In just two short sleeps, I'll be jetting off to Silicon Valley as part of the Startup Catalyst program. The program was instigated by Australian entrepreneur/mentor/investor Steve Baxter (who is now a 'shark' on the Australian version of Shark Tank) and aims to expose a group of under 25s (affectionately referred to as 'youths') with technical backgrounds to the startup culture in Silicon Valley.
I'll be headed over with 19 other awesome youths from a variety of different backgrounds - spanning robotics to UI - and over the 10 days that we're in San Francisco we'll visit a whole bunch of tech companies (Google, Facebook and Twitter to name just a few!), have the chance to chat to startup founders and technical whizzes, attend tech meetups and even participate in a startup weekend. Sound like a lot for 10 days? It is! The schedule is completely packed with awesome events and as we were told by Steve and Colin (the project director and technology lead, respectively), they don’t want to kill us - just nearly kill us.
I'm only a recent convert to the startup world, having participated in my first 'Startup Weekend' (an event where you literally create a startup during the course of the weekend!) where I, and 3 others, created Drivevibe. I've been bit by the bug ever since, the Startup Mentality of 'just getting it done', is just so infectious and motivational.
I've always wanted to use my combination of skills, spanning my background in Electrical Engineering, current work in the Software development space and my interest in data analytics/machine learning to work on challenging problems and hopefully effect a positive change in the world. For this reason, having this chance to go to Silicon Valley, absorb the culture and make connections is so incredibly exciting.
I'm so excited to experience everything San Francisco has to offer with my cohort of amazingly talented youths. Even though the trip is only 10 days short, I'm sure the impacts of it will be very long lasting. Of course, none of this would be possible without the great help from the Startup Catalyst sponsors and supporters who have made this trip possible. A huge shout out to sponsors QUT Business School, Black Sheep Capital, Griffith University, Virgin Australia, Suncorp and the Queensland Government and supporters AWS, River City Labs, Uber, StartupAus and StartupQLD. A very special thank you to Steve Baxter for instigating and financially backing the program and Peter Laurie and Colin Kinner for making it all happen.
If you'll be in the San Francisco area while I'll be over there (28th of September to 7th of October) I'd love to shout you a coffee and geek out about whatever you’re passionate about! In the meantime, follow me on twitter to get all the hot goss from the trip!