I Can’t Hear You

I had the opportunity to kick off the latest Startup Weekend (this time held in the new American Underground @Main in Durham).  Thanks to Mital Patel and Melissa Kennedy for their work to bring this together.  By my count there were over 150 people at kickoff, up to 200 during the weekend and 150ish Sunday at the presentations (I hear).  Well done to all the sponsors and volunteers!  This is significant and a milestone for the area.


Some see events as markers for progress.  Startup Weekend, TSF Pitch Day, the Entrepreneurs Breakfast by Southern Capitol Ventures are just a few examples of ways for startup fans to engage in the community.  Dave and I have Open Houses for future TSF applicants 2-3 times per year.  We also started something called Triangle.edu that is a 2x annual events just for college students.  And I hope moist of you are aware of the Big Top job fair I have run five times in 3 years.

Engagement is the gas that makes this community car run.  Why?

I say just about every day that startup success is a team sport not an individual sport.  And, my speech at Startup Weekend emphasized that point.  Startup Weekend is a 54 hour sprint to build some type of prototype product.  Good ideas are a start but creating an inclusive and engaged team on Friday night yields great results by Sunday.  At the end you know people you did not know before.  I feel strongly that these new relationships will bubble up somehow to be something new.  Engaged.

BUT DON’T STOP HERE, I implored.  Take this energy and bring it out to the community.  Share the experience via email, Twitter, Facebook and blogs.  The voice of many trumps the voice of a few.

Speaker, investor, mentor, startup founder. One of 3 or 4 Co-Founders of MapQuest (sold to AOL for $1.2B). Managing Director of $25M Venture Fund in late 90's. CEO, COO or President of various companies ranging from $200k to $20M in size. One of two Managing Directors of The Startup Factory (35 investments across 7 cohorts), founder and MC of the Big Top Reverse Job Fair and national writer and speaker waxing poetic around startups and startup communities. Currently EIR @ Techstars with Brad Feld ~ Startup Communities, to help community leaders around the world grow their startup community.

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