Summer camp was cut short this year.
Due to less-than-expected paid attendance at its first event and weak registration for future events, organizers Seed Philly and Novotorium decided to cut their losses and cancel the rest of what they called Entrepreneur Summer Camp. (Another summer camp for a different type of technologist fared better)
Other than a well-programmed Infonautics event, the only event that survived the cuts was the Not-a-Hackathon Summer Camp Sleepover, where entrepreneurs and, let’s call them, skilled people who want to help these entrepreneurs team up to try to make the most progress on a business or an idea in 36 hours. Seed Philly and Novotorium are matching up the teams, so participants don’t have to waste any time pitching ideas and choosing the ones they like. Originally, the winning team was going to split $2,000.
But, because seemingly no part of this process has been easy for organizers, the Not-a-Hackathon team ran into two roadblocks:
1) Not enough people signed up for the “skilled people who want to help entrepreneurs” group. In response to this, Novotorium founder Mike Krupit upped the prize money for the helping side. Instead of splitting $2,000 equally between the winning entrepreneur and the ‘helper team,’ the winning team will now win $3,000 and the helper side will get $2,000 from the prize money. Krupit said this technique has worked and registration on the helper side has increased.
2) Some developers took issue with the language on the Not-a-Hackathon website, which has since been changed. On the site, the aforementioned “skilled people who want to help entrepreneurs” were referred to as “resources,” and Krupit said some felt that the wording was demeaning.
“Since when did the developers [sic] union get so strong,” joked Krupit on the Philly Startup Leaders listserv.
Krupit told Technically Philly that he wasn’t merely referring to developers when he referred to “resources,” and, he pointed out, he’s been a developer for 25 years. But, he said, it was an easy fix.
The bigger takeaway for Krupit is the lack of excitement around the Entrepreneur Summer Camp programming.
“Philly takes the summer off,” he said, comparing our scene to New York’s and California’s. “We need to raise the bar.”-30-