Seattle Startup Weekend Yields 13 Websites, and Maybe a Multimillion Dollar Company
When I heard Nathan Kaiser of nPost had signed up to be a cook at Seattle Startup Weekend, I couldn’t help but think of Under Siege, the 1992 action film in which Steven Seagal plays an ex-Navy SEAL who’s minding his own business in the galley of a battleship when the bad guys arrive. OK, so maybe Kaiser didn’t have to deal with terrorists on the scale of Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey, but he did have to throw a few elbows at some networking and connectivity issues at the entrepreneur event.
By all accounts, though, the 54-hour frenzy that was Startup Weekend in Seattle was a smashing success, despite some power and Internet outages at Google’s Fremont office. Check out Kaiser’s summary here, as well as the official live account of the event as it unfolded here. The final tally: 175-odd attendees, 40 ideas from the community, 13 projects launched, and lots of coffee, food, and beer. And personal connections that will last far beyond the weekend.
Kaiser’s main takeaway is that “chaos is good.” As he writes in his blog, both this year’s event and last year’s (Startup Weekend has come to Seattle twice) had a relative lack of process, procedure, and management. But that’s what made them so fun and successful and energizing for the startup community. “I met people this past weekend that I never would have met before, and I would be worse off for not having met them,” Kaiser says. “In a managed environment, those interactions most likely wouldn’t have happened. They were so random, so unique, and so fortuitous that I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Having 13 smaller teams instead of one big one was a key difference between this year’s event and last year’s. “I would say that all of the teams had a better product with a more polished look and feel than what we created with Skillbit [in 2008],” Kaiser says. “It is a testament to how powerful small teams can be…Also, I think it proves the old axiom that sometimes you can’t speed up something by simply throwing more resources at it. This may work for servers and bandwidth, but it certainly doesn’t stand true in relation to creative enterprises.”
Rob Eickmann of Six Hour Startup, one of the organizers, told me, “It’s been really great in terms of team building and community building…The smaller teams enabled a lot more communication, a lot more projects, and allowed people to go off-site.”
Without further ado, here’s the final list of 13 websites launched from the weekend. Eickmann was particularly impressed by the deep thinking behind one of them, which he described as “very easily” turning into a multimillion dollar company—can you guess which?
—TweetSum helps you manage your Twitter following.
—FreshLocal connects you to local food.
—FavorWish helps you offer and ask for favors.
—1nvite helps people connect via social-networking tools.
—TweetReporters is a user-generated content service that helps news outlets “crowdsource” local headlines.
—Scrampede helps you find services quickly by having suppliers look for you.
—InfiniteMosaic helps you browse and rediscover pictures you’ve collected.
—Trip-Champ helps people compete to make their commutes greener.
—Crowdify helps you connect with others over “trending.”
—ObeytheDecider makes locally-based decisions for the indecisive.
—TripZilla helps you plan trips with your friends’ input over a social network.
—KnarlyVote helps groups make decisions.
—HowToGetESPN360 helps small Internet service providers gain access to ESPN360.com.
(Did you guess it? Eickmann was talking about Scrampede.)