I’ve been to BarCamp about 5 times now. For me, it always results in meeting a few interesting people, and learning a little bit. This is much like what I get out of a conference, but more focused on my community and self-organized to ensure relevance to the attendees. By mid-day Sunday it’s always fizzling out and I lose interest in the leftover topics.
Startup Weekend is completely different. Here’s how.
It’s obvious to most that you learn by doing. The simple fact that Startup Weekend has a community united by an audacious common goal (however unrealistic) bonds the participants in a way that a BarCamp or any conference for that matter simply cannot match. Rather than petering out on Sunday night, Startup Weekend just keeps getting more interesting. The social dynamics that come with a bunch of really tired and highly invested people are just amazing. Especially for startup junkies.
Startup Weekend is not about the end result, although that can be quite interesting. It’s about the journey, the friends you meet along the way, and the direct and meaningful experience that you now share with them. Here are my top ten reasons that you should go to Startup Weekend.
10. You actually earn meaningful equity in an interesting company for just two days work. This is #10 because this is most likely worth nothing. But hey, you never know.
9. Be known. Startup culture in any city is a tight knit group. Make sure everybody knows you’re a part of it – otherwise you may miss out on being part of the next interesting thing in your town.
8. If you go, and spread the word, then more people will get it. So many just don’t and it’s a little sad.
7. You will seriously get high off the energy. The live feed, the blog coverage. People will care that you’re there. Even the haters will come out in droves.
6. You will learn to have new respect for what other people with other skills bring to the table – this will help you tremendously in your career.
5.You will improve the local tech community in ways that you cannot comprehend ahead of time. Future co-founders will meet, experts will emerge, people will catch the startup bug. This is good for you, and it’s good for your town.
4. You’ll probably fail fast. When you do your next startup, you’ll have an invaluable failure under your belt. If you don’t fail fast, you might have have something meaningful on your hands.
3. You will understand who the true rock stars in your community are and this knowledge is simply invaluable. Rocks stars do stuff – you can’t stop them. Here you get to witness them at their best. You get to identify them.
2. You will make new friends. Not acquaintances. I’m super introverted, and I made new lifelong friends at Startup Weekend. Yes, lifelong. I knew them before, but now I get them, all from that amazing weekend.
1. I can guarantee that you will never forget your experience. Since all of life is simply a series of (hopefully) meaningful experiences, you should be looking to have more. This is an easy way.
Andrew has allowed the fervor around Startup Weekend to take the natural course. It’s just launched a new web site, and is now planned in Toronto, Houston, Boston, New York City, West Lafayette (IN), and Washington D.C. This is largely the handiwork of attendees who experienced the first Startup Weekend in Boulder and of those who participated online via the live video and chat feeds. There were around 70 in Boulder, but there were literally thousands who watched, listened, and rooted for us all weekend long who will now help run with Startup Weekend in their own cities.
It’s nice to see that Startup Weekend is no longer just a Boulder phenomenon. My prediction is that we’ll see different results in different cities and for different reasons. This should continue to be fun to watch.