Above my desk there is a hand written note that reads, “An idea without execution is nothing more than a hallucination”, a simple reminder from a trusted mentor that ultimately led me to my first Startup Weekend in Los Angeles.
After a 54-hour sprint, one such idea went from concept to development to business. And today, I’m delighted to announce HORSE! The mobile app that asks….”Can you step up to the challenge?”
Coming to Start-up Weekend I had little expectations and figured that even if my idea didn’t get picked as a finalist I would meet some like-minded entrepreneurs and have some fun grinding out a business model over the course of 3 days. Over 45 ideas were pitched and when the voting had concluded on the opening night, HORSE had been selected as a finalist; it was time to get to work!
I quickly amassed a team; an advertising executive, a professor, a social media marketer, one designer, and two developers. Not only did each member bring a unique set of qualifications to the team, but also they were energetic and excited about the idea!
We knew the competition was going to be tough as the talent pool at Startup Weekend was impressive. Regardless, we were determined to win. Other teams were after the same goal, and over the course of the weekend this passionate group of entrepreneurs became a community of supporters; each of us taking time to sit with opposing teams and offer thoughts and suggestions for how we might improve each other’s products and businesses. It was so energizing to see a room of what started as complete strangers morph into this powerful group of people executing great ideas.
After a sleepless weekend, we had developed an MVP, constructed a customer acquisition strategy, conducted market research, outlined a revenue model and ultimately crafted a pitch designed to stand out from our competition.
Once the pitches had concluded and the judges made their final decision, HORSE had won the race!
It was a job well done and one hell of a weekend!
If you have ever considered attending a Startup Weekend, make it happen! Here are a few tips that might help convince you to take the plunge and hopefully succeed once you get there:
· Share Your Ideas
o Your ideas will forever be hallucinations unless you share them. Don’t be afraid that someone will steal it!
· Don’t Be Nervous
o Everyone is there to learn and support one another, don’t be nervous about getting up in front of the crowd. But just in case you’re like me and still get a little shaky….don’t worry they have free beer!
· Pick an Idea You Are Passionate About
o There are lots of talented people that attend but finding a team that is really passionate about your idea or joining an idea you are passionate about makes the weekend a lot more fun!
· Embrace Other Teams
o Be sure to spend time talking to other teams and networking with everyone at the event, your own team and idea are only part of the reason you attend Startup Weekend.
· Have Fun
o Win or lose, this can be a great weekend to network with a potential employer, co-founder or new found friend. If you’re reading this article you are already ambitious and determined to succeed…don’t forget to take a minute to enjoy the ride along the way!