Athens Startup Weekend 2008

First things first. I told them all in person and I’m saying it here as well. Special thanks go to Andrew Hyde, the mind behind Startup Weekends, Alexandros Pagidas, the person who brought it in Athens, Patrick Malone, our host in Microsoft Innovation Center venue (Patrick and Lydia, you definitely improved Microsoft’s image for all of us), the sponsors of the event (Domino’s, Loumidis, Coca Cola-3E, Wind; hopefully I am not forgetting anyone) and all the professionals who dropped in to give us a hand. I won’t go into the event itself. Others have already done that; follow the event’s site and the links all over this post for that.

In danger of giving the feeling of repetition to readers of other relevant posts, I’ll say it: Athens Startup Weekend was a successful event and proved several points (Greeks can actually work together without shouting or arguing all the time, previous acquaintance is not important, teams can form without guidance or many introductions etc.). Plus, it produced and set off a number of ideas that can eventually work.

Athens city lights and Acropolis illuminated

Andrew mentioned that Startup Weekends are not meant to create viable startups over the weekend but, rather, form a community among the participants. In a private conversation he said only 4 such startups were created in Startup Weekend history so far (unfortunately I didn’t get the names). The event is meant to prove that people who didn’t know each other before can sit around the same table, share and expand on an idea and make the most out of it in a very short time-frame. The important thing is not the idea, but that these people can work together, add their talents to a cause and produce a combined result that’s greater than the sum of their individual strengths. At the end of the day, these people become potential partners/collaborators in these very same or other promising projects.

The event put the best out of us all. We expressed our opinions and discussed difficult matters (we sometimes knew nothing about) in a civil, productive manner. We all got out of there with some fresh ideas, some new potential friends and partners, the knowledge that talented, cooperative people are there waiting to be found and great accomplishments are so much closer than expected. Indeed, 10 great projects were born.

I consider myself privileged to have been a part of it and hope the event does go annual so we can experience it again.

Here are a few additional relative links (no particular order; I’ll be happy to add links I’ve missed):

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