I never actually thought of the CMBHack as a contest, but I guess it was in a ways. As far as voting by the judges went, my idea (YAMU – A Location Based Cab App) won, but as for the market, who knows. There were a number of viable ideas presented and a number that could be viable if worked out. But I think my idea was pretty good, and with the help of a team and mentors, we actually polished it out into a feasible business.
I won’t get into that too much here. It’s basically a system that lets you order cabs (including meter tuks) from your smartphone. Instead of giving them directions (a majory pain), it picks up your location via GPS. Simple idea, and already done in Singapore and the US, within my knowledge. One thing I learned from the Hackathon is that the value isn’t in the raw idea, it’s when you talk it out and work it into a business that it’s really worth something.
I think we put together a damn good presentation, but that was largely because of A) sharing the idea and B) getting input and support. This is why the community that the guys at Cinergix (create.ly) and Orion City and Venture Engine are putting together is so important. These are guys that have made it in startups or business and they’re leaving an elevator behind them, so that’s great.
People have created a path for businesses, you come to this event, present a business plan to Venture Engine, appear on the Silicon Valley webcast then MUHAHAHA (spelling?) Indians come and steal your ideas.
Seriously, there is this retrograde attachment in Sri Lanka that prevents, shall we say, financial enlightenment. Sharing ideas is how you get funding and support, and India is the ultimate exit. That’s the big mango, and we should be scrambling for a bite at it. Seriously, fuck the UN vote and politics, this is strictly business.
I shared my idea at CMBHack and now here and probably more places. Could other people copy it? Yes, probably. I thought of it independently, but it’s still been done in other places. Raw originality isn’t what innovation is, innovation is adaptation, something which gives advantage in a particular environment. They don’t have what I have, which is how to execute the idea, who to execute it with, where to get the money, and how to take it all to market. And that, I am discovering, is what startups are about. Your idea has to enter the market to even start.
Anyways, it was a great experience. All the teams were great and I learned more from them and the mentors than in months of doodling around. There were guys who made some serious money giving damn helpful advice that spared weeks of mistakes and possibly permanent misadventure.
So how’s YAMU going? It’s going. Literally. I just woke up in a haze today and I’m taking the day off. I’m still on the street, I’m still dealing with cabs everyday, so tomorrow it’s back to hustling.