Thoughts on Startup Weekend by Josh Smith


I have only participated in one Startup Weekend event, but it was enough for me to come away from it with some valuable tips I would like to share.

To begin, I would encourage anyone interested in starting or working for a startup to participate in a Startup Weekend.  It is a valuable learning experience because:

  • It is a great way to meet others in your local startup ecosystem.  You will likely end up seeing a lot of the same people as you progress in your startup and stay in your area.

  • You will work with a fantastic team who will inspire and encourage you and it is always great way to meet possible talent or partner types for your own startup.

  • There is a real energy and excitement as ideas start forming and progress is being made.  The bustle of rushing to finish the feature lock and pitch deck is also a good simulator for the everyday grind of startup life, putting out fires and figuring out where the next dollar will come from.

  • Learning how to handle and respond to failure or adversity is also important for startup founders and a less than first place finish at a Startup Weekend is a good way to figure out how you will cope with failure and how well you can bounce back.

  • You can use the Startup Weekend as an excuse to try new things or validate new ideas. Don’t let your hesitation about sharing your ideas cause you to miss a perfectly good opportunity to test those ideas.

  • The success of a startup is usually equal parts product and team.  If you are not compatible with the team or even a part of the team, it may prohibit progress and will certainly affect your enjoyment. Spending 54 hours, working hard as a team, is a good test of your compatibility with the rigors of startup life.

  • Being lean and agile is important to startups and it’s true at Startup Weekends too,  don’t join a large team.

If you are interested in participating at the Harrisburg Startup Weekend, please do.  It is a lot of fun and I’m really looking forward to participating again.


Josh Smith