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It was all a blur. I’m not sure I slept. That was so intense…

But what about a few weeks after the madness is over? What does everyone remember from their Startup Weekend?

I’m one of those sketchnotes people. I draw what people say. Usually, that means covering the speakers at tech conferences, and StartupWeekend MEGA was no exception. Would a bulleted list really capture Dave McClure running around on the stage flipping everyone off? No. So, I made it visual.

Humans don’t think in lists. We don’t go through ideas linearly. We make leaps, we draw surprising conclusions from seemingly unrelated data… we get creative and we tell stories.

We all understand that stories are stronger with visuals. We watch movies, we learn to read with picture books, we use metaphor when we explain ourselves.

At this point, I do sketchnotes of pretty much everything. If I’m working on a problem, with someone else or solo, words aren’t enough. With a sketch, you have something to point at. You can shift the conversation from being “my idea” vs “your idea” and on toward actually discussing the ideas on their own merit.

This isn’t just about recording either. It’s interpreting, drawing your own conclusions. It’s for prototyping and testing out your latest app. Get comfortable being visual in your communication and you’ll see better answers. You’ll be able to tackle bigger problems. You’ll see what everyone is saying.

Alexis Finch is the pencil for hire behind GraphiteMind, creating sketchnotes of technology talks and startup stories. A freelance UX Researcher / Strategist, Alexis also mentors at pariSoma, WIMAccelerator and for Startup Weekend events. Based in San Francisco (with New York City tendencies), she is currently working on a startup of her own to change the future of work for freelancers. Follow her on Twitter @agentfin.
Mitchell Cuevas
(@mcuevasm) I am the Sr. Marketing Director here at Techstars, am passionate about helping entrepreneurs, and am obsessed with finding, playing with, and implementing all the best new marketing (and other) technology I can get my hands on.