This has been an incredible weekend. Intense, exhausting, sometimes fun, sometimes frustrating, but always exciting. This weekend, hundreds of makers came together to build and launch a startup in 24 hours.

I can already hear some voices in the back. “What? A startup? You cannot launch a startup in 24 hours.”

Lots of people are still discussing the definition of a startup. Here is an article someone wrote about this evolving definition. But while some were debating what a startup is or is not, lots of makers were busy making. And they did so in public.

To be eligible to enter the 24 Hour Startup Challenge, makers had to link to their Twitch account, and live stream the whole process, from the very first line of code to the publication of their product.

When I saw Pat’s tweet, I immediately signed up.

Shortly after, I started freaking out. 24 hours? Live? While people are watching? “Why am I doing this to myself?” It all sounded terrifying.

But then I started chatting with other participants and realised I was not the only one feeling anxious about it all. And it was for a good reason: we were all about to get way out of our comfort zone.

Live streaming for the first time in my life

I decided to build a mindfulness tool for makers to make the most of their breaks. We’re all very busy and passionate and I thought it would be good to incorporate some fun way to take care of our mental health in our workflow. Plus, I had my neuroscience exams and thought I could try and use all those papers I was reading!

On the day of, after my exams, I attended an evening event, then got home around 10pm, and started streaming about half an hour later. I was completely unprepared, but soon enough many other makers started joining the live chat and helping me out by sending me links and code snippets anytime I was stuck.

I have rarely been this focused when building something. I am not a coder, so hacking stuff together in public was pretty scary, but people were very supportive. I felt like I could not really get distracted by checking my Twitter or the Telegram groups I’m a part of. I wanted to make the most of the moral and technical support I was getting from the other makers who were watching.

After almost ten long hours, it finally worked! I even have the exact moment recorded. (warning: lots of happy swearing)

I was so, so happy! And completely exhausted too. I went to bed hoping that I would manage to get up a few hours later to attend another hackathon a friend was organising.

Of course, when I woke up, I was way too tired to do that. Plus, thanks to London’s weird weather these past couple of weeks, I have a bad cough (which is why I had a special combination of keys during the live stream to mute myself every time I was coughing). So I messaged to say that I was sorry but would not be able to attend, and stayed home for the rest of the day, watching other people’s streams and streaming for a little bit too while I was polishing things.

The final result is live on the 24 Hour Startup website today — if you like it, please consider giving it an upvote. :)

Teeny Breaks, a tool to incorporate mindfulness into your workflow.

What I learned

First, do not be afraid of what people will think about you or the way you work. And if you are afraid, still give it a try. Live streaming can be daunting — and I was especially nervous when I ended up on the main video stream interviewed by Pat — but it’s an amazing experience to work alongside people all over the world who are ready to give you a hand and encourage you. There will always be haters, but there are mostly kind people in the maker community.

Second, do prepare before your live stream. Mine would have not been this long if I had spent a bit of time doing research beforehand. Check out libraries, templates, etc. that you can use so your life is easier during the challenge.

Last but not least — and this is the most important one — take care of your health. It is ironic that I built a tool to help makers be more mindful, when what I had planned to do this weekend was completely stupid. Exams on Friday, then the 24 Hour Startup Challenge, then another hackathon? And for what?

There will be many other such challenges, but we only have one health.

I felt guilty about dropping out of the other hackathon, but more importantly I should have not overbooked myself in the first place. If you are planning to participate in the next challenge, do clear up your schedule, prepare some snacks, drink plenty of water, and if you can, try to do it during regular hours — for example starting at 7am your time.

Would I do it again?

Yes! Next time, I will be more mindful of my health and my schedule. I would also love to try and do it as a team, it looked like a lot of fun. In the mean time, I’ll keep adding new mindfulness tips to Teeny Breaks.

Massive congrats to everyone who signed up to the 24 Hour Startup Challenge, to those who started, to those who finished a prototype, an MVP, a product, a startup, or whatever you want to call it! You have made something, and that in itself is amazing.

Women Make

Articles from the members of Women Make, a community that supports women makers.

Anne-Laure Le Cunff

Written by

Maker • Founder, Ness Labs • MSc neuroscience candidate at King’s • Indie researcher • ex Google • Entrepreneur First alumni • Creator of #diversity30

Women Make

Articles from the members of Women Make, a community that supports women makers.

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