When I first heard of Startup Weekend I had absolutely no idea what to expect. It has caught my eye amongst the usual mountain of mails that flood my uni mail account on a daily basis.
What piqued my interest was the title itself. I’ve had an interest in startups and startup culture for a while but never quite had the opportunity to gain any experience in the matter and, quite frankly, I wouldn’t have known where to get any. So I read through the mail to get a general idea of what Startup Weekend is all about.
To be completely honest, after reading everything, I had only a general sense of what I would be getting myself into. From what I could gather, for one full weekend, or, more precisely, 54 hours, startup ideas would be proposed, some of them chosen and then made reality.
Did I need any expertise? I am neither a programmer nor a designer, but I do consider myself to be able to get things done in an efficient and fairly organised fashion, plus I was tremendously interested and more than willing to throw myself into this experience. I also did have a possible idea for a pitch that’s been floating around my brain space for some time, so if I actually had to pitch something I felt confident that I could do so.
As it turned out, this was really more than enough preparation. Startup Weekend attracts all kinds of creative people, be it trained industry professionals or aspirants like myself. To my delight I discovered that in the amazing bustle of the startup spirit everyone was willing to create, share experiences and learn from each other in order to create something really cool.
I immediately felt myself getting infected with an excitement that lasted all the way to Sunday and beyond. My team worked creating a unique health food service called Nutrilicious, and the ideas being developed those three days ranged from a communications app designed to help international students, a pun-sharing site and an organisation tool to a website offering aerial view stock photos. There was so much to learn and contribute that Sunday almost came too fast.
If you want to experience extremely focused work with a group of dedicated people on an awesome project, alongside several other groups of equally invested creative minds I cannot recommend taking part in Startup Weekend enough.
Also, try making use of all the social media available to you during the event if you want to watch ideas be turned into reality in real time. It makes for a truly astonishing observation when you see a group that only a couple of hours ago began their work starring to tweet about their already fully developed website.
Bottom line is, I had a ton of fun taking part. I learned so much, and even though my group didn’t win we still keep in touch and work on our idea. Whether you have an idea you’re sure could be the next big thing, something you’ve just wanted to try out our even nothing but lots of energy, you should really check out Startup Weekend. Come Sunday night you will be exhausted, possibly sleep deprived and perhaps on more caffeine than strictly recommended. But what can also guarantee is that you’ll be extremely satisfied and riding the creative rush for at least another day.
By Bent Bunge