When: Friday, May 23, 6:00pm – Sunday, May 25, 2008, 6:00pm, wherein I got the chance of participating in the entirety of the first day, the last third of the second day (including an impromptu Wii party that ensued due to the thunderstorm outside, culminating in two fierce games of Boxing, won by me and my opponent, respectively) and the second half of the third day.
Where: Vidoop, who shares a building with eROI and what I call the “Golden Triangle of Geekdom”: Backspace, Just Be Toys and Ground Kontrol.
What It’s About: Portland Startup Weekend was, to my knowledge, the 17th Startup Weekend event held during its first year. The concept is not revolutionary (build a web startup over a 24-hour working hour), but the dynamic is. Each audience:
- Comes in with his/her idea
- Pitches it to the crowd
- Gets together with likeminded individuals to refine
- Re-pitches it to the crowd
- Gets it voted up or down, which in our case yielded 5–6 ideas
- Converges in groups based on these ideas
- Promises to burn the midnight oil for the next day or two
Ideas that the Portland Startup Weekend participants (there are about 30 of them) ended up with, followed by the name of their products:
- A wants stuff that B has. B wants what C has. C wants what A has a.k.a the Junk Trader project. Discuss: TreasuReCycle.
- I have a dream of going to a conservatory, but alas, both my parents died when I was 6 months old and I am now living with the proverbial ‘Cinderella’s stepmother’ on a wellfare—a.k.a the Dream Funder project: LifeGrant.
- I want to listen an individual song within a huge, seamless DJ set a.k.a the DJ Set Archiver project: Mugasha.
- I want to plan a meeting sometime next week, but my officemates happens to have the attention span of a 5 year olds with a to-do list so full they might as well adopt Polyphasic Sleep a.k.a the Schedule Syncer project: Get Gathered.
- I have an idea for a web startup → ??? → Profit!
Elaborate “???”: Startup River.
Most participants do it as a challenge to push themselves and see how much they can get done in a weekend. Some take it as a complete business. This reflects on their working style. Those who want to push fast (i.e. Mugasha) focuses on rolling out a working prototype as soon as possible. Those who want to build a business (i.e. TreasuReCycle) starts with an implementation/project plan. No approach is right or wrong, but they have to achieve something by Sunday at 6. So this was Friday.
On Saturday, the teams work on their respective projects, with three check-up/progress report meeting along the day. The day was originally rather uneventful.
That is, until the thunderstorm that happened at around 9:30 deterred everyone from walking to their car or biking home, much less getting out of the building (one individual decided to brave the element with an extremely tiny umbrella, and one other, John Watson, biked up St. Johns. Bless their hearts.)
But what about those of us on bikes or on foot, who may not have an umbrella, or a heart as big as Mr. Watson, you ask?
Those people decided to go back up the Vidoop Headquarter and play Wii Sports while simultaneously consume copious amount of PBR and Bud—which inadvertently lead to much trash talk and four very intense Wii Boxing matches.
Anyway, A play-by-play LiveTweet from this event is available courtesy of Summize, wherein you will find the reports from Startup Weekend’s eleventh hour and final presentation. Reading suggestion: starting from last page, in reverse order.
Technicality: ☝ ☝ ☝ ☝ ☝
Translation: Obviously, you have to lend a hand at one particular area to participate, but this can range from back/front end coding, web development, graphic/interactive design, user experience to business, marketing and advertising planning. This makes anyone with any kind of startup-company skill valuable.
Interestingness: ☝ ☝ ☝ ☝ ☝
Translation: This is akin to saying “I bet I can climb Mt. Kilimanjaro if I set aside a weekend to do it.” You may succeed at actually creating a prototype or a venture; you might probably fail thanks to the sheer level of complexity that your project entails, but that’s beside the point. You’ve pushed your limit, and that’s what matters most.
What I Learned From The Event In Six Words:
Lacked buzz. But rats, should’ve participated.