Monday, January 21, 2013

Startup Weekend

I spent this past weekend at Startup Weekend, which was a fantastic experience.  The event started on Friday evening, with participants pitching their startup ideas to the whole group.  There were around 30 ideas pitched, then everyone used stickers to vote for their favorites.  The votes were counted, and the top ten were the ideas we were going to work on.  It was a little hectic after that, with people dividing into groups, trying to find out who was needed in each group, but it worked out.  Then we got to work,  finding out what needed to be done and deciding who was going to do it.
On Saturday, we made the bulk of our products.  I was working on a card game, which we named A-List*.  Things started out well, but as the day went on, we lost momentum.  We needed to make business decisions, but we didn’t know it.  Aaron Schaap, one of the hosts of the event, stepped in and asked the questions that we needed to answer in order to bring A-List from an idea to a product.  We got back on track and focused, but we lost some time because we didn’t know what we were supposed to be doing.  In the future, I think I’ll make sure that everyone knows what they’re doing, and is taking action towards the goal, instead of occasionally floundering.
Sunday involved a fairly short period of work before presentations.  This was hectic, trying to get things finished and put together, but it wasn’t overwhelmingly stressful.  One at a time, the groups went up and presented their work.  It was exciting to see what everyone else was working on and see the progress that they made in such a short amount of time.  It was incredibly encouraging to see all the projects, and see the process everyone took in building their startup.
I think one of the best parts about Startup Weekend was being able to spend time with people who are interested in creating things.  That’s important - everyone who was there was the type of person who thinks that making something new is a good way to spend their weekend.  It’s invigorating to be in that kind of environment.  The other huge thing I’ll take away from this is the idea that it’s easy to start a business, and it’s okay to launch something before it’s entirely finished.  Having said that, I don’t think that it’s easy to make a fantastic business, but I think it’s good to treat a business like an experiment - always trying to find out what works and what doesn’t, and always trying to make it better.

Here's a video that Skyward Visual made about Startup Weekend.  It shows the feeling of the event pretty nicely.
You can see what everyone was tweeting about from Startup Weekend here.
*If you’re interested in playing A-List, you can buy it here.

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