Keys For Founders: Tweetable Knowledge Nuggets About Idea Generation

Idea Generation

Chris Anderson, founder of Future Publishing and CEO of TED Talks: “Observe people’s real passions
to figure out what they want.” Tweet2

Charles Best, founder of “Don’t just scratch your own itch, but an itch you actually
care about.” Tweet2

Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx: Cultivate a vision for your product by devoting time to thinking,
honing in on a clear goal (hers: get on the Oprah Winfrey Show), and solicit feedback not from family
but people who can help. Tweet2

Steve Blank, founder of Epiphany and author of The Startup Owner’s Manual: “Start with your core expertise (something you have business experience in), focus on an idea that truly excites you, and don’t dismiss entrepreneurship education.” Tweet2


Rodney Brooks, founder of iRobot and Rethink Robotics: “Identify the intersection of your talents and
the ways you imagine the world being a better place. Also identify “megatrends” that will create major
new markets.” Tweet2

Jeff Bussgang, founder of Open Market, Upromise, and Flybridge Capital Partners: “Focus on customer
pains that are a high priority for them, and build a solution that has immediate and obvious benefit.” Tweet2

Marc Cenedella, founder of TheLadders: “Find the intersection of your abilities and your passion, and
do something nobody else can do.” Tweet2

Robin Chase, founder of Zipcar: “Take advantage of excess capacity (assets people have but don’t use
all the time), enable collaborative consumption, and figure out what you’re good at before finding a
market.” Tweet2

Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality: “Approach the market like an outsider unburdened by
assumptions or traditions.” Tweet2

Chris Dixon, founder of SiteAdvisor, Founder Collective, and Hunch: “Find founder/market fit, and fill
“whitespaces” (places where there is demand but no supply).” Tweet2

Caterina Fake, founder of Flickr and Hunch, chairman of Etsy: “Make something that people would use
every day.” Tweet2

Mitch Free, founder of “Ideas will find you, rather than the other way around.” Tweet2

Eileen Gittins, founder of Blurb: “Pick a market that is large, growing, and within your reach.” Tweet2

Joe Green, founder of Causes: “To decide between ideas, flesh them out first and then compare.” Tweet2

Scott Heiferman, founder of i-traffic, Fotolog, and Meetup: “Find an idea that you’re obsessed with; and
focus on things that are actually useful.” Tweet2

Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn: “Pick the biggest idea you can handle; and pick ideas where you
can be ten times better than the competition.” Tweet2

Ben Horowitz, founder of Opsware: “Make something that’s ten times better than the competition’s.” Tweet2

Cyrus Massoumi, founder of ZocDoc: “Solve one of your users’ top problems, and focus on one area
and one sector.” Tweet2

Stephen and Heidi Messer, founders of LinkShare: “Find opportunities that other people don’t see.” Tweet2

Hosain Rahman, founder of Jawbone: “Focus on a full experience, and build products that make it
better; and focus on something customers care about.” Tweet2

Adeo Ressi, founder of and The Founder Institute: “Start with multiple ideas and narrow
them down; find the intersection of your strengths and the world’s deficits.” Tweet2

Kevin Ryan, founder of AlleyCorp, CEO of Gilt Groupe: “Pick ideas that you can execute on, because
execution is more important; and pick ideas that you’re obsessed with.” Tweet2

Kirill Sheynkman, founder of Stanford Technology Group, Plumtree Software, and Elastra
Corporation, managing director of RTP Ventures: “Make something better or faster.” Tweet2

Jeff Stewart, founder of Mimeo, Urgent Career, and Lenddo: “Start with lots of ideas and pit them
against each other.” Tweet2

