We were happy to sponsor and attend the Startup Weekend this month in Ann Arbor, as well as bring along a Kindle Fire as a best use of SMS prize.
A good group showed up for the event, resulting in 71 pitches Friday night – yes, quite a pool of ideas. Here’s a sample:
One pitch was ‘TextIt’ a way to time delay your texts. While there are a few Android apps that allow delayed SMS, a simple proxy number could be used to enable that for any SMS capable phone. Another pitch was for an intelligent phone number – you text questions, and get the answer in response. The ‘weather’ keyword followed by a zipcode would get you a quick forecast, and the ‘email’ keyword could let you know just how far away from inbox zero you really are.
Friday night’s voting reduced those 71 pitches to 12 main teams with a single goal, have something ready to demo in just 2 days.
Turns out the teams weren’t the only ones working on a deadline. The organizers were very interested in a SMS powered voting application to pick the winner of the ‘popular’ prize Sunday night. Since we were flying out later that evening, that gave us a few hours to put one together.
A couple PHP scripts later, and the real-time voting app powered by Nexmo, CloudMine, and PubNub was ready to go. You can fork the source on github, and of course, build something even better. Or just check out the quick screen cast of it in action.
But what about the Kindle you ask? The ‘EvenText’ team won the Kindle for connecting event participants – who want a quick way to report any problems without having to leave the event – with the venue staff – who want to help, but often find out about issues too late to have any real impact on those affected by them.
EvenText gives the venue a phone number patrons use to report problems with a quick SMS, and a real-time dashboard so staff can stay on top of things. And since they’re building it on Nexmo, they don’t need to worry about the complexities of billing for usage – since incoming messages are free.
We enjoyed our time in Ann Arbor – even in the the cold and snow – and congratulate all who participated for a very successful weekend.