Strength In Numbers


This Morning I published two event-wrapup articles – one about HackDayParis, and another about Starup Weekend Paris Social Edition – I suggest you check them out to get a low down on what French startupers are capable of during a weekend. There are a few great things about these events: they promoted social entrepreneurship, they were attended by a total of over 300 startupers, and they were primarily done in English. I love to see great events with great attendance, and, because they were in English, international guests came and participated, such as GK’s Tony Meloto and TechStars Boston’s Managing Director Katie Rae; however, I had one problem with these events – They were during the same weekend.

Splitting up the talent…

To get it off the table right away, HackDayParis scheduled their event before Startup Weekend France did, but that’s not really the point. There was a lack of communication between the two, who must’ve been aware of the conflict weeks in advance. Because these two weekend-long events occurred simultaneously, startupers were split in a very obvious fashion – Developers went to HackDayParis, and Biz guys went to SWPA. The result: HackDayParis demos lacked any charisma, making the 2 1/2 period containing 45 demos a very painful process, if the hack was not asthetically pleasing. On the other end, I did not see one product developed at the SWPA pitches, other than Ma Moustache, who launched their site – however, they were created from two existing startup teams.

Conflict of Interest…

In addition, I found myself confused trying to figure out which event was going for which theme. While Startup Weekend Paris was doing its Social Entrepreneur Edition, it was HackDayParis who housed their event at the Social Incubateur LaRuche. In addition, though MakeSense was sponsoring SWPA, co-founder Christian Vanizette spent the weekend working on projects at HackdayParis. Paris is not a large enough startup ecosystem that it can afford to split its resources like this. If every weekend there were at least one weekend event with sold-out attendance, I would understand the conflict in scheduling… but there’s not! It’s easy to know what events are going on in Paris and there’s no excuse for competing for startupers’ attention – especially at a time where Startup Weekend is getting more and more ‘competing’ weekend events who claim to be more development-oriented.

My Call To Action…

As startupers in an emerging ecosystem, it is our responsibility to communicate what is going on, communicate our concerns, and make sure that we are not halving our army. I saw some great hacks and great business models, and I can only imagine what would’ve happened if those creative minds had worked together for a weekend. So if you see two events who seek out the same startup crowd coming up, you let us know, and we’ll do the RUDE work of letting them know that they are only hurting themselves by overlapping their events.
Seriously, though, check out the articles on the events that went on. They ideas were incredible:

  1. HackDayParis – Hacking the Language Barrier…
  2. Startup Weekend Paris – This Time, It’s Social

6 Responses

  1. Marc Picornell (@marcpicornell)

    Yes , 100% true. It’s hard enough without splitting our forces. Better / Together.

  2. Pierre Chapuis

    Actually, SWPA just hurt themselves by not taking Hack Day Paris seriously and scheduling a concurrent event. Too bad for them, especially since the “social” standpoint was interesting. Startup Weekends need devs and designers if they want prototypes.
    OTOH Hack Day Paris didn’t care about the lack of “biz guys” (whatever that means) at all. The point was not to make yet another SWPA, it was to gather hackers and only hackers to build stuff, not companies (which are usually not built in a weekend anyway).
    IMO Hack Day Paris proved their format works way better: small teams of 1-3 people instead of 6-8, everyone hacking and not focusing the product, not on a PowerPoint presentation and b******t 3 year plans for 2 days. If you think about it, even though it was not the goal of the event, this is how an early stage startup should work.

  3. ziad salloum

    Personally I prefer to see prototypes even though full of bugs instead of sitting and watching power point presentations about something that does not exist and might never exist, or at best will be totally different from the presentation.

  4. Newbble

    Newbble could have benefited from meeting developers but Startup Weekend teams are organizing a “After swap” meetup event on Dec 10th and I am guessing inviting the Hack Day Paris participants will be a great thing! Do they have a facebook page? Here is ours:

  5. cyprien decouty

    SW are not design/code contest, they are business/pitch contests… That’s why User Groups, Dev meetups and hackdays are a great success.

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