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.