Startup Weekend recruits a highly motivated group of developers, business managers, startup enthusiasts, marketing gurus, graphic artists and more to a 54 hour event that builds communities, companies and projects.
Founded in 2007 by Andrew Hyde, the weekend is a concept of a conference focusing on learning by creating. It is known for its quick decisions, ‘out of the box’ thinking (oh no, the buzzwords are attacking!), unique facilitation technique and letting the founders show what they can do. The program has already met with success in Toronto, New York, Hamburg, Houston, West Lafayette, Singapore, DC and more.
The participants that attend a Startup Weekend decide what they want to tackle over the weekend and come out at the end with several developed companies or projects. Attendees are responsible for bringing the same desire and passion to the project and walk out of the room with the task at hand, in a short 54 hours. Sound intense? It is.
A typical weekend might go something like below, although most weekends find their own schedule that works best:
6pm Friday: Everyone gets together; figures out who else is there; what would be interesting to build. 7pm: Pitches start (if you have an idea for a product you pitch it to the group). 8pm: Teams start breaking off (generally about nine teams will form during the weekend, creating nine products or companies). 9pm: Hopefully teams have solidified their concept and created an elevator pitch (even a simple one) by now. 10pm: Break off to a bar or coffee shop to continue the discussion and attempt to paper prototype out their application.
9am Saturday: Crowds pour in; work starts on development. Noon: Lunch.
3pm: More coding, business plan development, and a special guest (music, vc, sponsor etc). 6pm: Special guest drop-ins and pitches from the teams. 9pm: Gut check on the product; basic prototype building; group get-together for drinks and to talk about the products everyone is working on.
9am Sunday: The day’s work starts again. Noon: Projects are being developed; live website with signup is possibly set up; more special guests drop in. 6pm: Sink or swim time for those looking for a weekend launch. 9pm: Presentations from each company; what worked, what didn’t, what could go better and contacts are exchange for those continuing in the future.
What do Attendees get?
Startup Weekend provides an unprecedented level of networking, team building, learning, and life changes for its attendees and their communities. Don’t forget that there will be 6-7 meals and drinks provided. There is a reason that most attendees come back for every event – it’s just plain fun and provides amazing opportunities you can’t get anywhere else. Sometimes a company emerges, sometimes one doesn’t, but every time people leave with more experience, insight, knowledge, friends, and resources than they came with.
Andrew Hyde — Founder — works at TechStars