Rethinking Startup WeekendBy Kyle Pollock on November 26th, 2012 /
Since 2009, thousands of entrepreneurs have flocked to a Startup Weekend event in different cities around the world to turn their business ideas into a reality. Only 54 hours long, attendees pitch their ideas, form teams, and execute on a business model to present to judges on Sunday evening. People come for different reasons, but the demand for more business resources is increasing from the entrepreneurial community that has been fostered by similar events. The rise of Startup Weekend Next, a 3 week follow up course, has been the result of all the Startup Weekend teams asking one question:
One winner of a Startup Weekend event, chosen by the judges, received resources to continue it’s journey as a newly formed startup. Currently, almost 10% of the formed teams continue on to form businesses, while other teams may dissolve after the event. If certain teams lack resources, or leadership, Startup Weekend Next could be a good event to get hands on coaching form startup experts. However, the Next course and more subsequent events could be leading some teams into a good learning experience, but prolonged failure. Startup Weekend will always be an excellent way to build relationships within the startup community, but for attendees that plan to build companies, a little rethinking should be done beforehand.
Startup Weekend can be a great launching point to a greater stage, and for people who are certain they want to continue, it will be beneficial to do one thing: go with friends. Attend Startup Weekend with any friends, family or trusted colleagues you would start your business with. You should know your business partner well enough that you trust their decisions, so you can focus on your work. To spend 54 hours with a small group of people, as intimate as it sounds, is not enough to fully get to know someone. If you’re going to be working with them a lot, you should get along very well, so that the tough times are not worsened by incompatibility. After a regular Startup Weekend event a team will decide of it wants to move forward or not. If they are directed to more subsequent events that may be a big enough incentive to continue. Although it may be a good learning experience for the individual, most teams will realize that it’s their lack of chemistry that will inhibit their startup success.
Find Your Business Partner
What do you do if you don’t know anyone with the skills to help you start a business? Attending Startup Weekend to meet someone is certainly an option, but an unnecessary gamble of your time. What you look for in a co-founder is someone who compliments you. Know your strengths and weaknesses and make sure your co-founder does well what you’re not good at. Foundersdating.com, helps match entrepreneurs with each other based on similar interests, and complimentary skills. Cofounderslab.com is a similar matchmaking site. Local tech or niche industry meet ups are a great way to network and get to know potential co-founders. Any of these sites are a great way to find someone to schedule a chat over a cup of coffee, just like any other coffee date. If things go well you can potentially invite them to the a Startup Weekend or even just start working together.
If you haven’t gone to a Startup Weekend, find one on the events page, and I highly recommend bringing a friend.