Next month Doug Gold, Kaliya Hamilin, and I will be the head camp counselors at Startup Camp at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley and you’re invited to join us for the two day unconference where both attendance and meals will be free of charge courtesy of Sun Microsystems. To register, just go to the Startup Camp registration page. Once we reach full capacity, we will start a waiting list. Just like with Mashup Camp, Startup Camp is most definitely not an invite only event and the only limitation is based on space and food. Right now we’re shooting for 250 to 300 people. Already, with little more than word of mouth, more than 150 people have registered, most of whose names can be seen on the Startup Camp Who’s coming list.
So what is Startup Camp and who should think about attending?
One of the inspirations for Startup Camp was Technorati founder and CEO Dave Sifry’s 106 Miles discussion on serial entrepreneurship where he talked about the trials and tribulations of launching the various companies that he’s been associated with (like LinuxCare and Technorati). Sifry’s candor about his successes and failures, what went right and what wrong, and his willingness to share what he learned from his experiences so that other entrepreneurs might learn from them was both refreshing and extraordinary. It was tribal storytelling at its finest and we know there are lot other folks out there like Dave who like to talk about what works and what doesn't when your starting up.
The last thing that was needed was another Web 2.0 event (whatever Web 2.0 is). With entrepreneurialism to having taken off like a rocket in the last year, what seemed to be missing (and what our email has confirmed) was an event for the community of entrepreneurs (and those thinking about becoming one) who want to maximize their chances of startup success. If you are (a) thinking about starting up a company (and it doesn’t have to be a technology company), (b) already in pre-launch startup mode, (c) in the midst of your launch, or (d) even if you’re at a post-launch stage, the chances are excellent that you’ll pick up some pointers and some friendships that will be worth well more than the price of admission.
What’s on the agenda? Well, while we have an idea (see the list of discussion ideas and feel free to add one of your own), in true Open Space fashion, we won’t know for sure until Startup Camp begins. That’s when some of the attendees will step up to the microphone (here's what the line of people waiting to do this at Mashup Camp looked like) and offer to be discussion leaders for a variety of topics (financing, staffing, technology, etc.) that are relevant to starting ups. I deliberately used the word “discussions.” In true unconference fashion, the content of Startup Camp will consist of a series of conversations where everyone gets to participate (here's a photo of this in action) and share what they know about the topics rather than, in true conference fashion, holding a bunch of sessions involving presenters that often know less than the audience and sedation-by-Powerpoint.
Finally, we’ll be holding a Best Startup Contest. There’s basically no criteria for what the best startup is. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. The attendees each get to cast one vote for the startup that they think is the best one in their minds and the top three finishers will get some very nice prizes (I’ll have the details on those in a forthcoming blog).
So, be sure to join us at Startup Camp at the Computer History Museum on November 2nd & 3rd. See you there!