Development, business creation and competition-conferences. Is it necessary?

    Not so long ago, we were faced with the issue of participation in the "competition of young developers." There was no experience of participating in such events, and it was not so easy to evaluate the significance and usefulness of this undertaking.

    In this article I want to talk about how we participated in the competition, what we got and what conclusions we made. The cry of the soul of a startup from Africa, who went too far in wandering around conferences and presentations, prompted him to write a note . I recommend reading the results and details of his torment in the “note on why he no longer wants to do startups, what lessons he learned from his experience and why young entrepreneurs spend so much time in vain”. ( Translation and discussion in Russian here )


    So our story began suddenly. On one of the sites for developers, I saw the announcement of upcoming events, namely - the "Golden Byte" international championship of young computer talents. It was almost the last day of the application, and therefore there was practically no time for thought. I read the rules, the prize fund, and, blinded by the “internationality” and seriousness of the event, I hasten to register.

    The theme of the contest work of the Golden Byte-2015 Championship is “Changing the World” (“Changing the World”).

    Championship Objectives:

    • create a powerful platform for the development of the startup industry, the search for new ideas and talents;
    • stimulate young professionals to innovate and develop business ideas;
    • help investors and funds find strong projects;
    • help companies in finding talent from around the world;
    • raise the image of the technical sphere by motivating the creation of technical projects;
    • provide real support for creative youth and their ideas;
    • encourage young people to come up with new business projects and actively develop them;
    • to draw the attention of a new generation to social problems and provide an opportunity to influence their solution;
    • to strengthen the prestige of intellectual activity in society;
    • to encourage young professionals who are ready to develop and create new interesting projects.

    Well, there was also a prize pool of about $ 50,000 , then it turned into several thousand hryvnias ...
    Eyes burned, so many temptations! Although, the purpose of my article is to talk about the benefits of posing an honest question: why?
    Yes, at this stage, it's time to honestly answer what we want to get from participating . Do we really need it. Is it worth it.

    It sounds corny, but I myself have not tried it yet, could not resist the temptation to get involved in this holiday of life.
    There may not be many real goals: get money, get a job, hire employees, have fun, kill time.
    I will continue the story, and I will write the results and lyrics below.

    At the application stage, it turned out that at 29 I was no longer “young computer talent”. My team: a designer and a programmer, completely married to the young ones, because both are 24 years old. I decide that I give up early and write a letter to the organizing committee for the girl Marina. There is nothing to lose, and I am writing it as it is: I want, they say, to participate and such are the flaws. To my surprise, Marina is a good person, and not some kind of “org” distant. We enter into correspondence and find how we can get around all the difficult places. We are registered as a team, and me as a "business coach", whose age is not regulated.

    Then I want to emphasize an important point right away: guys! Feel free to write and knock on all doors. You never know what and where it is written: seek yours, look for ways. It really works!

    And then it started: the first stage is the presentation of the project. 10 days before the end of the delivery of the material. These ten days I made a website, a presentation, drew promotional pictures and spent a lot of time preparing one document with 10 slides.

    After some time, we were pleased that we went to the next stage and now we need more. According to the regulations at this stage, we must present our project personally before the commission. Here again Marina from the organizing committee helped, and we were allowed to “pitch” on Skype. Needless to say, I was absorbed in the preparation? Day after day, the study of other people's presentations, pitches, performance experiences. Making plans, writing a speech. Designs and slides again ...


    The day of presentation has arrived. To put it mildly, it was exciting. It was damn hard to tear myself away from a piece of paper and talk calmly. I rehearsed for several days, but every time I wanted to improve and change the text. I was allocated about 10 minutes. I spoke my text for 4.5 minutes, and then answered questions. The commission included representatives of large it-companies. Guys are kind and good - it seemed so when I saw them. Our people. The questions were practical and interesting. It was easy to answer them, and then I relaxed and stopped being afraid.

    They asked for technical details, development plans, monetization. At the time of the presentation, we already had a working prototype, and I demonstrated it live. I took out the phone and showed directly on Skype how the application works. It was all over, thanked and said goodbye.

    There was a feeling of desolation. As if he had passed his graduate work at the university.

    Contrary to the promise of contact in a week, Marina wrote to me on Skype a couple of hours later and invited me to the final. This moment was a turning point in this story. The fact is that the final is in Kiev, and this is about 4 thousand kilometers from me. The organizers provided accommodation, but not a flight. Those. for further participation, I would have to spend even more time and money. The information war on TV in those days was at its peak, and relatives categorically began to protest against the trip to Kiev.

    This moment made me cool a little and ask myself questions: why do I need this?
    - I was not going to attract money. Not that project, and indeed.
    - There was no goal to get a job either: we make applications “for ourselves” and we like it.
    - I was not going to hire someone.
    - In Kiev, I was already, the motive to "have fun" also did not appear.

    Then I decided to write “professional contests, startups and conferences” to several professional market participants and heartily asked: “Guys, but before?”. To which they replied: “ Do not. Better take care of your product . ”

    This concludes the story of participation.

    It's time to draw conclusions

    What I got:

    1. Deadline. At the application stage, the application was in the bud. I had to get together and rebuild all the processes in the team in such a way as to do as much as possible and faster. A clear deadline appeared, and the work went very intensively. This is a positive effect. Moreover, as we progressed through the competition, we had other deadlines and the following sprints.

    2. A sober look at the goals and objectives of the project. The need to tell succinctly about my product made me answer all the questions myself and organize all the information.

    3. Experience. I had to learn how to make presentations, write stories and tell about myself.

    What it cost:

    1. Many, many hours to develop and create something that did not affect the quality of the product.
    2. Spent days writing texts and preparing for presentation.
    3. Additional costs for the promo.


    There are times when participation in the contest is really necessary. There are such projects for the development of which money is needed, and the projects themselves literally attract them to themselves. In other cases, I believe that you should not spray and waste time. It is much more useful to focus on development and create something valuable.
    I would like to once again refer to the experience of a startup from Africa and quote it:

    I was invited to four startup events just this week. Wait, check your mail. Five. Seminars, breakfasts, presentations - all these are hobbies for the abnormal. Say no to everyone.
    Startup events are considered useful in terms of connections. I had one or two useful contacts. Most of the time, these meetings are a waste of time that needs to be spent on work.
    Your project may be related to media, medicine, engineering. But he, most likely, is not connected with the startup industry. Therefore, at such meetings you will not meet your future customers.
    Attend only those events that have your customers.
    Sometimes you can allow yourself to meet with several entrepreneurs who are close in spirit to you. But if you are not involved in sales, return to the office and work. Or go home and spend time with your family.

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