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Startup Your Brain

Darren Murray

I had the privilege of spending 54 hours with around 60 like minded people supported by a crew of international and local facilitators and mentors from a number of well known New Zealand businesses.

It was an enviable networking event with a chance to learn new skills, and exercise some old ones.

I attended a startup weekend and I now fully understand why people become addicted to these things! For those that have not heard of startup weekend the basic premise is to build a startup in 54 hours. Your weekend starts by pitching or just listening to 60 second pitches from members of the group, the favourites filter to the top and teams with a minimum of 3 or maximum of 8 people are formed around the idea and begin to build a business. It's all extremely well facilitated and the crew have clear experience in getting the ideas flowing and groups forming. There is plenty of information online about this International organisation and its main site is a good place to start http://startupweekend.org

The team I became a member of worked through two completely different businesses over the course of the weekend. The all important validation proving that the first idea had only one potential chance of success which was ‘go viral’. It was a neat idea that attracted a group of people to work on it so if the developers decide to pull it together I would still be interested in taking a look; crucially though I would not be interested in paying to access it. The second idea was a much more interesting proposition with a clear problem and a couple of potential business models, it was however now 6 o'clock Saturday evening. A little under 24 hours until pitch time!

A tense situation and I’ll admit to letting the thought ‘Why am I doing this?’ linger in my mind but it was never stressful and the team never fractured. By this stage we had all been outside of our respective comfort zones and collaborated on everything from a business model to design, product features and the all important pitch. In those final 24 hours we created and practised our product pitch and the talented developers produced an online working prototype that worked across browsers and devices. We did not have a paying customer but the mentors provided a solid contact that could very well turn into one.

9 o'clock on Sunday evening and the event is wrapping up but instead of exhaustion I felt energised, my whole brain had been fired up by Startup Weekend and inspired by just how much a motivated and talented group of strangers can achieve in 54 hours!

See you at Startup Weekend Dunedin April 2019? #swdud