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[written by Erick Arndt]

Startup Weekend coming back to Santa Clarita is exciting news for all of us. It’s good for the startup community and good for Santa Clarita. In the Fall of 2012, Startup Weekend came to Santa Clarita for the first time and it was a MONSTER success. Not only was the city buzzing with excitement watching through the glass on Town Center Drive as “people in blue shirts” feverishly worked on their business idea but that weekend seven new businesses were launched. Don’t believe a business can be successfully launched in 54 hours?…you’ve never been to Startup Weekend.

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photo courtesy of SCV Startup Weekend 2012 organizing team.

Lots of people talk about building a startup but honestly, few do. Startups are about “execution” not “talk”. And Startup Weekend is all about execution. You have just 54 hours to see which team can take their business the farthest. That’s right, from Friday night pitches to Sunday night demos.

I feel so fortunate to have worked with Brian Tippy and Eric Hayes to plan Startup Weekend 1. Those planning meetings were so much fun but at the same time we all felt a bit uneasy and not 100% sure we could pull off this event. At the time, Santa Clarita wasn’t exactly known for startup activity. An event of this nature had never been hosted before and SCV Startup (the startup community) was really just getting started. Where would we have this event? Would there be enough space? If we built it, would people come?

After getting approval from Startup Weekend to host the event (yes, we had to get approved and with not much to show them) we struggled to find the right venue. Then, out of nowhere, we got our first big win. In the spirit of this incredible city we live in, the great people at Westfield Mall donated a storefront for the entire weekend. What better venue for Startup Weekend than a vacant bikini shop at the entrance of one of the busiest malls in Southern California. We were destined to succeed. The potential was limitless!

Startup Weekend is such an amazing event and here are the three key reasons you don’t want to miss this one:

  1. Meeting new people – What better way to forge a bond with a bunch of strangers than working side by side for 54 hours in an 80-degree room scrambling to create an MVP (minimum viable product) and find customers to validate your business. Not only did I make a lot of friends but I met my co-founder, Eric, and we began working on TripRocker soon after the event. Don’t worry, this event promises to have air-conditioning this time around…
  2. Learning – I can’t tell you how many people told me during and after the event how much they “thought” they new about launching a company when they signed on to the event. They had read books, watched “Shark Tank, and had business degrees but once the madness began they scrambled to find answers.  Like Mike Tyson said “Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face.”  By Saturday morning they realized how much they still needed to learn by the Sunday Night Pitch Event. So if you really want to shock your brain, clear out some cobwebs, and accelerate your learning try taking a company from idea to paying customer in 2 days.
  3. It’s an accomplishment – Yes, it’s tough and yes, some might want to quit but on Sunday night the sense of accomplishment I saw on people’s faces at the awesome after-party made all the work and sweat (and boy did we sweat) worth it. Imagine going to work on Monday and being asked “So what did YOU do this weekend?”

I am so proud of this new Startup Weekend leadership team (Tom, Chris, and Dale) and their incredible vision to make this event bigger and better and more exciting than the first one. I see this team not only hosting an epic event but being part of the future leadership of this great city. I encourage everyone to take part in Startup Weekend 2. And I really hope the area’s colleges will be sending their “Best and Brightest” to compete for the top spot. See you at the event!

Get your ticket and learn more here: http://www.up.co/communities/usa/santa-clarita/startup-weekend/6879

Interested in being a sponsor? Want to help the organizing team? Email them at santaclarita@startupweekend.org

Tom Beckett