Just two weeks until Seattle Startup Weekend!

startup weekend

Jennifer CabalaThis was my first Startup Weekend, and I decided to not just observe, but to get involved.  In case you haven’t heard of it, Startup Weekend is an event where techies try to create a business in less than three days.  Going in I didn’t know how much I could help – I can’t code – but I thought I could write some copy, or at least fetch coffee for the people who could write code.  In the end, I really surprised myself.  Both with what I could do, and what would help achieve Startup Weekend success.

— Jennifer Cabala, Lessons from Startup Weekend

This will be my first Startup Weekend as well, and I’m looking forward to being actively involved as well.  For one thing, I’m already working on a startup, qweries, so it’s a great opportunity to discover some potential co-founders or early employees.  I’ve also got another idea that might be worth investigating (more of that soon); perhaps others will be interested as well — or I’ll find out where it needs to improve.  There are lots of other great reasons to participate in Startup Weekend, so it should be a good time!

Isaac EliasIf you’re a marketing/business dev/ideaman type of entrepreneur looking to go make things happen at a similar event (like the one coming up in San Francisco on May 6 – 8), I want to help you get the most out of the experience. So, here are a few tips and insights to give you a leg-up before you start-up.

1. You are a dude going to “ladies night”.

— Isaac Elias, BizMonkeys and IdeaMen at StartupWeekend – Don’t Waste Your Time

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Equal Pay Day: Pay Equity and Startups

Next Equal Pay Day: Tuesday, April 12, 2011

American women who work full-time, year-round are paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. This gap in earnings translates into $10,849 less per year in female median earnings, leaving women and their families shortchanged. The wage gap is even more substantial when race and gender are considered together, with African-American women making only 62 cents,and Latinas only 53 cents, for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men.

National Women’s Law Center

Equal Pay Day is the date that symbolizes how far into 2011 women must work to earn what men earned in 2010. This year, it’s April 12.

The Paycheck Fairness Act was reintroduced in Congress today (after being killed last December by a Republican filibuster), and more recently the AAUW’s come out with anothre report, The Simple Truth About the Pay Gap, demolishing the arguments of the guys who deny there’s a problem.  My posts from the last couple years ( #fairpay and Women Don’t Ask and What would it mean if women were paid as much as men?) cover a lot of this, and as always, there’s a lot of great stuff being written — check out the #fairpay hashtag for links.

After all that it’s hard to come up with something new to talk about.  So let me just spend a moment on the area of gender equity I’m personally most involved with right now: representation of women at startups.

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Notes from Underground: DJ Anomaly at the party without a name

pink lava lampIt was so underground that there weren’t any flyers and it didn’t even have a Facebook group.  A tiny venue with headliners who we’ve seen at DNA Lounge and Barnevald, with DJ Anomaly opening and closing.  The music was fantastic, amazing visuals, incredible depth, great colors.  I heart psytrance.

lavender fingernails in the black lightI was in a great mood and totally had the “I’ve earned this” feeling.  The latest skirmish in the fight to restore our civil liberties worked out far better than anybody had hoped.  Twitter and blogs and CSPAN callers agree, Americans across the political spectrum hate the PATRIOT Act.   Yeah, who knows what’ll happen next: we’ve got three months to organize, and oh gee, there’s also wiretapping back doors (CALEA 2.0), the internet kill switch, COICA, domain name seizures, Wikileaks, and the TSA.  For now, though, time for some well-deserved celebration.

So we enjoyed the lava lamps and the glowsticks and the candles and the depth and the music and danced all night.

At 6 a.m., D read my cards in the atrium.

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What do you think of this “one-line pitch” for qweries?

qweries helps everybody

find answers
get in the conversation,
and contribute to your community

by prioritizing diversity and design

As I described on the NWEN blog in The agile one-pager (part 5), a good one-line pitch covers what a company does, who they do it for, and a bit about how. Here’s what I’ve currently got for qweries, a Q&A (questions-and-answers) startup that will compete with sites like Quora and Yahoo! Answers.



Suppose I were to add a third word: “by prioritizing design, _______, and diversity.”   Some of the possibilities that leap to mind include “privacy”, “community”, “emotion”, “accessibility”, “fun” … Thoughts on any of those, or other ideas?


PS: updated several times, most recently May 25.  Thanks to everybody who’s given feedback, and especially to Mikhaila for

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