Exceptional Participants & Coaches, Part 4

by

Exceptional events like Startup Weekend, Maker Edition attract exceptionally talented people. Not only do we have a remarkable lineup of coaches, but we’ve have also seen many amazing participants sign up. We’ve interviewed several of each and share a few of those conversations here.

 

Alex Diener, Creative Director, Pensar Development

(Coach)

Q: What made you interested in coaching Startup Weekend, Maker’s Edition?

A: A single entrepreneur has an energy level that’s off the charts, so a room full of entrepreneurs will be insane in all the right ways. The atmosphere will be the perfect setting for cultivating some fresh ideas. While Seattle may not be globally known as a hardware innovation hotspot, we have some incredible talent in this city and this event is an excellent platform to demonstrate what we’re capable of. I also heard there will be an amazing selection of snacks there.

Q: What is your background and what areas do you expect to offer the most guidance in?

A: As an Industrial Designer, I’ve worked with both local entrepreneurs and global corporations to develop compelling products and experiences. The common challenge between an entrepreneur and a corporation is a need to clearly define the problem a product will solve. Asking ourselves the questions: “What problem are we solving? Who is it for and how can it connect with them in a meaningful way?” Drilling down to the root of these questions is critical to establishing a solid foundation for innovation.

Q: Are there any areas of technology, design, or business you’re particularly excited about seeing at the event?

A: I’m more excited about the process than the result. Adding the “maker” component to intense Startup Weekend formula will add another dimension to this event. I’d love to see some interesting wearable technology or “internet of things” ideas, but I look forward to help build any product that has a focused need behind it.

Q: What kinds of outcomes would you like to see from the event?

A: The ultimate would be for one of the ideas we develop to become a full-fledged, profitable company. We have the horsepower and resources, it’s just a matter of getting the problem, solution, and chemistry aligned to make it happen.

Secondly, I hope the designer and entrepreneurial communities are inspired to do this more often. Cross pollination of ideas and talents on a regular basis would be good for all of us. I would love to see Seattle develop a maker-entrepreneur culture that rivals the Bay Area.

 

Aymerik Renard, Vice President, Accelerator, PCH International

(Coach)

Q: What made you interested in coaching Startup Weekend, Maker’s Edition?

A: I enjoy helping folks, and being involved as a coach is a great way to contribute while experiencing the sustained energy on display at a Startup Weekend event. The fact that I love cool hardware, and this is a Maker Edition made the offer to coach something I couldn’t refuse.

Q: What is your background and what areas do you expect to offer the most guidance in?

A: My academic background is in software engineering, product management, and operational processes, but most of my career has centered around business development and investments related to hardware, software, and service ventures. For the past two years I’ve been working in supply chain for consumer electronics and medical device start-ups. I expect I’ll be asked about product definition, market fit, and business model issues, as well as aspects of supply chain economics and timelines from sourcing and manufacturing to distribution and retail.

Q: Are there any areas of technology, design, or business you’re particularly excited about seeing at the event?

A: I imagine we’ll see a number of wearable related projects, as well as connected devices that leverage the processing power and network access of iOS and Android phones. I’m hopeful teams will tackle known consumer pain points, since some of the most promising next-generation hardware start-ups are the ones that rethink products and user experiences that have not evolved with modern times (ie, Nest adding intelligence to thermostats, August connecting deadbolts, etc.)

Q: What kinds of outcomes would you like to see from the event?

A: I’m hoping to see start-ups form from the efforts this weekend. We may have the foundation for a few crowdfunding projects, as well as teams that would be well-suited to join our newly-announced Highway1 (http://highwayone.io) incubator.