Here are my recap notes from tonight’s #LowerGOCC meetup at Mudsmith sponsored by NoD Coworking.
We had a few new faces this time and we skipped the Open Coffee Club 101 stuff and moved straight into various discussion topics. In addition to tech startup founders, we also had a flight attendant and a technology consultant join in the fun. I tried to tag everyone in this tweet.
We discussed several aspects of minimalism and found that minimalism has different meanings to different people. We talked about the parallels between clutter in real life and clutter in the internet. We also discussed various methods that we have developed for maintaining our relationships online, such as when to friend (or de-friend) people, when to accept or reject a LinkedIn request, etc.
Growth Hacking Discussion
We threw around names of some new cool tools for growth hacking online:
Hello List: http://HelloList.com
Maitre App: https://maitreapp.co/
Vincent Dignan’s Guide: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/secret-sauce-a-step-by-step-growth-hacking-guide–2#/
Local startup that helps with e-mail list verification: https://kickbox.io/
We had a similar discussion last month about whether or not technology startup founders need to know how to code in order to be successful. This time it seemed like the conclusion was generally that “You don’t need to code everything yourself, but you do need to know how to code.”
Conversable is a new startup making AI chatbots to replace customer service agents.
Translation Discussion – we talked for a while about different scenarios where it might be useful to have artificial intelligence assisting us with translations in real time. In airports, for example, it would be nice for the basic safety and gate information to instantly be translated into the listener’s native tongue. Figuring out what language a patient speaks in ER is a big pain point for doctors and could mean the difference between life and death. Also, in the service industry, it might help a server/waiter build rapport with their customer if the customer can speak in his/her native tongue. This might also get really weird. A universal truth is that people want to feel understood. Communicating to people in their mother tongue leaves a distinct impression, builds trust, and (in theory) would them feel understood.
Travel Tech Discussion
We had a flight attendant in our group, so we asked her about new technologies she is required to use on board these days. Mainly she mentioned the electronic hand held tablets that they use now to process payments for food and drinks. We also agreed that there are generally more screens showing up in planes to enable passengers to interact with content and receive flight communications.
There might be an opportunity to innovate and come up with new customs forms for international travel. Currently it is a pain to deal with the paper forms when traveling international because it is still an old school paper process and each country has their own way of handling the information.
Regarding operational systems for airlines and airports, one startup in Seattle called Aerostrat is attempting to streamline the airplane maintenance process with a niche project management tool.
Lastly we talked about IoT sensors coming into play on trains and planes. We had a little debate about which is more technologically advanced: Planes or Trains? Interestingly there are solid cases for both. Trains have been using sensors and smart technology for years to track locations and to communicate ahead of time and automatically reroute when train tracks are damaged. Planes perform the incredibly awesome task of transporting hundreds of humans at 30,000 ft. See Louis CK’s bit about planes. The plane’s “brain” has to make an insane amount of calculations in real time in order to function on auto-pilot. All in all, we think the two industries may be able to learn a lot from each other and fuel innovation by adapting proven technology solutions from each side.
First we went over what exactly Open Coffee Clubs are and what they are designed to achieve. The concept of an open coffee club was started in 2007 by Saul Klein (Skype Co-Founder) in London. “The goal was to encourage entrepreneurs, developers and investors to become acquainted with each other in informal gatherings so that the investment industry become more transparent and thus to encourage entrepreneurship. [Wikipedia]
As the organizer/facilitator, I had people sign in and answer “What are you in to?” before we jumped in to discussions – collectively, here’s what the four of us are in to: travel, tech, outdoors, stuff, startup news, healthcare, video games, comedy, UX, UI, cars, bikes, beer, and drums. (And probably lots of other cool things,)
We got to know about each other’s background and different types of startups/products we’ve worked on, and then dove into the following topics: Fitness Tech, Coding, Traction, Gifting, Liquor Tech, Events, Books, and Coffee Shops. Tweet me at @ChicagoGupta if you would like to join us at the next Lower Greenville Open Coffee Club!
Here are the links and highlights I noted down from our discussions:
Fit Bit – Wearable tech + app that allows you to engage in friendly fitness contests with your friends
Nike Plus Patent – Nike has a patent on a “smart” shoe that tracks your running activity
Active Networks (based in Dallas) sells software solutions for marathons, races, etc.
We discussed new product development workflows and better ways that designers and developers can communicate. We all have had experiences where critical information gets lost in translation when going from wireframes and sketches into functional prototypes or apps.
We then talked about the difference between product managers and full stack developers, I asked everyone if they thought all startup founders needed to know how to code. The consensus was that all founders should, at the very least, have SOME basic knowledge of HTML/CSS and SQL. This can help them streamline the back and forth with their dev team and also help them hold their developers accountable. We also shared stories of how we have created “duct tape” solutions