It's Startup Weekend here in San Francisco, and last night, a hundred or so people gathered in the offices of adaptive learning startup Grockit to kick off a weekend of building startups.
I love Startup Weekend. Although some people often ask "What can you possibly build in a weekend?" the answer is "Quite a lot." I've seen some great products built and some fabulous ideas germinated over the course of the 54 hours.
So I'm thrilled that this weekend's event in San Francisco is aimed at building education technology startups.
Yesterday's event kicked off with a great talk from Eric Ries who talked about the lean startup methodology and offered some great advice for those present. (I have a video of Eric's talk that I'll post later.) Googler Daniel Clemens also spoke about some of the gatekeepers and obstacles to building ed-tech products (He would know on multiple levels as he was part of the Etherpad team -- a favorite tool of many teachers -- a company that was acquired by Google, incorporated into Wave, and well... you know the story.) Investor Naval Ravikant also spoke, noting "You never want to build a startup that requires someone else's permission to succeed." Rather than aim at convincing the gatekeepers to buy your product, Naval said, aim at building something the students want.
And building is what will happen this weekend. 38 people pitched ideas last night, and many of the ideas came from teachers (awesome). Those present then voted on which ideas to work on and divided themselves into teams to move forward.
I'll be swinging back by the Grockit offices over the weekend to check up on the progress. You can follow along at home via the #sfedu hashtag. And look for a story from me on MindShift on the pitches and the winner from Sunday night's finale.