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Startup Weekend

Posted on November 15, 2014 by under Projects, Things to Do.    

Last night some people were clubbing, partying, hanging out at the mall with friends, at the movies, or at home just chillin’ while there were a few working. At the Labor Party ideas were getting pitched.

I dropped my little sister Kira off at her house around nine o’clock or so, after we went home to let Molly out and feed her, then dinner at Panda Express, and after we finished painting our projects at Color Me Mine. I can’t post pictures of our projects because they are presents and we wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise.

Anyway, I was already downtown so I decided to check on my dreamer husband who was participating in Startup Weekend. He’s a dreamer who is always coming up with ideas. He registered for the event kind of at the last minute at a friend’s recommendation and encouragement. Of course, I was super excited because I’d always wanted to attend myself but have always been so busy. This way I actually get to be in two places at once because I’m experiencing Startup Weekend through Brian. I know it’s not the same but, given how hectic my schedule is, this is as good as it’s going to get for me right now.

When I arrived they had already completed the pitches process and were just about to form teams. Brian’s idea wasn’t one of the top four concepts. He’s a dreamer who needs talented people to work on his idea. With the limited number of technically skilled participants, many people were gravitating towards the top ideas. I think he was bummed that he couldn’t work on his startup. He pretty much just hung out with me and filled me in. This was not acceptable. If I’m going to be vicariously living Startup Weekend through Brian, he needs to work on a project even if it’s not his own.

The facilitator and I finally convinced Brian to join a team. The team already had four or five members prior to Brian. I feel really bad for the team he joined too for the sequence of events that followed.

So he joins the team and they’re talking about their project, etc. I’m just kind of hanging out, observing the initial stages of team formation. Then Brian asked me to come to their table so I can listen in as the team commenced discussing their concept and planning everything they need to do.

As I’m sitting at the table, trying desperately to stay out of the way, I see the flip chart with the PLTW idea. As you know, I was super impressed with the Engineering Academy kids at West High that PLTW now holds a special place in my heart. I was like, “That’s an idea that I’d like to work on. Who’s working on that?”

The guy who pitched the idea eventually wanders off to our table so I turn my attention away from the team that Brian’s working with so I can learn more about the PLTW idea which I was really excited about. There is a female engineer who offered to work on the idea with the originator but there’s just the two of them. They didn’t have a team. I told them, “This is an idea that I would really like to work on but I’m busy this weekend. If you want to work on it in the weeks or months to come, then I definitely want to help and be part of it.”

Between the three of us, we had an idea that we were passionate about but had no team. I wasn’t even registered to participate in Startup Weekend. I was merely a spectator. LOL. This is when I discovered something important: one person can make a difference.

If they wanted to continue working on the PLTW idea outside of Startup Weekend, I told them I would help round up resources. Even though I have no technical skills to contribute — I’m not a graphic designer, programmer, engineer, or web developer — I was absolutely certain I could round up some people with the necessary skills. Not over the weekend, but we would get it done.

When I latch on to something that ignites my passion, I have a difficult time restraining myself because I have so much enthusiasm and energy. That can be both powerful and scary. Just ask Brian. Within a few minutes of sitting their table, I managed to jack everything up. Their team switched gears and they’re now working on the PLTW project instead of the food porn idea.

One of my reservations about participating in Startup Weekend is that I really have nothing to offer a startup. At least Brian is a dreamer and has lots of ideas. I have no startup ideas. I’m a joiner with no ideas of my own. The one thing I am is a collector of hobbies and experiences. I want to participate in everything life has to offer and I specially relish opportunities to support causes that I’m passionate about.

However, after last night, I realized that I can use my energy and enthusiasm to rally people around an idea. Maybe there is a place for people like me in Startup Weekend after all. Every team needs a joiner.

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