App Slam!

Today, we had one of my favorite SPI classes so far: the App Slam.

I’d seen it on the schedule, but didn’t really know what to expect. (I think my brain went immediately to a poetry slam and, when that became too confusing of an analogy, simply gave up.) I certainly didn’t expect two tired, snarky, beer-loving thirty-somethings to whom we had three minutes to pitch an app our group had conceived of in a short 30 minutes.

Sounds a little stressful on paper… but in reality? It was just fun.

All week, our speakers have been going on and on about digital natives (that’s us, the generation that grew up unaware that life can carry on without computers), and it has sort of started to flow in one ear and out the other. After all, to digital natives, it’s impossible to comprehend the generations that make a fuss out of being digital natives. It’s like making a fuss about opposable thumbs or sliced bread: it just doesn’t compute. But today, it all sort of made sense. While our parents might struggle to work an app, we dream them up as easily as a limerick. Every single one of the apps pitched today was useful, clever, and appealingly witty.

My travel group sketched out an idea for an app that would use crowd-sourcing to provide a listing of free events in certain cities. Users would be able to see different events and go to them, rate them, comment on them, or upload pictures of them. The events would include everything from samples at Whole Foods to free parks and museums to street fairs.

The judges’ comments were snarky, but approving:

Judge 1: “It’s a good idea.”

Judge 2: “Other people have done the cheap events idea. But I’ve gotta say. No one else has ever been that cheap.”

The winning app, though, was called Heckled. The main premise? It would text you comedic  messages at random intervals throughout the day, hopefully making those boring meetings you have to attend just a little bit more fun and awkward. In short, a silly, annoying, and really excellent idea.

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