What can you possibly learn in 54 hours? Have you ever dreamed of stepping into the shoes an entrepreneur? Maybe you have a million dollar idea and you want to validate it? Or possibly you’re searching for a cofounder to make your product come to life?
Welcome to the adventurous world of Startup Weekend Barcelona!
Step 1: 60 sec. Pitching – (usually on Friday evening)
First, you will practice how to present or select an idea in a one-minute pitch. What’s that? Yeah, you heard me: If your idea is any good you should be able to explain in less than a minute why people should work with you, buy your product or invest their money.
Your pitch should include:
- Idea / slogan in one sentence like a tweet, no more! Also known as your kick ass sentence to grab people’s attention!
- The team’s (your) background? What’s so great about you?
- The problem you’re solving and your proposed solution – a real unsolved problem …
- What resources you need, ie: people skills, technology you will employ…etc..
If you have time also explain…
- Your proposed business model – how do you plan to make money?
- Your go to market strategy? Which market do you want to target first and how?
You can also arrive without any idea at all! It’s actually recommended to avoid presenting a startup idea that already exists.
Out of the dozens ideas that are presented only 8 – 10 will be voted in by the crowd. Then a speed teaming session starts! Designers, programmers, biz dev, marketing…etc. Skills are matched up against idea potential, competence, gaining trust, keeping a high level of motivation… Know what you bring to the table!
Step 2 – TEAMING UP (also known as the Hacker, the Designer and the Hustler)
A solid team should include at least one designer, one programmer and one business guy. Now, each idea may require different skills set, so don’t worry there is always room for motivated, fresh entrepreneurs willing to learn, socialize and have fun.
How to choose the perfect project and team? This is no such thing, now consider the points below:
Idea: Do you like this idea? Why ?
Market: How big is the potential market?
Skills: What skills will I bring to this project and what skills are needed ?
Scalability: How fast can you conquer the work using technology?
Leadership: Is there a clear leader in the team? Usually the person bringing the idea leads but there are no written rules.
Startup Weekend Barcelona is also an arena for making connections and building relationships. Are you ready to (net-) work with people who share the same fears and hopes as you?
Beyond learning new skills and starting a business, you will network with likeminded people. Starting a company with other people is essential and never easy. Understanding this early in the process is vital. A winning team is a clear variable of success. Although, you might feel like you have chosen the wrong team, forget it, there is no such thing as joining the perfect team, you have to make it a perfect team. Worst case… you will learn a lot from the experience.
Conflict and tension will eventually come up as every team member getting tired or just stressed by timing and fear of failure. Each team member might offer a different opinion leading to conflict. Learning how to work with new people and how to deal with team issues are part of the process. Live it, embrace it and accept it from the beginning.
Also check out these related articles:
STEP 3 – Working (also known as Getting Shit Done)
Yes… the first rule of the game is get to work! Second rule is work hard! The third rule is work really, really fast!
Some concepts to keep in mind…
PROBLEM SOLVING: Not only the startup idea must be based on a real unsolved problem, but being entrepreneur is about solving problems all the time. No skills, no time, no money, no client, no product, no nothing, ok! but do it anyways, this is about making something happen…stop complaining, find solutions, start to work!
CANVAS: Good tool to make sure you are going on the right track on your value proposition. Here is a link to a canvas model
PIVOT: Pivoting is the term used when your totally or partially change your idea, product or strategy.
MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is the basic product you need to test your idea on real conditions in your market. Weather it’s an app or a an e-commerce, a real product, just some mockup design or a nice prezzi stylish presentation. You must be able to show your product experience to customers, so you can see in real conditions if they want to buy it. From this feedback you will improve or adapt your product.
LEAN: Lean concept is about testing your idea in the market as early as you can. Why? because it’s better to fail fast and pivot, adapt, change or quit than failing slowly…and die. This is like a survival instinct nobody gets it right from the beginning, remember the first time you tried to walk as a baby? See also Quitting, Failing, Sucking your way to a better life
54 HOURS ONLY so you better be smart and fast! The objective is to get a MVP to present on Sunday or at least a MVP plan designed and a clear LEAN way to test your idea if impossible in 2 days.
SCALABLE: We live in a global world, good idea can be easily copied so if you have a good one you better make it right and make it fast. A good startup is usually scalable, for example starting up selling bakery in your street is quite local now if you create a app to buy your croissant from bed on Sunday morning, then if working this is scalable globally.
MENTOR: One of the best value from this event! Groups of mentors with years of experience will listen to your project and give you feedback. They will ask you the right question that might hurt but help you to avoid you unnecessary effort or pivot to the right track.
SOME SURVIVAL TIPS:
Listen, ask question and learn ( also called shut you f*** mouth sometimes!! ): A lot is about this, with your team, mentors, clients, providers…etc. be open, listen, ask the right questions, be ready for change, most importantly enjoy and keep learning…! Did I mentioned to listen to others?
For more advice check these articles:
Step 4 – SUNDAY PITCH ( also called what the hell happen on Sunday ? )
You will have to pitch in front of a professional jury, present your work and the first 3 project win prize and glory… Some startup weekend projects actually end up being big successes. One of the famous one in Barcelona is Kantox. Now let’s be realistic this is one out of a hundred and you better come with low expectations to avoid being disappointed. This is about learning and having fun, no more no less. Startup weekend is the best way to test and get an introduction of what ( and how hard ) is it to be entrepreneur.
How much can this experience change your life ?
The last startup weekend I participated was held in June 2013, my third one Our startup called TutoTOONS won the second prize on Sunday. Out of the 8 team members, only 2 are still working on the project. As of today, we developed a working beta version, we pivoted at least once, signed the first contracts and recently got the first revenue. We received great constructive feedback from good mentors at startup events which helped us to improve the idea and to keep believing in it. I learn from startup weekend to never be afraid to present your idea and be open to receive constructive feedback. Thanks to startup weekend I met my cofounder Mantas, quit my job 2 months ago focusing now on developing full time TutoTOONS!
Next Barcelona startup weekend on 28-30 of March at the Mobile World Capital.
Presale tickets only 40 euros before the 19 of February!
Read more about about StartupWeekend.org