I’m recovering from the past three days which were completely committed to Startup Weekend Seattle. This is an event where a bunch of locals get together and startup an actual company in one weekend. This idea was created just 7 months ago by Andrew Hyde from Boulder, CO, a very cool cat with big ideas, a knack for leadership, and a commitment to building community. Startup Weekend is one way that Andrew is helping to build communities all over the world.
In Seattle’s case, over 120 people from all sorts of different industries paid their $20 and showed up Friday at 6pm. After some brainstorms, quick pitches and votes, we agreed that Seattle would create a Rideshare program to help solve our local traffic issues. However, this idea was scrapped in less than an hour when we realized that there was already some stiff local competition. Check out Ready, Set, Goose.
The team changed gears and we started skillbit, an online service for helping small-medium businesses better manage information about their employees. Our tagline: Your Team’s Potential, Now.
Here’s how skillbit works in a nutshell:
- team leader sets up a free account and invites team members to join skillbit
- team members create a profile with some basic info about themselves
- (the magic) anyone on a team can ask a question to the rest of the team, and the responses are aggregated in a searchable database — these are the Q&A’s.
Once enough Q&A’s are in the database, the teams have a useful tool for quickly learning about their internal resources. For example, do you know which members of your team speak French? Instead of asking them all, or sending a group email, just search skillbit for “french” and any related questions with everyone’s answers will show. Voila! Uncover the skills you already have on your team, and realize your potential today.
My experience participating in Startup Weekend was bittersweet. The bitter part was the difficulty in communicating between such a large team on very short notice. Decisions had to be made all the time, and quickly. Many times a decision was made and not communicated clearly (or at all) to the other teams. This was frustrating.
The sweet parts of SWS was the collaboration and teamwork, meeting a lot of really smart and cool local people, seeing us on the Sunday 5 o’clock TV news, and the excitement of the event. Oh yeah, and creating a real company in one weekend.