Day 8: Frisbees, Bitcoins, and San Mateo Superheroes

After the enormousness of Startup Weekend the last few days (blog post for that is coming soon, I’m assured), today was a bit of a rest day. It started with a great sleep in, to the extent that quite a few people missed breakfast. By 11, most of us had made it onto the bus, ready to make the short trek to San Mateo.

San Mateo is a beautiful little city of about 100,000 people, about half an hour south of where we were in downtown San Francisco. We parked next to a little park in the middle of town, with a few hours to kill before our first presentation from Boost VC. For most of us, this meant a trip to Pancho Villa Taqueria where we took on the challenge of the infamous Super Nachos.

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They love their food big in ‘Merica, and the Taqueria did not disappoint. After lunch, we rolled down to the tranquil Japanese Gardens, before retreating back to the park we parked near for a well earned lie down. This was followed by a highly competitive frisbee match, the highlight of which was Matt catching a frisbee with his shoe.

The game ended when Peter got the frisbee stuck in a tree, and we moved on to Boost.

Boost recently declared itself to be the world’s first Bitcoin Venture Capitalist, and Founder/CEO Adam Draper did not disappoint. His passion for the technology was unrivalled and he did a great job of explaining the difference between the blockchain as a platform, and bitcoin as a payments app atop it. This leaves a lot of potential for other startups that can utilise the blockchain to do interesting things.

A big unsolved problem, in my eyes, is what happens when mining starts to dry up. Adam suggested that transaction costs would rise when that happened to offset for the decreased value for miners, but that seems contrary to the main value add of Bitcoin in the first place. So I’m very keen to see other creative ideas people could have to help solve this problem while keeping the blockchain attractive.

After Boost, we took a tour of Draper University, founded by Adam’s dad Tim. It’s a very American style university, focusing on a specific goal – building entrepreneurial skills in a very short period of time, through intensive classes in a live in campus. We didn’t have very long there, mostly because we were exhausted from the weekend, but it was cool to see the number of creative ways that people have suggested creating more engines to create startups in this part of the world. Draper calls itself the “Draper University of Heroes” (D.U.H.) and the theme of superheroes is big throughout the campus.

After Draper, we grabbed an ice tea for the bus ride back to San Francisco. A few of us went to see Interstellar after dinner. It was amazingly technically, but beyond that my mind is too blown to say anything else.

Alex Ghiculescu

I'm a co-founder at Tanda, a Brisbane startup that automates payroll data-entry and processing for small and medium businesses. It's not a very exciting field - which is why no business owner should ever have to think about it! I studied at Queensland University of Technology where I met my co-founders over a beer.

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