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Garden Genie - Let's get started

Garden Genie - Let's get started

Well, here we are. I am finally becoming a blogger.

The reason behind this is pretty exciting actually – I am about to head to Texas for an incredible opportunity – attending the SXSW Interactive Conference and working in the BigCommerce office. Also buying some cowboy boots. Therefore I am introducing this blog as a means of keeping myself sane and clearing space in my head for all of the things I learn, and a way of sharing them with you so you won’t have to hear me babble on quite so much when I return. That’s a lie, I will probably make you listen all over again!

Before we leave, I wanted to get you up to date.

Last year I heard about a thing called Auckland Startup Weekend, and decided I might as well give it a go. In November 2013 I showed up to this event with absolutely no idea what to expect but hoping to maybe meet a few people, and pick up a few tricks of the many trades on display that weekend.

My expectations were very rapidly blown out of the water.

I joined a great team and we spent the weekend creating Garden Genie – a start up business that will make growing your own fruit and vegetables easier. It was one of the most challenging and mentally exhausting weekends of my life but I loved (almost) every minute of it. At the end of the weekend, seven strangers who had bonded over the weekend became Garden Genie, winners of Auckland Startup Weekend 2014.

But it didn’t end there. We then had 24 hours to create a 60 second Garden Genie promo video as an entry to the Global Startup Battle.  Despite slightly frazzled nerves we were very proud of what we had created, and thanks to the support of the public we made it into the Top 15 worldwide to be judged. Shortly before Christmas we heard the news – we had won! Out of around 1000 startups worldwide, we managed to come out on top. In all honesty it took a very long time for it to sink in, I am still not sure if it has! BigCommerce were the sponsors of the prize – a trip to Texas to spend time working with and being mentored by them, and attendance of the South by Southwest Interactive Conference.

After a week or two coming to terms with the unbelievably good news, we got back to work. We spent the past eight weeks having four hour weekly progress meetings, working through the Lean Startup system, building up a business plan, and experiencing a mix of hits and misses.

Through this ‘one weekend networking’ and what it has become, I have come to understand and appreciate the worth of every opportunity. I have met, and come to know, amazing people who have inspired me to no end. I have learnt things about myself that I never realized were there. And this is only the beginning.

I want to thank Auckland Startup Weekend and the volunteers that made it happen – for creating this incredibly opportunity, BigCommerce for their generosity and support, and, of course, my fellow Garden Genies (Genie-ers? Genie-ists?)

This ride has been vastly challenging, always interesting, and extremely gratifying – and now in three days I will be on a flight to Austin, Texas to spend two weeks having my mind blown by some of the best creatives, developers and entrepreneurs in the world. Wish me luck!!

Thanks for reading, I can’t wait to bring you news from the United States! xx

SXSW... My mind is totally blown

SXSW... My mind is totally blown

Irreducible essence of three New Zealand birds

Irreducible essence of three New Zealand birds