Seven Reasons To Spend Your Weekend at Startup Weekend New England
By Allan Tear
RI is hosting the first New England-wide Startup Weekend on OCT 15-17th. Bryant University is hosting, and providing a unique FooCamp (bring your tents) environment to practice your startup chops.
Register at the New England Startup Weekend site. There is a big push to get college students, and we want to balance that with experienced tech and business folks who want to get their startup on.
What is Startup Weekend?
Startup Weekend recruits a highly motivated group of software developers, business managers, startup enthusiasts, marketing gurus, graphic artists, industrial designers and more to a 54 hour event that builds communities, companies and projects. It is an amazing opportunity to connect with other passionate and skilled individuals, and perhaps even find a co-founder or two to transform your idea into reality.
Simply, individuals form teams around ideas on Friday night. By Saturday they are designing both a product and a business model, and by Sunday teams have built a prototype and a company pitch. On Sunday evening the teams pitch to a panel of judges, prizes are given, and confetti drops from the ceiling.
OK, so why should you spend your weekend at Startup Weekend New England?
1. It's intensely fun. What's better than going from idea to prototype and company story in 54 hours, with cool motivated people and free food? OK, I'm sure you could make up something, but I'm guessing it's not happening on the weekend of Oct 15th. Startup Weekend is a good time.
2. It will get you started on your "back pocket" idea. You know you have one. We know you have one. Come test your idea out, see if other people see the value, and maybe rally a team to make some progress. Even if your idea doesn't get chosen (SUW'ers vote with their feet at the end of FRI night) you'll get some good feedback and mentally move forward that million dollar gem.
3. It will build your network. You'll meet 60+ other entrepreneurs, from all ages and backgrounds, both business and tech. There will be guest speakers, judges, and the StartupWeekend organizers (both local and global). That's a lot of people to spend "quality time" with. Many SUW'ers from other cities keep their network going well after the event has ended.
4. You will find and validate cofounders and employees. Around all those fellow travellers? Guess what. One of those folks will be that cofounder that you've been searching for, your next rockstar university hire, or maybe the person who will hire you.
5. If you are an experienced entrepreneur, you will get better at what you do. SUW is not just for first time entrepreneurs or college students. For experienced entrepreneurs, SUW will take you out of your rut, let you exercise new skillz (been meaning to show off your RubyonRails?) and try different team approaches. Plus, we know you've got ten other ideas that you just haven't been making progress on...
6. If you are a new entrepreneur, you will test your mettle very quickly. No offense meant to entrepreneurship classes, but SUW is where the rubber meets the road for first time entrepreneurs. It's a bit of a pressure cooker, but it will steel your resolve to get your first venture up and running. And you'll learn lots of startup stuff.
7. You will be part of a shared experience across 20,000 people. Not a simultaneous experience, but in the three years since Startup Weekend was founded, they've spread like wildfire across the globe. Over 100 cities in 25 countries, and doubling in event count every year.
8. It works. Why do all those people show up? The idea simply works, and it keeps getting better. Just do a search for blogs or videos on "Startup Weekend experience" and see for yourself. There is a good overview video on YouTube (plenty of user generated content from SUW round the world there too).
Oh, and did I mention that it's cheap? $40, or $25 for students. Bryant University is generously covering all the hosting costs at their beautiful conference center, and will even let you pitch a tent on their campus green (It has the word "camp" in it, after all). So go here (http://newengland.startupweekend.org/) and register. Really, there's no reason not to.