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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Startup School experience

I went to Startup School 2012 which was held today at Stanford. I met a few people who were familiar with my writing, and hopefully introduced quite a few more to it. If this is your first visit here, welcome! If not, welcome back!

There were talks given during most of the day, and most of them were streamed live. They weren't actually the highlight of the day as far as I was concerned. I got far more out of just talking with people at random during the initial gather phase and later during lunch. I also happened to be at YC last night for a reception at which more of the same happened.

One thing I noticed in talking to a lot of people is that I could start seeing connections waiting to be made. I'd talk to someone about their project, and then maybe an hour later, someone else would be working on a potentially related problem. Of course, by then it was too late to find the first person and introduce them to each other.

Also, today, things were far too huge to possibly find someone in any reasonable amount of time. I looked up the capacity of that auditorium: 1700! Even after subtracting a dozen or so for however they propped up the cameras, that's still just too many people in one place.

I got a surprised reaction from one person when I mentioned that he should try to find this other person who was working on a potentially complimentary project. I'm not sure exactly what he found surprising. Was it that I actually paid attention to what people were saying? That's only being polite. After all, why would I ask about what they were working on if I didn't want to hear the answers?

As the day went on, I found myself thinking of more connections which could be made. It seems like there's probably some use for this kind of thinking, and there might even be a venue where people find it valuable.

There's one thing about Startup School I couldn't shake: not many women are involved. It's completely lopsided, and I worked in SRE at Google, so I've seen lopsided.

I can only wonder what's going on with that particular statistic. Is that just reflective of Hacker News, which was the "feeder site" for this particular event? Maybe. I just got downvoted twice for pointing out that one of the speakers had some T-shirt on which said something about "BITCH". (I couldn't read the rest of it from where I was seated.)

Somehow, I couldn't take that talk seriously. I wonder why.