Saturday March 23, 2013 | 11:31 AM

I've arrived at Portland's Peloton Labs for the second day of Maine's first-ever "Startup Weekend", and the ten teams are already hard at work drawing up business plans, writing mission statements, and conducting preliminary market research.

If you're just coming to this blog for the first time, here's more background about Startup Weekend. Last night, we had a round of 60-second pitches (some of which I recorded in two liveblog posts, here and here), and those were narrowed down to ten of the best concepts, around which everyone has formed teams in order to build them into a going enterprise for a panel of judges at the end of the day on Sunday.

I just spent a few minutes eavesdropping on two of the teams, and here's what they're working on:

Community Bar: group-sourcing a mission statement

The "Community Bar" team is working on building a bricks-and-mortar version of the popular GreenDrinks event: a place where patrons to dedicate a portion of their tabs towards local social causes (this and the composting porta-potty seemed to be among the most popular concepts during last night's voting round).

At 10:40 a.m., they're discussing a potential mission statement. Travis Parker, a designer at Green Design Furniture Co., pitches this: "Community Bar is a community meeting ground that connects citizens with worthy causes... through the healthy consumption of beer."

The idea of bringing people together, in the traditional sense of a bar, while also bringing people together with social causes seems to have some traction in the group. Sean Sullivan, the original pitcher of the "Community Bar" concept, has been transcribing his group's proposed mission statements and generates a word cloud from the entire collection.

"So the biggest word [i.e., the most frequently used] is 'community', followed by 'nonprofits' and 'local'," he notes.

There seems to be more action at the next table over, the "Goals with Friends" group, so I move on.

Goals with Friends: Research the market, or start building now?

When I drop by the "Goals with Friends" group, they're in the midst of a debate over what they should be working on. One team member, Alex Lapa, has built a basic market research survey, and wants the team to send it out to their social networks to collect feedback. But Shea Gunther, another team member, is mindful that they only have until Sunday afternoon to get something made, and he's anxious to start building their product.

The "Goals with Friends" team: (from left) Erika Allison and Alex Lapa.

Erika Allison, the group's apparent leader (and the idea's original pitcher) seems anxious to move on as well, so she closes the discussion and puts the question to a vote. The team decides to share the survey via their social networks and take a look at the results when they come back, with the caveat that they won't spend too much time on it.

If you'd like to help out (and get a better idea of what "Goals With Friends" is all about), here's a link to their market research survey.

That question having been resolved, Shea reiterates his desire to get started. "Let's start building it," he says. Someone asks whether their vision is clear enough to plow forward. "I think we need to get started, and we'll clarify the vision in the process," Shea answers. They decide to take a five minute break and then get started in earnest.

About this Blog

Subscribe to the
Commercial Confidential RSS feed

Commercial Confidential tracks Maine's business leaders and economic indicators.

About the Author

I'm an economics wonk and an online content producer for the Portland Press Herald.

You can get in touch with me by emailing cmilneil [at], or by calling 791-6307, or by following @vigorousnorth. Also check out my business and economics list on Twitter.

"On the Move": Submit items of interest regarding new employees, promotions and professional honors — with photos and LinkedIn URLs — to business [at]

Favorite Sites

Previous entries

April 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013


September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)
Prefer to respond privately? Email us here.