Ok , fine, Antony has found his team, Viewrz – the beginning of his adventures here – the group is on its way to collaborate, we are saturday in the morning… What will happen to our designer?
While the others discuss and put the biggest ideas down on paper, I come back with my arms full of paper, glue sticks, post-its in every color of the rainbow, scissors, play dough, the emblem of the weekend!
The chicken and rice are placed on the table. But we are swamped in our paper models… Over lunch, I learn that a jury will be coming the next day to elect the best project of the weekend. Am I the only one not aware of this? No big deal. Truth be told, I’m not here to win but to participate (…)
Everyone is seriously committed the team! Axel is a super interesting guy who is great to brainstorm with. We are going at it. I no longer feel like an outsider who simply came to lend a hand. This is my project. In fact, we’re not 3 campers and 4 designers. We’re a real team.
Sunday : Ready, Set, Go!
Sunday morning is off on the wrong foot. Fatigue and lack of sleep don’t help. And there you go, I’m half an hour late for designer weekend. On top of it, Cyril sends me a text saying he’s also running late. For sure, sunday is going to be a race to the finish line. No big deal. We’re used to getting things done under pressure!
On the way there, an idea came to me : make them a real teaser that could go on their home page or at the beginning or end of a presentation (…) To be honest, I didn’t listen to a single presentation Sunday morning. I had only one idea in mind : to finish the job and avoid standing with a half-baked product in front of the jury. And… I’ve got this idea for a video stuck in my head.
I check my phone for the time. It’s three o’clock. I am far from finishing this video… but, it’s such a great idea! I make a few small adjustments, I move up my timeline, I reorganize my composition since I’m not happy with my transitions. It’s three forty and I still have to do three animated pics and clean up the ending.
3:45 in no time. I design three pics on illustrator.
3:50 and I’m totally into my animations.
4:05 I launch a video test.
4:10 Alice announces that Viewrz is the first to present… but, my video is in the middle of being exported. Guillaume explains that we’re not ready. She lets us know nicely that we normally do not have the choice.
She calls on another startup and they’re also not ready….wth! Finally, it’s “Infinit” who goes first (thanks guys!). During that time I find some small problems with my video. Axel shows us the model of our site in live! WOW! The four of them really did a great job. Cyril finishes up his speech and revises his presentation. We’re finally ready!
Just before going up, we see the video made by hand of the Infinit team. It makes me smile. Their creative process is well explained. I realize that everyone here has really done a serious job!
Alice calls us again. This time we have no choice, we’ve got to go. Guillaume comes with us. Even if he’s not presenting, he’s passing us the slides while Cyril makes the presentation.
When you arrive in front of the jury an it’s much bigger than what you imagined, and the room is so packed it’s ready to crack… you are anything but comfortable. But, Cyril did a great job. The presentation really represented this kickass crazy team, but still managed to be professional.
The crowd seemed to be interested. I remembered that moment in the beginning of the weekend when no one wanted to be a part of Viewrz… but hey, never judge a book by its cover!
Alice hurries us along because we’ve got to stay on schedule (…) Next, the other startups go through their presentations. We all need a breather, a chance to relax. So, I glance at the other presentations while chatting with my team. One feat does a great job presenting a huge project on paper. Oleapark brings up the competition with a huge graphic chart. Teeniz sends wireframe by patches, etc.
, third. Onefeat
, second. And finally the tambourine leads up to the moment we’ve all been waiting for
… It is announced that the first place startup winner starts with the letter V.
Obviously, the natural reflex is to think back if there are any other teams that start with a V. But, I didn’t have the time before they announced that Viewrz took the lead.
It’s funny because it’s the first time I’ve ever won a competition. The feeling is super intense, even euphoric!
If I had to do it again? Absolutely, I would do it all over again. But, next time I would sleep more the week before to be in really good shape and arrive on time.
Did working “for free” bother me? Not at all. I don’t consider it working but helping a team by supporting them with my knowledge and love for the web. (go Nyan Cat!) I have no regrets about offering my services to Viewrz. After all, the idea was to help a startup.
What did I learn? I really tried to be more diplomatic….but, that’s really not my thing. Above anything else, I learned that someone else’s idea could be better than my own. I learned the process involved and how to gather the courage to speak in front of a crowd.
I can not go without saying a big thank you to everyone, starting with my team, Sheherazade, Hugo, Cyril, Axel, Guillaume, Mathieu (it was really cool to work with you guys), the organizers, the mentors, and all of the other participants that were there to talk to, discuss, understand, and just mess around! (because the designer weekend is above all LAWL, as we say)
Athony aka Graffr on the Internet…