We only had a few hours of sleep Wednesday night and were up very early working on the final version of the demonstration and a functional version of the web site. We had to check-in to our presentation group by 10:30 AM. Over the two-day event there are eight sessions consisting of five to seven teams per session who each have about five minutes to demonstrate their product and ten minutes to take questions.
Tuesday was a “free” day during which we worked on various aspects of the demonstration. It was also the evening of the Founder’s dinner, an event where the 40 “founders” had dinner with 40-50 angel and VC investors.
On the 2nd of March things were not looking promising. We were struggling with our software. Everyone was behind and some of the student team couldn’t take the pressure – or didn’t understand the importance. It was frustrating, Our demonstration was still rough and we had to do a lot of things to prepare unrelated to the core demo.
In the startup world your business/fellowship/work/ideas frequently take a completely unanticipated, turn. If you don’t like surprises, or more importantly, don’t know what to do with them, don’t do a startup. Six or eight weeks ago (seems like a year) I received a note from LAUNCH! headquarters saying that they had reviewed our application and wanted to schedule a first interview to learn about adFreeq.
Three weeks ago, we sent out a survey to 1500 Midwestern newsrooms with circulations between 50,000 and 100,000. So far, with nearly 80 responses, we’ve noticed one trend that I’d like to address: cost is the biggest barrier to using mobile phones in reporting.
The True/False Film Festival came to Columbia at the beginning of March. Sarah and I decided to use the many events as an opportunity to try out the cell phone reporting kit for the first time. Because we had just been trained this week, keeping the reporting as simple as possible was the first priority. Going out in the field any time, I prepare for the worst to happen; technology always seems to want to malfunction at the most inconvenient times. I was especially worried since even though I’ve had one training session, I did not have the opportunity to see what would cause confusion and ask how to fix those things.
Three minutes on an iPhone and Gary Symons, CEO of Vericorder, is well on his way to creating a full video package. Around the room, professors and students are a chorus of “That’s neat,” and “Cool!” and often, “Wait, what?”
As expected Apple has again raised the bar for competitors in the tablet market that the late Steve Jobs defined with the iPad. It also will put more pressure on publishers to make their iPad editions more compelling and visually rich.
I'm now officially allowed to share with you that our little journalism startup called adFreeq was selected along with 25 other startups from around the world to present tomorrow at the LAUNCH! conference in San Francisco.