Starting a company is always a wild ride, months, sometimes years, of building a team, late-night coding sessions, long days of pitching ideas to the money folks.
But the folks at Stinky Studios have had a wilder ride than most, because this company went from nothing to launch in six days.
Charles Lee, Nathan Louie, Guy Morita, and Nikola Stojkovic went to Startup Weekend, a 54-hour-marathon of company building held 13 through 15 April at the Microsoft campus in Silicon Valley. Two knew each other going in, the others were strangers. By the end of the day they had formed a team. On Saturday they came up with a concept and started coding the app and building the website. And on Sunday they presented their work and, to their amazement, won their category and a chance to pitch at Demo Spring just a few days later. They quickly cancelled their plans for the next week—and, indeed, the foreseeable future, and got ready to take the Demo stage.
And, frankly, they came up with a pretty good idea—let’s just say I’ve heard a lot of worse ideas that took longer to develop. The concept: turn the game Apples-to-Apples, a popular card game, into a photographic scavenger hunt played via smartphone. For example, if the category word is shiny, you might take a picture of the spoon resting next to your morning coffee and put it up against other users' versions of shiny—sort of a words-with-friends for the less verbal among us.
I’ll be watching to see how these very young, very enthusiastic entrepreneurs do. You can hear them tell their own story in the video above.
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Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 40 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.