Upcoming startup workshop in San Francisco

I’m organizing a half-day startup workshop in San Francisco. This would be a terrific event to attend if you’ve recently started a software company and feel dazed, confused, or just want to bounce ideas off of someone who’s been there.

We’ll keep it small so everybody gets a chance to be heard. Space is extremely limited.

It’s a bonus supplement to the Business of Software conference, which is Nov. 9-11 in San Francisco.

Although the startup workshop itself is free, you do have to pay for for that conference, which is not free, in fact, it’s kind of expensive (but totally worth every penny!) I know it’s kind of expensive for very early stage startups, but trust me on this, it’s worth it.

Here’s what happens. After the main conference finishes up on Wednesday, we’ll divide up into three groups. Each group will do three 90 minute workshops, moderated by:

  1. Neil Davidson and Simon Galbraith, the founders of Red Gate Software. Red Gate is a software company in Cambridge, England, founded in 1999, which has now grown to about 160 people. It was founded with no VC and little debt. In 2006 it was Cambridge News business of the year and has been in the Sunday Times top 100 places to work for the last three years running. They’ve recently launched Springboard, an amazing startup incubator that provides advice, office space, free lunch, and pocket money, and takes no equity in return.
  2. Joel Spolsky (oh wait that’s me) and Michael Pryor, the founders of Fog Creek Software.
  3. Dharmesh Shah, founder of HubSpot, a software platform for internet marketing. Previously he founded Pyramid Digital Solutions, a bootstrapped company acquired by SunGard. Most of you know him from his blog OnStartups.com or from the terrific talk  he gave at last year’s conference.

The format is very open. It’s a chance to chat, bounce ideas around, ask questions, solve specific problems, get feedback, and learn from each other.

After the workshops we’ll regroup with Jason Calacanis, who will do a live broadcast of his podcast This Week in Startups and take your questions live. Jason is on his third startup. The first, Silicon Alley Reporter, was the flagship magazine of New York City’s short-lived dot com boom; after the crash of 2000 it closed down. His second startup was Weblogs Inc, the first really serious commercial blog network, which sold to AOL for an undisclosed sum (let’s call it $25 million, shall we?) After turning netscape.com into a Digg clone, Jason spent some time at a fancy-pants VC firm, Sequoia Capital, where he hatched the idea for his current startup, Mahalo, which they funded. Anyway now he’s got this terrific podcast and he’ll be doing it live and we’ll be his audience, so you’ll have a rare chance to ask Jason questions in person and hear him pontificate.

Here’s how to sign up.

If you haven’t registered for BOS2009 yet, go do that. During the registration process, you’ll see a checkbox that says “I’d like to come to Joel’s startup bootcamp”. It’s not a bootcamp, really. You won’t have to do pushups or work very hard. But check that box anyway.

If you already registered for BOS2009, follow this link. Click on “Already Registered.” Log on, and look for the link that says Event Fees. Why does it say that? I don’t know. After you click on that link you’ll be able to check the box that says “I’d like to come to Joel’s startup bootcamp”. It’s still not a bootcamp. Really. Bootcamp is where you run around in circles for 20 weeks without getting more than four hours of sleep a night while drill sergeants barely a year older than you foam at the mouth and berate you endlessly like that time Tom Hanks flips out at Bitty Schram in A League of Their Own. “There’s no crying in baseball!” Anyway, NOT THAT AT ALL. This will be more of a friendly conversation with successful software startup founders. Not bootcamp.

Space is extremely limited: there will be three groups of 24 founders each. No more than two attendees per startup, please. See you in San Francisco!

About the author.

I’m Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Trello and Fog Creek Software, and CEO of Stack Overflow. More about me.