Startup Weekend, 2019 Cluj-Napoca
With the experience of just one hackathon behind me, I decided to take part in this event. I really didn’t have much to lose so I said why not?
Unfortunately, my team didn’t even place and I’m still salty.
What was this event?
StartupWeekend was a weekend-long event focused on getting your idea off the ground. Essentially:
- Pitch your idea
- Get voted on
- Create a team
- Make something happen
- Get buy-in from the judges
Although I made it far, my idea still failed to get buy-in from the judges. We fell short and my team did not place. We failed to win.
It doesn’t end there though. We do have something to show for it.
Yeah that’s shopped.
- Tribal mentality is prevalent
- Target a niche that the judges fit into
- Limited perspectives & conservative attitudes inhibit innovation
My perceived ideal route to success in these events?
- Appeal to the crowd’s needs & leverage your network to pass the voting stage. Sell yourself.
- Assemble a team. Small teams are easier to manage.
- Identify judge pain points.
- Pivot – focus on providing value to those pain points. (where I failed)
- Refine your idea:
- Feedback from your team
- Feedback from mentors
- Feedback from judges
- Present your product.
Why am I salty?
Although this route may help you succeed, it enables teams to move forward with ideas that resolve pain points from representatives of a small portion of the market. These representative (judges) are human and they each have their own perspective of the world, which has potential to be limited in the field that you want to work in. One of the judges really emphasized that we should expand to the global market for maximum potential.
My idea was in a field where the judges had little to no experience.
I recognize that I could have pivoted and appealed to the judges to win, but then what would my idea become? My idea would become a representation of the pain points from a demographic that is of a different generation.
The market (generation) that these judges represent don’t have urgency to develop innovation in the field that I appeal to. As such, they failed to see value in the idea.
Facing this predicament, I had 2 choices:
- Pivot and represent a smaller market
- Move forward and fail hard
I decided to take option 2 and I am glad that I did.
Any feedback is more than welcome 🙂
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