I get a lot of the same questions when talking about Startup Weekend and, admittedly, it’s definitely a unique event that is hard to understand at first! For that reason, I wanted to share with everyone some of the Frequently Asked Questions about Startup Weekend that I encounter.
Q: What if I don’t have an idea?
A: THAT’S OK! We typically have ~100 participants in our events, and 12-15 ideas are worked on. That means, even though we have dozens and dozens of ideas pitched on Friday night, the vast majority of individuals do not work on an idea they pitch. If you don’t have an idea to pitch, you will fit in with any other team and can contribute to the overall group.
Q: What if I don’t know anything about coding, or designing?
A: That’s ok too! We need hustlers, hard-workers, and business-minded folks just as much as technical talent. Without all three groups, our event wouldn’t happen. I assure you, there is plenty of work to be spread around!
Q: Ok, but how does this event actually work?
A: It’s really an incredible social experiment packed into 54-hours. On Friday evening, a bunch of strangers get together, listen to an opening talk, and then begin giving 60-second pitches of their ideas. Anyone can pitch any idea, and we pitch until all ideas are exhausted. Then, the group collectively votes on what they perceive to be the “best” ideas to work on over the weekend as a general guideline for which ideas to form groups around.
At this point, everyone sort of organically joins a group of individuals they want to work with around an idea they want to work on. We will usually have 12-15 teams consisting of developers, designers, and business-minded individuals. To end Friday night, there is usually preliminary planning and mapping of the idea and how to start building it.
On Saturday, the teams come in bright and early to begin the heavy lifting. Just a few hours after getting started, they pitch their idea and progress to our group of mentors who come in to give feedback in a diverse range of topics. At that time, they continue working and getting market validation from potential customers, while the developers and designers really build the core product. In the afternoon, we have a speaker talk about something such as iterating quickly, lean methodology, design and branding, customer acquisition, etc. Teams will stay until midnight or later building their startup.
On Sunday, the finishing touches are put on the MVP (minimally viable product) and presentations are prepared. At 6pm, final pitches begin for the teams and feature presentation decks and often a live, working demo to a panel of judges. After all the pitches have concluded, winners are crowned and awards given.
Q: Where can I sign up?
A: Via our Eventbrite, here! We hope to see you there.
Author: Jay Clouse