If you’ve ever considered going to a Startup Weekend event but weren’t sure if you should or how it might go, I decided to blog about it here to encourage more people to “proceed boldly and with stealth”. (Bonus points if you can tell me where that line came from.)
Before you can show up (unless you’re a developer then you can mosey in pretty much at will), you have to register. The directions and information that I received for my session was all very clear and, as it turned out, accurate.
Stuff to bring: your computer(s) with power supplies, pen, paper, post it notes, mobile phone with charger, business cards and a great attitude.
It’s Startup Weekend, kids, and it starts on Friday evening. You shuffle in around 5:30 PM and, if you’re like me, know absolutely nobody else in the room. You wonder if you really want to spend your weekend with this growing group of strangers, working really hard, and pushing so many of your limits. If you’re a Startup Weekend kind of person, you’ll tell yourself yes and start to go talk to people. Bring your cards. Pretty much everyone is there to grow their network and learn and have a fun time (it’s a unique way of having fun but one of the bonuses is that the people there are crazy enough to find this kind of weekend as fun as you do).
Holy cow but the Startup Weekend Fifteen should be a thing. Because it is a thing. The food is plentiful and delicious. Friday night was pizza and salad for our group. YUM!
There are also a lot of caffeinated beverages all weekend long. These become even more important as the 54 hours barrel on.
Pitch for Their Love
Pitch something. Pitch anything. Just pitch. You’ll gain great skills from it and, trust me, you’re in the company of friends. Everyone wants you to pitch and pitch well- even if it’s a completely insane idea. You’ve got 60 super short seconds- so… ready-set-PITCH!
After the pitches, you try to drum up support for your idea so that you can win the right to use the weekend, your fellow SW’ers, and the mentors to build your idea. This is where bringing a group (or knowing people in the group) is especially helpful. Don’t be bitter if your idea isn’t getting votes. Be Zen. It’s all good. (And I learned that my one minute pitch needs some serious help. Yikes!)
The top 15 vote getting pitches then with the right to leverage the Startup Weekend Awesomeness of people, mentors and energy to build your awesome idea. Not all of the ideas that got votes will get teammates. If your pitch makes it this far and you don’t get teammates, be graceful and good natured and join another team. This isn’t your big weekend to be the CEO but, hey, you still get to do SW!
Once your team has self selected, you share names, stake out a work space and get to work. You’ll have a couple of hours to start digging in and then it’s time to leave and grab a few winks before it’s time for Saturday’s 14 hours of productivity.
</Friday at SW>