It is amazing how many (good) things in today's world begin with a tweet. That's how this story began too. A tweet which resulted in two free passes to 500 Startups's Design Quicky Our mentor often tells us to weigh the time and money it'd take to attend Startup events versus time that could be spent speaking to users and getting better at building the company. Although it may seem a bit ironic given that we are a company that helps people plan their events be they hackathons or religious ceremonies or weddings, Terrence Yang's advice is what has helped us build and grow Eventosaur faster. One look at the speaker list was sufficient to tell us that it wasn't going to be a waste of our time, so we decided to go.
To call what we attended a workshop would be misleading. It was a bootcamp and a truly interactive one at that. Irrespective of whether one is inherently an introvert or an extrovert, a new parent will talk to anyone she meets about her baby. Becoming a founder is akin to that, I think. Put enough of us in a room and before the event even begins, we'd have told the others about who we are and what we do. A quick conversation with Soaib and Prince from the 500 Startups team revealed that they'd already heard of Eventosaur. That's always a good sign. As a founder who may be looking to raise capital soon, we meet our fair share of VCs, angel investors and mentors from the ecosystem. Experience teaches one to distinguish between those who sincerely want to help founders and those who only pretend to do so. The folks from 500 startups were as genuine as they come. Brainstorming sessions over coffee, glee over having met our mentor, solid advice over a cup of coffee...all the signs a founder looks for.
The first session was by Asmita Misra who spoke about 'Bootstrapping Design.' What we loved about her talk was the fact that she knew exactly who was in the audience: founders without too much money to spare and with almost no real design experience. The format of her session was commendable. She'd spoke about the post-it approach to ideating and follow it up with tools that can help do it better. Then she explained mapping and prototyping before telling us about the tools that can help us perform those functions better. A well-rounded talk that left us confident that given the right tools and enough exposure to thinkers like Asmita, all of us can hope to help our teams with design. One of the biggest takeaways from Asmita's session was that involving the entire team in the design process and encouraging them to be a part of the entire journey of the product is important and saves more time than it seemingly wastes.
The second session was by Anshumani Ruddra who runs the product team at one of my favourite startups in India - Practo. Anshumani's session was riddled with great insights into how to leverage the talents of a team and how designing using the 'Design sprints' methodology actually saves time and confusion. The basic underlying principle behind his talk was to learn without resorting to building and launching. The key takeaways from his session were that time spent on doing homework be it on use cases or personas of your users is time saved and that the 'why' is always more important than the 'how 'and the 'what.' You can find the slides and resources Anshumani used here.
The tea break that followed had sandwiches which weren't mind-blowing like the sessions were. The participants "networked" and we got to spend time talking to Pankaj who is a treasure trove of knowledge about how venture capital works. Seriously though, 500 India should consider using Eventosaur to find the best caterers in Bangalore for their next event. Pankaj then spoke about what 500 startups is all about and how they help their portfolio companies. We've had the privilege of interacting with some founders who have been through their accelerator and have heard some amazing stuff. Having seen their design team in action, we can only imagine how good the distro team that complements it must be. We're seriously considering applying to batch 17 of their accelerator programme. If you are too, you should apply here.
The third session was Soaib's fireside chat with Sampad Swain - co-founder and CEO of Instamojo. At Eventosaur, we use Instamojo to collect payments. Every time we use their product we are blown by the simplicity and brilliance of it. To hear Sampad narrate the story of how they grew their team and what makes those 'delight' features see the day of light was inspiring to say the least. One of the key takeaways from Sampad's talk was that design can be a vital tool to help create trust in a brand. I certainly look forward to befriending more folks from Instamojo and hopefully accompanying them on one of their celebratory beer runs. At Eventosaur, we celebrate every 'win' with chocolate paan. Anyone reading this post is welcome to join us.
The final session was by Soaib Grewal who describes himself as half-VC and half-designer. His session was about quick design research. Despite having to power through the session thanks to time constraints, Soaib managed to make all of us understand the advantages of using user interviews. He explained how it helps founders and designers understand the users and their perspective while simultaneously testing for viability. The key takeaway from his session was that in order to succeed, startups have to move fast, break shit and keep an ear to the ground. At Eventosaur, we spend a considerable amount of time talking to users, recording them and analyzing these interviews. Soaib's session served as inspiration for us to get better at it. As a side note, if there are any founders in Bangalore who'd like to learn to conduct user interviews better or teach us how to get better at it, please do ping us.
If you managed to get to this paragraph, know that the 'Design Quicky' event was truly helpful and make sure you follow 500 startups here for updates about their future events. This is the first in a series we'd like to have called 'Event Recap' about events we attend and like. To stay updated about our posts and other news, do follow us on Twitter and Facebook.