As a former participant in the Startup Weekend events in Mexico City and Guadalajara, it was very interesting to me to see the event with the detachment and global view of an organizer. So, I’ll be posting some of the random thoughts I had.
Most pitched ideas don’t seem so great at first
I’ve noticed that in the other events I took part too, but I blamed the fact that I was too concentrated on how to make my sale pitch and didn’t give them enough of my attention. Anyway, this makes the final presentations even more amazing, seeing what a good team can do with one of those ideas I thought was unclear or generic or impossible. I’ve learned my lesson to keep an open mind, and I realized I even came to expect the “miracle transformations” during the weekend.
Most people are so concentrated on pitching their idea that they are oblivious to everything else
We had a simple routine, where after pitching the person would go to the back of the stage and in order to write their idea on the panels used later for voting. It was funny to see one guy forgetting to do that, people making signs to redirect him, and then the next and the next, most of them failing to register what happened before their turn while waiting in line.
Put passion in your presentation
I’m still working on this for myself. Also, please don’t use enterprise sounding long words, not with this crowd. Keep it real.
Teams form fast
After the voting, I was surprised to see how fast teams formed, in spite of the fact that, due to the architecture of the place, the team leaders were kind of spread and not visible. Before I knew it, the work areas were full and the teams already started to work.
I really didn’t notice this in the events I took part as a participant, but apparently it happens all the time. A few people left because they wanted to work only on their idea. It made me sad to see among them a couple of my friends. Some had advances on their project and didn’t want to waste time working on another idea. That brings me to the next point:
New idea vs. project already on the way
Startup Weekend is about Lean Startupping, about doing customer development, business model generation – basically being able to change and adapt your idea. If you have a partial developed product, you’ve lost a good deal of your flexibility, the things you can change without throwing your past work away are limited. It’s way more difficult to get people to join your project because they would feel like they’re missing out on that experience and also not be able to assume ownership of the idea.