The BeMyApp Competition was held at pariSoma’s new building, an innovation “hotspot” and office space in San Francisco. There, a group of innovators, developers, marketers and entrepreneurs got together to try and create an iPhone application that would change the world in forty-eight hours.
People who registered as innovators submitted their ideas on the BeMyApp site,
and a select group presented at the pariSoma building to the rest of the attendees. After the innovators presented their strictly monitored (only one minute!) pitches, the attendees voted on their favorite idea. To cast a vote, each attendee used poker chips as tokens to represent one vote towards an idea. Innovators with the most chips made it to the next round.
Forty-eight hours later, I returned to judge the submissions. I found the new team members, fully integrated with one another, preparing for the presentation. They were laughing, backing one another up and finalizing their demos for the judging. It was great seeing how quickly the camaraderie developed around the common objective of innovating through apps. It was even more surprising to see how dedicated they were to that objective as a single unit in such a short amount of time. The time was finally here: the five finalists presented their demos and a short summaries of their business objectives.
Next, the other judges and I deliberated backstage to pick the winner. It was tough to essentially choose “losers” in a group of teams that did more in a weekend than many large companies could do in a month, but we made the decision.
In the end, the decision went to a two-person team, a vast difference to the more common three- to five-person teams at the event. Their product, “FilmMe,” allowed users to upload ten- to twenty-second clips that would automatically stitch together to form a single video. YouTube made uploading and distributing video easy, which allowed the common PC user to become a producer. FilmMe took video a step further, solving the complexity and time drain that comes with composing multiple video clips from many sources. The presentation of the concept without the demo left me a bit skeptical about its usefulness, but after seeing their demo I was surprised to discover how entertaining it was to watch a single stream of videos mashed together about “who was your first kiss?” To give an example, think about interviewing a few friends at a birthday party. With one click, FilmMe automatically updates and converts all the videos into a single video you can post to Facebook or YouTube to share. Simple concept? Yes. But a huge time and energy saver. Simply put, with FilmMe I would try my hand in compiling and sharing short clips from a night out. However, I will—and have—avoided at any cost the effort it would take to copy videos from my phone, request clips from friends, load them into iMovie and render them into a single movie just for the sake of sharing.
All in all, it was inspiring to be a part of the BeMyApp competition. It reminded me that losing red tape and doing away with corporate structure can allow for true innovation to occur and that forty-eight hours is all one needs to turn an idea into a working reality. All it takes is a few like-minded entrepreneurs to get together with a common purpose. I will certainly take what I saw at the event back to my company and encourage more adhoc, fun, innovative sessions like these for my team.
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