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Daniel is our a amazing facilitator from Louisville (KY) is currently flying all the way to us from the U.S. with a 10+ hours flight. We were so curious about getting to know this super motivated guy, so we asked him some questions in advance:


“How often have you hosted, organized and participated in Startup Weekend this far?”

I’ve lost count of how many events I’ve participated in, but it numbers above 30. I’ve been an observer the first one Louisville, KY held, then realized I needed to participate. I was part of the next 2 events in the same city as a general business/hustler, then retired from participating after taking 1st place in the Lexington, KY event in 2013. Since then I’ve helped organize as the budget point person, lead organizer and stepped back to ‘pass the beaker’ to the next lead organizer. As of recent I’ve been an active facilitator, traveling mostly along the Eastern United States, but have made it to Canada and soon to the Caribbean in June 2016. I may have facilitated more than 10 or 15, but I’ve lost count.

“As we all know facilitators work for free as well, why do you like to host SWs?”

The world is a much smaller place than we realize. I enjoy building a network and occasionally connect current participants with past participants in different cities if there is a match.

“What do you do when not spending your weekend hosting Startup Weekends?”

I’m still working on my 2013 Startup Weekend concept, which is harder than it started out. I’m heavily involved in the Louisville, KY region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and maker community. I help coach budding entrepreneurs through early stage market validation, problem definition and pitch practices. Occasionally I’m asked by investors to help pre-seed stage companies dial their model and correct business practices prior to investment. No two days are identical, and I enjoy that aspect.

“What will you try to help the crowd with and how can participants help you in return?”

All I ask is that participants be open. We’re putting you through a lot of work in about 50 hours, you’ll only take away as much as you’re willing to be open to different ideas & feedback. If you’re willing, we’ll have you generating revenue (I’ve seen 1 concept gain $4,000 USD in revenue in 1 weekend).

“What is the most fun part of the facilitator job and what is the most exhausting part?”

No two communities are the same, some are stacked with developers, others with designers or even the general business participants or hustlers as some people refer. It is fun to see people learn quickly and pivot during the weekend. No business model ever survives the first interaction with the customer, we just want you to get to that point quickly.

As for being exhausted: It takes me about 3 days to get used to a new bed, so from that standpoint I get a bit tired just before getting used to a new hotel or AirBNB bed while on the facilitation circuit.

“Thanks for taking the time! We are so much looking forward to meeting you!”

Serhat Kaya