After nearly sneaking through the back door in downtown Seattle, I had entered the building. I walked up the stairs that were filled with funny Startup Weekend-esque posters, photos, & memorabilia. Then, the open loft style office was there. I almost felt like I shouldn’t be there but hell, Claire said I could! They said hello at different times and I felt at home. The space alone was just so cool. So freaking cool.
They welcomed me like an old friend and said I could talk to whomever and basically do whatever I wanted. Did this mean I could move into the office? I didn’t ask. But, I began talking to the Communications Manager, Claire Topalian. She had originally written small piece about my own Startup Weekend experience on their blog. Her and I chatted for a bit then she showed me around the small but efficient office. Lots of green and lots of quirkiness which means it was fantastic.
I then began to interrupt other workers and asked what they did, why they did it, & how they became involved with Startup Weekend. Did I mention how nice everyone was? I first spoke with Sheikh Shuvo, Regional Operations Manager. He told me about the logistics of SW and what roles he played. It was so exciting to talk with other individuals who share the same passion for startups. I would’ve taken more notes but I was simply too caught up in the moment.
I later spoke with Joey Aquino for quite a bit. He again was extremely nice. Joey is the University Leader and is working on creating an education program emphasizing the spirit of entrepreneurship. It sounds to be a very ambitious project that is soon to launch! He shared with me his crazy experience of facilitating Startup Weekend Events all around the world. He challenged the founder to allow him five months to go all around the globe. He spent every, single weekend in a new place for five months!
The last SW team member I talked to is named Tawnee Rebhuhn who works as Operations Manager. Her and I chatted for a long time about the startup business, her experiences with the team, and how she became involved. It was great to sit one on one with a fellow Startup Weekend junkie. Only, she really has the right to say that! I’ve only gone through one weekend and am in the works of helping organize another. But, Tawnee has facilitated over 100+ weekends! Crazy! She also helped me hone in on some ideas for Startup Weekend Evansville 2.0 that will take place in February.
I could have stayed all day but they probably had work to do and the parking time limit was nearing closer. I walked away on fire for Startup Weekend. It was riveting and I joked how it was my Mecca. Sorry, to offend anyone but it’s true. For some, Tiffany’s or The Empire State Building is the center of the universe but for me, it is Startup Weekend HQ in Seattle, Washington. It is so inspiring to see the people behind all the hype and excitement that is Startup Weekend. And I barely met the whole team! These guys and gals are doing some fabulous things in the name of entrepreneurship. And thank God for that because it is about time. They’ve hit the ground hard for a few years now and the progress achieved is undeniable.
I could lie and tell you this is the last time I’ll badger you guys about Startup Weekend but we all know that’s impossible. For me, there is just something so insanely sweet about strangers coming together and building. Building something, anything. Whether it’s community, ideas, a business, an app or just relationships. I still attribute my first Startup Weekend experience to my founding of great friendships. There was a shift in my thinking and the person I am today is partly because of what I learned last February at Startup Weekend Evansville.
Again, I want to extend a huge thank you to the team who allowed me to stop by and say hey! It was a great experience and I would do it all over again. Maybe I will? I can’t wait to see what you people do! I’m your biggest cheerleader. But I think you know that already.