Just two weeks until Seattle Startup Weekend!

startup weekend

Jennifer CabalaThis was my first Startup Weekend, and I decided to not just observe, but to get involved.  In case you haven’t heard of it, Startup Weekend is an event where techies try to create a business in less than three days.  Going in I didn’t know how much I could help – I can’t code – but I thought I could write some copy, or at least fetch coffee for the people who could write code.  In the end, I really surprised myself.  Both with what I could do, and what would help achieve Startup Weekend success.

— Jennifer Cabala, Lessons from Startup Weekend

This will be my first Startup Weekend as well, and I’m looking forward to being actively involved as well.  For one thing, I’m already working on a startup, qweries, so it’s a great opportunity to discover some potential co-founders or early employees.  I’ve also got another idea that might be worth investigating (more of that soon); perhaps others will be interested as well — or I’ll find out where it needs to improve.  There are lots of other great reasons to participate in Startup Weekend, so it should be a good time!

Isaac EliasIf you’re a marketing/business dev/ideaman type of entrepreneur looking to go make things happen at a similar event (like the one coming up in San Francisco on May 6 – 8), I want to help you get the most out of the experience. So, here are a few tips and insights to give you a leg-up before you start-up.

1. You are a dude going to “ladies night”.

— Isaac Elias, BizMonkeys and IdeaMen at StartupWeekend – Don’t Waste Your Time

Isaac, like Jennifer, has some excellent tips.  So does Danielle Morrill, on Startup Weekend’s site, including these:

Danielle Morrill

  • Bring your own internet (MiFi, iPhone tether, broadband card, something!)
  • Skip the titles, equity, etc. conversations until after working proof of concept and biz model.
  • Get customers right away – learn from them, treat them like gold.
  • Start planning your presentation/pitch early, it will help clarify your vision.

And here’s what Tristan Kromer, who helped organize a Startup Weekend in San Jose, had to say on Twitter:

Bring fruit. Join a team and worry about poaching them for your project later. Work all night Fri and launch Sat. Nap. Iterate.

Good news!  Napping’s one of my core competencies!

I asked Tristan for suggestions about pitching my own idea, and he suggested rehearsing a one minute pitch to perfection, know what you need in your team, and rereading Isaac’s blog — which I did, especially the section on “come with a posse”:

You’ve got to have at least a wingman. If you aren’t going with one, find one quickly once you arrive. When the time comes to form teams, it may be a free-for-all. In the case of SWSJ, it was. Here is where social proof kicks in. The biggest, most productive teams at SWSJ were the ones that had a core group formed before the team-forming time started.

Another point Isaac makes is “half of the battle is being remembered”: with people hearing dozens of one-minute pitches, why will yours stand out?  What makes a good 1-minute Startup Weekend pitch? on Quora has some good suggestions about how to make it happen.

There’s a lot more great stuff out there about Startup Weekend — I’ll have a longer list coming soon.  After digesting all of this, it seems to me it’s worth spending some time fleshing out my idea, working on a one-minute presentation, and trying to assemble a posse.*   So stay tuned for more blog posts over the next couple of weeks …

Adria Richards

You should attend a StartupWeekend event.  It will change your life.

— Adria Richards, What Startup Weekend Taught Me in a Nutshell, But You’re A Girl

Let’s hope so!


* If you’re reading this and are interested in potentially posse-ing up, please leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

Thanks to Kristy, Kalimah, Ahmed, and Tristan for the discussion!