The only person in complete control of what they get out of an event like Seattle Startup weekend is … themselves. For this reason it’s largely my own failure for not getting more from the weekend.
In addition, Andrew Hyde has done a good job coordinating such a phenomenal weekend full of energy, creativity, and excitement. I really do think he’s onto something with Startup weekend, and the likes of Nathan Kaiser from NPost ,and the Jott http://www.jott.com/ crew did Seattle proud.
However, I am simply not embracing the experience and won’t be heading back Sunday for the final day to see the product called SkillBit launch. Despite plenty of talented and technical people, lots of product brainstorming, marketing, bizdev discussion and a general *I’ll do anything* attitude shown by many, this in so many ways feels more like the large company atmosphere, than that of a startup.
Dev waiting for requirements, designers waiting for a product name and url, business developers drafting page long business plans, project managers scurrying around asking what they can do to help, and an odd vibe of bitterness when egos and consensus collide.
I suppose when combining 130 some odd people, this process and division of labor is both inevitable and needed. However, to me, the most appealing part of being a founder in a startup has been the lack of role definition and the abundance of overall responsibility of all the founders performing tasks spanning from bizdev to sales, to product development.
Or maybe the real reason is simpler. I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to invest my energy and time working on my own startup that I’m passionate about, and will see the rewards of instead.
If I were to do it again, I’d take the advice of Andrew and treat it more as a community building exercise. I’d pick a role to latch onto Friday night and learn as much as possible from one of the experts in the subject area much more experienced than I … perhaps SEO …. Perhaps learning Django …. But as it was, I couldn’t tear myself away from thoughts of our own product .. and a Ruby interpreter.