Craig Huggart, who worked diligently on FindASpeaker.org during our business development weekend, has an interesting account of his experience at “Confessions Of A Tech Barn Raiser” – worth the read!

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Andrew Hyde of the StartupWeekend crew calls his idea “Jazz for Entrepreneurs”…

“It is what happens when you get brilliant people together, using their skills to build a company they want to work on. It is a crazy idea, that countless people can point out countless holes in (and countless people just don’t get), but for some reason, it just works.” – from What is Startup Weekend?

Another blogger describes the effort as a “Web 2.0’s Woodstock”…

“Instead of getting great musicians together to play some groovy tunes, seventy Web 2.0 kool aid drinkers are holed up in Boulder, Colorado creating a Web 2.0 startup in ‘one jam packed weekend.’ In their defense, many top musicians were too busy at Live Earth to participate in a Web 2.0 concert, so a gnarly Web 2.0 music festival wasn’t possible this weekend. Startup Weekend was the next best option.” 

Making great music is great.  In fact, participants are *encouraged* to try out “other instruments”, which might degrade from the quality of the music but I suppose it makes it more fun… and most jam sessions don’t get recorded so some slips are forgiven.  But, building software that way?  Hmm… I think I’ll save that rant for another blog post. <LOL> 

Our organizing team views the whole thing a bit differently than the jazz metaphor described above… we call the effort “Barn raising for techies“.  For reference, Wikipedia describes barn raising as follows:

“A Barn raising is an event during which a community comes together to assemble a barn for one or more of its households, particularly in 18th- and 19th-century rural North America. In the past, a barn was often the first, largest, and most costly structure built by a family who settled in a new area. Barns were essential structures for storage of hay and keeping of horses and cattle, which in those days were an inseparable part of farming.”

The Meatball Wiki answers the questions of “What’s in it for me” and the community (I’ve added some boldness for emphasis) when raising a barn in this way:

  • A typical BarnRaising generates a sense of accomplishment within a short period of time.
  • The people helping expect to learn about how to raise barns, and other CommunityLore, which will help them when it comes to their own barn.
  • Barn raising is fun, as a social event! Having a barn to raise does more than just get people together and let them talk. It gives them something to talk about.
  • When the tables are turned, the barn owner does the same for anyone else, so there is an IteratedPrisonersDilemma.
  • When the entire town helps someone build a barn, then that person is beholden to the entire town, so it creates new and strengthens existing social bonds.
  • Now re-read the above bullets and superimpose “startup” for “barn” in each line.

    Also, imagine changing the Wikipedia entry to read as follows:

    BIRMINGHAM STARTUP is an event during which the community comes together to build a software prototype for one or more of its entrepreneurs. In the past, a prototype was often the first, largest, and most costly effort to be embarked upon by an entrepreneur who started wanted to create a startup company. Prototypes are essential for finding the company’s first customers, pitching to funding sources, and proving to themselves that they could be growing their own company.”

    Get the idea?  :^)