The following is a post from Simon Newstead. Simon is CEO & co-founder of Frenzoo, a growing Hong Kong mobile startup with millions of global users. Frenzoo’s goal is to create positive, playful and inspirational experiences. Frenzoo is hiring hackers & designers – simon[at]frenzoo[dot]com.
It’s amazing how much can come out of entrepreneurial, creative and time constrained teams.
This was my first time as a mentor at Startup Weekend Hong Kong. Not only was it refreshing to brainstorm with everyone, but also I walked away with inspiration for my own startup and met some great new people.
So if you’re already at a startup, would I recommend you still join future Startup Weekends? Definitely! Five reasons:
1. Spark new product ideas
If you’re sitting an entire weekend in a room with more than 10 teams bouncing around new ideas it’s hard not to get inspired.
For example, Thumbmail is a great idea – a whatsapp-like interface in a mail client (how awesome is that!)
Their mashup of a fun UX with a very traditional need triggered me to think – could I mashup a new form of interaction with an established game mechanic and make it fly?
So in between mentoring the teams, I sketched out a basic game design and UI flow. After some iteration back at the office, I found a talented intern to start coding and now we’re expecting first prototypes in a week (I’ll need some testers! email mesimon[at]frenzoo[dot]com if you’re interested)
Chances are if I hadn’t had attended, I wouldn’t have come up with that idea to mix those two things together.
2. Practical learnings about teamwork
At Frenzoo, we have an interesting structure – a startup of startups.
We have 5 micro startups that work on different app concepts. These typically are from 1-3 engineers and a designer. This is based on the premise that small but highly motivated teams can achieve the impossible.
At Startup Weekend the team sizes were similar.
In the end seeing which groups bubbled up to the top and correlating that back to how they worked was enlightening. In general, teams like Matcha that started with a well thought out initial use case, operated with minimal ego, trusted each others strengths and iterated based on research and validation came out on top. These lessons I’ll be taking back to my own startup.
3. Meet some great people
This is kind of obvious, but there are precious few avenues like Barcamp and Startup Weekend where large numbers of smart creative people gather (*maybe Team Badass can solve that problem?!)
It’s a great opportunity to meet new folks from different backgrounds from yourself, and maybe some potential partners in new projects.
I had the good fortune to connect with a couple of people at the event who I’m now collaborating with on some new ideas.
4. Have fun
Startup life can be tough.
Even at one with some traction, I’d be lying if I claimed that the exhilaration and milestones weren’t mixed in with blisteringly low points and seemingly never ending chain of tough challenges to overcome.
So it’s great to be able to give yourself a weekend off from the normal work schedule and just geek out in that early startup glow.
5. Support the startup scene!
I’m convinced Hong Kong has potential to make it big on the global scene when it comes to startups. We’re global minded, we have great engineers and designers, we have a reputation for working hard and we love technology.
But we’re not there yet. We need more companies, more investors, more sharing and learning.
So it’s great to get involved, learn from and help support a new bunch of entrepreneurs – that’s the way our community is going to grow to the next level.