Startup Weekend and the Magic Circle

Permit me a little criticism.

1) Don’t be too attached to the idea you arrive with.

Your idea sucks. Google it. It does. Your idea is not what is important. It’s where it ends up that matters. The number of pitches will probably change during the course of the weekend, so it’s best to keep an open mind.

How To: Survive Startup Weekend Ideas Week

RedRadius already had T-Shirts, but as far as I know, not much else. EditHuddle had prior technology, marketing, and business planning.

There is a concept in game design called the magic circle. It’s the idea that game rules define a kind of mental space. The experience of the game is created because every player is willing to play by the rules, in turn because the player wants to be part of that experience.

The magic circle of Startup Weekend is that everybody starts with nothing. We come with only ideas, and leave with companies.

I saw EditHuddle at the SocialDevCamp Hackathon. More concerning was the tweet on their own twitter feed about a post for the Chicago Lean Startup Challenge. Entry to the the LSC closed 2011-10-01. Their blog announced an MVP on 2011-10-04. Startup Weekend begin 2011-10-14. I don’t remember any of this being mentioned in the pitch either Friday or Sunday.

I did say a little criticism. EditHuddle is one of the projects I might actually use, as an occasional blogger prone to omit words. (Of course, without readers it wouldn’t do me much good.) Pacha reused a little geolocation code, but probably no more than we could have found on any tutorial site. I was on the Code Mountain team with the people from Code Academy, who were able to reuse a lot of marketing research. Unfortunately, at this remote pacha I don’t recall how upfront the presentations were about it.

I guess my real criticism is this: EditHuddle already existed, and it was well under way. It took an opportunity away from an idea that might have needed such an event to get going, and it did so in a way contrary to the spirit of the game.

Posted Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 under Essay.

One comment so far

  1. I was reading the Startup Weekend book, and they explicitly cite a company looking for team members as a use case. There is still a bit of an issue with judging, since the team may have a considerable head start. Should they be graded on progress?