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We are proud to bring back and introduce to you one of our mentors, Lauren Valbert. 

Lauren helps businesses with customer development, business development, and marketing. Customer centrism is the philosophy behind the company’s focus: how do companies attract, retain, and motivate the customers that will make their business successful and profitable?

She works with companies to create customer profiles, which then are tested and validated, and which can then be used to build growth-oriented business and product development strategies. She has had her fair share of helping businesses bloom.

We had a chance to interview her for Startup Weekend.

How many Startup Weekends have you mentored at?

This is going to be my 5th startup weekend in total and 3rd in Amsterdam.

Which participant team made the biggest impression on you?

It has to be a team from Startup Weekend Amsterdam 2014 which tried and pivoted a lot over the weekend and ended up talking about their learning process and failure on Sunday night pitch.

We as human beings and as a society are focused on success and results only but what I liked about that team is that their experience focused on the learning process itself and the fact that exposing vulnerability can help other people learn.

What makes you come back to Startup Weekend Amsterdam every year?

I love the whole concept of startup weekend. I love the team of dedicated individuals behind Startup Weekend Amsterdam and the fact that it is ran voluntarily is a testament to the energy and the passion that the team brings. The structure itself is weird, chaotic and energized rather than something which is too structured and boring. So for me it is tiring but also very energizing and fun.

How can you help our participants as a mentor?

Helping all size of companies develop ideas is part of my daily work, especially with regards to their customers. My expertise is related to how an idea is related to a customer, on every level: from ideation to validation to successfully launching the product or service.

What I will bring is the customers perspective to what participants will be building. You may think your idea is great but I’m going to look at it from a customer’s point of view and help you develop it further.

What kind of ideas are you looking forward to see at this year’s event?

I’m looking forward to Social Entrepreneurship ideas, ideas which can impact our community and people. Ideas which can transform ways to share information which is offline as well as online to make people’s life better. I don’t think most of us need any more products, what we need to do is figure out better ways to communicate, connect, share and impact each other’s world.

What is the most important lesson you want to give to our participants?

The weekend is not about ending up with a successful idea, its about learning and allowing yourself to fail. I would say come in and be prepared to fail.

Why should people participate in Startup Weekend even if they don’t have an idea?

There are two kind of people at this event; people with great ideas and people who help them actually make those ideas happen. I myself am the latter type as I don’t have great ideas by myself but I’ve great skills supporting those people bring ideas to life. Supporting and bringing ideas to life is actually much more fun. It really stretches you creatively and i think those people are more important than the people with ideas. I see those people as a major asset to Startup Weekend.

Looking forward to our coming event? Buy your tickets soon.

Buy your Startup Weekend Amsterdam 2015 Ticket Now!


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Khizar Naeem