Frankie Looks Back: Founder Labs Retrospective

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Week 5 at Women 2.0 Founder Labs means final presentation night to a panel of judges. Several members of Labs, including Jennie's team, wound up at Twilio's API Hack Day (pictured left), where they worked on FrankenBrain at the event.

Jennie Lee's Story

Frankie Looks Back - a Women 2.0 Labs Retrospective.

"The Labs program was a rollercoaster of learning and discovery, of great advice and fabulous people, camaraderie and late nights. Juggling a startup idea and the rapid pace of Labs development with a stressful full-time job -- while also running two half-marathons -- was definitely a challenge, but one which taught me a lot about my own capacity for work. After all, they say you never truly know your limits until you exceed them."

I will always remember week 4 as the week of the pivot.

It's all over - but what a rush it was.

I went into the program with fairly loose goals, and an idea I'd thought of the day before. I wanted to learn a lot more about customer development and actually practice it, as the main error I’d made in my last startup was focusing too much on the startup and technology and nowhere near enough on the product and users.

Mostly, though, the challenge of transforming an idea into something that could actually fly in just 5 weeks of spare time called to me, and I knew I would enjoy it. The main thing I learnt from the experience was to follow my gut.

Our team pivoted around ideas in the travel market in the first week, then realised we were all far more excited about games - which turned out to be a great move for all of us, as we connected around the idea. Working on something slightly silly and fun also energised us throughout the process, and led us to a day-long hackfest where we ambushed fellow hackers with a Frankenstein sock puppet and a bucket of Twix. The things one does in the name of customer development...

Seeing people accept hard truths about their pet idea; pivot on a dime and change tack completely; take harsh feedback without blinking; and give killer presentations on a two day old idea -- all incredibly inspirational (and humbling) experiences.

The advisors and organisers were all super helpful and nice, showing us the weaknesses in our ideas, hypotheses and execution without shooting us down, guiding us as our idea and team matured from one week to the next.

I have so much admiration and respect for the other participants in the autumn Labs class, both my team and all the others. I had a great time during Women 2.0 Labs, learnt a lot and am now incredibly energised to work on my own startup projects while continuing development and experimentation with our Labs-created game idea.

Thank you, Women 2.0, for putting on such a fantastic program!