On October 1st we organised our first party in a beautiful garage in Coimbra. All started with the idea of celebrating the launch of bootstrap products around us. That idea turned into The Product Garage Party.
As a little studio in Portugal, we watch every day our tech scene flourishing. Many companies are building cool products. But most are side projects, risking never being finished. That’s the main goal of the party, to be an excuse to release products.
You can read more about our goals with this event on our last blog post.
Creating a new concept
We aimed for a special party. We had product launches with short talks spread through the day. Demos and networking between companies and attendees filled the time in-between.
The entry was free and open to everyone. Our goal was to join the tech industry with the general community in a relaxed environment. And to get a fun and diverse crowd of 200 people during the day.
We looked for a different space in the city center, a place that sparked curiosity in everyone. We stumbled upon Garagem de Santa Cruz, an old empty garage with a big open space for everything we wanted to host. There we could add more elements to the party: lounge areas and kiosks with snacks, coffee, beer and magazines, all from local businesses.
Products & Party
Although bootstrapped products get less attention from the media, there are many around us. But not all were at the right time to be launched on our scheduled date. We ended up convincing 6 projects to launch with us at the party, and each product got its special moment on stage.
The day started with Pedro Santa from Playsketch, with an app to create digital games by drawing them on paper. Then João Monteiro from Deemaze Software presented Exact, an app to manage professional contacts and know more about who’s calling. The third was Aurora, an app for collecting concerts and give feedback to fans and artists, presented by Ana Rafaela Ferro and Maria Margarida. Shelf by Subvisual was the fourth product, presented by João Magalhães. It's an online library for organizations, to avoid leaving books at home gathering dust. Closing the program was Whitesmith with Daniel Lopes. He presented Hawkpost, a solution to safely receive private information from people who don’t know how to encrypt. The Twentyfive team could not be present, but left us a booth to show off their new energy pill.
Last but not least, there was time to relax and party, including a hilarious piñata moment. João from Deemaze smashed the little guy after many attempts (the stuffed donkey was named Alfredo afterwards).
What went well
- Joining people who like to build and discuss products (the community feeling)
- Motivating teams to update their products for the launch
- Spreading the word about bootstrapping as an alternative way of financing projects
Things to improve
- More people at the event
- We reached our goal, but a bigger audience would have raised the energy of everyone. A shorter schedule and a denser program could also help.
- Focus on a simpler concept
- Our community is slowly getting used to talking about product. We made understanding the event harder by adding bootstrapping to the conversation.
- Bigger external reach
- More discussion around the party (and not only at the party). Having more media partners. All to give the products a bigger attention boost at the launch.
- Deemaze Software for sponsoring the event
- Auto-Industrial for the beautiful space
- Universidade de Coimbra - big supporter and sponsor
- Bruno and Mário – go-to guys for everything we couldn’t handle ourselves
- Mimicry Games – untiring friends, for bouncing ideas and helping out with the booths
- Redlight for the Internet and sound system
- NEI for the short-notice transportation help
- João Mendes for capturing everything on camera
- Daniel Lopes for the ending party grooves
- ESEC-TV for the beautiful video
- Cordel Maneirista, departamento.co, Praxis and Luso Coffee Roasters for making the party so much better
And thanks to everyone who who attended for making it such a fantastic event!