Last night, the third iWeekend in Beijing was held in the Oracle office. The night kicked off with eight very different ideas pitched to a room full of participants and mentors. Presenters were first given a mere 30 seconds to pitch their idea, then votes were cast. The next time, presenters were given 3 minutes to further elaborate on their idea in order to persuade participants to vote and join them. This resulted in five teams being selected to continue onto today, to work on their idea and challenge.
Differing from the last iWeekend in April, instead of a prototype driven outcome, the purpose of this iWeekend was to solve a challenge that each team faced. For some, it was to clarify a solution to a problem. For others, it was to code a prototype.
Here are the five ideas that got through:
The premise is that people are too busy to look after their health properly. The proposed solution is a website to analyze your health condition and recommend, then deliver specific fruit to you, like a banana or apple, to enhance your well being. Some mentors commented that they should focus on more traditional Chinese medicine or herbs to help help people. Also one was concerned over the perishable nature of fruit.
IN stands for “Interesting, Intelligent and International” people. The presenter believes that when Chinese people chat, they often don’t talk about very in depth of profound topics. She hopes to connect people have similar interests in such things as philosophy and religion. The proposed product solution is a website that functions like most SNS’s with a profile, filled out with information about who you really are and what you really think, with followers and friends.
3. Zen Garden
This is probably the most different and ‘out-there’ idea because it has nothing to do with technology. The presenter believes that people are often too busy and too focused on money to really relax and focus on more important things in their life. Her solution is to create a hotel or get-away place for people to relax, meditate, eat well and use the time away from the busy city to reflect on themselves. She is taking much of the influence from Budhism and plans to donate most of the profit to social causes.
4. X Report
The problem presented was that busy professionals and managers often don’t have time to read the news or interesting articles from numerous sources like blogs. The task of summarizing news from different sources, is usually outsourced to a secretary or personal assistant. The proposed solution is a Flipboard like app that can aggregate and summarize content, allowing busy people to digest it in one page. It wasn’t clear if it is supposed to be more like Flipboard or more like an RSS reader. The ideal solution to me, is if they create a way to technologically and intelligently summarize the content into 3-5 dot points, rather than just headlines or a section of the first paragraph.
5. Initial Momentum
The presenter believes that so many ambitious start-ups are starting and failing everyday. But he believes there is a way to help start-ups identify weaknesses in their business and recommend ways to fix them and lower the probability of failure. The proposed solution is a website that acts as a checklist for start-up health. Two types of people that would use the online platform are the start-ups themselves and anyone else who is interested in helping the start-ups succeed by offering advice. The benefit for start-ups is that they can detect early-on, where they need to improve. The benefit for people that help start-ups is that they can contribute to the success or for investors, to know what start-ups are active. The most striking piece of advice was for the team to test it on themselves.
It seems like there is a common theme through-out these start-ups, time. Nearly every idea is focused on speeding something up or slowing things down, in the case of Zen Garden.
Tonight, the results will be presented. I will report on the action!