Lessons learned at Atlanta Startup Weekend 2

This post is intended for people who will attend a Startup Weekend event for the first time.

Why attend a Startup Weekend?

  • It’s a better networking event compared to daily events. You’ll cooperate together to achieve a common goal, you’ll suffer together, you’ll have fun together. Overall, you’ll spend more time together, and form stronger connections.
  • If you have acquaintances that you think highly of, but never worked with before, Startup Weekend is the perfect opportunity. You can think of it as a laid-back 54 hour interview for identifying possible startup partners.
  • You’ll meet like-minded people. You’ll have fun. You might even start a company!
What do I need to do before the event?
  • Build an audience for your idea before the event. Think about how you’ll monetize it, and have a concrete product defined (what features you’ll implement during the weekend, how it will work etc.)
  • Set up the infrastructure before the event (buy a domain and hosting, set up code repository and project management site etc.) If you’ll build a web app, have a skeleton app that includes common functionality (authentication at least)
  • Practice your pitch, think about how you’ll convince people in 1 minute
Okay, I get it. What else do I need to know?
If your idea doesn’t work out, then the most important decision you’ll make during Startup Weekend is to choose the right team to work with, because you will be spending most of your time with those people.

So, how do I choose which team to work with?

  • Don’t choose an idea, choose a team: Even the brightest idea will not get far if there isn’t a good team behind it. Make a good compromise between an interesting idea and a good team. Make sure you team has enough back-end & front-end developers, as well as graphic designers if you’re building a web application. 
  • Think twice before joining a large team: (More than 10-15 people) These teams are like large companies, they are not agile. It’s harder to coordinate, reach consensus and make decisions. You’ll also be working on a very small part of the whole, which might not be as exciting.
  • Make sure that others are committed: All participants should share the same vision about the product. If you see people throwing in ideas that will take the product to a different direction, it’s a bad sign. Try to anticipate if people will still want to work on this idea the next day.
  • Hold up to your ideals: There will boring ideas with huge business potential. Unless your only goal is to earn money, don’t be fooled by them. Life is too short to work on boring ideas!
November 10, 2008

sarp centel

Sarp is a software developer. He writes about technology, books and software.
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