Startup Weekend in Purdue

This weekend, forty business and tech people will gather to create a startup company from scratch. Andrew Hyde’s experiment earlier this summer in Boulder has spawned a series of similar events in cities around the world, with Hyde trying to go to every one of them. Whether it is done in this format or through our own devices, I’m determined to organize a similar event here in Bloomington in the spring.

Why in the spring? The fall is full already, with an Informatics unconference and a Bloomington BarCamp in the works. Both can help set up participation in this bigger event.

The idea behind Startup Weekend is that motivated and talented people spend 72 hours working together to brainstorm, conceive and legitimize a new business with a functional release of whatever IT product comes out in the end. Diversity is important, not only for the creative side of things but because there is much more to creating a new product than coding. Legal, marketing and financial experts are part of the equation, too. All participants garner a stake in the company. For some, it is a life-changing experience.

There are a few reasons why Bloomington is particularly well-suited for this. First, the HCI Design program at the IU School of Informatics offers a unique multi-displinary take on IT development. There are also ranked business and law schools just up the street, as well as a growing expertise in serious games. There is a wealth of untapped local resources in IT and business that should be working closely with the University, and vice versa. The spring schedule is nice because it also sets up the possibility of creating jobs for graduating students. If the new company is successful, it can grow into a steady employer and corporate partner.

My youngest son is turning four on Monday, and my academic workload is heavy at the moment. It would have been great to head up to West Lafayette for this, but at least there is an implied requirement to be transparent about what goes on there—we can follow along as they update their blog.

Good luck, Boilers. Perhaps you can design a fast and safe way to deliver the Oaken Bucket this year. (After five straight losses and nine in the last ten years, we’re due.)

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