Mike vs Web: the blog and projects of a web developer fascinated by the web and all its technical greatness.

Calgary Startup Weekend 2013

On February 8, the Assembly Coworking Space hosted a fantastic 3-day venture called Startup Weekend. With a strong desire to discover Calgary’s tech startup scene, I decided to throw my name in the hat.

On February 8, the Assembly Coworking Space hosted a fantastic 3-day venture called Startup Weekend. With a strong desire to discover Calgary’s tech startup scene, I decided to throw my name in the hat.

startup-weekend-2013-logo

There were three categories people could sign up for: designer, developer, and non-technical. Designers made things pretty, developers built, and the non-technicals participated in whatever the other categories didn’t want to. Primarily, they were the ones with ideas, business sense, and who wore jeans with a blazer.

After careful examination of the categories, I made the difficult decision to sign up as a developer. I’ve used a text editor from time to time (Textmate is my favourite) and have a decent logically understanding (enough to be at least half Vulcan).

The event kicked off on Friday, and started with idea time. Everyone congregated at around 4pm to mingle, and once organized, Evan Hu, president of Ideaca and professor at MRU, delivered a great lecture on the philosophy of a lean startup, as described by Eric Ries. You can learn more about it at Eric Ries’ site or buy the book, but it essentially breaks down to figuring out the items on your lean startup canvas. Once you have these figured out, you make a minimum viable product and test the bejeezus out of it. Then continually modify it based on feedback.

business-model-canvas image courtesy of http://businessmodelgeneration.com

Shortly afterwards, the presentation of ideas began. People from all categories presented their startup or technology idea with a time limit of 2 minutes. Similar to any athletic post-season event, the voting process only allowed the best ideas to make it to the final round.

12 ideas survived, and they became the focus for the weekend. Teams formed organically, based on personal preference or the idea holder’s ability to entice supporters. For a while, I was part of two teams until one folded and was absorbed by another team, but that’s the politics of business. I won’t get into that; it’s more of an Erin Kerr article.

The next two days were buzzing with ideas, sketches, prototypes, research, debates, judgement calls, programming, design changes and a lot of caffeine. The organizers made sure to let everyone have that tech startup feel by fuelling us with Red Bull, pizza, chips, pop and lots of coffee.

I won’t get into the end results in regards to who won, who lost, or who drank the most beer at the end of the night (which was all free by the way). I am writing this article a month after the event, so I’m sure most people have already read the nitty gritty details on Facebook or Techvibes. I mostly want to thank Startup Calgary, Boast Capital, all the judges, coaches and mentors who participated, and especially all the participants. It was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget.

Big cheers to the Calgary tech startup movement!

Startup Weekend Calgary 2013