D.C. Startup Weekend

Well, Wow. That was fun.
D.C. startup weekend is sort of like an entrepreneurial jam session with the goal of launching something viable-ish by the end of the weekend.

About 70 people showed up, from about every discipline involved in tech startups. Many of them were way good at their craft, and they were all extremely pleasant to be hanging out and working with.

And yes – we launched a product: Hola Neighbor

It’s a tool for neighborhoods to self-identify, connect and communicate. I’ve already started setting it up for my new neighborhood, and I expect my neighbors to like it enough to sign up (it is free).

Startup weekend is as interesting as an anthropological study as it is anything else, however. Watch how teams and leaders emerge. Watch how conflict is resolved in an environment where it is very low risk for everyone, mostly a-political, and where everyone has at least one shared goal, and minimal hidden agendas. A very collegial environment, where all we have to gain is some fun and a little local reputation, and all we have to lose is some time.

Process. Process matters. In this case – trying to launch a biz in 24 hours, there was a LOT of parallelism going on – UI, dev, marketing and business going off and doing things in parallel, making assumptions about what the product was and what others were thinking. The amazing thing, is that this pretty much worked. Every once in a while we synched, found out the disconnects, argued, resolved, and moved on.

More process – we set milestones, and tracked progress more or less hourly. The meetings were brief, but effective catchups. Agile-ish. Some of what was useful about this was that everyone knew the process, it was easy to comply with, and not too formal.

In any case, Peter Corbett, Andrew Hyde, Jared, Matthew, Victoria, Micah and 60 others are people who I will remember fondly, especially when I catch up with my neighbors at Hola Neighbor. And I very much hope to work with many of them again sometime. I’m even thinking of going to Startup Weekend San Francisco…



  1. Deb –
    Enjoyed meeting you this weekend. Like you, I can see great utility in Hoya Neighbor. Down the road, I see the product as having the potential to combine the power and fun of social networking along with the ability to streamline all the mundane and sometimes frustrating tasks of a group (sports team signups, reservations for the party room, dues payments, newsletter distribution, requests to get the trash pickup day moved, etc. etc.) – thus leaving more time for real group interaction.

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