Denver Startup Weekend 2013
This past weekend I attended my first Startup Weekend event, here in Denver. I had never been to a group hacking event before, so I didn’t know what to expect. As it turned out, any apprehension I felt was totally unnecessary. The event had a very inclusive feeling, and people seemed to go out of their way to ensure that others were having a good time.
On Friday evening, projects and teams were chosen. There were two ideas that I was particularly interested in, but I chose a team led by the founder of Sparkrelief, a disaster relief coordination nonprofit. Over the following two days, our team built Sparktext, a service designed to pair individuals needing relief assistance with local volunteers. A person in need of assistance sends an email or text (via SMS) describing their needs to Sparktext. Volunteers visiting the sparktext.org site can view needs, and contact the person who submitted the need in order to coordinate assistance. It’s not currently live, but there are some screenshots on my projects page.
As much as I enjoyed the actual building of the project, it was the people that really make the weekend enjoyable. The whole process of deciding what to build, how to build it, and then solving the necessary problems to get there is much more fun when you’re doing it with others. Even things that can be frustrating when done alone, like chasing down the cause of an error that persists even after all the usual suspects have been ruled out, are better once there are other people involved. Along the way, you start to learn more about the people you’re working with. Our team was pretty diverse in terms of background, experience, and interests, which made the process of getting to know each other all the more interesting.
Despite feeling a bit uneasy going into the weekend, it ended up being a great experience. I gained some technical experience, and I had a fantastic time working with my teammates and getting to know them. I’ll certainly be attending future Startup Weekends, and I’m also on the lookout for similar hackathon-type events in the Denver/Boulder area.
Wed 25 Sep 2013