Getting Ready for Startup Weekend

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I’m excited – Startup Weekend 3.0 in Evansville is just about here.   If you’ve been to a SW event, you know how exciting it is and what the benefits are.  I’m working on a blog post for later this weekend – “Five Things NOT to Do at Startup Weekend” based on my first experience.  But as you’re getting ready, here are some things to work on before you get to USI on Feb 21st.

1) Refine your Idea Presentation – If you plan to present an idea on Friday night, work on your short pitch.  Remember, everyone in that room is hearing about this for the first time ever.  I know, you’ve have this idea in your head for months, maybe years and you know all the details.  But everyone listening hasn’t.  Be clear, direct and specific about what your idea is and how it will work as a business.

2) What’s the Goal? – Startup Weekend is many things, but at the base it is a competition.  To win, you will compete against all the other ideas/businesses in a final presentation on Sunday.  And the judges will be given the exact criteria on how your idea will be evaluated so spend some prep time thinking about these  things –

Business Model
Can this idea make money? Is there positive customer growth or revenue? Is there a customer acquisition / rollout strategy? Has a revenue model been defined and is it realistic? Is the idea/team ready for capital and execution? Would you invest in this company at this point?

Customer Validation
Did the team identify customers (demographic, location etc)? Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers? What channels of communication are used? Product/Market fit?

Technical – Execution
Is there a functional product (e.g.in the case of an app, did they build one)? Were architecture diagrams and API signatures included? Which services did they integrate with? How much of the product is running on a real server with non-sample data?

Design – Execution
Does it have a professional look and feel? Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Is it memorable? What key insights were gathered over the weekend to go in this creative direction?

Nail those four things, and win the weekend.

3) Stamina – This is both a marathon AND a sprint.  You’ll spend the entire weekend ideating, learning, thinking and doing.  Prepare your body for long hours and lack of sleep.

See you in three weeks.