Start{me}Up… in Birmingham

21 September 2007

It seems like just yesterday when a friend of mine, Bill McKinnon, sent me the following seamingly innocent email:

I don't know if/how it would work out here, but it's 
a TechBirmingham-esque idea (if you're inclined to 
take it on) ... see

For the past nearly five years, I’ve been running TechBirmingham, the Birmingham-area technology leadership alliance.  So, this suggestion was very consistent with the organization’s purpose of doing its part to grow the technology ecosystem here in Birmingham, Alabama.  Sure, Birmingham isn’t the first place some people think of when they think of tech centers… but I’m here because it is!  And, more so than even Atlanta.  This community is small enough to get to know most everyone and still believe that there’s thousands out there that I haven’t met yet.

So, I read the email above and pondered it, for about 5 minutes, before my heart started racing with the excitement of an idea too good to pass up.  I couldn’t sleep that night and the next day proferred the concept at a lunch meeting onto two unsuspecting friends (Drew Deaton and Scott Ferguson).  The quick lunch turned into a 2 hour brainstorming session.  I put myself in front of a computer that afternoon (before heading out of town with my wife for a weekend getaway) and created the wiki that is now The site originally just housed the items Drew scrawled on the paper tablecloth (the idea was tooooo big for a napkin) and has since grown to rank number 547 out of WetPaint’s 542,783 sites!!!

Now 7+ weeks later, <sigh!> look what’s happened.  We’ve got a full fledged wiki containing our plans for the “Birmingham Model” of the Startup Weekend concept.  We’ve not aligned with the “StartupWeekend” folks… not exactly sure that we will.

While the organizing team has been hard at work filling out the wiki and making plans.  I’m going to share my thoughts as we chug along.  Some may have to do with OUR plans and some may have to do with other city’s efforts.