Startup Weekend is a global event based out of Seattle that brings ideas, innovation, and entrepreneurs together. Although it occurs all over the world, it is truly a local movement, built by organizers, facilitators, volunteers and attendees. These dedicated individuals come together, combining their areas of expertise to build a co-creative event. From strategy, design and marketing, to the food and drinks, the entire process unfolds through the work of individuals coming together to reach a mutual goal: a successful Startup Weekend.
Last night in Baton Rouge, we had our first glimpse into what that really means. Here is a recap of the exciting process that took place:
- Here for change. In opening the event, organizer Wendy Overton said, “The mission of Startup Weekend is to inspire change in your life.” When you come to Startup weekend you are coming to meet, share, and join others who are interested in making changes in their own lives and in the world. As one attendee said, “I am here to change the world, and what’s currently happening in the healthcare system.” Last night’s attendees all shared one thing, they see a problem and they want to fix it.
- Honor the process. Last night, we learned that Startup Weekend is less about the end result, and more about the process. Startup Speaker and CEO of Envoc Software Company, Calvin Fabre explained, “Don’t value planning for the result. The greatest value is the thinking that goes into plan. The right people will make the right decisions using their skills, not the plan.” When it comes to getting the right result, it really comes down to getting the right people. Calvin said, “Sometimes you just need to get the right people in the room to discuss the pitched plan and after talking, they will come up with a solution. Not a loss.”
- Let go of fear. It can be nerve-racking to stand in front of a room of idea-filled, creative and inspiring professionals and share your own idea. But, it is important to remember that is precisely the reason why we are here at Startup Weekend, to share, learn, build and grow. Organizer and software developer, Philip Jackson, explained, “Your brilliant idea won’t get turned around in a weekend, but don’t be afraid of your sharing idea; [here] you develop the idea further; have technical coaches and even a lawyer.” He continued, “The best time to fail is now. Don’t be afraid. Go get some advice. If you really feel it, do it. But, only do it after you have gone and asked everyone.” “If you know your idea won’t work, present as if it will work and then say why it won’t. Teach everyone what you have learned.”
- Team Building. From the inspiring introduction to the team building games, it is clear that this weekend is about taking an individual’s initial idea and building it with others. Wendy explained that the power of Startup Weekend lies in the ability to tap into other’s networks. You are introduced to and work with other individuals who offer the areas of expertise that you need to launch your idea – it really is about teamwork. Wendy continued, “This is about the team, bringing an idea to reality. If your idea is not selected, join another team. You can proactively recruit a team. We are here to build relationships, no lone wolves.”