I spent last weekend participating in Startup Weekend San Antonio. Though I didn't make it to the in-person kickoff on Friday night, when I did show up Saturday morning, things were well underway, lots of participation. Who knew the depth and breadth of tech, startup and creative talent? With events like Startup Weekend, BarCamp, Podcamp, and the coworking sessions, we're bringing things together.
I was lucky enough to end up on the ForceXchange team — an eBay style auction site for military, service. This target audience is very familiar to me, from all my years doing web sites and marketing at USAA, and it's a natural effort to spring up in San Antonio. Great URL, too. Rethinking and tweaking the eBay model, reverse-engineering its revenue, content models and so forth gave me an appreciation of how much eBay and other auction sites have evolved, how much we've become used to them, how quickly they've become an ingrained part of the commerce landscape.
My biggest lesson from participating so far has been "Lighten up and quit overthinking stuff." As a serial entrepreneur who often helps other startups get going with business and marketing plans, it's been enlightening to see what progress can be made by just jumping in without any of those docs, and just iterating. It's Agile in the way Agile is meant to be done, without WORRYING about the structure. Makes it fun, exciting.
And it's an honor to be working with the fine people on the ForceXchange team. One member just returned from a tour in Afghanistan. Another's sister is a Border Patrol agent with tales from the front lines. I was tasked with compiling team bios for the site, and they're impressive. Thanks to my ForceXchange team members for letting me join the party.
Check out ForceXchange.com when you get a chance, list some items and tell some service stories. I know San Antonio is THICK with interesting military service stories.