Darren Mothersele

Software Developer

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Global Startup Battle 2015 Kickoff

Nov 20, 2015

web-dev

I’m at a hackathon this weekend. The Global Startup battle to be precise.

I came along as a developer, excited to see what kind of projects would be proposed, unsure what I would be getting involved in. I didn’t expect to be getting up and pitching an idea of my own…

I didn’t come expecting to pitch. In fact I was a bit terrified of doing so. I hadn’t prepared, but I got up and did it anyway.

I had one minute to pitch an idea. The recommended format was: Name, problem, solution, and who you needed for the team.

The problem I see is that advertising is breaking the internet. The current solutions of tracker blocking in browsers, addons that block adverts, and iOS ad blockers are inadequate.

I can configure my browser so I never see adverts, and I can make it harder for companies to track me, but sometimes I like to buy stuff, and I like to know what the options are. Sometimes I like to read content or use services, where publishers fund themselves via advertising.

Tonight I used the example of a company looking to get a website built. They send out an RFP to agencies. The more information they give about what they are looking for, what their situation is, and what their budget is, the better the proposals they get, and the more informed decision they can make. Why can’t we do this with all our purchasing decisions? Rather than companies tracking us and building secret profiles, how about we decide what data we want to share, and what our intensions are?

The other issue with blocking adverts across the board is that publishers who rely on advertising income need an alternative way of generating revenue. I don’t want to see them disappear if everyone starts using adblockers. I think we can offer an alternative.

The pitches were followed by time to circulate the room and try to round up votes. I thought it might be a process like idea rating sheets, but some of the other contenders quickly set about sweeping the room rounding up votes, while I was still trying to work out what the protocol was.

I’m not naturally inclined to promote myself in situations like this. So, I quietly mingled, hoping to pick up a few votes.

I had a moment where I thought perhaps I’d pitched the wrong crowd. What was I thinking? A lot of startups build their business models based off of advertising, and I’m talking about blocking ads and services that track you.

Some people didn’t get it. I don’t blame them. I think I was a bit confusing as I was still working out how to present my ideas. Some people got it, but thought the solutions were too complex to comprehend.

But, amazingly, my idea got selected!

It’s happening!

Over the rest of the evening, the team formed, and we had a short amount of time to start planning.

In this short time, the idea has transformed. And, I’m excited to work on this all weekend, with this amazing team, and see where we get to.