Exceptional Participants & Coaches, Part 2


Exceptional events like Startup Weekend, Maker Edition attract exceptionally talented people. Not only do we have a remarkable lineup of coaches, but we’ve have also seen many amazing participants sign up. We’ve interviewed several of each and share a few of those conversations here.


Marc Barros, Entrepreneur and formerly Co-founder and CEO of Contour


Q: What made you interested in Startup Weekend, Maker’s Edition?

A: I love to build real products that customers use in their daily lives.

Q: What is your background and what relevant experiences are you bringing with you?

A: I am an entrepreneur. The first company I built was Contour Cameras, which made action video easy to capture and share. My experience is in getting products off the ground and understanding core customer needs.

Q: Are there any areas of technology, design, or business you’re particularly excited about?

A: I am really excited about hardware products that get smarter as you use them. Connectivity, great software, and thoughtful design can be applied to a lot of categories.

Q: Do you have an idea you’d like to work on?

A: Yes, I was going to pitch it at Startup Weekend. Do you want me to explain it? [Note: we let Marc off the hook in terms of sharing his idea prior to the event ;)]

Q: What kinds of outcomes would you like to see from the event?

A: To win it. :-)


Beth Kolko, Co-founder and CEO of Shift Labs & Professor of Human Centered Design & Engineering at University of Washington


Q: What made you interested in coaching Startup Weekend, Maker’s Edition?

A: I’ve been actively involved in the local maker community for about seven years, and in that time I’ve been consistently impressed with Makers as drivers of innovation — particularly outside of formal research institutions. In fact, because of that, I started a project called Hackademia a few years ago at the UW where I am a professor; Hackademia leverages the energy and creativity of the maker community to reinvigorate education and help more people become functional engineers.

Q: What is your background and what areas do you expect to offer the most guidance in?

A: I’ve been a professor for about 20 years. I started out in the humanities and did a lot of research about technology. I got very good at critiques of interfaces and technology design, and then made a switch from humanities to engineering because I wanted to not just understand what was wrong with technology. I wanted to be able to build better stuff. And engineers make stuff. But since I never had any formal training in making stuff, it’s been the maker community that has taught me to solder, program, and everything else.

My background is in human centered design, and I’m really looking forward to interacting with the teams to think about how to build products that meet real consumer needs and that are really usable by those consumers.

Q: Are there any areas of technology, design, or business you’re particularly excited about seeing at the event?

A: I’m really interested in low resource areas and the kinds of great technologies we can build to meet the needs of the approximately 5 billion consumers who don’t live in places like Silicon Valley. Those communities are local as well as global.

Q: What kinds of outcomes would you like to see from the event?

A: I’d like to see new stuff in the world, things that make lives more interesting and the world a little better.

I also hope people get energized at the concept of working with atoms! We’ve got a really rich ecosystem of bits-based startups in Seattle, and I’m keen to see more innovation about atoms. We’ve got amazing talent in this area via Boeing and their ecosystem, and I’m hoping this event will catalyze the community and inspire people to build some bridges.