Do you have an idea?
It doesn’t have to be a fleshed out idea. As a matter of fact, the people at Startup Weekend call it a “back-of-the-napkin” idea. Your idea could be a scribble on the back of a napkin – a fleeting thought that your imagination captured as a glimmer of success. Startup weekend helps people who have these ideas bring them to life
What is Startup Weekend?
Startup Weekend is a competition at its most basic level. People come to Startup Weekend with an idea. They have 60 seconds to pitch the idea to the rest of the audience. Once their pitch is over, they’re clapped off the stage. After everyone has presented their idea, all participants vote on their favorites. The ideas with the most votes get to form teams around them to begin the real fun: a 52 hour competition to flesh out your idea and build it as far as possible. This includes validation of your idea, developing a prototype, marketing your idea, finding potential investors, the whole nine yards. At the end, judges choose winners. Winners get to move on to another competition and get prizes like free services from startup incubators, legal representation, and even bigger competitions to get angel investor funds.
Why am I telling you this?
Startup Weekend is what kickstarted my career. A friend of mine and I went to Startup Weekend in the Spring of 2016 with an idea for an anonymous Q&A app. I won’t go into details in this post, but it is called Socrates, can be viewed here, and there will be a blog post about it later. I learned more about development and business strategy during the 52 Monster-fueled, sleep deprived hours of Startup Weekend than I did during my entire undergraduate career. Realizing your idea isn’t working, learning to pivot to a new audience, reaching out to people that I never would have thought would respond only to have a phone conversation with them to secure their support, and presenting tech demos that fail miserably – all of it was a massive learning experience. It was stressful, it was exhausting, but it was fun.
The point here is to learn you just have to do something. You can read books and watch tutorials for hours, days, and weeks. If you don’t build something to show for it, none of it means anything. You have to apply yourself and you have to dive headfirst into doing so. Commit 100% to building something with skills that you have learned through all kinds of instruction through dozens of different mediums. Who cares if there are already ten million todo list web apps? Make another one! Find one you like and make it better. Then make your version better. Continue improving until you’re happy with it. Then build it with a different technology. Just don’t stop doing.
So… do you have an idea? Build it. Break it. Improve it. Do something with it.
If you’re interested in Startup Weekend and where you can participate, info on the events can be found on their website at https://startupweekend.org.