Startup weekend — 54 hours of crazy

This month I had the pleasure of taking part as a mentor, at Tauranga Startup Weekend 2017 (TGASW). One of the highlights for me was meeting a range of great people, such as Lisa Wong (one of the mentors who did a fantastic summary of the event), Jo and Pascale (the organisers at Venture Centre) and all the participants who turned out to this great bay event (which was part of Tauranga’s Innovation festival — Groundswell).

In business, your network is extremely valuable especially when starting out in a new place or venture. In little NZ, where people are often at the beach eating ice-cream or “fish and chups”, a friendly, word-of-mouth referral from someone in your network is worth it’s weight in gold. I encourage you to build your network, if not for now, for the near and uncertain future.

Startup culture

Naturally when I think about startups, it’s about cool tech, building stuff and good times… and hopefully some paying customers at the end of it all.

But Startup Weekend focusses on the business end of things — the important stuff before you get designing and building.

I saw a few technologists bemused by this reality, as they were keen to tool up and build some crazy shit. This is where the learning comes in, at Startup Weekend. Designers and technology enthusiasts need to understand business concepts to have the best chance of success in their future ventures. Designing something “pretty”, or building something with 100% uptime is no good to anyone, if there are no paying customers.

Startup weekend prepares people to become better entrepreneurs.

Got an idea? Isn’t that cute

No doubt, you’ve had an idea for a product or service. But before you go out and pursue it, Startup Weekend guides you along a proven path of questioning…

  • Have you validated the problem with real people (your target market)?
  • Do you have a business model (how will you make money or make a social difference?)
  • What is the product or service you will offer (is it an app, a physical product or an experience?)
  • Can you talk through your idea (does it make sense to people?)
This advert delivers a good point — ideas are nothing on their own

Don’t forget to fuel up

Participants (and mentors) get fed for 2 days. For a minimal entry fee, there is nothing nothing to loose, but everything to gain (BTW the food was great — Thai curry, pulled pork and amazing bagels). One of the big draw cards for participants is the volunteer mentor group, who provide guidance and advice from their fields of expertise (business, design/UX, tech, people wrangling etc). As a mentor, it was great chance to give back to the community and be part of the intense madness. If you’re keen to sign up next years event, I can connect you with the right people.

Thanks for all who took part in the 54 hours of crazy. I hope everyone has since recovered :) Here’s a summary video of the event!

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