My First Startup Weekend – Charlotte

Well, needless to say I haven’t had much to talk about lately; guess I’ve been lazy. Not lazy, just idle outside of work, hehe. Anyway, I participated in Charlotte Startup Weekend (Twitter @StartupWkndCLT) these past few days, which was an awesome experience and I’ll go into a little more detail about the actual event shortly. Let me just say that I had an absolute blast and I would recommend it to any tech enthusiast or entrepreneur. It was a terrific networking experience and everyone I met was awesome, which reminded me how important relationships, new and existing, are in affiliate marketing; and business in general. Sometimes we just get caught up in the routine of the day to day and we forget to take a step back, shake things up and revitalize or develop personal relationships through communication based on a common interest. I met a lot of terrific people this weekend and I made connections with individuals that I know will remain and prosper in the future. “Live long and prosper.” Haha, I can never take that word seriously.

Back to Charlotte Startup Weekend; this was my first time participating, btw, and I plan on participating annually from now on. Startup weekends are held annually in a number of cities, and it’s basically a “shot-gun” 54 hour event for local entrepreneurs and tech geeks. The first night was a meet n greet and anyone who had an innovative idea for a web or mobile application had a 60 second pitch opportunity. Pitches were made to the group, and everyone then anonymously voted on what they believed to be the best idea (everyone got 2 votes). The pitches with the most votes were then chosen to move ahead to the next phase of the event- there were 5 selected this weekend. This is when the group breaks up into teams, which are self-formed based on assembling a group with multiple areas of expertise. For example, an ideal team would have 6-8 members consisting of 2-3 web developers/technicians, 2-3 marketing and/or business development specialists, and at least one graphic designer. The team then has that night and the rest of the weekend until 5:30 pm Sunday to develop a business model and working app based on the initial 60 second pitch. Teams then present to the group, as well as a panel of judges. Our group was voted runner-up, grrrr. But every team had a great idea, app and presentation, and my congrats go to the winner.

It was an intense mental and physical exercise, and that paired with the team work, learning experience and atmosphere of friendly competition really made the weekend special. Oh, and not to mention that they fed us all weekend with delicious full course meals and snacks, and kept the blood flowin with gallons of energy drinks, coffee and beer; which was awesome. So yeah…if ya like networking, tech ish entrepreneurial opportunities and beer, get ur ass to Charlotte Startup Weekend next year. Seriously, I couldn’t thank the organizers, fellow participates and especially my teammates enough for an awesome experience this weekend.

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