Guest post by Ashish Phanithi, Campus dabbler, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Technology, Hyderabad
How much time will it take to conceptualise an idea? A year? A month?
Well, just over a weekend actually. Not to mention enormous hard work and extreme adrenaline rush.
This weekend I skipped the cinemas like an odd hundred others and attended an event, “Startup weekend.” Economics, finance, marketing, programming, design- all carefully packaged into one weekend.
It is an event that happens over a weekend where people come and pitch their startup ideas. They receive feedback and some ideas are selected. The selected ideas are then developed further by forming teams and a final presentation is given on the last day in front of select judges who determine the winner.
After general introductions we were asked to pitch our ideas individually and roughly 20 of them qualified. The pitchers then gathered a team, a talent pool rather, and started work on their super awesome idea.
I joined an IIT kanpur alumnus who was currently doing an MBA in ISB. He pitched an idea about creating an educational website that could actually teach rather than merely ‘provide’ education. Within no time we became a group of seven. We had two really awesome and talented designers from Ahmedabad, one MBA from Bits who was talented, skilled and calm, and two amazing coders. And all this on day 1- Friday evening.
Day 2- We had one full day with us and we started to create a website while the MBAs were busy chalking out strategies. The designers put all their creative machinery to work. We had mentors coming over to help us shape things the business way. Just listening to them was as informative as probably one month of MBA classes combined. The day passed and things almost shaped up. (The CEO treated his employees with a dinner ranging from biryani to steak to pasta. )
Day 3- My CEO had everything chalked out. He got entrepreneurs from the same field to validate the idea we were working on and one thing that makes his skill standout- He got us customers! Just one day and we had customers. By afternoon we were all set to present. We were number 8 in the list to present. Our CEO suited up and delivered the demo product to the judges. Later in the night we chilled out in our CEOs ISB hostel room (board room perhaps!). We discussed startups to social issues. Not only were our designers artistically brilliant, their zeal to bring about social change was indeed jaw dropping. Next time anybody looks down on somebody doing a designing course, he/she deserves a bullet to the head. The coder was calm and composed even during the party. The CEO was as energetic and bossy as ever. The other MBA studied us calmly like they are trained and yeah, she did provide her intellectual inputs.
In the end, I had tons of information, inspiration and experience. I made some really good friends just over a weekend and the fact that we might never see each other again, emotionally moved each one of us. My Facebook friend list is now filled with budding entrepreneurs and my contact list has numbers of future CEOs.
All this in just one weekend!