Unplugged is a 2-day annual event for Fellows, by Fellows. These events are the perfect avenue for engaging with Fellows you have not met, learning from each other and strengthening your network and the Fellowship as a whole.


Unplugged is a model that allows our value of distributed leadership to come to life in the Fellowship. It also engages the community around timely and relevant topics, and importantly, gives us an excuse to get back together for more dance parties.

What is an Unplugged?

  • For Fellows
  • Led by a team of Fellows (must include public appeal for team members in a public forum that is open and accessible to all Fellows)
  • Cost of attendance must be $100 per person (or lower)
  • 2 full days of programming
  • Primary goal is to convene the Fellowship
  • Final plan and curriculum proposal submitted to StartingBloc staff 2 months prior to event

A note on partners: We love partnership. Collaboration is woven into nearly everything we do at StartingBloc. But, this event is for the Fellows, by the Fellows, and this needs to ultimately be a StartingBloc experience. We encourage you to bring in partners as speakers, caterers, workshop-leaders, etc., but require that at least 75% of the event be exclusively for StartingBloc Fellows.

What you’ll get from the StartingBloc team:

  • 10 hours of communication on how to design and market an event
  • At least one teammate present at the event
  • Access to our communications channels (Facebook, newsletter, social media, etc.)
  • Access to our network of speakers, facilitators, caterers, venues, etc.
  • We’ll cover the first $5,000 in costs with an understanding that you’ll make at least that much back

We have a good idea of the ecosystem of the StartingBloc community, so please be aware that we may recommend other people to join your team and support the facilitation of the event.

Engagement includes (but is not limited to):

  • Program design
  • Venue scouting + booking
  • Meal planning
  • Marketing (creating campaigns, marketing to Fellows)
  • Speaker booking (mostly comprised of Fellows, un-conference style)
  • Emcee designation
  • Payment collection
  • Evening function planning (post-program meet-ups, dance parties, etc…)

This is probably about 40 hours of work per team member — about 200 hours total for a team of 5.

Want to host?

Get Ready  — convince at least 2 other people to join you.

Get Set   — fill out the Unplugged Host Application

GO  — set up a call with the StartingBloc team to discuss logistics, curriculum, and more.

Past Events

StartingBloc Unplugged (SF '16)

StartingBloc Unplugged (SF '16)

The theme? Inspired by Nature: Purpose, Connection & Innovation for Social Change. With 3.8 billion years of practice, nature has developed some pretty amazing solutions that we are just beginning to uncover. During this transformative event, we explored purpose, connection, and nature’s time tested strategies that can serve as a guide for social innovation that creates conditions conducive to LIFE.

StartingBloc Unplugged (DC '15)

StartingBloc Unplugged (DC '15)

For Fellows, By Fellows. The event curriculum, modeled by Fellows, taps into our community’s own knowledge, resources and gifts through Fellow-led workshops that will allow Fellows to bring current projects, thoughts, and questions to the table.

The ReUP : Allies + Impact (DC '14)

The ReUP : Allies + Impact (DC '14)

For existing Fellows that want to deepen their toolbox of skills and reconnect with the StartingBloc tribe. Built around the focus of Allies + Impact and how these play out in work, relationships and organizations.

The ReUP : Building Effective Teams (LA '14)

The ReUP : Building Effective Teams (LA '14)

When it comes to doing hard things, you already know that team is everything. David Cohen, CEO of TechStars, says that he looks for 5 things when evaluating a startup: Team, team, team, market, and idea. And yet high-functioning teams are rare. So what does it take to build effective teams, both as a leader and a team player?