Chris MacNaughton bio photo

Chris MacNaughton

Chris MacNaughton currently works on the Ecosystem Engineering team at Canonical Ltd, focusing on storage technologies for OpenStack deployments.

Email Public Key Twitter Facebook Google+ LinkedIn Github Stackoverflow

A little over a week ago I participated in Startup Weekend Houston.

##Friday Night 6:30PM - 12AM

After dinner (Subway and pizza), we played a game called Half Baked to get everybody into the pitching mindset. We were all paired up in groups of 5-6 people and then we randomly selected 2 words out of a group that had all been called out.

Once we had a name, each group was responsible for creating a product that could use that name. Our group had Attacking Turbines and we came up with an Infrastructure as a Service that rented out quadrocopter capacity to cities in the event of disasters to do everything from finding people to delivering supplies!

Finally, we got around to hearing the pitches…

###PermitMe was Born

We broke into groups after voting on the different ideas and I chose to work with the team that became PermitMe. We got started right away on making something that was usable while also planning the business side of things.

James Wroblewski built our social media presence and did some design work while I worked on the site. Bruce, Bano, and Varun worked on business development and crafting the basic idea into a true product.

##Saturday 8AM - 12AM

We started early, having breakfast while we worked. The coffee was terrible!

Aleberry Creative took pity on the design work we had done so far and threw their (not-inconsiderable) talents in design behind us, dreaming up our logos and overall site design. We couldn’t have done it without them!

While I continued to build out the functionality for us to demo on Sunday and James expanded our social outreach, our three business guys got out and interviewed business owners about the pain points of permitting for their businesses and verified that there was, in fact, demand for a product like ours.

Through customer surveys and interviews, our product took shape, being a place that business owners or almost business owners could go to identify what permits they need and even get the forms needed to request the permits!

##Sunday 8AM - 730PM

Again, the work started early but this time with better coffee(we brought our own coffee)! As the web app took on its final shape, interaction kept increasing on our Facebook page and our business guys kept up the amazing work of talking to business owners, the day passed in a blur.

Lunch was amazing and catered by Oh My Gogi! (Can’t recommend them enough).

Finally, the site was as ready as it was going to get, our presentation was finished, and the judges were lined up. We were selected to go last.

The other teams gave amazing presentations and had some fantastic ideas.

After Bruce gave our presentation, we settled in to wait (or more accurately, walk around and chat with others). When it was time to hear the decisions, we were excited and nervous. After hearing 4th, 3rd, and 2nd places announced, we were exstatic to hear that our team was the winner!

We headed from there to Sushi Raku to mingle and chat after the event. It was an amazing weekend and I’m looking forward to volunteering for the next one!