How I turned an idea into a project with £1200 of funding using Hubbub
Last March, I received my Raspberry Pi in the post after waiting months and spending all day trying to pre order one when the site went down due to the huge popularity of the little device.
And when I finally got hold of this swanky new piece of tech I thought to myself, as many of us do – “What do I do with it now?”
I was at a completely loss. I already had a computer, I already had a few other tinker devices (like the Arduino) to play with, so what makes this special?
I set it aside for a few weeks and started an internship at Hubbub, a Bristol-based crowd funding platform specialising in student projects.
It was there that I met Jon and Russ, two talented programmers who quickly became mentors (of a sort) to me. They helped to fuel my desire to program and eventually conversation led onto the Raspberry Pi. “Oh I’ve got one of those” I said.
Around that time, my yearly rental for my personal website was running out and as I had learned the wonders of Python and Django I wanted to build my new site with it. However as a poor student I wanted to find the cheapest way of doing this! Some options like Amazon Web Services or Heroku were great but a bit beyond my budget.
I mentioned this issue one day in passing and either Jon or Russ told me to “just use my Raspberry Pi then.”
Hang on a minute, that’s brilliant! It can run from my own house and I can have complete control over it!
So I set about building it and figuring out the best way to do things on this new little device, which naturally got me more interested in Raspberry Pi things.
Then I discovered that secret to Raspberry Pi – the thing that sets it apart: education. I was figuring out how to do things that were new to me, learning how to achieve things that other people might want to get taught how to do.
Some how through conversation at Hubbub (and I suspect some subtle pushing from the team!) I came up with an idea for a project that introduces the Raspberry Pi and practical computer usage in schools, with a website running on a Raspberry Pi filled with tutorials on programming.
The next month shot by at the speed of light – I was working at Hubbub in the day, finalising and developing in the evening. I realised if I wanted to do this properly I’d need some cash, Raspberry Pi’s in large quantities aren’t cheap! I made a video describing my project one night at about 1am and posted the project online.
Within one day my project became the most viewed project the site at ever seen at that point. With the help of the Hubbub team we contacted other Raspberry Pi enthusiasts and teachers, letting them know about the idea and getting there feedback.
Slowly the funding total climbed.
One week in August I was helping out at Young Rewired State, a project to get under 18′s to build a piece of software over the course of 5 days. It was there I shared my idea with Shirley Attkinson, one of my own Plymouth University Lecturers. She said to me “wait here a few minutes, I’ll be right back.” She never did come back, but about an hour later I got an email saying she could “help fund the project if Plymouth University can be directly involved”.
With Plymouth University donating a huge sum of the funding and directly supporting and helping me to run the project, I was well and truly on the way to getting the project started.
The first time I mentioned the project to the public was at the Bristol RaspberryJam. It was there that I finally announced the project had amassed over £1200 to help it and become the first successfully funded Raspberry Pi project.
I’d hit the target – now the fun part was about to begin.
It has been about 4 months since I finished getting the funding for the project and I’ve already done a heck of a lot – I’ve visited conferences and spoken in front of hundreds of people about what I’m planning to do, I’ve taken lessons in schools around Plymouth and special workshop days with 6th form students (they absolutely loved doing some ‘real’ IT with me). The website is up and running and I’m adding tutorials every few weeks on Python programming basics.
The project is still growing and constantly changing, without the initial spark from the team at Hubbub I’d have never started down this exhilarating and exciting path.
For more info, visit: