Here is a look back at my experience as a participant in Startup Weekend Tech for Good a few years back, and recent experience mentoring, and a mini-documentary by Forward Films providing a lens into the Startup Weekend experience.


The year is 2012. It’s a Sunday morning in April a few months into the New Leaders Council Silicon Valley Fellowship I am participating in along with a dozen or so young professionals and leaders in the area.

On this day we are hearing from social entrepreneurs. One speaker mentions how her start into social entrepreneurship though forming a team at a Startup Weekend event. She recommends the program and suggests we all try it.

So, I do.

A few months later, and coincidentally three years ago today, I attend my first Startup Weekend  where participants gather and work for 54 hours on a startup idea. It is incredible and exhilarating. It breaks the boundaries of what we think is possible to do and to create over the course of 2+ days. So, we keep the momentum going and participate in the inaugural Startup Weekend Next (now called Startup Next) program spanning a few more weekends and featuring live lectures and feedback from Silicon Valley startup luminary Steve Blank.

When I hear about the first Startup Weekend Tech For Good SF happening at Impact Hub later that year, I do that too.

Fast Forward

Jump forward three years to this summer. The organizers of the third annual Startup Weekend Tech for Good reach out to find out if I might be able to serve as a mentor.

It’s a full-circle moment– a chance to share what I have picked up in the past few years in the social entrepreneur startup and education space and to listen and learn from the questions, challenges, inspirations this session’s group of talented aspiring social entrepreneurs are facing.

This time, unlike any other StartupWeekend I have attended, a talented social impact-focused film crew, Forward Films, is on hand to record the weekend. From the hours and hours of footage and interviews they captured, they created the beautiful, artistic, immersive mini documentary below about the experience and the entrepreneurs. You can also read Forward Film Co-Founder Mary Pratt’s overview of the experience here.


Here is the mini documentary. That is my mug on the cover photo and you will hear some of my reflections and thoughts shared in the film. However, the main focus, fortunately :), is on the aspiring entrepreneurs of two participating teams; fellow mentors and judges, and Jessica Falkenthal, the Global Facilitator & Community Organizer for Startup Weekend.


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