With Indy’s Startup Weekend being less than a week away, here’s some advice to take with you as we countdown the days to kickoff…
1. It is entirely okay to be unsure of exactly how you will contribute to your Startup Weekend team. This was my biggest concern before and after I bought my weekend ticket. What on earth was I going to do during Startup Weekend? My educational background isn’t in business and at the time, most of my work experience focused on HR. Rather than going in with a fixed skill set to offer, I used the weekend to evaluate what I naturally gravitated towards and what areas/tasks peak my interest. I ended up doing a lot of marketing and outreach for my team – which has since become my primary job function at work.
2. Pick your team based on who you want to work with, not just on an idea. I got this advice between pitches from a swindy vet. I doubted him for a moment (Didn’t I want to work on the most viable idea?) but decided to trust his words of wisdom and opted for a great idea and a great team. Turned out (not shockingly) that it was great advice that shaped my weekend and my overall experience. You can’t predict the outcome of your new company, but you can begin building lasting relationships. If you’re torn between ideas, look at the people on the team – who do you want to spend the next 54 hours working with?
3. Have fun. This seems like an obvious point, but if you’re not having fun (and some teams have more fun than others) you’re missing out on part of the Startup Weekend experience. You’re going to make mistakes and you might get frustrated along the way – that’s okay. Take a moment to reorganize, set a new path, and try again. Just don’t forget to laugh along the way.
4. Don’t isolate yourself from other teams and participants. On Friday, after teams were selected, there were a few participants that opted for doing their own thing and working solo. Sure, everyone loves the ideas their own pitched idea, but the weekend isn’t just about launching a company, it’s also about the opportunity to work with others towards a common goal. If your idea isn’t selected and you’re frustrated, that’s okay, but don’t be so attached to it that you miss out on the event experience.
5. Swindy passion is contagious. I have explained Startup Weekend to tons of people and quite frankly I probably haven’t done it justice. There is a tangible energy and excitement that fills the air during Startup Weekend. And it’s contagious. You’ll likely feel completely re-energized, refocused and motivated for days, weeks or months even after the event. Take this energy home with you and harness it in your day-to-day activities.
by Jim Bartek