Launching a Startup in 3 Hours was a great talk given by Andrew Hyde (of techstars.org) and Gavin Doughtie (of Google). Both of the speakers are heavily involved in the recent trend of doing “Startup Weekends”, and techstars.org is an organization that hosts startup weekends all around the US (and I think internationally as well – Andrew mentioned one in Germany if I heard correctly).
The first half of the talk was about the general concept of a startup weekend, the problems it avoids (“we’ve been working for 9 months and haven’t launched anything”), the problems it brings up (“If you’re not using Java, you’re an idiot, so count me out!!”), and lots of details about how to organize, how to assign roles, and some common tools they use (like Basecamp and whatever your IM of choice is). There was also talk of legal issues, how (basically) to think about forming the company with the people involved, and decisions that need to be made at a business level aside from just the coding.
The second half of the talk wasn’t a talk at all. Instead, people who had ideas stood up, presented their idea in a couple of sentences, and once the ideas were out there, we were told to break into groups and get to work! So people would get up and move over to the person whose idea they liked, and they’d start brainstorming. I decided to head out after about 30 minutes of observing and talking with people about ideas, but when I left, there were probably 6-8 groups of people engrossed in conversations, and the energy level was very high. Overall, it was a really exciting experience!