After a 54 hour coding marathon fueled mainly by pizza, caffeine, new friendships, and the enthusiasm of starting something new, our app Learn that Name won the top prize for the best app at Microsoft sponsored Startup Weekend in Redmond.
Of the many great memories from the event, the clear cut winner for me was the conclusion of the event – the presentation of the top prize. To the best of my memory the presentation went something along the lines of the following.
- Clint Nelson (Organizer of startup weekend) – “Thanks to everyone … etc. etc.”
- Clint -“14 of 15 teams used the Microsoft technology stack”
- Clint –“Thanks to Microsoft, organizers, etc etc. ….”
- General vibe in the room: YAY Microsoft!! yee of startup enablers! You rule!!!
- Clint – “The winner of the Bizspark award given to the team winning most votes for best startup, and the one that used Microsoft platforms is …”
- Clint – “Search Kick”
- General vibe in room: YAY Search Kick!!! YAY Microsoft!!!!
- Abhisheck Chitlangia (Learn that name team member) – “Wait a minute … But which team got most votes for best app?”
- Clint – “ummm … Learn that name”
- Me (giddy already about the impending irony) – “And which team was the one that DIDN’T use Microsoft?”
- General feeling in room – “Huh? The team that won most votes didn’t get the award and the $5000?”
- Clint (in a slight wisper) – “umm … Learn that name … awkward”
- General feeling in room – Irony is setting in … the ONLY team that didn’t use the Microsoft platform was the one that won the best application … but they were essentially disqualified.
- General feeling in room – More irony, etc etc, Learn that name team members now high fiving.
While the $5,000 of bizspark sponsorship would have been nice (if we’d used Microsoft technologies), the value in buzz generated from the irony as seen on techflash has already surpassed any $5,000 monetary value.
As a major footnote -
Microsoft, Bizspark, Clint, and all of the other organizers did an absolutely stellar job hosting the event. Huge props to them!! It was an amazing effort to aid the ENTIRE startup community not just those that used MS technology stack or not.
The $5000 was just the cherry on top of the overall support for startups that Microsoft provided. The award understandably could only be given to the team that used the Microsoft platform. Very smart way to drum up some interest especially in their new Azure platform.