54 hours. 25 ideas. 11 startups. Say Hello to Scotland’s first StartUp Weekend!

I was part of StartUp Weekend Glasgow last weekend and have been bursting to tell you all about how it went!

For those of you who don’t know what it was about and couldn’t figure it out from the title it was a bootcamp for developers and non-developers or as they said:  technical and non-technical(a constricted categorization that I have a problem with). People were encouraged to pitch their ideas and it was so encouraging to see the ideas come through even when a few people stood up on the moment to pitch. I for the record did not pitch which was uncharacteristic but I just got over my exams and wanted to ‘let it play’ to quote Emily Thorne (Revenge fans will note the slick reference to the season finale!).

Here is a storify of the startup I got involved: VegPin

http://storify.com/VegPin/startup-weekend-glasgow-swglas

[View the story “StartUp Weekend Glasgow #SWGlas” on Storify]

p.s. I would have loved to embed it but it won’t work so you’ll have to click the link!

Moviecom.tv video channel for the weekend: http://www.moviecom.tv/startupweekendglasgow

REVIEW

I really love the idea of launching a business and getting all the experts in one place. When else do you have the motivation to fill a business model canvas on a big wall and work on the business model for two days? There were times when I had discussed the business model so much that I wanted to jump out the window or the one evening we spent with no air conditioning and no windows in sweltering heat that I thought we have spent 8 hours coming full circle. The one thing that was crucial to me before I went to #SWGlas was that I wanted to compare to my experience at Sicamp – similar structure but a little different. Sicamp invited lot of people to come up with socially innovative ideas about a social problem that they identify. All the ideas are sorted through and 6 ideas are selected. The same schedule follows suit – people join up their favourite ideas and display a variety of skill sets: coders, developers, designers, marketers and finance-lovers. There are have experts or mentors at hand to help teams. Sleepless nights and full-on days of work very reminiscent of Apprentice/school project days. Here is my view on what worked and what didn’t. It almost follows naturally from my last blogpost!

What worked:

Working on a startup for two days which was amazing. Got more done in 2 days than we would have got done in 6 months.

Mentors. Mentors disagreed with each other and sometimes took you off-course just like in real life. They were also life-savers.

– Working as long as you want

– Pitches. It was really good to practise the pitch about 30 times infront of team members, random people and mentors! I got some great feedback and then when the real thing happened some really excellent feedback on it. So much more confident on my pitching style now!

– Getting Prizes. Our team won two prizes. I won the prize for influencing most people through twitter and we won a prize for technical development.

What didn’t:

Organisation. Check out my scale from before.

– Some teams had ideas that had won awards at other events and ALREADY had been worked on for more than a year. Not only is it unfair on ideas starting from Square 1 but it just took all the fun out of working on a fresh idea.

– There was no guidance or direction on what can be achieved in a weekend – technically speaking.

– Categorization of people into ‘tech’ and ‘non tech’. Sicamp did better by allowing  people to self-identify. Read what I have to suggest below on this.

What would be ‘awesome’ to have:

– Good quality tea and coffee.

– At the start of the event a ‘Cheatsheet’ for StartUp Weekend veterans to all teams on how to get the best out of the weekend. Our team could have really benefited from some talk on ‘what can be achieved in this weekend’

– A twitter wall – always good to know what everybody is saying and how teams can help each other.

– A few 30 min sessions during the weekend which mentors and experts can offer some perspective on what’s most important for a startup. e.g. A 30 min session on branding would have been much welcomed on saturday.

– Good prizes.

– Sense of community so when the weekend is over. A one day startup weekend catchup can happen where teams can work together and see how they are doing.

– Following from before – there should be a name tag(the one that dangles around your neck instead of getting pined) which should have 4 things on it: name, twitter handle, skill (coder, designer, marketer, just love startups etc) and a quality(enthusiastic, organised etc).  This will help in creating better teams!

Did you attend a similar event? or want to run one? Share it in the comments below!

Big thanks to Michael and Jim at Entrepreneurial Spark for their hard work to make the weekend happen.

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This entry was published on June 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm. It’s filed under conference, entrepreneurship and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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