Startup Weekend Columbus

On February 17th I headed up to Columbus, OH to participate in my first Startup Weekend. I was geared up, however pitch-less, for the event. I brought all of my tech ready to create something incredible in 54 hours. This included an external monitor which became my crutch for parsing monstrous files. The event was sponsored and hosted by a great tech company called Tech Columbus. They really put on a great event with their huge, spacious offices.

The weekend went on as planned. There weren't too many surprises. The food was amazing, the pitches were a ton of fun, and the work was competitive and extremely fast paced. I told myself that this weekend was not about being first, not about getting a job. No, it was about pushing my personal limits and creating something under excruciating pressure. It was a little masochistic, but I knew that I would learn a lot about myself from it.

And push my limits I did. Barely sleeping, our designer and I put together a great little app called Purge. The overall experience was pretty great. I had to make sure to send an email to my good buds at Parse for creating such an amazing SDK for a schemaless database. I can't attest to scalability, but for rapid (and I mean rapid) prototyping its a great service. Without it, our app would have only been placeholder screens instead of a running service.

There were some amazing speakers as well. One of the founders of Adly, Derek Rey, really changed my perspective on career goals. He grew up in the San Francisco area and created most of his businesses in SF or LA. I got the opportunity to ask him how much location mattered to the success of his projects. His answer, again life changing, really surprised me.

Derek said that his location was not vital to his success. In fact, Derek stressed that although Silicon Valley is the holy grail for software developers, the cost of living and the requirements for success are vastly higher than other locations which will decrease your likelihood for success on projects. There is extreme overhead cost and vast competition. However, the amount of talent in the area is what most entrepreneurs are after. This cheered me up immensely because of my decision to start my career, be that with further education or starting a job, in Columbus, OH. Derek was adament about how Columbus is an amazing, and cheap, location to start a company or project because of the cheap cost of living. If you look at this comparison of cost of living between Columbus, OH and San Francisco, CA you can see how crazy the difference is. A salary of $80,000 annually in Columbus equates to roughly $165,740 in San Francisco, and that, to me, is crazy.