product: RoomSplit

RoomSplit was born accidentally out of a personal need to find somewhere to stay during a conference when all hotel rooms within reasonable proximity to the venue were sold out. Through reaching out on social platforms, I shared a two-bed Hilton room next door to the venue, split the cost, and became friends with my roomie after navigating the conference together. This was a great experience (we're still friends today). I started doing this for every event - regardless of whether rooms were sold out - and helped others do the same - personally connecting them. This later led to designing a web app allowing conference-goers to split two-bed hotel rooms. The beta was used during SXSW 2016. I spoke there about it on a panel with TechCrunch Editor-at-Large and a fellow travel-tech entrepreneur.

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In working on RoomSplit, I was researching behaviour, figuring out how to manage the development of a product and of a team. I was also writing and consulting, spending time on the ground in London, Paris, Berlin, Tel Aviv, New York and San Francisco learning about their respective startup ecosystems. This was to deliberately find out what I didn't know that I didn't know. Much of the learning happened through meeting people from across disciplines and industries when attending and speaking at conferences and festivals.

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I love the concept behind this product. We were encouraging people to drive up the serendipity in their lives - to discover more of what they don’t realise they don’t know. Travelling to knowledge-sharing events is a great way to do this. And sharing space with similarly minded attendees is even better. Ultimately it wasn’t viable financially, but the whole thing was a fantastic learning experience all the same.

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