My Experience at the Startup Weekend DC

I’m coming up to the end of Startup Weekend DC, and we’ve launched a new product: HolaNeighbor. Here’s the press release from our marketing guys:

October 26, 2007 –WASHINGTON, D.C.–, a Web site that allows communities of neighbors to connect with each other, has planned, built and deployed a complete and fully-functional product in only 54 hours. Executed by a group of seventy, many of which had just met on the first night of the event, this initiative unites tech and business talent across the DC-metro area in a way never attempted on such a scale.

In addition to connecting neighbors with each other, allows for communities to exchange information, share upcoming events, request services, and provide insights into the current state of the community, such as crime reports and neighborhood watch.

The success of DC Startup Weekend signifies more than just the launch of a product in a shortened timeline. It is a community building a community, capitalizing on the depth of resources available in such a media-rich environment and focusing its efforts to make the area more accessible to residents, businesses and organizations.

Startup Weekend

Founded in 2007 by Andrew Hyde, the weekend is a concept of a conference focusing on learning by creating. It is known for its quick decisions, ‘out of the box’ thinking, unique facilitation technique and letting the founders show what they can do. The program has already met with success in Boulder, Toronto, New York, Hamburg, Houston, West Lafayette, Boston and DC and is expanding to 10 other cities. These cities include San Francisco, Boston, DC, Atlanta, London, Dublin, West Lafayette, Chapel Hill, Austin, Portland, and Seattle with more cities signing up weekly.

This weekend, I spent most of my time on the business development team with three jobs: 1) researching facts and figures for the team (my “differentiating skill”), 2) developing the revenue model, and 3) writing the pitch presentation.

Needless to say, I’ve learned a great deal, but I come away from the weekend with 3 general lessons learned about building a new business:

  1. Consensus = knowing what battles to pick, and when to just shut up
  2. When developing a revenue model, look for the game-changing feature(s) no one else has, focus on it to identify the distinct value it provides, and monetize it by seeing how much someone is willing to pay for it
  3. You don’t need to be a software engineer to be valuable to a web startup

After this weekend, I also have the ability to monetize almost any web site and develop a VC pitch using my new presentation template 🙂 All in all, I don’t think I could have had a more valuable experience, and I’m glad to see that DC has the creative, idea-oriented community I’ve been hoping to find.


1 comment so far

  1. changeinlat on

    It was great working with you over the weekend Alex. Awesome lessons learned, I totally agree with all of them (Especially number one! I think that you have a point of how counter-productive bickering becomes!)
    Chris Auer

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