January 11th, 2008

Portland Startup Weekend: Could it be what the Rose City needs?


One of the best things about writing this blog is getting the opportunity to chat with a wide variety of folks. I mean, sure, a lot of us are geeky. And that’s pretty much where I focus the coverage. But I think you would be pleasantly surprised at the wide range of folks who are interested in Silicon Forest startups.

And in the conversations I’ve been having, there’s one consistent theme that comes through time and time again: For all the activity in Portland—all the cool startup energy and amazing tools being built—people feel pretty darn isolated in our relatively small town.

I think that’s part of the reason why Portland’s Twitter community is so active and responsive. It’s why there’s a ever-growing number of us who are really getting excited for Ignite Portland 2. It’s why things like the PDX Tech Calendar project are taking off.

But there’s still more to do. There’s still more crossover needed.

I mean, let’s be honest: This needs to be more than just techie-types leading the charge. It needs to be a group effort. And a diverse effort.

And that’s what appeals to me about Startup Weekend.

“What’s Startup Weekend?” you say? I’m glad you asked.

Startup Weekend is very much like the Ignite concept. Only it’s for a company.

I know. I hear you. “I’ve been to weekend codefests before.”

But, see, here’s where this one is a little different: It’s not a product. It’s a company.

One weekend to create one company.

That means design, development, marketing, public relations, business development, user experience, legal, and project management. All of those disciplines. In one room. Working to create a company under the gun.

What’s more, this isn’t some “Oh wasn’t that fun. Now let’s throw away all that work and go back to our lives.” This becomes a real company.

Startup Weekend recruits a highly motivated group of small business entrepreneurs to build a community and company in a weekend. The founders decide what to make as a team, and earn an equal share of stock in the developed business. Attendees are responsible for bringing the desire and passion to the project and walk out of the room with a brand new business, in a short 54 hours. Sound intense? It is.

So why all the hoopla from me? Well, there’s a little voting platform for deciding who gets to host Startup Weekends. And Portland is already on the list. So, we’re already part of the way there. All we need is to provide a little more oompf and we could have our very own Portland Startup Weekend.

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? And I’m confident that with the brilliant folks in this town—and the great organizations that are working to bring us together *cough* Legion of Tech *cough*—we could turn it into quite an interesting event. A spectacle, if you will. In a good way. And an example of how we, as Portlanders and Silicon Forest… um “creatures” can come together to build something great.

And to start to eliminate some of those feelings of isolation.

If you’re even partially convinced that this might, just might, be a good idea. And that it might be good for our community. I highly encourage you to take two seconds to vote for Portland Startup weekend.

For more, visit Startup Weekend.

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Background that may help (or may not)

7 Responses to “Portland Startup Weekend: Could it be what the Rose City needs?”

  1. I am sure the experience alone is enough to gain, but just out of curiousity…andy idea on the history of any past StartupWeekend companies? Any actually bringing in revenue?

  2. Rick Turoczy says:

    The one with which I’m most familiar is Skribbit ( http://skribit.com/ ), which was built by the Atlanta Startup Weekend team.

    I bet digging around in the past weekends would give you a good feel.

  3. Andrew Hyde says:

    Plus, I grew up in Oregon (Sisters) and would love to come back home!

    It is becoming more and more common to meet really cool people from Portland in my travels. A very cool community from what I hear.

  4. [...] with lesser known tech markets such as Bloomington and Portland leading the charge through a couple local blogs making the [...]

  5. [...] idea + brilliant people + passion + drive + talent = (you have to come to see).  It might just be what your city needs. 9. Get some cool [...]

  6. [...] Roughly six months ago, the Portland startup community put its collective effort into casting votes for “Portland Startup Weekend,” a local version of the successful Startup Weekend events designed to test our collective entrepreneurial mettle by challenging participants to form a company in a 54-hour period. [...]

  7. [...] 8. Crazy idea + brilliant people + passion + drive + talent = (you have to come to see). It might just be what your city needs. [...]


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