Meet The NEXT @ SXSW Teams

After pouring over applications of teams from all over the world, we chose 10 amazing teams to be a part of a very special event at SXSW. In partnership with Startup America, Steve Blank, Bob Dorf, and some amazing mentors and coaches, we are hosting a special SXSW version of our Customer Discovery program, NEXT. They are already hard at work at SXSW squeezing a program that normally takes 3 weeks, into just 3 days. Check out some of the amazing teams below and follow them through NEXT this week on social media or at their NEXT @ SXSW blogs. (Twitter list for all teams available here, also follow #StartupLive all week)

Digital Tip Jar

“Digital Tip Jar was created at CODEMKRS Super Bowl Hackathon and was the winner of Whale Tank. It continues to SXSW to bring musicians digital tips”






“ESCAPESwithYOU is a social commerce platform to Discover , Share , Sell and Buy happy Lifetime, experiences around the World.”






“IntelliHire connects candidates and companies through interviews from anywhere”






“We are building an iPhone game to help children ages 6-11 at risk for childhood obesity build healthier eating habits.”





Life Profit

“LifeProfit is a social innovation organization dedicated to inspiring and enabling people to live more memorable days.”





Bright Lights Music Group, LLC

“MusicMogul, an online music talent contest that empowers fans to help musical acts reach product/market more efficiently than ever before.”






“Mobile marketplace for buying, selling and renting new and used sports gear.”






“Referral marketing platform brands use to create customized referral incentive programs that accelerate customer acquisition.”





Tappr Inc

“Tappr Inc, the mobile application that allows consumers to order and pay for drinks through their phone.”





thumbprnt (Keep Dreaming, Start Doing)

“Multimedia platform to share career insights and find collaborators-mentors. Be empowered to make your passion a career by starting projects.”





The Literacy Courseware Challenge Is Here! Innovate For Education, Win Big

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We’re teaming up with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to spur innovation in education!

What better way to help the state of education than to bring in the most talented community of entrepreneurs on the planet to help solve it’s problems?

That’s exactly what we’re trying to help the Gates Foundation do with their Literacy Courseware Challenge and it starts with you, talented entrepreneurs.

Through a Request For Proposals (RFP) process, Gates Foundation is looking to invest up to $6 million in web-based courseware to support students in mastering the Common Core State Standards for literacy at the 4th–8th grade levels! They will make 20 to 30 awards in the $25,000-$500,000 range!

If you or your team are interested in solving some of our most important problems (or are already working on it!), this Challenge may be the perfect opportunity to take things to the next level. In addition to the grants, the Gates Foundation will support selected teams with pilot programs, access to students, and important feedback for refining their products.

To learn more, see if it’s a right fit for you, or to begin applying, check out all the details about the Literacy Courseware Challenge on their official page or by clicking the button below! The Gates Foundation will also be hosting a webinar on Feb. 14 to answer any questions developers and entrepreneurs have about web-based applications for the Challenge. To learn more, sign up for the webinar today.

To education!



Announcing The Winners of Windows Startup Challenge!

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Round 1 of the Windows Startup Challenge, which is run in partnership with Startup Weekend and DEMO, is now officially over. The multistage contest brings entrepreneurs with passion, acumen, and big ideas together with a set of mentors from across the world to provide them with a platform to go from prototype to development to launching their Windows Store app at DEMO Mobile 2013 in front of top tier seed investors, VCs and tech press.

The challenge’s 156 app prototype submissions demonstrate a myriad of remarkably creative app ideas covering more than 15 app categories including games, education, productivity, shopping and healthcare. A common trend amongst many of the submissions is integrating a social experience in their app whether it is playing games with friends then sharing achievements, watching educational videos while chatting with friends or being able to go to a yoga class with others around the world while you are in the comfort of your home.

The submissions came from more than 70 cities from North and South America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia and Australia covering the world with more than 30% already having thousands of customers through their existing presence on the Web, iOS or Android platforms.

Announcing the Advancing Teams

The app submission Round, the initial stage of the contest, is complete and 50 apps have made the cut from 156 submissions! The apps were chosen based on a combination score from voting (some apps had more than a 1,000 votes!) and judging (huge thanks to the amazing judges who dedicated the time to select the advancing teams!).

