This weekend’s Triangle Startup Weekend is a great event for anyone who wants to collaborate on new businesses ideas and flex their coding skills in interesting ways. But this is not just an event for entrepreneurs or developers, as companies are about more than just ideas and lines of code. These companies need names, logos, press releases, social media campaigns, videos along with their great ideas and shiny websites. So if you are someone who is willing to get behind an idea and work hard all weekend, here are six reasons to consider attending Triangle Startup Weekend at Edge Office in Downtown Raleigh.
1. Choose your function
While you may not be able to find a new job in this economy, you can work in a different area from the one that brings in your paycheck. You may not even be dissatisfied in your job, but are looking for a short-term challenge. If there is a skill that you have been honing in your spare time, but haven’t brought to the professional forefront, this is the perfect opportunity. Startup Weekend participants are helpful and open and generally will assist you in working with those new skills.
2. Choose your project
Unless you currently run a company or manage lots of employees, someone else is telling you what to do and what projects to work on. Startup Weekend gives you the chance to choose which team you would like to be part of. It’s great to pitch an idea to the room, and maybe your idea will be voted to the top. But if it is not, pick the one that best fits with your interests and experience. And the team that you pick Friday night may not be the one you return to on Saturday morning. You are totally in control of your destiny.
3. Lead an area
As the group dynamics develop around skills and interests, you can speak up and lead one of the functional areas. It may be something you normally do, or may be totally new, but there are leadership roles and organizational roles in every project. Someone has to be in charge of defining tasks and making sure they get done. This is even true in a non-programming role where you may be the only one handling the tasks.
4. Work hard and have fun
Everyone on a team has to be committed to the project and work hard to meet the goal: launch by Sunday evening. Does this mean work through 54 hours straight without sleep? That depends on the team. If the project requires that amount of work and everyone has committed to it, then it does. But mainly the amount of work derives from the team’s expectations. If you have committed to building the front end of the website by Saturday, then your team is counting on you to do that. The work needs to be something you enjoy and are happy to do. Of course there will be stress over the weekend, but it is about fun in a business building atmosphere.
An obvious benefit of Startup Weekend is that it gives you the opportunity to network. And this is not a few minutes over a craft-brewed beer and some finger food. This is an intense weekend of solving problems, working together, fighting it out and creating something of value. You will get to know people in a real working environment. You may find a new business partner. You may find someone that seems cool, but writes messy code. These connections can be what you make of them, but the goods ones will be stronger than you might expect. Bonding happens in the trenches of building a business.
6. Start a company
The goal of Startup Weekend is for each team to start a company that can launch by Sunday. This is a very lofty goal that requires hard work, the right idea, the right team and lots of coffee. This has been done many times over the lifespan of Startup Weekend nationally, and even locallly. Last July we launched four companies at RTP Startup Weekend. The challenge is to find the time and dedication to sustain that company after the event. This will also depend on the people involved and the demands of everyone’s regular life. It can be done, but it is not the norm.
If you come to Triangle Startup Weekend thinking you will be on the road to your personal recovery as part of a successful startup and the stock options are just around the corner, you may be disappointed. But if you come to experience the thrill of working with great people to build a company in weekend, you will have a great time. See you on Friday.
For more information, go to TriangleStartupWeekend.com.