Surviving Startup Weekend EDU

I’m used to thinking like an entrepreneur — I own my own business, I’ve advised or been part of tech startups and even as a teen I published a bi-weekly science-fiction newsletter that was sold through local retailers.

So I was excited to take part as a newbie mentor at Startup Weekend Seattle EDU recently, one of the very first Startup Weekend events to be focused on education technology. Which, of course, is a large part of my day job.

I’ve chronicled my observation-based tips for budding edtech entrepreneurs in a column for GeekWire, “Survival tips for Startup Weekend EDU.”

While the 54-hour marathon — from pitching to building to presenting a startup — is the heart of the Startup Weekend experience, the brain is partly provided by the speakers. And Seattle EDU organizer TeachStreet assembled a stellar bunch: venture capital’s Vinod Khosla, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, Maveron’s Jason Stoffer and tech industry luminary and Lotus founder Mitch Kapor. A few pithy quotes that didn’t make it into my GeekWire essay:

  • “If you have passion for your vision, you keep banging your head against the wall until you crash through it,” Vinod Khosla on what drives entrepreneurs.
  • “At the end of the day, you really want to LIKE the person you’re backing,” Maveron’s Jason Stoffer in describing the investor-entrepreneur dynamic as a ten or eleven year relationship.
  • “IT already has been a false messiah twice … when it comes to education,” Mitch Kapor on the failure of early floppy disk, and later multimedia CD-ROM, information technology in transforming the classroom because of underlying, low-tech changes that were needed first.
  • “Hardware startups are hard. It’s right in the name,” Kapor on why it’s better for entrepreneurs to stick to software for a greater chance of success in edtech.

Read more about what might help a motivated education technology entrepreneur become even better in my Practical Nerd column on GeekWire.