How Startup Weekend reignited the entrepreneur in me
I recently signed up for a 54 hour challenge to launch a new business over one weekend. I was in good company, however. In just a few years, over 100,000 people have signed up to do the same thing and participated in what’s called, Startup Weekend. Attendees of this event have pitched over 8,200 new business ideas–some of which turned into real companies.
Seven years ago I started my company, and ironically enough, we have even consulted a lot of startups along the way. But a few weeks ago some friends at work all decided we should join the ranks of the crazies again, drink our own Kool-aid, and become a startup for a weekend. That’s how it all began.
Our team’s idea was one of the few chosen to compete in the challenge, and none of us believed we could accomplish so much in such a short amount of time. We focused our idea and target market, hit the streets to validate our business model while designers and developers work diligently on the minimum viable product. On the final day, we wrapped up our work and finalized our pitch. It was absolutely thrilling. The energy on our team was incredible. Win or lose, we laid it all down that weekend.
We even believed this idea had real potential–and so did our coaches. But that’s not what really mattered.
This decision to do Startup Weekend reawakened my inner-entrepreneur and reminded me of what it really feel like to build something again.
Here are 10 reasons why I love Startup Weekend and you will too:
- It promotes local innovation.
- You spend a weekend solving problems.
- You get practice pitching your ideas.
- It’s intentionally spontaneous.
- *You get to talk to real customers.
- You actually build something.
- You make incredible community connections.
- Mentors and judges push you to think differently and give you the right amount of support.
- The pitch night is just awesome. It celebrates your team’s effort!
- Your weekend is fueled by coffee highs and adrenaline rushes.
* By far, my favorite part of the entire weekend. Learning from actual customers turned our hypotheticals into real, tangible solutions that made everything else about the weekend better.
I strongly encourage anyone to participate in this event. Even if you love your job, you won’t find another opportunity like Startup Weekend that will tap the logical, creative, and doer in you all at the same time. You won’t regret it!
If you do it, don’t worry if your idea is chosen. What matters is that you did it. Startup Weekend is the safest way to take a little risk without any long-term responsibility (unless you actually decide to build a company). Either way, get out there and register now.