I went to an event called StartupWeekend back on '08. I had a great time working with like-minded people building something over the course of a weekend. I've been back to two additional events since then and left after the opening night both times.
The shift at these events has been away from the hacker culture and towards the entrepreneur; hours of pitches by people who "have retail experience and know the space, but just need a programmer". It's disheartening. The idea is some of the work, and most times (but not necessarily) comes first. Sometimes, you work on something cool and it turns out other people want it. That's great too. But never has the world clamored or shouted for joy for some guy's concept of a real estate site. People love redfin and zillow, but until you can touch it, it's nothing. It's not even worth talking about.
Learn to build a prototype. It should be a requirement for filing a patent.