Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Startup weekend-The What,When,How,Who and Why?

So Startup Weekend is coming to Hyderabad.  Hyderabad Startup Weekend will be held from September 2nd to September 4th in ISB.

In this blog post I will try to answer the what,how and why questions about Startup Weekend and in that process try to shed some light on what this is all about from my perspective.

What is Startup Weekend and What is its purpose?

For the uninitiated, from the Startup Weekend website:

Startup Weekend is a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities. Come share ideas, form teams, and launch startups

Startup Weekend is a "global network": Once you take part in a Startup Weekend program, you tap into a global network of like minded people who share common interests and you will get valuable feedback about your product from everyone.

Startup Weekend's mission is to "inspire, educate and empower": During the course of the 54 hour event, people will be inspired to create products, educated on the different aspects of building a startup through mentoring and empowered to go to market with the minimum viable product that they build during the weekend.

How does the Startup Weekend work?

Startup Weekend's motto is "No talk, All action", so let me walk you through the fast paced activities during the weekend.

Friday Evening starting at 7:00 pm:

1 hour of talks and dinner-I know, they said no talk, but come on, we need some talks to get things going :) and trust me, these are the shortest talks possible.

1 hour of pitches. You can pitch your own idea or listen to pitches and vote for them.

2 hours of forming teams. Get to know people and talk to them and convince them to join your team/convince them to take you into their team.

1 hour of identifying roles. Identify the strengths of your team members and identify roles that they have to perform during the weekend.

4-6 hours of starting up. Come up with a title for your product, create plans on paper, mockups etc.

20-30 hours of building. This is where you need to sweat it out. Build the product, host it, test it etc. You will also find that, like in real life, sometimes your team is not gelling and you might want to exchange partners etc. Take the help of mentors roaming around the halls. Do whatever, just build the product.

1 hour of demos. All the products are demoed and the winners are chosen.

Who should attend Startup Weekend?

1. You are planning on starting up and you need that little extra push.
2. You have already started up and you need to network and find good teammates.

Why should I attend Startup Weekend?

Now, we come to the  hardest question, Why?

What, How, Who and When are easy to answer and have specific answers. "Why" is much harder. The reason is, "Why" is relative. Startup Weekend organization has tried to answer this question by providing the top reasons for attending Startup Weekend:

Startup Weekends are all about learning through the act of creating.  Don’t just listen to theory, build your own strategy and test it as you go.

Build your network:
This isn’t just a happy-hour. Startup Weekend attracts your community’s best makers and do-ers. By spending a weekend working to build scalable companies that solve real-world problems, you will build long-lasting relationships and possibly walk away with a job or a even an investor.

Co-Founder Dating:
We all know it’s not just about the idea – it’s about the team. Startup Weekend is hands down the best way to to find someone you can actually launch a startup with.

Learn a new skill: 
Step outside of your comfort zone. With a whole weekend dedicated to letting your creative juices flow, Startup Weekends are prefect opportunities to work on a new platform, learn a new programming language, or just try something different.

Actually launch a business:
Over 36% of Startup Weekend startups are still going strong after 3 months.  Roughly 80% of participants plan on continuing working with their team or startup after the weekend.

Get face time with thought leaders: 
Local tech and startup leaders participate in Startup Weekends as mentors and judges. Get some one-on-one time with the movers and shakers in your community.

Save money & get stuff:
Startup Weekends cost around Rs.2000(early bird price) (less for students). Regular price is Rs. 3,375. Your ticket covers seven meals, snack, access to exclusive resources from our global sponsors and an experience that is priceless.

Join a global community:
Join over 30,000 Startup Weekend alumni, all on a mission to change the world.

Some Success Stories:

Hope I was able to answer some questions pertaining to Startup Weekend. Hope to see you all at ISB on September 2nd for the Hyderabad Startup Weekend which is the next event in India.