Build a Startup in the Desert

Nevada is a desert, but not desolate of innovation. As a startup founder, you are looking for prime opportunities. Nevada has many business tax benefits, just ask Tesla’s new gigafactory in Reno. Reno’s government officials are accessible, and this allows businesses to move fast. A team that moves fast is Startup Weekend Reno. The organization is a community platform to guide teams to build a startup in 54 hours.

While I was facilitating Startup Weekend Reno last weekend, teams advised on how to start a startup.

1. Balanced Team

Teams that have too many business folks or only developers do not have the diversified capabilities to execute on their specialties. Christopher Brummer (GreenThumb Reno) benefited from a well-balanced skill-sets as this allows his team to focus and execute with speed and relevance.

2. Reprioritizing

Founders are taught to prioritize, however, we forget to reprioritize. With all the todos teams need to tackle, it’s easy to wander, explore various and too many options, thus losing focus. Reprioritizing every hour on the hour allowed Chris Needham (Votem) to focus on what is most critical to bringing your product to market.

3. Scaleable

Entrepreneurs have big visions, and teams have big ambitions. However to nail your startup in three days requires visions to be stripped down to its core. Ryan Meza (Syllabi) ensured their core MVP was built to be scalable and have the ability to dominate and consume. Startups like One Month (YC S13) focused only on Ruby on Rails but investors invested knowing they would now go on to dominate lessons beyond RoR.

4. Customer Validation

The most critical pillar in lean methodology and Startup Weekend is validating your potential users’ needs. Do not assume that building a unique product will draw users. Before investing the time, money and resources to creating a startup, Morgan Thacker (PlaySmart) interviewed her potential target audiences to investigate if her venture is a product or service they will buy into.

Krysta Bea Jackson’s most critical lesson learned from Startup Weekend is customer validation. She is a staple startup community leader in Reno, this five-time serial entrepreneur is now founder and CEO of Sugar Love Chocolates. Collecting emails were her indicator of validation and user commitment before she invested in a commercial kitchen for chocolate production. Her 1.5M Reddit post impressions on her chocolates is also a sweet indicator. Krysta knows Reno is anything but deserted. Come build a startup in the desert.

Sydney Lai travels to startup ecosystems. Follow her to explore.

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