And the winner of Startup Weekend Utrecht 2011… is a designer.


UI/UX designer Ernest Mistiaen answered a few questions about his contributions to the #SWUtrecht of two years ago.


GIGG, nice idea, but did you think of it yourself? How did the idea change during the SWU process?
In May 2011 I got the idea for Gigg on my way home after a Titus Andronicus concert in Bitterzoet. The concert was awesome and I was amazed that such a good band didn’t play for a bigger audience in Melkweg or Tivoli for example. In the months thereafter the idea of an app where you can rate bands based on their live-performances got stuck in my head and I started drawing and designing the interface.

In June I took part in SW Amsterdam. I wanted to experience a Startup Weekend before I would pitch my own idea. That weekend was really cool and afterwards I decided to bring Gigg to a following edition. Well, that was SW Utrecht.

I’m happy that I already had a clear concept for Gigg before coming to SW Utrecht so that we could spend our time building the app and keep our focus. If an idea isn’t crystallized, then it’s easy to spend a lot of time rethinking an talking about details. At SW there’s no time for that.

How would you value working together with your team?
And with the coaches, and mentors?
Working together went pretty smoothly. On Friday night we quickly made an inventory of everybody’s skills and the task each person would fulfil. From the beginning we focused on the presentation, because that’s where you win SW. Therefore I really wanted to have a dummy app where we could show something of the interface, so that we could give the illusion of a working app. Furthermore I wanted to hint at the possible revenue streams and present a striking video to bring it all together. Seeing that we won I think that we definitely succeeded in working as a team.

Concerning the coaches and mentors I think that we filtered them well. It is easy to be influenced by their advice. Everyone has different opinions and the art is to pick out the consultations that are useful for your team.

ernest 2You all won prizes.
Is there anything further done with Gigg?
When we won with Gigg, I was really pleased. My aspirations were sky high and I wanted to work very hard to make Gigg the Next Big Thing. In reality my plan went a bit differently. After half a year I found a partner that also wanted to spend his free hours working on Gigg. At first we got together every weekend, but after a couple of months this schedule turned out very hard to keep. Because of my big ideas and high expectations this was tough period, but at the same time I knew that those high expectations were pressuring me and took away the fun of creating something new. Since that realization we changed the way we are working on Gigg. We involved a third developer and don’t push ourselves to work every available free hour. This new way of looking at things is working great for us: we’re hoping to release Gigg in the App Store near the end of this year.

Advice for designers who are first-time Startup Weekender this year?
Sleep a little, make a lot.

Where do designers come in during the launch process?ernest3
Probably everyone says this about his or her own role, but I think the designer is a key figure who should be involved from the very start.
First, an idea always seems simple, but when you have grasp your idea into an actual design, a lot of new questions pop up. Furthermore, the design plans can be a great guideline for the developers. Seeing the app drawn out on a screen often means they can develop better and more quickly.
Finally, the design phase ensures that you, the maker, put yourself in the shoes of the user. By questioning the value of every detail from the user’s point of view, you can strip the app from all noise and bring it back to what it needs to be.

Gigg won the prize for public’s favorite, the prize for best interaction design from UtrechtInc., and the designation as overall winner of the weekend. Follow or get in touch with @ernestmistiaen