Over the last two months, we’ve been promoting Startup Weekend within the DC community and talking with many of you about your thoughts, questions, concerns, and excitement around the event. Interestingly, some of you expressed a misunderstanding of what exactly Startup Weekend was about. As we dug deeper, we realized that the origin of this misunderstanding took root during the very first Startup Weekend held in DC – way back in October 2007. We’ve decided to take a few minutes to explain the key differences between then and now.
That first Startup Weekend DC was, in fact, one of the first events anywhere in the world, when the concept itself was in the “ideation stage”. DC was one of the testing grounds for rapid prototyping of the event format, and much was learned from it. As a result, the format of the 2007 Startup Weekend was immensely different from the format of the upcoming one. To be precise: in 2007, there were some 70 people trying to design & launch a single project. This sounds more like a frustrating Big Dumb Company (and it was).
However, 4 years later, Startup Weekends have evolved into 70+ people designing & launching as many startups as they wish. Teams form organically, ideas are chosen by popularity, and everyone is able to make substantial contributions in a lean, rapid-building environment. This is what a startup is in all its glory.
The modern Startup Weekend is all about many teams, many approaches, and many ideas — all of which come from you & your fellow participants. You choose the idea to pitch (if you have any) and you choose the team to join. The only times we, the organizers, intervene are if someone is having a tough time finding a team or if there’s a conflict between team members that needs outside assistance. All other times, it’s you, your team, and the mentors.
We hope this answers any lingering questions and clarifies the format of Startup Weekend. There are only 3 days left of the early-bird sale so hop on board and let’s represent DC pride!