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Cooper Union Archive
This afternoon I had a chance to sit in on a class review at Cooper Union in NYC. The panel of reviewers were a diverse set including agency staff, a Morgan Stanley Enterprise 2.0 manager, and a staff writer for Webware. The professor for the class is Sanford Dickert. I arrived a bit early and had a chance to sit in on the practice runs and really was impressed with Sanford’s ability to help fine-tune the presentations. While it’s hard to hear that you spelled a word wrong, or that the bullets are off, I think it goes back to what I wrote about with regards to presentations. Thanks to Sanford for inviting me!
I grabbed a few images of the students, check them out on Flickr.
Sanford began by explaining the project that the students worked on:
- Understanding the customer and the market before software development
- Had test users walk through the app in a usability lab-type setup
- Selected programming language: Ruby on Rails and MySQL was the selected database
- Six-Eight weeks of effort
Here is a recap of each of the presentations:
Course Advisor – Andrew Wong and Alex Shen
- Problem – the current online course descriptions are in huge pdf files that are basically unsearchable and creating a working schedule is difficult
- Course Advisor – provides course filters, check detailed info for each course and then add to schedule where time conflicts are displayed
- My thoughts – they should offer a way to select a major and all courses required are displayed and those that have been taken are noted. What about adding work times and other responsibilities (job, children, etc.). Also, this is a great place to use Microformats. They expect students to create these lists which I think is a recipe for disaster because of low level of interaction.
Sudoview – Brandon Wong and Joseph Branez
- Tagline – “A new view on recruiting”
- Overview – the basic idea is to provide a way for companies to actively screen candidates with video before the in-person 1st interview
- My thoughts – the idea is good, having built several large job systems over the past 15 years, integration with in-house systems would be critical. Otherwise this would probably be a larger burden than its value. The pricing structure also seemed odd with it based on the job salary since that is something that is not known at this point.
GeoCart – Nigel Brady and Paul Pasquale
- Problem – Shopping locally is a time-consuming process. Shopping online takes longer to get the item and high shipping costs.
- GeoCart – to allow users to purchase items chose to them by offering an intuitive users that displays the closest products and auctions to a certain location and ranks them by price. Revenue plan is affiliate marketing.
- Net product idea – search online for a product and find stores closest to you with the best prices. Features a good Google maps mashup.
- My thoughts – they use Walter and his need to find an air conditioner. Their sample seems flawed because you can easily search on sites like FatWallet or Spoofee for where the best deal is locally. It is a very interesting concept. If they could get enough merchants into the system, this could really be a valid application for profit.
- Panel questions centered around Green aspects, mobile availability, and accessibility of APIs.
ForkOut Videos – Grace Chen and Akshay Anand
- Problem – Uploading a video to multiple sites is a pain to fill in the same form over and over.
- ForkOut – you upload to ForkOut and then it distributes it to all of the video services you decide on
- My thoughts – how many people upload their videos to multiple sites? Will ForkOut store the videos? Will ForkOut have a site as well or just a drop and forward? What about video maintenance?
- Panel questions included making sure videos are noted that they are uploaded from ForkOut and looking at the b2b market with agency use.
Red Hen – Clemens Wan and Vincent Lau
- Problem – Sociological issues with sharing scientific data, lack of reliability assessment for data, islands of scientific data and lack of an online scientific community
- The product is a collaboration engine for sharing scientific data. Unfortunately most of the presentation was a bit out of my realm so I wasn’t able to grasp everything about the app.
I was very impressed by what the students have put together in the very short timeframe. Each of the ideas could be marketable with some tweaks. The teams focused mainly on what the tool would do, not as much on revenue or go-to-market plans.
I could tell that a couple of the students were nervous. I think colleges and universities need to offer more classes and make public presentations so that students can gain confidence in this area. This becomes more important as everyone wants to create the next Google. Pitching to a VC or other parties can be a make or break and these forced presentation opportunities are critical.