Another Great Experience

Howdy everyone,

It’s been a really tedious but fun 2 weeks for me. My team and I participated in the Singapore Airlines (SIA) app challenge 2015. The top prize was a tech-trip to silicon valley, fully sponsored by SIA. Oh boy, another competition against university students again? Yep, I’m always up for a fight in the ring of impossible because I believe that by constantly trying to stand on the edge, I will definitely cut myself and learn something, and maybe even succeed.

So here’s a quick story to how I got myself into this mess. My friend, Sheng Liang “jio” (jio means invite) me to join his team. His team already had a total of 2 folks (Li Quan and him) and needed another 2, so he told me to find another 1. So I went around looking out for high spirited and passionate person and finally found Metilda. Ha, and here, we form our team of 4 – Sheng Liang, Li Quan, Metilda and Huiren! And we are “Team Openshift”. :)

team

Our team name was inspired by the fact that IBM Bluemix was one of the sponsor of the competition; obviously because Openshift is one of Bluemix’s competitors.

Our team consisted of 4 folks, 3 of which have zero knowledge with mobile applications and zero experience with competitions. So I had to put in a lot of effort in helping them. In order to further my knowledge and try out something new, I tried a different tactic and strategy – the Open Organization method. The Open Organization is a new way to run organization so I wanted to give it a try with this team. :P

So shortly after we formed our team, we decided to brainstorm ideas even before the competition started; to get ourselves prepared of course. :) We have had some online meetings through our favourite proprietary, privacy-infringing Microsoft spyware, Skype. And also, we had several meetups in school to discuss and debates that can spark amazing ideas and let the best idea win.

skype-2Metilda seem to dislike my camera but is fine with Skype spying her.

So the day where the business challenges were announced finally came… Singapore Airlines and the sponsors gave several boring speeches. Well, the only one that I actually paid attention to was the Mastercard talk which was pretty exciting, hilarious and of course, entertaining.

google-talkGoogle gave a talk on stuff.

socute-1Qtpie still dislike cameras???

socute-2Such attentiveness.

Oh, and it was literally such boredom that Metilda fell asleep later on. She would have murdered me if I took pictures of her napping.

As the talks were hell of a boredom, I did very stupid things to make it more exciting. At the end of all the talks, I stood up and shouted at the top of my voice, “I love SIA!”. Everyone stared at me and I attempted to hide myself but failed.

My friends were utterly embarrassed by me. But well, it was fun. :)

embarrassedEmbarrassed.

After the talks, we were given a tour around SIA’s training center. We took some really neat fun photos in their first class and business class seats that were used for training.

step-business-person-1Qt trying to pretend to be a “solutions architect” who does business trips.

step-business-person-2Li Quan’s attempt to be professional.

first-classFirst class seats.

The tour was bloody amazing and kickass. My jaw dropped at how comfortable the seats were; words just simply can’t describe how I felt. A very subtle and effective reminder to us, consumerism pigs, that we should always desire to spend money on luxuries such as first and business class flights. The tour marked the end of the day and also the start of the competition.

We furiously worked on our idea and followed the Open Organization’s concept of “fail fast”. A-aaaand finally came out with this idea.

travel-partner

idea

Basically, it’s something like Siri or Google. Through voice commands, you will be able to book and cancel flights. You will be able to get matched with random strangers (based on your personality; we collect your data through Twitter and analyze it using Bluemix personality insights) and travel with them. Also, you will no longer need to make payments through credit cards and only need to do it through QR code.

We worked very, very hard on it. Sleepless nights and many more. However, the app was incomplete and completely half-assed. Only 1 feature was working. Yeah, I know, it’s very bad. However, we still pressed on and practiced our presentation. It was a bit unique as we had Metilda to compose a song for us to use in the presentation. It was a brilliant way of presenting.

have you ever thought of traveling?
we’ll like to simplify your trip
for SIA and audience, and so many others,
heres something OpenShift did!

typing’s mainstream everyone says
so open shift’s tuned it up abit (literally)
with IBM’s bluemix and Amadeus’s sandbox
and Master Card to give tips

we can now personalize, and recommend
with just a touch of hand
You can now never fear, loneliness,
so you can just relax

you can now book flights, or cancel them,
or change to another plan,
we simplify..
we simplify…
for you…

Despite being well prepared for presentation, presenting a broken prototype just doesn’t work. We didn’t get pass the qualifying round. We were quite sad about it because we put in lots of blood, tears, sweat and time. Some things are just not meant to be. Although we lost the competition, we did had a lot of fun in the stressful process. We had lots of inside jokes that we’ll continue laughing about. :)

animation

Takeaways:

  • Don’t focus on too many things, when you try to be good at everything, you will be lousy at everything.
  • 50% of the team should be equip with the skills required.
  • Open Organization’s methods worked very well.
  • Our presentation, although unique and nice, was probably unclear due to the lack of a functional prototype.

Also, I would like to extend my greatest gratitude to Mr Nelson (Ngee Ann lecturer) and Mr Justin (Bluemix technical evangelist) for helping us out with this competition.

Author: Huiren

I use free software and sometimes contribute to free software. I write about mostly technical problems I face and how I overcome them

2 thoughts on “Another Great Experience”

  1. When you join competition that is supported by enterprises but you use the competitor’s tech/promotional words, it will have negative aspect to your result, at least it is so in China ;)

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