So I’ve described the concept. And what about the conception? Well i did manage to build the first version of the app that day. The first order of business was finding a name. And for these sort of tasks i like to employ my secret weapon… my stupendous herd of clever cats on facebook. I described the concept (including the idea of following an arrow pointing to your friend and that it was mainly intended for sms) and said “Go!”. Suggestions started to pour in. Some of the ones i passed over included: PointMe, WalkThisWay, HereIAm, Converge, Alan (Alan! Alan!), AppToMeetYou, GettingHotter, See Me Soon (aka S-M-S), MarcoPolo, MateLocate, and “Dude Where’s my Friends”. I had no shortage of suggestions, but the one i latched on to was actually uttered by my friend Joe not 5 minutes after i asked. At that time, the only thing actually using that name was the meetup.com app on iTunes, so i appended “SMS” and then i had something unique. Then, once i got myself a twitter handle and a domain name (meetapp.at) i was ready to rock.
So i worked hard, late into the night (though not all night, I’ve learned that you get to diminishing returns in the early hours after a not insignificant amount of beer and pizza), and by the following afternoon had built a prototype and a basic presentation.
The app was quite basic, but it had the facility to send a location and to listen for incoming SMS messages including the correct urls. And the url itself would show a google map if viewed in a browser, so all the elements were there.
Now I’ve been to several of these hackathons over the years – it was my third year at this very event – and the fact of the matter is that my track record at the time for winning some prize at each one i entered was 100%. This time was the end of that – the judges passed over my idea completely! It remains the only time one of my ideas didn’t win a thing, and ironically it was when i most felt like what i’d made had a future outside of a frenetic weekend’s activity. And i suppose that’s true on some level, since here i am 1.5 years later.