5 years of PHX Startup Week: Quit ya belly-achin’ and get back on the bus!

Matt (Meanders) Simpson
Mar 11 · 3 min read

PHX Startup Week is my friendversary with so many of my favorite #yesphx peeps.

While attending our community’s FIFTH Startup Week last week, I got to thinking … How many folks’ first encounters with me involved the distribution of drink tickets?

As a former Startup Week organizer, I get a lot of questions about the current state and future vision for the event. Some folks are just making chit chat. Sadly, others are implying that the event (or the #yesphx community) isn’t what it used to be.

My general answer is … Startup Week is a great event and a critically important asset for our community.

Beyond that, ummmm … ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I’ve come to accept that it’s no longer my event. I have my opinions, but I (try to) defer to each organizing team on how they want to execute … hopefully with excellence as was the case under Mike Jones and Kate Rogers’ leadership this year.

Sure, there are elements of the event that are not what I envisioned when we started working on it back in Fall 2014. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

For example, the first PHX Startup Week was truly a startup conference. Today, it’s far more inclusive with content for builders of businesses of all stripes — home-based and lifestyle businesses, mom and pop shops, side hustles, you name it.

And, thankfully, there are still plenty of startups — especially during Greg Head’s always excellent SaaS Day.

I hear plenty of grumbles and gripes. To the haters, I say: Quit ya belly-achin’.

For every person who questioned placing some content in Gilbert this year, I heard someone complain about having all five days in downtown Phoenix last year.

For every person I heard complain about buying a ticket, I saw another earn a free ticket (and a sweet T-shirt) by volunteering.

In a metro region of 4.7 million people with a vast diversity of business types, no single event and no single hashtag can possibly address all of our needs.

If you need something more specific, go start it. As long as it aligns with community values, we’ll use community resources like Startup Week and #yesphx to drive eyeballs to it.

But don’t forget to come back to the broader community and say hello from time to time. Each of us should continue to rally around unifying assets like PHX Startup Week and #yesphx.

After all, it was just five years ago that we were still groping in the dark trying to find our tribes at Gangplank or Co+Hoots or on Twitter.

PHX Startup Week probably won’t be like the first two years ever again. #yesphx won’t be either.

And I’m cool with that.

Under Mike and Kate’s leadership, PHX Startup Week is something our community should be proud of — AND SUPPORT — all these years later.

What’s support look like? Volunteer for a day. Be a cheerleader. Buy a damn ticket.

I hope to see y’all Feb. 17–22, 2020 at the SIXTH Startup Week. And I hope to see you in the #yesphx Slack and Facebook groups between now and then.

Now, who’s got extra drink tickets?

P.S. Did you miss out on PHX Startup Week? Ovi Demetrian Jr posted recaps of his favorite sessions on the #yesphx Medium publication.

❤ If you enjoyed this post, please share it and then find me on Twitter! ❤


Stories, thoughts, and news from the Greater Phoenix startup and entrepreneurial community.

Matt (Meanders) Simpson

Written by

I’m a community-building, tree-hugging, road-tripping, yoga-loving, veg-eating hippie. I own a digital marketing consultancy in Tempe. #yesphx



Stories, thoughts, and news from the Greater Phoenix startup and entrepreneurial community.

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