is how I chose. Haha no.
Personal chef seemed very driven by the leader, and my experience being when someone has that much of a vision, that is not where I am useful. That would just be conflict. But Brewer’s Home seemed undecided where it would go. Is it events? Is it a website? Is it something else? Something more in unknown land sounded better to me.
I approached Matthias. He is German. I am of Polish descent. Our 1000 year old history is kind of ugly at times. He seemed pretty German, pragmatic, kind of…sure of what he did like, organized, honest. I essentially said to him – I like this project, but I have a strong personality. Do you think we will clash? He was not sure.
Clash we did, at first. He was definitely overwhelmed with being chosen, and then leading a group of people, mainly strangers, and what to do. Not to mention, me, high on creativity, talking a million miles an hour with a million ideas, and he being like OH GOD IT IS JUST A WEEKEND HOW.
But we worked it out. I would say out of any group leader at the startup weekend, he and I definitely meshed the best. It was occasionally confusing for the group, he telling them one thing, me telling them another, but somehow we managed it, and I would say actually, it went really well. It is still his project, he is still the leader, but I am very happy in my position of: face of / fun / creative / decisive / tweaker . He joked about my position being the mum, haha, but the dynamic works. I am creative, and he is pragmatic.
And here I am talking about “the group”. Haha! They are probably way more useful than us. Hello, developers, unsung heroes who actually made it happen. Morten and Knut Andre have worked together before, and they are fantastic. They made the rating system in time for our first event, no mean feat at one day in, and are perfecting it as we speak. And a numbers guy, hello we need business savvy, hi Ole, with great ideas and great skills. And Isabell, who asks the tough questions, who seems to know a tonne of people, who keeps us on track, and who makes Brewtal Truth look fantastic. And Andreas, I am not forgetting you, some would say last but not least, I would say thank you for introducing me to sour beer, mindblowing stuff, who is genuinely creative and design focused, who sees things we don’t, and who adds a nice sense of …calm… when we are getting a little haywire.
But here I am, talking about us, and all this time, this whole project is about you. Yes, you. “But I don’t like beer,” you say…that’s ok, at the very core of our project, it is a rating app, and that we can make to rate anything. “But you are collecting my data, no thanks,” agreed, that can be uncomfortable, but there are anonymous voting options, and all we are collecting is preference on beer. Hard to do much of anything threatening with that, bar maybe recommend some other beer for you to drink!
We are Brewtal Truth. Want to get your homebrewing friends to stop hassling you about their beer? We are here to help. Want to know what other beer you should drink? We can do that. Want to play hilarious blind taste testing party games? Aw yeah, we will be there. Rating, discussing, the big reveal!
We are Brewtal Truth, and we are awesome.