Inside 3DS (Part II)

By Ian Panchèvre
Reporter with Silicon Hills News

3dssatx3 Day Startup was a success!
“How so?” you ask.
Well, one of my takeaways from 3DS was an emphasis on using key metrics. In that spirit, I’ve developed a metric that I call the Active Sleep Debt Ratio (ASDR), which is the ratio of the number of hours you’ve slept over the past day.
For example, if over the past 24 hours you’ve enjoyed a healthy 8 hours of sleep, you would have an ASDR of 0.33. The highest ASDR is 1.0, which is only possible after a period of extreme sleep deprivation or medical hardship.
Well, in this case, the day after 3DS, I posted an ASDR of 0.71 with 17 hours of sleep. When it was all said and done, I was very tired.

A break in the action at #3DSSATX - Photo by Michael Girdley, via Twitter

A break in the action at #3DSSATX – Photo by Michael Girdley, via Twitter

But please, don’t interpret my ASDR as a complaint. Rather, I see it as a source of pride. All the late nights and early mornings were definitely worth it. Some awesome things happened during those 5-hour-energy-induced bursts of alertness.
For one, I grew as an entrepreneur. Little things, like a worthy book or an interesting concept, frequently came up during conversation. More mechanical things, like research and pitch techniques, were absorbed from both mentors and other participants.
But the opportunity to immediately apply those new insights to a particular task was the best part of the educational experience.
“The experiential learning is really great to see in action,” noted Josh Schechter, an organizer of the event.
Cristal Glangchai, also an event organizer and the director of Trinity’s entrepreneurship program, built on that sentiment during her remarks Sunday evening. Glangchai pointed out that while chemists and biologist have laboratories, artists have studios, and engineers have machine shops, entrepreneurs don’t necessarily have a defined destination for developing their skills.
“3DS is essentially an applied environment for entrepreneurship,” stated Glangchai.
What are some of the things that happen when you compress the entrepreneurial experience into a single weekend? Nerf gun battles and sprints to the kitchen for food were only part of it.
“Pivots,” declared Cole Wollak, a 3DS mentor. “We saw multiple pivots throughout the weekend. Which is good, it indicates that teams are learning.”
Yes, if there is one constant in entrepreneurship, it is that there are no constants. Change is an ever-present force that should be embraced rather than resisted.
To that extent, it was interesting to see how the various projects and teams morphed over the weekend. The company my team worked on, grantsfor.me, changed quite a bit, quite often.
Our journey started with general observations from Wesley Zernial, a grant expert who works with non-profit organizations. Through him, we learned that the system was broken. Market research, brainstorming sessions, and friendly debates caused our team to explore a number of possible solutions: a marketplace to connect grant writers and applicants; an online educational resource center; a common platform for grant providers and grant seekers…
Ultimately, grantsfor.me would improve the grant experience by matching grant seekers with the best possible grant opportunities for them, and by making it easy to electronically file grant applications online. “Match.com meets TurboTax,” we were fond of saying.
Before I knew it, Sunday evening came around. While the Spurs were steamrolling over the Lakers to complete their playoff sweep, I was part of a large crowd that attended the final pitches.
On Friday, 15 concepts were presented. By Saturday evening, the list of concepts had narrowed down to 9. And on Sunday, 5 startups, including grantsfor.me, pitched to a panel of judges, investors, and supporters of San Antonio’s entrepreneurial community.
Dean’s List helps reduce dishonesty and risk during the hiring process by supplementing the traditional resume with a more nuanced work history.
Deal Frenzy seeks to gamify the deal hunting and mobile couponing experience.
Maker Cubes is getting in on the exciting additive manufacturing revolution with its own version of 3D printing.
And finally, one of the more memorable quotes of the weekend – “Think about Kickstarter and American Apparel having a baby and ‘BOOM!’” – came courtesy of Martel Mathews when he was describing 10,000 Threads, a marketplace for fashion designers.
“I thought they all performed admirably,” said Sheridan Chambers, a member of the 3DS judging panel and a Principal at the Denim Group. “The groups were all great. They did an amazing amount of work in a very short period of time.”
After the pitches concluded and the audience had dispersed, an awards ceremony and after party had the entire 3DS body in an upbeat mood.
Photo by Mariah Noelle via Twitter.

Photo by Mariah Noelle via Twitter.

Throughout the process, “the groups really came together,” shared Mariah Villarreal, a participant.
Glangchai concurred: “The chemistry of the groups was amazing, everyone took feedback really well.”
But perhaps, what had everyone most excited, wasn’t reflective joy over a weekend well-spent, but rather, growing excitement for the future of our community.
“I am thrilled for San Antonio, that it has the brain power and entrepreneurial minds that we were able to see in action,” beamed Cynthia Schluter, an audience member at the final pitches.
Thanks to 3DS, forty local entrepreneurs are now better equipped to pursue their dreams and start new ventures.

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