So we now understand what it means when someone says: "I've caught the start-up bug!" The start-up stage of an enterprise truly does feel like a fever. It's not your typical fever; this one doesn't keep you in bed nor make you fatigued or dizzy. No. This fever makes you inspired and, yes, maybe a little delusional. And not only that, but it's contagious. So watch out.
This was Startupfest. It was like when that one kid in elementary school showed up with lice and the next day everyone had itchy heads.
Our experience at Startupfest was first and foremost hot. The weather was unbearable (but we were provided cell-phone powered fans!). But the temperature wasn't the only factor contributing to the feelings of high energy. Every person we talked to at Startupfest had THE idea. THE idea that was going to revolutionize society and alleviate people's problems. Every person we had the chance to talk to truly radiated with excitement and hope. People were looking for partners and software engineers and funders and the list went on. It was amazing how much people believed in their ideas and the lengths they were prepared to go to see their vision come to life.
Even as newcomers to the start-up world, we know the rates of success are low. As we went through the day as participants in BDC's Women in Tech Boot Camp and the rest of the week's workshops, while all the people we talked to were inspiring it was impossible not to think about how few would succeed. While a sobering thought, it really made us ponder our reasons for attending the workshop and the value of the start-up community.
Both of us had come to Startupfest with the expectation that we would be gaining valuable skills for entering the ecosystem. While we did glean some insights from industry experts, the workshops we attended and the people we interacted with taught us an even more valuable takeaway:
Startupfest is all about the community. Spreading community, keeping community, and helping community (#keepthebugalive).
In that sense, it was a true privilege to be able to attend so early in our careers and so early in the journey of AI.D, our in-the-works personal health manager. After this experience, we know how vital community is and Startupfest is the event that intensifies the permeation of the bug through the community!
Maude Lizaire, Jazlyn Hellman - AI For Good Cohort 2019