@StartupWeekend Seattle EDU: A raving success by many accounts, including EdSurge friend and all-around smart dude, Frank Catalano. Frank mentored five of the 15 teams created by the 125 participants. Curiously enough, only three participants copped to being teachers. By the end of the weekend, only one of the 15 teams was pitching a product clearly targeting K-12 schools. Although the Seattle weekend was not formally part of the newly created EDU vertical, the organizing team at TeachStreet scored by pulling in keynote heavy-weights Mitch Kapor (closing night), and Vinod Khosla and Michael Arrington (opening night). Tweets at #SWSEAedu highlight pithy quotes from each. Here's a cheatsheet from Frank about how to succeed at StartupWeekend:
- Seek enlightenment not code monkeys. If you're too stuck on your own plans, you won't benefit from others' insights and suggestions.
- Borrow a little, lend a little. Your half-baked idea might be just the right ingredient in someone else's feast. Or vice versa.
- Be brave. "Your idea may not be so awesome," declares Audrey Watters, who shared her observations while serving as a mentor there. Team dynamics can expose the ugly underbelly of undeveloped assumptions. But fired in the crucible of 54 hours of team interchange, a starting idea may become part of something better.
- Be smart. The biggest failing of edtech entrepreneur wanna-bes was lack of knowledge about the "education" market. There are significant differences between customer sets and buying behavior across K12, Higher Education, Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning, a sausage which at one end is ground more like government and at the other tastes more like consumer. (Hey, put your buddies onto EdSurge before they go!)
- Smell good. Um, this is a 54-hour marathon. Pack that extra toothbrush, why don't you?