Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

The Profane Meets The Profound At Startup Weekend Mega

It’s a good thing your mother wasn’t at Startup Weekend Mega. There was a lot of cussing and flipping the bird. 

It sounds like a horrible way to start off the nation’s largest Startup Weekend, but it seemed fitting for Dave McClure (pictured) founder of 500 Startups, who came to the stage at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley Headquarters and flipped off a room of 300 people, in a symbolic sendup of the entrepreneur spirit that gets us fired up enough to get mad about problems—and create solutions.

McClure’s injection of the profane gave a healthy kick in the pants to this pop-up incubator hosted by the Microsoft BizSpark team, where I start work on Monday.

Michael Hittle, a web marketing professional, came to Startup Weekend to build an app that allows consumers to order their food with out having to wait on a waiter. Not finding a full team to work with him, he shifted to working on an app that helps project managers "gamify" project management to keep teams on deadlines.

He said his main takeaway from McClure's antics and advice was to embrace challenge.

"Get out there and do something and see what happens. Don’t be afraid. Upset people. The more you can shake things up, the more likely you are to have a great product," says Hittle.

The Revolution Will Be Relationships

My takeaway was that the future is in relationships. At Startup Weekend, people from all walks of life work together on apps, games, and robots that will revolutionize and create communities. 

Michelle Lao is a designer who moved to Silicon Valley to find a job. She said in her startup pitch that she was just a designer with an idea to gamify common everyday tasks so that people can get stuff done.

Not 24 hours later, she had a team of seven and growing, complete with Microsoft mentors and designers, developers and two guys who gave up their own startup ideas to help her—Hittle and Jonathan Fung.

And it was not any longer just an app that helped anyone get their laundry done or walk the dog.

The app has become an agile project management app that gamified project management to help team members and team leaders provide incentives to keep teams on tasks.

Honestly, nothing creates culture like teams coming together to solve a common problem.

These robotics engineers, data people, developers, and business minds are different kinds of people. Some of them flew from as far as Hawaii and Alabama, and they represent a demographic of creative minds and rebels who are depending less and less on what messages they see in media to define their role in life.

They are making it happen.

They are giving a big middle finger to passive consumption of product, problems, and half-baked solutions.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from today’s interactions, it’s that these are people devoted not to just solving one single problem. They are devoted to creating solutions for any problem, as long as it speaks to their existence on the planet.

The middle finger is the perfect analogy for disruption. When you care enough about someone, you get mad. You don’t take it anymore. You do more than throw the television out the window. You create something.

Gil Scott-Heron was correct. The revolution will not be televised. It will be made in the relationships of small teams coming together to solve for opportunity.

[Image: Flickr user Eva Blue]