Solving Problems – Another Lesson from Startup Weekend DC

Another one of the lessons I learned from my day at Startup Weekend DC is that if you’re going to create an app or do a startup it should be about solving a problem or filling a need it shouldn’t be about creating something for the sake of creating something.

We make things not because it’d be cool… but for our users.  It’s our job… it’s our responsibility if we want to be successful entrepreneurs that we have to understand people.  We have to understand people’s problems.  We have to understand the technology and how it can be used, morphed, and manipulated to meet people’s needs.

I have to constantly be asking myself… why is someone going to be using this product?  Why will they care?  How does this help them?

It’s easy to answer the who, what, when, and where but what about the the so what.

It’s easy for me to get myself stuck in my alpha geek technology never leave my computer bubble.  I’m glad that I have friends who’ll slap me upside my head when that happens.  It’s crucial that I’m out there and forming relationships and listening ot people.

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Having the Right Team – A Lesson From Startup Weekend DC

I have complete and utter respect for the folks that organized and sponsored Startup Weekend DC but I have to say though that it’s just not for me. I went the first night and that was enough for me.

The premise of Startup Weekend is that a bunch of smart people get together and over the course of a weekend conceptualize a Web app, create it, and then form a business around it. For this weekend that meant 50 to 70 of Washington DC’s brightest minds in the Web industry.

But… when there is no clear leader, you have to get consensus among people who haven’t worked together before, and you have to do it in a weekend, you go a little crazy or you have to be a little crazy.

I guess for me it reenforces the idea that if you’re going to do a startup, you need to have a solid team. You need a team that you trust. You need a team that you’re going to work well with. You can’t be worrying about people’s personalities or people’s motivations. You have to be able to sit down and get stuff done together.

Every team has a good leader. The leader has a clear vision. He doesn’t lead by being high and mighty. He leads by getting his hands dirty… by setting the example.

I have massive respect for all of the startups out there who are able to do the startup thing successfully. You guys rock.

Best wishes to the Startup Weekend DC crew. I’m happy to be a beta tester of Hola Neighbor and you know i’ll blog my thoughts. 😉

More thoughts on startups and Startup Weekend DC soon.

Busy Week for the DC Tech Community

This is another week where there are a lot of great events going on for the Washington DC Tech community.  These are the ones I’m going to be at.

Copynight DC – Tuesday Oct 23rd

On Tuesday, there is Copynight DC which is hosted by Joseph Price. This month, while drinking beers at Brickskellers, a cadre of folks will discuss the current issues related to the state of online music. I’m confident it’ll be a good time.

Next DC Happy Hour – Thursday Oct 25th

Next DC Founder Moses McCall is throwing another Happy Hour at the Science Club up in NW.

DC Startup Weekend – Oct 26th-28th

Startup Weekend, an idea formed in Colorado, is where you get a group of talented folks together in one place and over the course of the weekend develop a Web app from concept to production and you form a company around it.

Well this weekend, it’s in Washington DC.  It sound be nuts. :-p

Startup Weekend is Coming to Washington, DC on October 26-28

Back in early July, 68 geeks got together in Boulder, Colorado with one goal.  They wanted to create a Web application and a startup company in a weekend.  It was Startup Weekend.  They created VoSnap.

Well from October 26th to 28th, Startup Weekend is coming to Washington DC.

It will be hosted by Andrew Hyde from the original StartupWeekend and William Kern from AOL.

I’m excited for the event but definitely skeptical about how successful a startup can be when 70+ are trying to exhurt their influence.

Regardless, I’ll be there with bells on.