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TeamCamp: Days of Future Past

May 16, 2014

Chris Schmitt

A lot of things have changed in the almost six years I’ve been running TeamCamp. When we first started TeamCamp: Ruby on Rails was still new; there was no iPad; Web 2.0 was at the height of it’s glory; social media was just taking off (Twitter only had a few thousand users); meetups in Ottawa focused on building Startups were rare; incubators like y-combinator were even rarer; and, there was no such thing as a “Lean Startup”. It was the “glory days”. It was like the gold rush. Lot’s of opportunity, everyone was at the starting line, and it was yours for the taking.

Now a lot has changed. There are many vehicles for individuals and teams to pitch and prototype their ideas, and better organized than TeamCamp. The App store has taken over. There are millions of developers building apps even though it’s hard to make money. The bar has been raised. The apps that are successful are professionally executed and marketed, and there are more books and websites about building a startup than you can shake a stick at. It’s an industry in itself.

A lot has changed for me personally as well. In the early days I had a burning desire to build something and perhaps start my own company. Since then I’ve realized that the more I learned, and the more out-of-the-box ideas I brought back to my employer, the more successful I became as an “intrepreneur”.  I’ve also witnessed the incredible sacrifices and struggles that entrepreneurs face, enough to know that quitting your job to start a company not a trivial decision.

It’s time to turn a new chapter in TeamCamp. The promise of TeamCamp was to form “like-minded individuals into teams for the purpose of turning smart ideas into startups”. We’ve had some success, learned a lot, and had a lot of fun, and I’ve seen many of my TeamCampers grow into new opportunities and exciting careers. While I don’t think I can deliver in the original promise of TeamCamp anymore (there are other, better venues as mentioned), judging by the ever growing TeamCamp membership, I think there is still value in the concept.

TeamCamp will be on hiatus for the summer. I will be polling the TeamCamp membership over the next few weeks to better understand what you expect from TeamCamp so that if and when we return in the fall, we will be in a better position to  serve the community. I appreciate your feedback.






One Comment

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  1. June 20, 2014

    You have given an incredible amount to TeamCamp, Chris. Many participants would echo my opinion that it was time very well spent. Results can be measured by harsh, cold, quantifiable criteria, but they can also be gauged by how well they touched people’s lives. On that human level, TeamCamp will always bring smiling to those involved. And they’ll be richer as they apply the same selfless ideals they learned as they team up elsewhere do create new things.

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