I like to blog because it allows me to answer common questions on a single platform. Spending Monday wrapping up the weekend in Guangzhou, taking the train back with my co-organizers: Kawai and Nik, we reflected on this weekend.
It has affected all 3 of us. Kawai just quit his day job (last day was Thursday May 31), Nik has been paying less and less attention to his laptop spare parts business in Hua qiang bei, and I have turned over my first business from 2004. I think all 3 of us have no regrets, but again and again, people ask us why we are doing this.
I have pretty clear answers, and I’ll take this time to outline each point.
I wish this existed when I was starting up
I think this is the main reason. I have had so many failures, so many mistakes, so many easy things I could have avoided if I had gone to a startup weekend, or had a startup community around me to help guide me and motivate me to keep going.
I think thats enough for this point, and I think this is a common motivator people have.
Chinese Entrepreneurs Really Need It
I was in USA a couple weeks ago, facilitating the Seattle Startup weekend – and I was talking to Nik who was back in Shenzhen. In USA, the teams were much more independent, they knew what to do and they did it.
In China, entrepreneurship still is a newer idea. And tons of Chinese entrepreneurs are afraid to reveal their idea, there isn’t the environment for startups. Its developing more now.
And the Chinese entrepreneurs have PASSION! I remember, my staff in my SEO and E-commerce businesses, they would learn so fast, and working late. Studying, learning, tweaking, adjusting. And then they would start their own e-commerce or SEO company and be so successful. Then they would call me teacher. Honestly, I was a bit angry about this, but then I realized…maybe I am going about it the wrong way.
Startup weekend is more effective than hiring a full-time staff, training them, and retaining them.
Give the Chinese entrepreneurs wings, a platform, and let them fly.
Great way to bridge USA + China
I’m a grassroots guy. Bottom up. Power to the people. I’ve been trying for 5 years to better connect China and USA, getting extremely frustrated in early 2010….I am only 1 person. Need a community, need a vision.
Bring in the Startup Weekend brand and image….
I love what Startup weekend stands for. NO TALK, all action! I think this is what is needed to create a common “language” between China and the world – to bring down barriers of misunderstandings and fear of the unknown.
Have an American “tech” company success story “import into China”
I’m so tired of seeing American tech companies come to China and fail. Its getting to be such an old story. Sadly, I have to say, I have so far seen Startup Weekend make some obvious mistakes in its current strategy, and I hope to change that. I am putting my effort on having a successful case of an American company in the tech industry to succeed, and “not be blocked” in China.
Everyone is talking about “importing products into China”, I am “importing startup weekend”. Lets see how this goes…putting myself on the line here.
Make tons of Business Relationships in China
Business anywhere is about relationships, BUT ESPECIALLY in China! Working with the Startup Weekend name has helped me better get an in to Chinese tech companies. Its a win-win – they want more innovation, I am seeking long term relationships.
Great Social Media Content / Case
As everyone in my whole life knows, my life is all about social media. My life is online. Startupweekend as an organization is great content for social media. The passion in the photographs, the excitement in the pitching, the anxiousness for the judging on Sunday night.
This stuff is awesome!
Doing it for the money?
First of all, what money? Heck, I worked on Wall Street for the money, that was clear. When I left Wall Street in 2007, I left for my freedom, left for my adventure, left for my “pursuit of happiness”.
So many of my friends have said I have inspired them to start their own businesses, to take a chance in life. I love that, I love getting people to think outside the box.
Maybe one day I’ll be “financially rich”, if doing what I love gets me there. If it doesn’t, then I’ll still be doing what I love.