Start Up Weekend and the technology they need

Last week I participated on the Tel Aviv StartUp Weekend. There were about 150 participants who pitched 56 ideas. Then 16 of them got selected. By the end of the 50 hour marathon they each built a prototype and put together a business plan giving a 5 min presentation of their project.

In order to allow observant Jews to participate the event was held during the week and not on Saturday. This might have skewed the people towards those who were so serious that they were ready to take one day off from work in order to participate, or those who are self employed or even unemployed.

The event took place at the Peres Peace House in Jaffa and among the 150 participants there were about 15 Palestinians from east Jerusalem and from Ramallah, which serves as the capital of the Palestinian Authority. This alone made it very interesting and I hope at least some of the mixed teams will keep in contact later on.

The event started by a few talks given by the sponsors and then everyone had the opportunity to give a 90 second pitch about any idea for a start-up. There were 56 pitches. Each one of them was also asked what kind of people they want on their teams. I don't have the exact listing so I am writing this from memory. Most of the people mentioned they need a designer and people who understand business development etc. When talking about developers the mostly requested experiences were these:


  • Facebook developer
  • Drupal and/or PHP
  • Django and/or Python
  • Android meaning Java
  • iPhone meaning Objective C

The technologies that were not mentioned were Ruby, Ruby on Rails and Perl.

I personally tried to join two teams but I did not feel that I have a lot to contribute. At least not in the areas where I claim to be an expert. In the teams where they wanted to build a back-end prototype there were usually at least 2 PHP or Python developers so there was no point in trying to convince them to use Perl. Besides that, I am usually not good at the quick and dirty jobs.

So I spent most of my time walking around trying to see what others are doing and showing an idea I have to some people seeing what do they think. Maybe I can find a few people who might be interested in this project.

Open source vs Start-up

While at the event I was wondering how many of the developers there are involved in the open source world? I met a few people there whom I knew from earlier and they pointed at a few others I did not know who are involved in open source projects. Some of them attending meetings as well some of them "just" coding. None of them were Perl developers.

Which brought me to the other question, why are there so few start-ups using Perl?. Frankly I don't have a proof that this is indeed the case but it certainly seems so. I believe most of the start-ups pick the languages based on what do the the entrepreneurs know.

Are the Perl developers less of an entrepreneur-type than those using Python or PHP?

Are the Python and PHP communities more forgiving (or even welcoming) to people who are self-employed or even entrepreneur wanting to build a large business?

Published on 2010-07-18 by Gabor Szabo