Vantiv had the honor of sponsoring the inaugural AARP GameJam competition that concluded in June with a Shark Tank like pitch contest of three teams: Team Trainwreck from UCSC, Team Trilingual from George Mason University, and Team Puddin’ from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Team Trainwreck prevailed and took home the $10,000 check for their game “Letters of Mystery", but the other two teams certainly challenged for the lead with their inventive games “Neighbors,” and “Furrow.”
As part of our sponsorship, our technology evangelists had the opportunity to mentor teams in the month before the final pitch session. Meeting new people and diving into the technology during these challenges is one of our favorite ways to engage the wider developer community. There is so much that goes into these month long challenges, especially for students and people with full time jobs. Juggling an additional full-time endeavor with their already busy daily lives was a constant struggle. But they found a way, and came to the competition with highly entertaining and well thought out games.
The people that compete in these challenges are the exact type of people we want on our team at Vantiv. Creative, focused, hard-working, able to prioritize and solve problems quickly. Not to mention the ability to convey technical concepts in a bit of a stressful environment.
Did you know that Vantiv has an Entertainment Solutions division? We serve gaming and entertainment markets including casinos, resorts, digital gaming, entertainment venues, digital licensed content, and more. As part of our interest in and dedication to the gaming industry, we became an ESA Member. One of our favorite perks of membership is participating in activities like the GameJam. As technology evangelists, we love supporting geeky/techie challenges of all sorts, and the GameJam was right up our alley. Vantiv Entertainment Solutions will continue to build on the relationship with both AARP and ESA and look forward to future jams. You bring the entertainment and we'll provide the payments.
What did we learn?
- Set goals upfront. With a limited amount of time, the ability to tap into hyper focus is imperative. Is the goal to win the challenge or just build the best game?
- Have a compelling story to tell as part of your pitch.
- Practice, practice, practice....when pitching in a shark tank like contest, nailing your presentation is probably more important than the product demo.
- Ask everyone and anyone if they will listen to your presentation and provide constructive feedback. It's hard to find people that will actually offer constructive criticism rather than a generic "that's a great idea." Search out those that make your product/idea better.
- Truly understand the persona of your audience and try to put yourself in their shoes.
For a full recap of the event visit the AARP site.