TL;DR we made a product, gave a pitch, they loved it.
Due to licensing, as much as I would love to, we can’t open source our project. You can learn more about or project on our site.
Today Was The Day
Today was the day that changed my outlook; in general. As you may know, I am the first to graduate from the software engineering program at York University. Not just the first, the only. Believe me I am not trying to boast, that’s the opposite of what I am trying to achieve.
What I Expected
Absolute massacre, I thought the judges would chew up and spit out our project. I was expecting implications such as “this will never work”, “why bother making this?”, and the worst of all “you have wasted your time”. I know sounds harsh, but when you make something, it truly is hard to ship your work. You are literally being evaluated on your ability to ship.
What Really Happened
So it turns out we did not do bad at all. In order of pitches, we were the 3rd to go (out of 7). When it came our time the judges were literally yawning! To many formalities, to many numbers. It is nice for investors, but it gets boring I understand completely. But why is everyone so formal? I do believe there is a time and a place for everything, this was the time to be ourselves, get personal and certainly not formal; after all there were only 5 judges! I truly believe that an individual, personal interaction with our product rather than some generic sales pitch really helped us out; it never fails to be yourself.
The feedback we received was amazing, one of the judges (an investor) gave us his business card. After our presentation we received many others, and so much positive feedback in general from others. Doesn’t sound like much, but when you go from “you wasted your time” to “lets talk about how we can make this vision happen” is a complete turn of events. This might not be why but I choose to believe it is, establishing a personal connection is what we all really need. In our case, to give some of our users their very first virtual reality experience feels amazing. Even though their face is half covered with VR gear, you can still see their face light up.
What I Took Away
I learned a lot today: we long deeply for personal interactions, always take pride in your work, what ever it may be, and don’t be afraid to show (ship) your work it might just pay off. Imposter syndrome is real. Do not buy into it, stay confident in your knowledge but never ever get full of yourself and never stop learning. Remember, you are not the only one out there!
Lesson learned from @Sirupsen is to always ship. At the time of writing this I cannot find the reference. Shipping allows for feedback, feedback is hard to hear sometimes but the reward is incomparable to any other. You did that, you made that thing, you learned that skill.
Stay humble, always be learning, and don’t sell yourself short
EDIT: We won second place on our project in this years competition as well as the PEO York Chapter Prize; The PEO York Chapter Prize will be awarded at the Lassonde School of Engineering Capstone Projects Competition to a Lassonde student team who will have created, developed and promoted the product/project with the greatest commercial potential