CAO reality hits Outbox Incubator

27 Aug 2015

Catrina Carrigan (middle) at Inspirefest 2015 in June with Dr Sue Black (left)

It’s week four of Outbox Incubator and Catrina Carrigan fills us in on her week of CAO offers, Sherlock, trampolining and pitching.

For me, week four of Outbox Incubator started at 7.59am with a text from the CAO, letting me know that I’d been offered a place in my first choice university course. This news gave me a bit more energy to start the week, after an exciting but exhausting weekend, with demo day on Saturday and then, thanks to Edel, an unplanned trip to the Royal Albert Hall to see Sherlock — A Musical Mind.

Week four was a great week. It was much more relaxed than week three had been. In week three we were all busy preparing for Outbox Demo Day, and everyone who pitched was able to get constructive feedback from the judges afterwards. Knowing what I need to work on but not having a deadline looming let me enjoy all that Outbox has to offer better than week three did. Week four also meant moving from the germination phase to the incubation phase.

Monday was a beautiful, sunny day and we were able to have sessions outside in the garden. Irit Arkin gave us some brilliant advice about building apps or websites. Accessibility had never occurred to me as an issue, but she pointed out that if you use icons or an image instead of live text, to a person using a screen reader, it doesn’t exist.

Garden session to begin with at #outboxin for our #obexecs. #sunsout #incubation

A photo posted by Stemettes. ❤️⭐️#⃣➕ (@stemettes) on

As great as the house is, I think we all look forward to being able to go out and see other parts of London. Having to leave the house at 7.15am on Wednesday morning to have breakfast at Bloomberg was a worthwhile sacrifice.

#breakfast ??? at @bloomberg this morning for #OutboxIn A photo posted by Stemettes. ❤️⭐️#⃣➕ (@stemettes) on

After we ate, we were divided into teams and had 20 minutes to come up with a pitch for an object. We were told that the prize was really cool and that the Stemettes would be the judges. We were allowed to be as ridiculous as we wanted. My team, ‘The Yellow Futurists’ were determined to win.

We pitched a notebook that predicts which Outbox Incubator start-ups you should invest in (which is all of them) and we won! We weren’t let down by the prizes either, with all of us receiving a Raspberry Pi 2 each.

The sessions at Outbox Incubator range from technical, to business, to psychology. On Friday, Perry Holmes taught us about the Bolton social styles, which looks at how people interact with each other, a topic I found absolutely fascinating.

By answering a few short questions, we were able to find out our preferred methods of working and socialising. Being aware of your own style’s strengths and weaknesses, and other people’s styles, can help you communicate and work better with other people.

Sorry @brennankate98 I had to steal this. #Bloomberg #OutboxIn A photo posted by @catrinalouisec on

Outbox has managed to get the balance between work and play perfect. I’ve been able to try things that I never would have tried if I wasn’t at Outbox, like swing dancing and abstract art.

My favourite has definitely been knitting though. When I was in primary school, my whole class learnt how to knit, but I’d forgotten how to after years of not doing it. With the relaxing knitting sessions with Caz, I’ve not only remembered what I used to know, I’ve learnt a new style and how to cast on and off. I am now well on my way to making my own Tom Baker scarf.

Knitting at Outbox Incubator

Knitting at Outbox Incubator

A lot of the Irish execs were at Inspirefest in June, where Anne-Marie mentioned that we would go trampolining. That promise came true on Saturday.

Getting there was hard, it took a train and two tubes. There was also a problem with our booking, meaning we had to wait an hour and a half until the next slot, but it was worth it in the end. There were gladiator fights, tightropes, obstacle courses and plenty of trampolines.

A lot of the Irish girls had to leave on Sunday because school starts back next week, so it was a great way to spend our last day together.

Of all the summer courses I’ve been to, Outbox Incubator is the best without a doubt. As cheesy as it sounds, I’m sure I’ve made friends for life.

By Catrina Carrigan

Catrina Carrigan has been involved with STEM since joining CoderDojo DCU in 2012. Her app, Piano Rock Star, was selected was developed by Intel and CoderDojo, and is now a GCSE short course. She is now a CoderDojo Girls mentor.

Women Invent is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Intel, Eircom, Fidelity Investments, ESB, Accenture and CoderDojo.