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PDXSW Pre-Party Lighting Round Talks
PDXSW Pre-Party Lighting Round Talks

On the 30th of October, I joined about 50 others for the Portland Startup Weekend Pre-Party at the Green Dragon. There was a great mix of Startup Weekend Alumni and others who this was there first time hearing about the events. Ten people, including myself signed up to give quick 3 minute or less talks covering Startup Weekend itself, ways to get the most out of it, ideas that do well at the events, how to protect IP, etc. Taking one of the prizes for my talk, I thought I would share it again. So here we go:

7 Principles for getting most out of Startup Weekend and Beyond

1. Listen, really listen. We all have these scripts that start agreeing or disagreeing as soon as someone starts sharing their opinion. Try your best to listen to everyone from the context of the problem your trying to solve. Leave behind your feelings and assumptions, be present!

2. Fail Fast. Whatever theories or ideas you can test, test them immediately. Don’t waste your time wondering or arguing if your right, find out. Ask questions all the time, it doesn’t matter how many times your wrong, only how fast you get back on track.

3.Quit being a (kitty cat). It takes customers to have a business, and if you are to scared to step out of your comfort zone and ask people face to face real questions, your not ever going to have a real business. Change your thinking right now. Life isn’t going to wait for you, quit wasting time.

4. Stand up for something that matters to you. Passion is the most powerful motivator, and love conquers all. Make what your doing inspire you to take action. Passivity in life and business is like a virus and if left untreated becomes a disease.

5. Never give up, never surrender. When it gets hard, I mean really hard, because it will. That is the one guarantee we have. Know that the only thing separating you from success, is your willingness to chase it down and fight it to the finish line, don’t quit.

6. Gratitude. Understand no one or thing owes you anything. The fact your breathing is a blessing that should never be taken for granted. And it is going to take others no matter what your idea is to make it successful. Realize your potential customers don’t need you or what your offering. So you better be taking the time to truly care about them, and say thank you!

7. Have fun. Life is way to short to live unhappily. Success and happiness are not the same for everyone, so don’t search for yours trying to be like others. Do what you love, Love what you do.

Best wishes!


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Boone Bergsma



  • Andy

    good advice 🙂 but any advice about IP? i’m about to attend my first startup weekend in China (as a foreigner with bad Chinese skills). Sharing an idea would allow plenty of people to do it without including me, who can stop them? Certainly not me :-/
    I hope to be involved in a team with an interesting project, but I have 2 ideas for a startup that I’d love to explore… but don’t know about trusting people (and not many good friends here, yet)…

    • Hey Andy 🙂 thanks for the comment. As far as IP, I am not a lawyer, but that doesn’t change facts. And the fact is no matter how unique we think are ideas are, there are probably many others thinking the same thing. It comes down to execution, taking action on those ideas. Unfortunately there is also those who do have greedy intentions with funds to make things happen faster. But, your passion is something they will never have for your ideas. That is something that belongs uniquely to you, never fear sharing your ideas. Remember you have to get others to see the value in it, and you can’t do that keeping it all to yourself. 🙂 best wishes and many blessings! And good luck with the event.

      • Andy

        Again, good advice 😉 I have noticed around me in China that you can’t prevent people from copying your idea (really fast!), but you can plan ahead to make it better, bigger, and add the few extra details that others don’t have to make it stand out and work better than the rest.
        Not sure it’s that easy for my start-up idea, hahah. If you have any recommended reading about choosing teams or cofounders, that would be great, otherwise thanks for the article and comment! 🙂

        • 🙂 Proverbs and Psalms, applied to your life and business will let rest assured that whatever your doing in life will be successful. You will be able to stand up and scale mountains while your competitors and copycats fall down and perish at side. Living without fear opens up possibilities that others can’t even dream of, and having a solid foundation to operate from makes it so you can worry about your customers need. If your caring for people, I mean you know what you offer adds value to there life, solves a real problem, why would you ever need to worry about your competitors, unless they are doing a better job caring for people. Lol, 🙂 in that case copy them!

  • 🙂 LOL I just realized your profile picture is a kitty cat haha. Best wihes Andy!!

    • Andy

      “Little Tiger” they call me in China 😉 Btw, there’s an ‘s’ missing in your homepage’s url! 🙂

      • Thank You!! 🙂 appreciate it.

      • Hello Andy :), are you going to a #GSB2013 event in China? You should pitch an idea, awesome prizes this year http://www.wethinkitmattersinc.com/global-startup-weekend-gsb2013.html What brought you over there anyway? Best wishes and many blessings!

        • Andy

          Hey Boone 🙂 I planned on attending the whole Startup Weekend in Shenzhen in a few days, but I’ll have to change my plans, only able to attend sunday presentations. Definitely participating in next one though 🙂 (and brush up my Chinese skills by then 🙂
          Why China: love for the culture, this huge country full of natural wonders, and a tendency in my family to move around the globe 🙂 Now, you can add: great opportunities for learning and working 😉

          • Very cool, I look forward to traveling more and seeing more off this beautiful world. Never been to China and barely can speak english sometimes lol, but I would love to see China. Glad your going to check out the event at least a day and the next one. Whats your skill set if you where attending? Looking forward to hearing what you thought about. Best wishes and many blessings!

          • Happy New Year Andy 🙂 hope you have a extraordinary one. I was wondering how your Startup Weekend was? And hoping to connect with you http://www.linkedin.com/in/boonebergsma Best wishes for 2014