Chicago Startup Weekend (June 2012)

So my job ended on June 1, 2012, and the next phase of my life was about to begin.  I spent the last weekend at Startup Weekend Chicago. In case you've never heard about a Startup Weekend, head over to the site and learn more about it.  Basically Startup weekend is an amazing entrepreneural experiement where you put 100 people in a room from different backgrounds, and over 1/2 of them pitch business ideas. Then everyone gets a chance to vote on the best pitches, and teams rally and are formed around the best 10 ideas.

The goal over the next 54 hours is to create a viable business and present a minimum viable product moving forward.  Sounds crazy? After attending my first Startup Weekend, I see this idea as amazingly simple and productive.

I was fortunate to work with a 10 person team, made up of some of the smartest and most dedicated minds I've come across randomly in a long while. We trashed out our project idea on Friday night, split into departments and assigned the work within the group.  We followed a wicked Agile development paradigm, and fed off each other's energy. It was awesome.  By Saturday, I had written out a minimum viable algorithm for our application, and we sketched out a system design that we could build by Sunday evening.  Everyone on the team pulled their weight, and by Sunday night we were taking home the Innovation and Performics award which would give our team and project a lot of exposure in the coming weeks.

Is this the start of a company? I hope so. Whatever dreams may come though, this weekend was an awesome laboratory of a learning experiment.  The mentorship and coaching was invaluable, and the opportunities for interdisciplinary learning were unmatched.

If nothing, I now have an excuse to learn Ruby!