At the time of this writing, Kelly Schwedland and I are at Startup Weekend Cincinnati to learn how to host such an event back in Duneland / Valparaiso. For those who don’t know, Startup Weekend is a non-profit movement that brings digital designers, developers and business professionals together to come up with concepts and solutions to today’s common. These solutions are tested for feasibility with the hopes of not only winning the judging contest at the end of the weekend but, in some cases, turning the prototype into a full-blown startup tech company.
Originally, Kelly and I were going to hang out in the shadows, learn, study, appreciate from afar but not get in the way of the weekend’s natural flow. Star Trek fans would know this as the Prime Directive.
While watching the ideas being pitched, a 14-year-old local high school Freshmen named Emerson Walker came up and humbly presented his idea. In a soft voice and with his eyes only rarely looking from his notecards, Emerson went on to simply and succinctly explain his problem and the solution he had for it.
His school system provided him with a spiral-bound daily planner to keep track of his school year activities. He pointed out that daily use of the planner meant that it was near disrepair by winter.
Emerson pointed out that the school used software already for calendar maintenance, but that the software didn’t included mobile and tablet devices. Most of Emerson’s friends, including Emerson, already have emails and mobile devices that they use for school work. The school even provides them with Google-hosted email accounts.
Emerson pitched the idea of having a digital daily planner calendar app instead of a paper planner. The would include email, sms notifications & reminders in case of assignment changes. The calendar could also be accessed by students, teachers and coaches so everyone can keep apprised of the students activities. Students could also add projects outside of school activities to keep all the plans in one place. The app would also be visible in GCal and ICal.
Another intriguing feature of the app would be the personalization students would be able to do on their app. Students could update themes, change fonts, colors, upload gravatars. This feature would allow them the freedom to style a device so they don’t get too bored referring to the device throughout the day.
The app would be for iPhone / iPad first because most of his friends used it. Later on it would also be ready for Android devices.
One page. 10 easy questions. Big shoutout to Dr. Ursula Saqui of Saqui Research for the assist in devising the questions.
Above all, thank you. The kid’s eyes are lit up like a kid at Christmas. His father, Ry, is on the team. They’re working side-by-side, coding, planning, developing web presences. My hope is to make this successful and show Emerson the potential of what kids can do when given a chance.
That said, I’ve got to get back and finish up my task list before Emerson gives me another warning. Once again, thank you.