Startup Stuff

A demonstration of what BidSquid’s layout looks like

After the Christmas break, I teamed up with Dave Hachey, a fellow UIT student, to work on the technical side of his startup idea. The idea is a two-sided market for locally produced commodities. Typical markets such as Kijiji only show you one side of the market: the sellers. This idea allows you to view and be a part of both the supply, and the demand. Think of it like a stock market, but totally relative to your location, and for local goods and services (for example apples, firewood, or plumbers for hire).

Submit a bid, asking for a good or service, and name your price. The higher you’re willing to pay, the more likely a potential seller will be willing to contact you. Submit an offer, offering up a good or service, and again, name your price. In this case, the lower you’re willing to sell for will be what attracts potential buyers to your listing.

I signed on as the technical co-founder, to help bring this idea to life. I’ve heard it before, that you need one person with the industry experience, and one person with the technical know-how to make this type of idea work. Dave has the many years of working in the stock market as well as operating a small farm, and I have the passion and drive to build a platform like this. Together, we’re building BidSquid – you can see the simple landing page I’ve put together, which is live today!

Communications Stuff

Another thing that’s gone on at UIT is the communication classes, taught by Ian McNeil. We’ve covered public speaking, dealing with the media, and interviews. There was a lot of really solid advice jam-packed into two months, and I’ve already had the chance to use what we learned in the real world.

Just the other day I was on CBC radio with Mike Targett, to talk about my experience at hackathons, to promote UIT’s hackathon they just had (which I unfortunately missed!). I had the chance to make use of some of the interview tactics I learned in Ian’s class, and there are definitely going to be a lot many more. From doing interviews on radio to just dealing with answering questions in everyday life, I feel like it will be a long-term improvement to how to better answer and ask questions.

Business Stuff

I was always a coder, and I always will be. I always pictured myself working at another company, writing code. But looking back, I think deep down I always wanted to do my own thing. In fact, you can actually still see the website for my ‘company’ I had when I was maybe 13 or 14 years old, called OxygenSoft.

I can’t see myself being some kind of business guru one day, and I know that my domain is in the technical side of things. But as a coder I always preferred to build something from the ground up, rather than starting off from something that’s already established. I always felt more acquainted with the code and the product itself by the time it was working. And I think it’s almost the same way for entrepreneurs – rather than starting off working at a company somewhere, it’s the want to build something from nothing.

Woohoo! It’s time to start rolling out the red carpet for the 2017 UIT Startup Immersion High School Hackathon! What’s a high school hackathon, you say? Well, well, well, pull up a chair and let me tell you all about it.

Picture this: you arrive at our fun and funky space in downtown Sydney bright and early on Saturday, March 4th. You are greeted with an array of delicious and maaaaaaybe not-so nutritious breakfast foods to fill your belly that will get you ready to take on the day. We will introduce you to our amazing mentors and you can introduce yourself to everyone – there now, we are all friends.

You can enter a team or we can place you with a team, the choice is yours. Don’t
worry about how much programming, design, product development or computer skills you have because we will make sure you work with a group of people that complement the skills you do have. It’s a win-win situation.

You will spend about an hour working with your awesome team to come up with some ideas to build a web or mobile product. Think about the fun apps you like to engage with or the best websites you always visit – what makes them great? What makes them interesting to you? You’ll begin mapping out and building out your digital product and putting the pieces together as a team.

Bring on the lunch time spread! Eat until you can’t eat anymore and then it’s back to work on your masterpiece. Did we mention that you’ll be working with some of best programmers, designers and techies in the area!? Get ready to learn a ton!

You’ll work with your team until about supper time – and then it’s time for more food. Man, are you getting hungry just thinking about all the free food? I sure am. After supper you can put the finishing touches on your digital masterpiece and then we will gather around to see what you’ve created. You can also invite your friends and family – the more, the merrier!

When it’s all said and done, the staff and mentors at UIT will have a round table discussion about the awesome work you did and will be handing out prizes for best design, best idea, best functionality, who ate the most pizza….you get the idea!  

Last year, we had nine students participate in the hackathon! In two groups they built an app in which users could throw items at characters on the screen and a portal for a variety of games to be played online.

We are super excited to start accepting applications for this year’s hackathon. Click here to register. We can’t wait to create with you!