Last weekend I eschewed all responsibility and hibernated in the snowy, cold mountains of North Carolina with a bunch of geeks. It was amazing.
I was attending Will This Scale; a first of it's kind graduate-level start-up weekend. 10 of us worked and played together with the hopes of building a business plan around an idea or two.
What did we do?
We started the weekend Thursday night. After Mexican food and fellowship, we all huddled around the fire to talk about our current interests. Things like:
- What needs we see in the tech world.
- Our favorite apps.
- Our favorite websites.
- Our favorite ways to communicate.
From there we brainstormed ideas about businesses we could create to solve some of the problems we see in the world. We intended to break up into 2-3 groups to build 2-3 business plans, but the more we talked the more we realized we had one idea we were all excited about. And this idea could probably be completed by Sunday.
The attendees were a rag tag group of entrepreneurs, most of us with tie-ins to Johnson City, Tennessee, or at least the Tri-cities area (The Tri-cities are comprised of Johnson City, Kingsport and Bristol, TN/VA).
Though every individual has scads of capabilities (that's why they were selected), the following individuals assembled, with the following skills (speaking in generalities):
- Brad Batt. A developer and business consultant. Brad is an easy-going, affable Texan who happens to be a kick-ass Spades player. Brad invited me to attend the weekend and has been a partner in crime on Twitter and in Johnson City. Find Brad on LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Bailey Buckner. A researcher and writer. Bailey is our walking Wikipedia and our resident hole-poker (though we're all interested in finding a better synonym for hole-poker). Find Bailey on LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Jose Castillo. A geek consultant and national speaker. Jose was our spicy host, our ringleader and the deft organizer of 10 geeks. He effortlessly kept us on track and made some super fresh salsa during a presentation. He's the co-owner of Spark Plaza with Shannon and it is obvious he is the glue for the geek community in Johnson City. He also helped us keep everything legal so any ideas shared would be protected over the weekend (and beyond). Find Jose on LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Shannon Castillo. A marketer and community builder. Shannon helped develop the voice for our product. We were lucky the snowy weather kept her snowed-in at the cabin. :) Find Shannon on LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Will Chilcutt. An iOS developer. Will's easy laugh and enthusiasm made him a natural leader early in the weekend. As we narrowed down our choices for work his claim, "I can build that this weekend" helped us make a selection. (Oh, and he was right, he's got mad fast development skills). Find Will on LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Ryan Hayes. A web developer and software consultant. Ryan is one of those quiet geniuses that seems to know something about everything. He also has great taste in cars. I'm hoping I can wrangle Ryan's help in a future project. There, I said it. Now my week-long secret is not so secret. :) Find Ryan on LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Tim McLeod. A designer and web applications developer. The flu took out Tim, but not before he got the chance to shred some hills (technical term for snowboarding) and contribute some of the best ideas of the weekend. Find Tim on LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Jeffery Moore. A web designer and developer. Jeffery worked with Tim and Jeff in a previous life and recently made the move to Knoxville, TN. He has a calming presence, is a delight to work with and a great partner for walking in the snow. Find Jeffery on LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Jeff Rainey. A web designer and developer. Jeff is highly skilled in web design and development. Along with Brad, Jeff was the first person I met at Spark Plaza. Jeff is one of those delightful individuals who can help you get just about anything done with a smile on his face and an eye on the finish line. Find Jeff on LinkedIn and Twitter.
- And me, Virginia Ingram, an account planner and digital strategist. I'm currently consulting and speaking around the US on ways to better integrate digital solutions into your life and your business. You can find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.
With a sense of accomplishment, we closed out the weekend Sunday morning with most of our work completed and *very* close to a launch. We're not quite ready to release the product to the world - we'll do so in the next week or two. But I'll keep you posted.
If you're interested in future Will This Scale? events, keep an eye on their website.