Mountain View 10th graders had the opportunity to experience the work of a startup first-hand.
Report by the students of grade 10a
On Tuesday, January 25, the 10th grade and Mr. Lentzen took a field trip to the start-up Kodable in Sunnyvale. Kodable is a small company aimed at teaching K-5 computer programming. The team at Kodable created a game for K-5 students, and an online curriculum for teachers, with standards and assessment for computer science. They provide teachers with the curriculum and learning materials to enable universal schooling, even if they lack the experience of teaching programming.
First the CEO of the company, Jon Mattingly, gave us a short overview of the core idea of their startup and told us about the challenges they currently face. We also heard from the co-founder Grechen Huebner, and founding team members about their daily lives.
Later, we were allowed to ask the Kodable team questions, which they answered with detail and humor. The team introduced us to important concepts such as minimum viable products (MVP) and iteration. Then, they turned the questions to us, and asked our class to share our thoughts and knowledge about startups.
During the next phase of our visit, we applied our newly gained knowledge to the main task that they gave us, concerning a prevailing obstacle that they were facing. They presented the process of their idea development to us and explained how a MVP product got created after sifting through all possible ideas, and arriving back to a core idea.
With the Kodable team's real-life example of a product change they need, we brainstormed in small groups to develop an MVP around a core idea. Similar to startups like Kodable we only had a few members each, but everyone had a distinct purpose, such as, head of presentation, technical specialist, or head of design. We understood, of course, everyone was an important piece of the idea conception process.
Finally, we presented our plans to the Kodable team, and were asked questions, as if we were giving a real business pitch. A winning group was awarded a certificate for exceptional work and presentation. The hands-on aspect granted insight into the thoughts of a company trying to survive in a competitive market.
All in all, we had fun, learned a lot about the challenges that any startup faces on a day to day basis, and are inspired to look to our future as a possible startup founder. In the next couple of weeks, we are even able to apply the things we have learned in our Econ lessons, because we are going to work on our own startup ideas and create more MVPs.