Good ideas are not everywhere.
Strange as it sounds, this was a somewhat surprising insight. At grad school we’re constantly surrounded by concepting sessions, thesis ideas, and astounding guest lectures; so much so that I tend to forget that theres a lot of half-baked work out there.
The startup mania that happens at SXSW was a rather amazing reminder of how many undercooked or just downright creepy ideas become a reality. On the first night, Prachi and I went to a few sites for the Startup Crawl. We were excited to see new ideas and speak to people about their startup experience, but instead we found offices with beer pong, meeting rooms named after sushi, and services that hold on to your social network activity…for your employer. Each to their own, but we didn’t find there was much to construct conversation around. The abundance of bad office furniture didn’t help either.
A couple of nights later, I had the opportunity to meet a few new people over dinner. One person I spoke to had launched a startup just the day before, upon arrival to SXSW. He told me, proudly, about how they’d conceived and built their service in a very compressed time frame, I suspect without much user testing and iteration or even testing if there was any demand for the product in the first place.
Believe it or not, but I found this all really inspiring. It gave me renewed faith in my work and my ideas. Thanks to my time at SVAIXD, it seems obvious to me that you must consider and design for the people at the center of a product or service, and not for the sake of building the product itself, but I realized that’s an insight not everyone has.