It is just over 24 hours, and close to half-way through the 50 hours. I sneaked into the Startup Centre (TSC) on the second day of the In50Hrs, the idea-to-prototype event. Hurried activity and herding was visible. The TSC had busy people at work, in groups and engaged in intense discussions. Vijay Anand had warned yesterday that this is typically the phase when depression sets in. Half-way through if you are neither here nor there, then where do you go? At least to me, that did not seem to be the case. Vijay Anand’s premonition is perhaps wrong!A powerful analogy struck me, as I got out of the TSC. An idea is similar to conception of a film. You assemble the team for the film after you conceive the storyline. The presenters chose their team similarly. Then the film is shot. The ideators work on the project, a short one at that. The film getting to completion depends upon a lot of factors – the important is resources. Similarly, the idea becoming a prototype depends upon resources, feasibility, quickness of execution, and an able support from the mentor. What if you don’t have adequate resources? You have no choice but to abandon the project and join another project that looks interesting to you.
Shivakumar Narayan, who works with Juniper, mentored close to 5 ideas today. Shiva told me an interesting story about he and his cofounder spending six months each in preparing to get married and in getting married. Then they worked on their startup that they eventually sold to Juniper for less than 100 million dollars. So as a result of that acquisition, Shiva works with Juniper. Siddarth Govindarajan, Silverstripe; Suresh Sambandam, OrangeScape; Dorai Thodla, iMorph; Vijay Anand, TSC; Vivek Ravishankar, Interviewstreet; Senthil Nayagam, RailsFactory; Girish Mathrubootham, Ex-VP Products @ Zoho/Founder, Freshdesk; Krishna Prathab, xLabz; Preetham Venky; Narain Rajagopal, 360 Degree Interactive; Sharun Santosh; Shivakumar Narayan, Juniper Networks; and Vignesh, Vicky.in were busy mentoring the teams that they were responsible for.
Going back to the film analogy, the film may either be a hit or a flop. The one that is viewed by more audience is a hit film. Similarly, the idea that becomes a product depends upon customer approval for its sustenance in the market. The one that is welcomed hands down gains the maximum traction. In some way, you will be able to gauge customer reactions in the initial stages itself and if you are able to amend the product in tune with customer requirements, you are here to stay. But this 50-hour exercise is just to see if you are able to convert your idea into a prototype, a representation of the final product.
It would be interesting to see how the ideas shape up in the course of another 24 hours, how many survive, and how many see completion. The incubation exercise in capsule format like this provides a rich learning and training ground for budding entrepreneurs. The buddy network gives them a new experience to try out building something with a whole bunch of new people and mentors fill in the gaps in knowledge. Let’s wait till 6 pm on 27th to find out the final outcome of the In50Hrs exercise. It has been exhilarating so far.Vijay Anand has captured the action on day two. See photos here.
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–Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, chief evangelist, YourStory