I was asked a few times this weekend what I’d tell designers about Startup Weekend, and if I’d advice them to do it. My answer? Absofuckinglutely. You’re going to learn a lot, about yourself, about business, about your career. You’re going to do things you never thought you’d be able to do, and work with some amazing people. And you’re going to grow professionally more in a weekend, than some will in a year.
- Me, about four months ago
I’ll never forget the words our developer said in our very first post-Startup Weekend Surprize meeting. He said, “I’ve been in four of these types of meetings before. They never work out. Life gets in the way.”
I came of my first Startup Weekend full of energy and motivation. The Surprize gang immediately got to setting up meetings and making plans for world gift-giving domination. We had lost a few of people from our original group, but the people that were left were all passionate about the idea, and excited to see it through.
I’m not sure what happened. Maybe it was the sudden onslaught of work I picked up, which made pursuing Surprize difficult. Maybe it was the one-two punch of similar app concepts Karma and Wrapp that did roughly the same thing, but were coming to market sooner. Maybe life did get in the way. Regardless, the emails slowed, the Skype meetings became sparsely attended, and eventually, radio silence set in. I don’t know if Phillip is still working on Surprize. I hope he is.
In the meantime, I focused on building my business, and finding a way to make business sense out of that manifesto I wrote back in September. “Doing what I want to do” is a great idea in principle, but a brotha still has to pay bills. I am fascinated by the entrepreneurial spirit of the startup community, and I briefly tried to be a part of that. But when I had conversations with several startups about doing some design work for them, I quickly learned that “pre-funding” was startup code for “we don’t have any money”, and that I can’t feed my family on equity. It was frustrating, to say the least.
But I was serious about jumping into another Startup Weekend, and when I got wind of the next one, I immediately jumped in. This weekend, Startup Weekend will be taking place at the new MAKERS co-working space in Belltown. I learned a lot from my last go-round, and I know what to be prepared for. I’m not pitching anything this time-in fact, my goal is to meet a bunch of new people, and focus on finding a good group to work with. If we’re low on designers, I might float between groups, if I can make that work. I’ve taken an interest in designing mobile apps, so I’m hoping to find a group doing one of those. But mainly, I’m going in with an open mind like last time, and riding the wave that develops from there.
I may not write up a lengthy recap like last time, but I’ll be checking regularly on Facebook and Twitter and the like. See you on Monday.