I recently had the privelege of being a judge at the 2nd Startup Weekend Kansas City, which is the brainchild of Andrew Hyde and run by Marc Nager and Clint Nelsen.
For the uninitiated, Startup Weekend is a 54 hour intensely concentrated startup business ecosystem that begins with people pitching their ideas on a Friday night and ends with presentations of the executed business idea on a Sunday night, in which one winner is selected. On this particular weekend, there were 5 other cities that hosted the same event. Marc Nager told me that over 600 people had applied for the 100 spots in Istanbul (yes, as in Turkey), which to me is pretty amazing in itself.
I met some highly motivated, talented entrepreneurs at Startup Weekend Kansas City, and was impressed with their ability to Think Big. While it was a very close competition, the winner was Herd Map that built a near real time Google Map hot spot of cool places to go based upon checkins/posts from GoWalla, Bright Kite, Twitter and FourSquare. It seems that social media continues to find new uses, and for me that understands something about internet marketing, the possibilites seemed very compelling.
Go to the Startup Weekend Kansas City site to check out the interesting ideas, presentations and become familar with some of the names of the participants. While entrepreneurship is not for everyone, my guess is that you will see some of these names go on to do some good things in the Kansas City area.
Next time it comes to town, be sure to not miss your chance to take part. That is, of course, you don't mind 54 hours of little sleep but lots of great ideas, camaraderie and the chance to launch your next Big Idea!