Launch Leaders

A launch48 event is stuffed with intelligent and skillful people, but what really makes the difference between a business that flops at hour 49, and an ongoing prospect, is leadership. As Hugh Chappell told the teams on Friday, performance this weekend is a pretty good indication of your prospects as a entrepreneur. Can you pull together a team of developers, designers, marketers and businesspeople to achieve a single goal in 48 hours? If so, you’ll have a business. And with the help of the mentors it can be a really promising startup.

You would think that the strongest leaders would emerge, regardless of who had the initial idea. But in a group of people who’d never met before yesterday it’s hard to stand up and take charge.

Adventure Urban: With just five members they should have been the

Adventure Urban

easiest team to handle. They certainly have heaps of passion. They even had wonderful UI designs created by James Grafton in advance and a strong vision for the user experience. But by mid-day on Saturday they were still struggling to form a plan for the next few hours. “If those guys can give me a fireworks UI on Sunday morning, I can put together an iPhone app by Sunday evening…” mused Grafton. Twenty hours to go mate, you’d better get your shouty head on.

Itiner8: With a broadly similar initial idea, the Itiner8 team is an interesting parallel to Adventure Urban. They seem to be having exactly the opposite problem. Their little room is plastered with A3 sheets of paper covered in motivational messages inspired by Friday’s L48 conference (“Build the simplest thing that could possibly work, then iterate!”), UI sketches and business structures. They’ve got a great idea of the business structure but someone needs to take control to push it forward. “Whose the project manager here?” asks mentor Dan Moon, there’s a rather worrying silence.

Despite the quotes they’re still debating whether to build a buggy


prototype for Sunday, or to take it slow go for a final version in a few weeks. Dan Moon says “They’re so slow! Usually by now [groups] have got environments set up, they’ve got data sets and working prototypes by now!”, which is a bit unfair because Itiner8 built an ultra-basic prototype on Friday evening, in record time!

L48 mentor Jeremy Parsons noted “Itiner8, they’re looking for too much advice! They grab all the mentors who come in the room and then go backwards…They have a great structure but seem to be lacking some drive. Adventure Urban, they’ve got load of passion, but [are] really unstructured”.

Spot Events: For the second time at a L48 event, someone pitched an idea that was already built into an incorporated company.  Luke Glen secured the biggest team, possibly helped by his offer of equity and salaries for successful mobile developers. No-one was going to complain about that. Oddly Spot also seem to be having some leadership issues, even when the idea’s originator is the one wearing the “Spot Events”-branded T-Shirts. “There’s either two teams or none” says Jeremy Parsons, “I can’t work out which”, so what’s his

Spot Events spread out

advice? “They need to completely flip round their approach” says Parsons. “Forget the really difficult problem of how to sell to conference organisers and focus on giving and insanely good user experience…If they get that right event attendees will be battering down the doors of conference organisers to use their product”.

Time for the second board meeting now, this should sort them out.

Intinerate's developers and their sweets