The next stage is the development round which ends on March 1st, 2013. This is where the 50 teams will need to submit their full WindowsStore app running on Windows tablets, laptops and PCs.


Alien Hunters
Alpha vs Zombies
Class on the Cloud
Drug Palettes
Easy Flyer Creator
Facebook for Windows 8
Game There
Human Reader
Let’s dodo
Linxi Share
Location Manager
MediSafe medication
Medscribbler Network
Money Box
No brakes rally
Patengah: Magic Jewels
Priority Planner
Spotlight PPM
The Box Discoverful
Travel Genie
Virtual Sport Bets
War Point

All teams:
  Look for more information on how you can take your current app prototype to development to launching it on the Windows Store.Winning teams: You will need to build you full Windows app in the next stage of the challenge ending on March 1st, 2013. If you haven’t already, you should get started on that today! Look out for an email next week connecting each of you to a tech and design mentor. In the meantime, make sure you 1) check out the following resources available for you, 2) join the support group for the challenge on Facebook and 3) email us any questions you have at

GSB by the Numbers: A GIANT Global Startup Battle Infographic

It’s hard to grasp how big GEW and Global Startup Battle were this year, so we set out to visualize it the best we could. We took all the coolest data we had and put together in this epic infographic. It’s size and impressive numbers are a testament to your hard work, dedication to entrepreneurship, and the importance of continuing the mission of enabling entrepreneurs everywhere, together.

A huge thank you to Offerpop for helping us run the video contest for all the winning teams and to our close friends at SimplyMeasured for all their help getting (and analyzing) the amazing social media data and information we were able to capture. You guys crushed it so hard on Twitter you even managed to impress the guys over there who are no strangers to tracking hashtags and impact of some of the biggest Twitter events there have ever been.

Without further ado, we present the GSB Infographic:

(click for larger version)

With Love To Friends, Family, and All Those Affected By Sandy

One aspect of an ever-growing global community like Startup Weekend is that there will inevitably be times when the ones we care about fall into harm’s way. Hurricane Sandy isn’t the first time members of our community, your community, have been threatened with real danger or experienced loss and difficult circumstances. It certainly won’t be the last. Our thoughts are with everyone and their families dealing with this right now, from New York, to Florida, to Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and everywhere in between.

This is a good moment to reflect on the precious nature of life and to be thankful for the opportunity we have been given to pursue our dreams. We’ve been given a chance to follow our passions; a ride that has thus far been far beyond our most ambitious hopes. We don’t take this opportunity and responsibility lightly – and we know that all of you are equally dedicated to changing lives, educating others, and especially at times like this, spreading hope and offering support.

There are people on this planet, including areas we operate in, that don’t have the freedom or opportunity to pursue their goals or reach their full potential, regardless of natural disasters. As we look to help our friends, family, and loved ones pick themselves up after Sandy passes, let’s continue to stay dedicated to each other and pursue the common goal of changing the world for the better and helping our fellow human beings, especially when they need it most.

The ways in which we all choose to go about accomplishing that will be drastically different, but the passion is the same at the core of our efforts:  We’re all trying to make things better for others and ourselves.

It’s important to take time to recognize the individuals around the world dealing with difficult circumstances – whether it be the result of Sandy or other natural disasters, imbalanced political-economic situations, inequality, persecution, or other limitations, and remind ourselves that even though things are, in many ways, better than they have ever been and we should be proud of where we are, we still have much work to do.

To everyone experiencing difficult times, loss, or uncertainty right now: We’re here for you. Please stay safe, fight on, and take care of each other; sunnier weather is right around the corner.

