Edit (Ben): I found this unpublished post that Dave wrote right after the previous Charlottesville Startup Weekend, and it’s getting me really excited both about mentoring this weekend at Richmond Startup Weekend (at the time of writing this, there are still tickets left for Designers and Developers on the Eventbrite page) and for the next Charlottesville Startup Weekend which is right around the corner.

How much can you accomplish in 54 hours? Odds are you can get a lot done - especially when you’re collaborating with a group eager to crank out a full prototype in just a couple days. It’s a blast and I encourage you to check out their site and think about going.

So what’s fun about it? Why would you give up a weekend to do something like this? First off, the community. It’s a chance to schmooze and network, sure, but it’s also a chance to band together with some like-minded folks and hammer out a project. You don’t have time to do everything. You have to make compromises. But in the end you’ll come out having learned a lot about something (what that something is will vary widely, and that’s part of the fun) and you might even have something awesome to show for it.

So what did I do? I halfheartedly proposed something (and actually got some interest), but I ended up working with a group of nearly a dozen people on a mobile Facebook app that tries to turn social interactions and interests into a market simulation game. Sounds terribly startupy, right? That’s the point! Try something quirky and run with it. We pivoted a little (WELL HELLO THAR BUZZWORD) but came away generally satisfied that we had an interesting idea.

Is it The Next Big Thing? Not yet. Did anyone make that mythical unicorn-like capital magnet of a viral product that all startups yearn to spin into the unsuspecting market? It’s too soon to say - overnight success never really happens overnight.