Monday, September 10, 2012

Startup Weekend Louisville

A few weeks ago, lured by the "early bird discount" and a sudden loathing for the job-hunt process, I signed up to take part in Startup Weekend Louisville.

Startup Weekend is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, but held events in over 100 countries in 2011 and its event facilitators are located in more than 200 cities worldwide.

I still don't really know all that much about the event. It basically runs from 630p on Friday night til 9pm on Sunday. It's a team competition, but it seems a little less cutthroat and more creative. Check out the schedule here. But here's what the website says:

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

Back in the summer before my Junior year in high school, my economics teacher nominated me for a place in a nerd summer camp. It was called Business Week or something like that, and it was a gathering of Connecticut economics nerds at Connecticut College. There we were to live in the dorms, take business and marketing classes, and -- in teams-- create an imaginary ballpoint pen company, finance it, and market the pens. All of this took place over the course of a nigh-sleepless seven days. 

I was accepted, but the tuition was too much. Just as I was about to turn it down, my grandpa swooped in and paid it for me. 

It was the Best. Week. EVER! (at least to 16 year-old me). I made fast friends with a bunch of nerds. Totally fell in ooey-gooey love with the cutest guy on my team, Dave, who lived all the way across the state (he might as well have lived in California for car-less Melissa). 

We pulled all nighters (no, not for teen hanky panky, although there may have been a smidgen of that-- for planning and marketing). We made a commercial for our pen that was set to the tune of George Michaels' "I Want Your Sex" and featured me and a couple of other of my female teammates dressed up like the women in Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" video. Because even at that age, we all knew what sells.

I had a blast. My team won. Dave and I dated on and off through freshman year of college (more off than on) until he became an intolerable stoner. And my entrepreneurial spirit was born.

I hope Startup Weekend goes as well. I don't need to "win," and I don't need a "Dave." But I do need a little nudge and a lot of inspiration. There are still spots available for Developers, Designers, and Non-Tech types (like me). The cost is only $99 and includes 7 meals. It's a steal. Maybe you can come join us?

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