We Won Startup Weekend! …now what?


The Giglines team met up on Friday, 30 August to discuss our plan forward having recently won Startup Weekend Biloxi and finally having had time to digest it.  Pat and Jessica met at the Innovation Center where we spoke with the director, Steve, at length about our new 1 year free “Virtual Lease”, which essentially entitles us to free reign of the building, with no physical office.  Perfect for us, we don’t need one.  We also met with some of the other staff and started to see all the resources that were abundantly available to us.  There is a class series that Steve teaches once a month, with one particular class we were keen on, “Writing Business Plans”.  Having owned over 30 business, Steve is no doubt quite affluent in writing business plans and quite frankly, we will take all the help we can get.


Shortly thereafter, Eric showed up, and we decided to head out for dinner as discussions ensued about all the work we were soon finding we needed to do.  We drove down to Big O’s sports pub in Ocean Springs, Eric is friends with the owner, and an added bonus…40 beers on tap!  As we began drinking our thinking liquid we realized we needed to make a solid effort to go to Startup Weekend New Orleans and we wanted to use that weekend to build out the majority of the Navy to prep the product for an investment pitch.  The concern soon arose though of how we could ensure we found talented designers and developers.  Then, a brilliant idea occurred.  Instead of hoping the designers and developers fall into our lap, why don’t we incentivize them to meet us and join our team?  Hackathon @ USM was born.  We would buy a nice laptop and 6 months of online training at Lynda for the two first place prizes and gift cards to Amazon for the two second place winners.  On top of that, they would also join our team and travel with us to Startup Weekend New Orleans, with all expenses paid.  What poor college student would turn down an offer like that?  Exactly.


Jessica said all the “Nerds”, which was quickly corrected by Eric to “Geeks”, hung out at a local coffee shop.  Now that we knew their habitat, we just needed to market to them.  We decided we would create a flyer that Jessica would distribute throughout campus while finding a possible venue, hopefully the coffee shop itself.  Eric would contact the Computer Science department so they could hopefully push the Hackathon internally through classes, etc.  We also wanted the school to post it on their Facebook page to spread the word through social media.  We felt the incentives were more than good enough to draw the “geeks”, we just needed to spread the word.  Eric would develop the problems for the developers to solve to really separate the basics from the elite and would also judge at the end to pick our winners.  The designers would work on the actual graphic design of the uniforms as well as the design of the website.


Aside from the Hackathon, several other aspects of Giglines were discussed.  We needed a blog (insert joke here), finalize our business plan, create an introductory video, and develop more products that parents would be interested in purchasing that would be personalized for their child/servicemember.  For the blog, we quickly decided WordPress would be the best avenue (do we get some product placement $$$ now?).  The business plan was already in the works, Jessica would handle all the numbers, projections, company formations, etc. while Pat would write out the corporate strategy and the plan going forward.  We wanted an introductory video to the site, but really did not want something like so many other sites had with the typical clip art animation and cheesy music in the background.  We wanted something that drew on the emotion of serving and brought out the pride in every service member in wearing their uniform.  Pat recommended a uniform quote he learned at the Air Force Academy (college), that would play perfect as the words in the video.  We decided video clips of men and women in their uniform and in combat would play the role of the visuals in the video.  Research then went into what music to play in the video, where the discussion centered around military movie themes.  Personalized bumper stickers was as far as we got with developing more products for our memorabilia line, however, we knew this would be something we would always keep in the back of our mind as the site went through its developmental stages.


We soon called it a night, but realized the project was about to grow far more and far quicker than we realized.

Patrick Bergstresser

Air Force Brat. NY Yankees fan. FC Barcelona fan. US Air Force Academy, Class of 2010. Active Duty US Navy Civil Engineer Corps Officer. Founder, Giglines.com.