Touchdown Nation was formed yesterday (the name was updated from Football Nation so we could secure a web domain, twitter account and be unique on Facebook). As a part of Atlanta Startup Weekend 3, we’re building an engaging social game for Facebook in less than 3 days.
The first 24 hours of Startup Weekend are a volatile time. During ASW1, a huge swath of business and marketing types ran away after we chose to work on Skribit, and more attrition followed during early and mid Saturday afternoon as the team lurched into action. During ASW2, many, MANY teams flamed out when they realized that the person who pitched the idea was trying to find free development & sales labor to build their idea in the coming months. This year, at least 2 of the 8 teams totally cratered in the first 24 hours.
It happens. Teams realize they can’t agree on what to build, that they can’t build what they want to, or that someone else already built the whole thing. It’s not always a reflection on the people involved. In some cases, I think it IS a reflection of the idea pitched. Vague pitches about ill-defined products that will take a year to build are recipes for team implosion.
The first 24 hours of Startup Weekend are kind of insane. You have teams of 5 to 20 people trying to get on the same page to figure out exactly what their project is, how to make money, and how to work effectively with a dozen strangers.
Touchdown Nation was no exception. We had a great working session on Friday night deciding many of the things the game was and was not. It changed a decent bit from my original pitch, or at least what I had in my head, which is a good thing and a great reflection on the team. We came into this morning with a list of things to get done by noon, and we basically hit all of them, but there was still this sense of urgency. We had a loose plan, a new name, and the technology infrastructure was in place, but hadn’t had any time to actually build the technology, the business, or the marketing. It’s an uneasy feeling, which makes people on a team want to spend more time generating certainty instead of building something.
In the afternoon, we started to do less planning and more doing. There are amazing times in startups where I believe the core team is in a rhythm. In a rhythm, people on different teams understand the common needs enough that problems are worked out in conference calls, not huge meetings, and I believe Touchdown Nation hit that stride today. When everyone is running toward the same goal, you need less meetings to reach that goal. Course corrections happen through natural conversations, not huge meetings.
We hit that moment today. Code started flying, blog posts started getting posted, you name it), but we got everyone technically ready to do their job.
That’s enough for now. We”re very exicted and having a blast. Check out @TouchdownNation for the latest news.