A couple of months ago I had the good fortune to attend a Startup Weekend in Boulder, Colorado. It was an incredibly interesting and valuable weekend – even though I was merely a visitor and had no intention of starting a Software Business in the USA. I spent the weekend learning about a number of great startup ideas, mingling with passionate business people and techies, and had plenty of quality time to build a demo application on the Azure Platform.
Now these events are coming to South Africa!
A Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups! Beginning with open mic pitches on Friday, attendees bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their team. Over Saturday and Sunday teams focus on customer development, validating their ideas, practicing LEAN Startup Methodologies and building a minimal viable product. On Sunday evening teams demo their prototypes and receive valuable feedback from a panel of experts.
So Why attend a Startup Weekend event?
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably a hardened .Net Developer. So why come to Startup Weekend? Here are a few good reasons contributed by the Startup Weekend team which I’ve tweaked a bit…
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. It’s like an MBA in a weekend. If you’re a developer, come and learn something about Business Analysis or financial aspects of starting a Software Company.
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. Maybe someone you meet during this weekend starts the next Facebook and gets you in on the gig a few months down the line.
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. Come and develop an application on the Azure Platform or try your hand at WP7 development. Maybe even build your first website! Wipe the dust off those textbooks and come and learn that new skill.
Share your skills:
You don’t have to spend the entire weekend sitting with one team. Move around, check out some different ideas and give some guidance to people who may be learning a skill in which you are already a Black Belt.
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. We’ll have a bunch of Microsoft folks helping out over the weekend too, so come along and pick their brains.
Join a global community:
Join over 30,000 Startup Weekend alumni, all on a mission to change the world.