Here is why and how, as an entrepreneur, I decided to participate in a web development bootcamp, what it has brought to me, my team and the tech product we are developing.

At the end of 2018, while I was in Dubai developing a new version of my personal website, I found myself facing a problem: I wanted to integrate an all-in-one booking system (with time slots) and online payment for my services. However, after a long and unsuccessful research, I found no effective, easy to integrate SaaS solution that met my needs.

It was when I arrived in Hainan, China that I had a revelation thanks to a Facebook ad:

“Are you an entrepreneur? Do you want to build your own tech product? Perhaps you’re struggling to find a technical co-founder? Join Tortuga Coders, an all-inclusive 9-week web development bootcamp in Koh Samui, Thailand www.tortugacoders.com

Broaden my knowledge, develop my project, build connections with programmers and meet a technical business partner, all while on a paradise tropical island? It took me less than 24 hours to make my decision and sign up for the bootcamp. Two weeks later I was starting this new and exciting challenge!

Hello World

Monday, April 1st, 6:15 a.m. I put on my sneakers and I’m off for my morning run. Upon returning, I answer my emails, then at 8:30 am I’m on my way to school.

Once arrived, I meet our mentor, teacher and coach: Tony Russo. He is the founder and director of Tortuga Coders​, a software engineer, turned serial entrepreneur who created, raised funds for, developed and sold tech startups, including www.polydone.com

It was also an opportunity for me to meet the other nine participants. We all have very different profiles, of mainly 3 main categories:

  • technical
  • web design
  • entrepreneurship

In modern technology, the most qualified people to succeed from a technical point of view are not necessarily the most qualified to manage the development of a business, market it or manage its communication. The key to success lies in team collaboration. I am surrounded by talented individuals who complement my entrepreneurial skills.

It didn’t take me long to imagine myself in an episode of HBO’s ​Silicon Valley​, recommended by Bill Gates (although, it was considered by some in the community to be too critical of the industry).

I was completely swamped

During the first two weeks, we dived into programming basics: HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Then the most popular frameworks for front-end development: Angular and React. To build the back-end (server and API) we used Node.js and MongoDB for the database. We learned how to managed our projects dependencies with NPM and how to use git and GitHub optimally in a real work environment for version control and collaboration with other software developers, using Scrum, an Agile project management methodology. It was really intense and it went very fast.

From very early in the morning until late in the evening, I tried to absorb this great amount of new content. Then I spent my nights developing the business plan for the booking system product I had in mind.

The Challenge

By week 4, a challenge was set in place by the bootcamp: build the best project by the end of the course. I had to quickly make alliances while also choosing a project! It was a real poker game! Fortunately, as an entrepreneur, I am used to managing these situations, putting together the best team and setting the vision.

Step 1: build a team!

The first person I partnered with was Krisztina Baranyai. She is from Hungary, lives in Lincoln, England and has a very technical profile. After completing her master’s degree in archaeology, and working as an archaeologist in Europe, she made the leap into new technologies. She attended a one-year coding school that specializes in back-end development.

She decided to join me and work on this project as both full-stack programmer and Scrum Master (the title of a facilitator within an Agile team that acts as a link between the product owner and the development team).

“This project is a wonderful technical challenge to take up, and to be able to work with both marketing and creative people, is a real opportunity for me to interact with these foreign fields!”

Krisztina Baranyai

Very quickly, Susanna Pezzini joined our team. This Italian young lady from picturesque Cinque Terre, holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial design, followed by a master’s degree in web design that she attained in Barcelona, Spain. As a specialist in front end development and digital marketing, she plays an important role in the development of this product.

“The development of this product takes me out of my front-end comfort zone! I am really happy to be able to contribute to something so great while having the opportunity to meet different professionals with different points of view in the development process.” Susanna Pezzini
Susanna Pezzini, Gael Spieler & Krisztina Baranyai

Week 5 has started and we are now in “startup mode”, ready to develop our product. We have four weeks to build our MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and win the competition that will choose the best project according to the following criteria:

  • The product must work and be able to solve an existing problem (evaluation by a jury)
  • The team must get the maximum likes and comments through their articles published here on the blog (so we need you!! please feel free to click on like button, it’s just below!)

In our next article, which we’ll publish in a few days, we’ll address the features of the product, the progress of the development and our strategy to win this competition… Stay tuned!

(Originally posted on Medium.com - 1.1k claps)