Startup Weekend San Antonio

Startup Weekend San AntonioOn May 16-18th 40 people gathered together to create 3 companies from scratch. It’s a new phenomenon that is sweeping the nation: Startup Weekend. It was created by Andrew Hyde in Boulder Colorado with events held all over the country and Canada.

I knew some of the folks who had thrown Startup Weekend Houston in September 2007 and heard more details about the experience from Erica O’Grady at Barcamp San Marcos in October 2007. I immediately thought it would be a great concept to bring to San Antonio.

I started discussing this with my network of podcasters, entrepreneurs and social media folk to gage the level of interest. Todd O’Neill, Organizer of Co-Working LaTaza, suggested the person I needed to connect with was Dean McCall of Ideagin. Todd introduced us on Twitter, we met in person at First Friday Co-Working at Firecat Studio and Dean jumped aboard. Since it takes a team to make first-time events like these happen, Dean knew that Celeste Diaz Ferraro was the perfect person to round out the Startup Weekend San Antonio Organizers.

Erica O’Grady, of Peanut Butter Media, was Startup Weekend’s Representative and helped us kick off the amazing 2 1/2 days of fun. She was phenomenal! Having been at the Andrew Hyde’s first ever Startup Weekend in April 2007, attended four other weekends including organizing the Houston event she was the perfect person to offer her soft guidance throughout the weekend.

Twenty-one ideas were pitched and by the end of Friday night it was narrowed down to three:
iDre.am: A dream interpretation site
ForceXchange: an auction and community site for folks in the security forces from border patrol to military
RentEscapes: a second home/vacation home community site.

By day two, with company names chosen and domain names purchased the programmers were busy creating the architecture for the sites. Those not programming busied themselves with logos, business plans, marketing plans, video scripting, social media strategies etc…

The San Antonio Technology Center
was abuzz with all the planning but there was time to wind down with afternoon chair massages and evening musical entertainment by Matt Barker.

On Sunday morning although folks were sleep deprived they were still energetic and ready to see all three companies launched. Philip Wheat of Microsoft stopped by on Sunday afternoon to give away goodies from Halo 3 Xbox games to Vista Ultimate software. By the time it was all said and done two out of the three companies had live sites: iDre.am and ForceXchange RentEscapes has plans to launch within 30 days, are staying in touch with one another and have had subsequent meetings since Startup Weekend San Antonio.

Overall, I would say my personal experience with Startup Weekend was a complete success. I met some of the most innovative, entrepreneurial and tech savvy folks in San Antonio. Not to say there were only San Antonians at Startup Weekend. There were folks from the Rio Grand Valley, Austin, Houston and Raleigh, NC. I’ve made some fast friends that I will stay connected to via Twitter and Skype.

Where do we go from here? All three teams are moving forward with their respective projects. I’ll keep you updated as things progress. As for Startup Weekend San Antonio, we’re fielding requests from folks who were unable to attend but caught the UStream of the fun. I’ll be meeting with Dean and Celeste later this week to recap the event and discuss when to hold the next event.

Preliminary Sound Booth Test

Living the dream album art I spent some time today looking at DIY Sound Booth sites. I also spent time checking out some of the pro sound proof material. The things folks use to create a sound booth ran the gamut from carpet to duvets to specialty foam/mat boards. It could be free, using items from around the house or it could be several thousand dollars for professional sound tiles/rooms.

As much as I would like to have a functional and beautiful sound booth, I opted for the ‘use whatever we have in the house’ method. It took me all of 5 minutes to concoct the preliminary set up. The materials I used? Two sleeping bags, two sheer curtains, one heating blanket, a piece of leftover floor carpeting and my sweater.

What’s missing? Foam bedding for the ceiling and a barstool to sit on.

With this basic setup done, I decided to test out the sound. I was surprised at how well it turned out. Even in it’s unfinished state, I think the audio from my test is much better than the audio I’ve been doing sitting in my office.

Let me know what you think.

Clutter Cleared!

I said I would clear out my closet to make room for a sound booth by today.

The closet was cleared by 7pm.

clean closet

I also said I would clear off my desk by today.

The desk was cleared about 15 minutes ago.

clean desk

It has been a tough 3 days. It was in fact more difficult than I had originally anticipated. Luckily, the supportive humorous comments I received here and on Twitter saw me through. Yesterday I felt really overwhelmed, but thanks to you all I was able to laugh at myself.

I still have unfinished work to do. Collecting all the items that I’ll be taking to Goodwill and organizing the files now that the boxes have been separated by subject: Household, Business, Podcasting/Events, Taxes, Family stuff. So even though I’ve still got a ways to go, I do have quite a sense of accomplishment.

Of course the best part is that starting tomorrow, John will be hitting the hardware store to get started on my sound booth. Excuse me while I say, wOOt!

Clearing out the clutter

With 2007 winding down it’s time to reflect about the years events and consider upcoming 2008. Once of the things that will help bring 2007 to a close and prepare me to dive into 2008 will be to clear out the clutter. By nature I’m a stacker. I have stacks and piles of things in various places. It starts off innocently enough on my desk with a sheet or two and before you know it a pile has been born. Who knew creation could start so simply?

Cluttered Desk

Eventually the pile becomes more than the desk can handle and it becomes a stack or two. Hmmmm…..is this how rabbits multiply? Pretty soon there are several stacks and a mini skyline is born. Once again I’m getting the idea I have a production factory here. Overall, I have a good idea of what is where and can locate things. The taller a stack get, the more difficult that task becomes. When I haven’t touched a stack in a while or I get tired of looking at it the stacks gets relegated to a box. The box then goes into the closet. It’s the place where boxes live, isn’t it?

Cluttered Closet

Over the course of the last couple of years the closet in my office has become home to office supplies (on the shelves), my son’s old pc parts and cpu’s (look under the boxes), books, 3.5″ floppy disks (I don’t even own a computer with a 3.5″ drive anymore), ebay items that are waiting to get listed or did not sell (wire basket shelf storage), and of course the boxes full of paper stacks. What is in the boxes? It varies from invoices, receipts, junk mail, bills, and even school projects. Business and personal stacks are mostly separated, but occasional there is an errant page to be found in the mix.

For some time I have been looking to create an in-house studio. Working from home and homeschooling takes up quite a bit of space. So far, I have not been successful at convincing my family to help me turn a portion of the attic into a studio. I did get a warmer reception to my idea of the closet being a good size for a sound booth.

So while my dream of an in-house studio may not be close to a reality, a sound booth will be soon. Well, as soon as I can clear out the clutter. Which brings me back to my reasoning for posting the pics of my embarrassingly cluttered desk and closet. My goal is to be done by Friday, December 28th. Not just the clearing out of the desk and closet clutter, but the throwing out and recycling of unneeded stuff. I mean, do I really need the plastic case to a CD that is only God knows where?

By Friday the closet should be empty, the boxes should be gone and all the stacks inside the boxes should either be filed or thrown. The ebay items will be donated to Goodwill. At the very least I can take a tax-deduction. My son is on his own with his items. I am taking them out and putting them in his room.

With that done the goal is to spend the weekend turning my (hopefully) empty closet into a sound booth. My husband has stated, “As soon as you clear out that closet I can get to work on your sound booth.” Will it happen? I’m looking to you to keep me honest. If by Friday I haven’t posted a pic of my empty closet. You have my permission to call me out.

I’ve gotta go now. The boxes are calling me. Wait a minute, wasn’t there a Twilight Zone like this?