With love,

The Startup Weekend Crew

Amazon Web Services Global Start-Up Challenge

The AWS Global Start-Up Challenge is a global contest for start-ups who are built using one or more AWS products as part of their solution, such as Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2), Amazon CloudFront and Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). With one month to go until the entry period closes, there’s still plenty of time for you to submit your business idea for consideration.  No matter where you are in the development process, this is a great opportunity for start-ups to win $100k in combined cash and AWS credits, present their ideas to the AWS executive judging team and meet 1:1 with VCs such as Madrona, Sequoia Capital and SV Angel.

If you are new to AWS or you are looking for ways to enhance your application, here are some resources to help you through the process:

Being a truly global contest, we’ve been able to attract people from all over the world to enter this year. From Australia to India, from France to Israel, and from Pittsburgh to Portland, we have a great mix of exciting start-ups. We even have one entry from Ghana.

The contest entry period ends on November 9, 2012. Judging will take place in late November and we will announce the semi-finalists in December, and finalists in early January. The finalists will be flown to San Francisco to present on stage at the finale event on January 24, 2013. Best of luck to everyone entering the contest.

For contest related inquiries and questions, email . More information including the Official Rules can be found on the AWS Website.


SXSW Accelerator is Back! The 5th Edition Promises To Be Epic

SXSW Accelerator returns for its fifth edition to showcase some of the web’s most exciting innovations – could your company be one?

This event provides an outlet for companies to present their new online entertainment or gaming products, social media / networking technologies, or mobile, news, music, or health technology to a panel of industry experts, early adopters, and representatives from the angel / VC community.  Past judges have included Tim Draper of DFJ, Chris Hughes of Facebook and Jumo, Paul Graham of Y Combinator, Craig Newmark of Craiglist, Robert Scoble of Rackspace and Scobleizer, Jeff Pulver of 140 Conference, Chris Shipley of Demo and Guidewire, and Tom Conrad of Pandora to name a few.  We invite your company to join us for this incredible event, as we highlight the technology market’s most impressive new innovations.

The application deadline is Friday, November 9, and the event itself will be March 11-12, 2013 in Austin, TX.

Please apply at  and if you are a music technology companies visit

Google For Entrepreneurs: 400 Million Entrepreneurs In 54 Countries

With all the talk, you have probably heard that Google has officially launched Google for Entrepreneurs – naming Startup Weekend as one of the program’s first partners.  We want to give you some more information on Google’s exciting announcement, how we will be a part of it , and why we think it is going to help you, the Startup Weekend community, and the global entrepreneurial community.

Below are some highlights from Google’s post on the new program and a few links. We’ve also included a video that does a great job describing this new program. We’re  thrilled to see Google step up with such a powerful stance for entrepreneurs – a vision that we are proud to share with the Google team. We look forward to working with Google even more than we have before to help and empower as many entrepreneurs as we can.

From Google:

“As Google turns 14 this month, we’re celebrating this creative spirit and officially launching Google for Entrepreneurs, the umbrella for our several dozen programs and partnerships around the world that support startups and entrepreneurs.

Our focus is threefold:

  1. Partnerships with strong organizations that serve entrepreneurs in local communities
  2. Google-led programs to bring our teams and our tools directly to entrepreneurs
  3. Placing relevant Google tools in the hands of startups as they are getting off the ground and ready to scale”


Video: Brings Startup Weekend Participants Free Web Hosting

Our new partner is committed to helping startups launch powerful and effective websites. As you know, the first thing every new startup needs is a domain name and website. Startup Weekend, in partnership with, is giving all participants a free one year .CO domain name registration and three months free web hosting. That means you have everything you need to name your idea and get started building your site.’s rock solid hosting includes:

  • Built-in app library and auto-install of all your favorite tools like WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal and more.
  • Drag-and-drop SiteBuilder and intuitive control panel
  • 24×7 customer support and active social media presence @domaindotcom

Founded in 2000 and marketed primarily via word-of-mouth referrals, has grown to become one of world’s largest domain name registration and web hosting companies.

We’re excited to bring this new resource and offer to Startup Weekend participants around the world. If you haven’t checked it out, we recommend you do. Sign up for the offer here: