Tuesday, 3 March 2015

BT Business Bootcamp: Day 2

Okay, a ton of stuff happened today and I'm exhausted so you'll forgive me if I don't express it perfectly. Also, my internet is shitty and it's irritating me.

Okay, so Rachael woke me at 7.47, just after Annie texting me failed to wake me up. Annie then rang me on the hotel room phone and I assured her that yes, I was up.

Then we had breakfast, which was buffet-style the same as the one other time I remember being in a hotel. I had Coco Pops and a croissant because I don't have very sophisticated tastes.

Then we met up in the lobby and I talked to Annie and a bit to Basha. We took the bus to UCD Nova, the centre for innovation (great name) and got sorted into teams in the lunchroom. I'm on Team A, with Emily's project about Homeless Wrap. It's one I'm very happy to be on so yay.

We met our mentor, who's Donal. He works in BT in Limerick.

So yeah, Dr. Tony Scott was there and gave us a talk, as were some BT people. Some BT exec (I think) told us we were "the cream of the cream of the cream" of Irish students, which was ego-inflating. 

Then Mari Callahan and the two co-ordinators, called John and Caroline (I think) talked to us, then finally we did a team-building exercise. We were given cardboard and sellotape and had to build a structure one metre high that could hold some chocolate bars strapped together (500g). We had 10 minutes. Here's what my team made:

Here's our paper tower for the team-building exercise. You can see Seán there.

Ours was freestanding, and could support its own weight. Unfortunately though, it toppled after the bar was put on (even though it held Emily's purse). Two groups' creations supported the bar but one group's tower was under the metre so didn't win.

Then, and oh wow I should've brought a timetable back to the hotel, I think we talked about what we were going to be doing. We had a talk from Prof. Orla Feeley who's in the Technology Transfer Department in UCD and is a Judge and Board Member for Young Scientist. 

I think Break was after that. I had Salt and Vinegar Hunky Dorys, some weird nut bar and an apple, or maybe that was lunch. It's hard to remember.

Then we went back (I'm so fuzzy on all of this) and dug into the project we'd been assigned. First I asked Emily to pitch it to us as if we were judges. I took down all the features then asked about weaknesses and took those down too. We probed a lot more and that was a good productive session.

We were told to focus for that session on the problem our product was solving and why our solution was so important. Before us, someone from the hurling boot team gave a really long, really impassioned presentation about theirs which was impressive. Kate gave ours and oh wow you could really tell she does debating, she was so good. She said incredibly a lot but yeah. Really engaging and passionate. Go Kate. Kate won the overall Social & Behavioural section (RTE prize) with her analysis of the ice bucket challenge, and I remember talking to her during the Exhibition early on the Saturday. 

So after that we had a talk from two BT Business Bootcamp alumni, one of whom was named Daniel. That was really interesting and they were good craic. They're starting a business now, an app to help you find tradespeople. I think it was called Kwote, though my room mate had to remind me of that. Ily, Rachael.

At some point after that, we had to do this weird Goal Mapping exercise. First we watched videos about where good ideas come from. The one about having your idea at the right time was funny. Then we had to do "Napkin sketches", the idea being that you just scribble it down and indulge your right brain or some such. That really didn't go well and I refused (politely, I hope) to speak on that one because I knew it just hadn't gone into my brain well. Mark had to speak on that one.

Then was probably lunch though I really can't remember.

Then there was something, then we had to do Goal Mapping and map out our projects onto these big sheets. I volunteered to speak for this one but it turned out it was a pairs speaking thing anyway, so Seán and I did it. I wrote the stuff up though, and Kate drew most because she's good at art. You can see the result here:

We had to first do it words and then "creatively" map it "into our subconscious" with our "right brain". Number of problems: pretty sure the right brain/left brain dichotomy isn't true, I don't think well in pictures, I work well in words. But anyway. 

Seán took the top half of both sides and then I did the bottom half. I think I got a lot of points across, but I was just thinking about what I was going to say next so that when I sat down there was this burning feeling in my chest and someone came over like "You are allowed to breathe, you know" so then I was worried that had been the most glaring aspect of the presentation. But I think it went well enough, and I enjoyed speaking in front of everyone.

I also did a flowchart for supply/distribution/money chains which I really like, it clarified things.

Then we had a talk from a woman from IV, the group that gave me my Special Award. She talked about patents, which was interesting. Afterwards she told me that I didn't need to get a full VISA, just an ESTA, which was ... good to know.

It's a bit of a blur from there. There was another break after that, and then I really don't know. I had a headache and was sooo tired. We worked more on the project, I think.

After that we went back to the hotel. We left again at half six and went to Eddie Rockets, where they paid for (sadly limited) food. I bought my own milkshake. It wasn't as good as I remembered.

I sat beside Emily. We're getting on really well even though she's only in third year. Also, on the way to ER I was talking to this guy who did a bioinformatics project, and he was there talking about exons and introns and machine learning and yeah it's nice to be surrounded by nerds. At ER I learned that Emily has volunteered in Spain a few times.

Can you tell I'm tired?

After that we went back and went to the boys room on my floor which is huge. It was really weird, we just made tea and listened to Irish music and then, eh, other things, and left a bit after 10. Tut tut, I know. 

So then I had a shower after Rachael and now I'm in bed and very glad this blog post is over.

There you have it. The first real day of the BT Business Bootcamp.

God, I'm tired.

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