i want change banksy

A letter to startup weekend edu-ganizers

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This post is being reposted from an email Shabnam wrote to the Startup Weekend Education Delhi organizers team. We thought it might be fun to get a little taste of what’s going on behind the scenes in preparation for this madness.

“Hey kick ass swedel homies!

I am writing to express my deep and honest gratitude in you. You are someone who is so damn passionate about education or startups or even just making shit happen that you’ve dedicated a serious amount of valuable time into this ridiculous endeavor. You’re slightly insane. I hope you know that. And I hope you know I love you all the more for it.

I wanted to paint the picture for a vision I had for swedel recently that actually gave me goosepimples (most of us are indian born, educated under british concoctions of the obviously original American English language. Apparently “goosepimples” is your word for goosebumps…posers.) It’s one vision of many, I hope you’ll share your’s with us too.

I saw pairs of bright nervous eyes darting about the open colorful room as they walk in, scanning for friendly faces and people they can strike up a conversation with. Someone to test out their pitch with. Someone to feel comfortable shooting the shit with. Someone they might call a co-founder one day.

I saw eyes from all walks of life, educators hoping to be students, students hoping to be entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs hoping to be teachers. Each pair arriving with an agenda in one hand, while the other lay open faced waiting to be filled with mentorship, guidance, and inspiration.

I saw those eyes turn into crazy-person eyes when they lit up with fire on an idea they could envision. I saw them listen with wonderment as a speaker took them down their journey and told them all about how they made an impact on the world. How they discovered the power of education combined with the practicality of business mixed with the accessibility of technology.

I saw their eyes look to one another for support when they felt blocked and unable to move forward. I saw them take to the furniture, the walls, the ground even, ideating, creating, failing, and recreating. I saw them tackle India’s greatest problems with a childlike zeal that only comes when surrounded by others who see the world like children do: Question everything. Try anything. Tackle problems. Iterate on solutions. I actually saw them working on the marshmallow challenge believe it or not!

And I wondered, how can we get our many pairs of eyes thinking about this weekend as a massive opportunity to tackle our nations biggest educational problems, and doing it in a way that gets them to a minimum viable product, and gets them seeing the world as kindergardeners do.

I don’t have an answer to that question yet, but I think we’re getting there, and I’m just so damn excited to make this happen with each of you. Thank you so much for buying in (perhaps initially slightly naively as I did) to this crazy idea.

Deep respect and love,
Shab”