Andrew Hyde, Founder of Startup Weekend

February 14, 2014
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Andrew Hyde wrote

I’ve now run over 1,000 events with as few as three people to over 25,000. Every one of them I run with the same methodology that I wanted to share with you. It isn’t perfect but has remained almost the same for the last 10 years. It works for me, it might work for you. This is how I think about and plan for a community to be proud of:

1. Everyone is welcome

If you are going to have a gathering, make sure everyone is welcome. I don’t mean every person in the public is welcome (think of a technical conference) but everyone that codes in PHP, or is interested, is part of your community. Set a target for who the event is for, and make sure everyone that is in that target feels welcomed. This goes for pricing, marketing and planning the experience. Think of your attendees and future attendees the same way. When the door opens you must open your arms to whoever shows up.

2. Everyone is valued

Value the intelligence of your community. Put on events and act in a way where you are speaking up to the group. Start your events on time. Don’t hype or misrepresent what the event will be. It is easy to say but incredibly hard to do. I always joke that I’m afraid that my audience will have a revolt if I don’t over deliver, or at least make everyone feel valued. This is super important to me as it is how I would want to be treated. If you are having a gathering and not valuing the time, energy and people there you are running an infomercial. You can generally trick people, once.

3. Everyone is complex

Don’t think that you can realize or label the complexity of what it means to be in that room or group. Don’t ever pretend to know, understand or control the story lines that go into an event. People are complex, and if they act in a certain way that is against the norm / out of character you might find circumstances that validate these actions. Realize the complexity and identify that you hear it.

4. Be true to you

You have to respect your time and energy and make sure that you are intellectually interested (and honest with yourself), have questions you are answering and are compensated (monetarily or with free hug signs). Taking a paycheck doesn’t make you unethical but volunteering to the point of burning out is. Find a balance of what you want to get out of it (it is ok to be a touch selfish, just don’t go overboard) and what your community gets out of it. Put on events that make you swell with pride, not because of what you did but because of what the community did.

5. Chase away Bad Actors

Those that don’t make others feel welcome, valued, realize the complexity of people or respect the time and energy of organizing should be chased away with a large stick. One with the points on this list labeled.

Andrew Hyde is a minimalist, writer, bootstrapper, designer, user interface builder, user experience creator, thought leader buzzword originator, blogger, politico, biker, runner, backpacker and nice guy.

Good Advice. It is harder than one can imagine and takes much more time. So be prepared.

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