Startup Weekend: Monterey Bay (Day 1)

Startup Weekend Monterey BayI’ve always thought it was a shame that there never seemed to be much of a technology scene in the Monterey area. As close to the San Francisco Bay Area as we are, you would think there would be some bleed over. Not so. If anything, I think the proximity to the San Francisco Bay Area pulls almost all the technology oriented people away. That’s why I was interested when I saw that Startup Weekend was going to be happening here. By the time I heard about the event, I was past the window where I could get the early bird discount, but I didn’t care. I was in. What’s an additional $24? If I could meet some like minded entrepreneurs, I felt that the $99 would be money well spent.

When I arrived, I decided that I wouldn’t pitch an idea. Rather, I wanted to experience the event from the standpoint of someone looking for a team and helping someone out with their idea. The thought behind that was that it would allow me the opportunity to float around and go where I thought the idea was best and where I was interested in working with the people on the team. That way I could hopefully get to know some interesting people I might be able to work with in the future on a project.  The day went well and I joined a team. I won’t talk about the team much except to say that it was a smallish team of four individuals, including myself. What I want to focus on today is what I learned today about the people pitching ideas.

I’m not sure if my observations are unique to Startup Weekend Monterey Bay or to the Startup Weekend experience in general, but I don’t think my observations would be completely different elsewhere. The 4 types of people pitching were:

  1. People looking for free work on their idea, so that they could save themselves some money.
  2. People who did no research on their idea beforehand to see if their idea already existed or just wanted to compete on a small point of differentiation.
  3. People who had an idea that was either very small or difficult to scale.
  4. People with a genuinely innovative idea.

I heard maybe 3-4 ideas that I felt fit into the last category out of the 31 pitches made. Strangely, those ideas weren’t necessarily the ones with the biggest teams. I’m not sure if that was due to the difficulty in grasping their concepts by those attending or the difficulty in delivering something on those ideas during the two days available, but it was an interesting thing to observe. My takeaway is that the people there were more motivated by the thought of doing something than by a specific idea or problem.

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