I can barely begin to describe my time in Rio de Janeiro so just stalk my Facebook or Instagram for visuals. For the past five days, the Startup Weekend team + our wonderful Organizers shared stories and fun in Brazil.
Once a year, we all come together to learn and figure out how to keep doing what we’re doing. We refined our dance moves with Samba dancers, saw Cristo Redentor, burned ourselves on the beach, lost wallets & phones, held a three-legged race, fell in manholes, & listened to big name speakers like Marc Ecko & Brad Feld. But in the midst of all of it, something bigger happened.
This group I speak of included about 150 people from all around the world. Not just a few countries but almost every country. It is such a significant honor to be able to share this experience with them. We all descended upon Rio Friday morning where we were greeted with caipirinhas. Boy, those are strong. Fast forward to me throwing up in a Brazilian bathroom. Now, quickly forget that image.
Most of us have only met online or briefly in person. We all travel and work in the name of creating entrepreneurs and empowering them by any means necessary. We are a certain group of crazy passionate people who took 5 days out of our normal, scheduled lives to come to South America. Of course we shared drinks, scary taxi rides, dance floors, & stories with one another. But as I am reflecting back, we all shared the same experience. It is rare that something like this happens. I browse our #SoSummit hashtag on Twitter and watch as everyone continues to post goodbyes and photos on Facebook. Between 150 people, somehow it felt like the most intimate experience possible. Startup Weekend has the most solid community in the world, literally. It only took me about thirty seconds to get to know someone and realize that they’re one of my kind. It is such a satisfying feeling to be surrounded by so many people who operate on your wavelength. I always knew that “people are people” no matter where they come from. But my thoughts were validated every single day. Language barriers are nothing when you all share a common mission.
For many of us, we were finally putting a face to the e-mail signature. We all became quickly attached and this made it terrible to say goodbye. Not only were we saying goodbye to Rio de Janeiro which is home to the world’s most beautiful people and views but also to 150 of our new friends. I found myself getting very emotional, not rare, but surprising this time around. Everyone made such wonderful connections and I know we will continue to do so. I cannot wait to see you all again!