A little biased and unfinished story about my first Startup Weekend


( This was the only photo I took, with Nikolas, our golden designer )

It happened at Paulista Avenue, the heart of Sao Paulo. The theme was "fintech" or Finances and Technology. Around 60 people subscribed to create a viable idea. All in portuguese, although the site may lead to believe otherwise.

At first, we're all together. Brainstorming ideas. 30 folks came up with a 1 minute improvised pitch and a name. I only gave the dramatized name "Apocalipse after Bitcoin - An electronic fiction". Lucas brought in "EduCash", a game to teach financial education to children. ( Thinking back, I should have included "education" in there, as it was, actually, the main aspect on my idea and the main reason I chose Lucas's group ).

You see, in Brazil, people have basically no idea how to handle money. There's no savings for kids to enter university because the best ones are free. There's no savings to buy a car, because you can quite "easily" lease them, even if you pay double in the end. And no, almost nobody knows how the stocks work at all. In the eye of people, banks are much more evil than what Mary Poppins portray.

And around here everyone who have just a bit of financial education understand this is a very important problem in this country. I guess it's an important topic world wide. Maybe not as much as learning how to code, but maybe even more than that. I wouldn't really know right now.

Back to the story, there was another guy who brought the idea "Bitcoin Bank", which is even less "new", but at first I was divided into which group I'd join, since my idea wasn't selected. All 30 ideas were voted on by everyone, each person had 3 votes to cast as they will. 10 were selected. And then the competition would begin!

I ended up joining EduCash. And, by the third day, the Bank group sadly gave up on the bitcoin concept. They completely changed the initial idea. I think in the end they weren't even a bank anymore.

Our group joined with another one, from Daniel, who had just 2 members and so we became the largest one. And too big. With 10 people. An organizer and a mentor suggested it was way too big and not a good idea, but there was nothing strictly against it, so we continued. I agreed with them, I never thought a group that big could work out...

Daniel made it work. He kept the team together and gave it a new focus. A stretched goal. Now we would try to incorporate his initial idea and eventually build a "gamified game portal", to which people could gain money from playing any games. Awesome! Even if it wasn't for the MVP.

Except I wasn't buying it. I couldn't understand how that would be financially viable. About 17 hours into the 56 hours total and I was already thinking "I don't belong here". Half the team members were convinced it was a great idea, and I wasn't. "How can a gamer earn any money just for playing? Who'll pay for that?" I would think. Daniel noticed I was off and suddenly quiet. So he got me into a corner to talk and explain it to me.

For some reason, it seems, he wanted me in the team. You see, the day before 6 folks stayed up all night trying to elaborate the winning idea. And I was going to be with them but I gave up in the last minute. I needed to sleep. So I gave them my contact info ( www.cregox.com ). And somehow they did go in and found my first short video. And Daniel said he loved it. They all laughed at it, in a good way I suppose. He also loved this picture, which right now is the first thing you see on the web site: smile

And so he spent some time talking to me, explaining the idea. Later on he told me he had this whole idea just while the 30 people were pitching. And he didn't have it much clear at first as well... So I suppose during this talk I helped him a little bit on evolving the idea. Cool! smiley

It is quite complicated, but later on I think we were able to summarize it. For one, Ana was researching really hard about everything related to "financial education", and then we wrote on the website:

On EduCash we want to transmit financial education knowledge in a playful way.

That summarized it a lot. It became my motto.

(to never be continued)

I've wrote all this up to here in Dec 2014. Now I decided to publish it (because of a new recent post) and leave it unfinished, because I just keep telling me "bleh, wtf" and I hate deleting things or leaving them in private limbo. And I can't care to even try remembering the rest at this moment. stuck_out_tongue

From wildcard through computers to the unknown