Top 10 Startup Weekend Moments

This is straight from the Skribit widget on the sidebar of this here blog. Skribit was created during the Atlanta Startup Weekend, and the team and energy continue to amaze me.

Although it is next to impossible to make this list, I gave it a shot. Below are my personal top 10 Startup Weekend Moments, and this post is thanks to the Skribit widget suggestion on the sidebar.

#10 Getting There

Random transportation methods and places to sleep. I generally don’t get a hotel room, instead finding a random couch to surf for the weekend. Looking through my receipts I have ridden on:

  • 8 different public transit systems.
  • 5 taxi rides
  • 13 bus systems

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NYC T line

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Chris Hutchins and I splitting a cap to SFO.

#9 Red Socks

The Boston weekend featured the Red Sox’s in a game 6 and 7 at Fenway. One founder gave up game 6 tickets. He did go to game 7 though… the rest of us watched in on a slingbox (which is amazing if you have not tried it out yet).

#8 The Best Food Ever

Chapel Hill Startup Weekend (actually it was in Coroborro) had the most amazing coop I have ever been to right next door. Having the group eat tasty and healthy treats from here made a huge difference over the usual pizza and coffee.

#7 Yoga

Some weekends have some Yoga, and watching everyone do it just makes me smile.

#6 Cultural Differences

Everyone laughed in London when someone got me to say “I have wet pants.” The way coffee is a part of peoples lives is drastic. In SF it is Starbucks, in London it is tea or ‘white coffee’ and in West Lafayette it is from a place with golden arches. Transportation systems, roads and driving expectations were always really different and fascinating to me. Here is a picture of Houston, where a drive to get coffee takes an hour. Everything is an hour.

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#5 Dive Bars / Coffee Shops

One part of the weekend is just hanging out with the entrepreneurs before and after the event. Harry’s Chocolate shop in West Layette, Steps of Rome in San Francisco, Trident in Boston (yes! the other Trident!).

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#4 The Phone Call

ReFounder Chris got a phone call from some sassy sounding female claiming they met on J-Date. Problem was Chris has never used J-Date. Jeremy stepped in to save the day and take the new girlfriend material on a 30 minute audio tour of his life, which included a planned trip to Florida to hunt down a shark that killed his former wife (the shark attacked her because she just ate Sushi). I missed the actual call, but the retelling of the story was enough to have another group on the floor laughing.

#3 The Stand Up Moment

This has happened at several weekends, but DC takes the cake for the best example of this. There are many times when putting a whole bunch of people in a blender and hitting ‘frappe’ doesn’t work so flawlessly. The second rule of Startup Weekend behind ‘Community’ is ‘Fix It.’ There was a usability member of the team that pulled me aside and said “if the team doesn’t just sit down and do a prototype instead of just arguing I am going to hit myself in the head with a baseball bat.” I asked if he had thought of just taking the lead, and about 2 minutes later he made a bold declaration: “we are paper prototyping this thing right now, who is with me?” Seeing the usual norms people have with working at a corporate environment and then seeing them realize those rules don’t apply for these 54 hours is amazing every time I see it.

#2 The Launches

Every Sunday night was the launch of a new product, and the energy in the room is just electric pushing for that launch.

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#1 Realizing When it First Worked

This concept has been an experiment, and the best moment for me was Friday night of the original Startup Weekend Boulder.

As Stan James remembered:

As soon as I walked in last night I was blown away by the hourly progress report: Legal team says “Company is incorporated and we’re almost done with the terms of use.” Creative says “We have 5 logo designs”. Engineering says “We’re integrating with id345 mobile platform and will have beta ready by 9pm”. GUI team says “We’ve outlined the signup flow and have requirements for all functions.” And so on. And that was a mere 4 hours after everyone met for the first time with no set idea what they were going to build

I still smile thinking about all of these.

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