Overall, it was a really cool experience. About 170 people showed up and 38 people pitched their ideas. 100’s of people getting together in one place, some pitching ideas, forming instant teams, and creating product/service and basically starting a company in 54 hours! It just can’t get any cooler than this. Startup Weekend takes a place in many other cities (not all of them simultaneously), but the turn-out in SF should top the list. There are just so many interested in starting a company.
The pitches were also quite interesting, too. Some outrageous, some out of this world, and some really useful. Those with familiar concept (web 2.0, social networking, and twitter) were able to form a team easily. On the last day was presentation and demo, and the one that looked coolest was Foodspotting. They came with something that was already in progress, and thus didn’t start from the scratch at the event. To be fair, Harlan already had working demo he came in, too. However, Foodspotting was probably the most stunning visually. All their graphics were all slick and looked very polished. Whoever there designer was, s/he was awesome. One of the judge panelists pledged $5,000 to Foodspotting in funding before he left.
My philosophy around web sites was functionality/simplicity first and looks second. Perhaps I should think differently about that? Users are humans, and I think it’s something you can’t get away with. Humans are naturally drawn to beautiful things from building to opposite sex. Having an awesome designer is definitely an asset.
Anyhow, the whole 54-hours took me back to college years. Teams of people working on interesting stuff, friendly people willing to answer and help others – not just team members, and overall just aurora of creativity, drive and affinity. Again, I had a blast and I wish I can help host one in Korea as well.
The following is a slide of pictures I took at the Startup Weekend.
Team Members: Harlan Knight Wood, Yang Chung, Tee Chapple, Toya Thomas-Cruz, Olivier Minkowski, John Weiss
Johny and I are interviewed at 8:18 mark