When and where was your first Startup weekend?
My first Startup Weekend was Startup Weekend Amsterdam 2011. It was pretty exciting! I came there totally oblivious to what SW is all about and kinda jumped in on recommendation of one of my friends, then an organiser (Vincent van Leeuwen). I was giving up my weekend to attend so I figured I wanted to work on something fun and I wasn’t really there to start a start-up. That was my initial thought when hearing about SW; that the goal of the weekend is to start a startup. Turns out, my initial idea of just having fun and not aiming for something so ambitious was perfectly aligned with what SW is aiming for; the goal is not to start a start-up but to get you excited about the possibility of starting a start-up, whilst having a lot of fun. I quickly joined teams with Dan Fennessy and together with 6 other guys we quickly launched ‘Party with a Local’. It’s still going strong with Dan being the driving force behind it. He’s launched an iOS app and an Android app along the way and is getting a lot of rightfully deserved attention nowadays!
What is the most important thing you learned during startup weekend?
That starting a start-up is all about the team. The idea could be fun, worthless, boring or worth millions, or a combination of these and more, but that’s just what it is; an idea. To turn an idea into a business you need execution and for that, you need a team. Pivoting (changing focus or altogether changing the product itself) happens a lot during Startup Weekend and is usually a great thing; recognising something doesn’t work (by customer validation!) and shifting gears could be detrimental to success but the thing that stays constant throughout this process is the team itself.
Also, Nick can’t drink. (Editor: Here is being referred to Nick Stevens, the facilitator. Do challenge him for a drinking game)
What is your favourite SW-project?
I think my favourite was a project that came to be born on the Sunday of one of the Amsterdam events. The guys were working on something that didn’t work and eventually didn’t want to pitch it on Sunday. But they did have a time slot available for pitching so they came up with a brilliant idea named ‘Cube‘. The idea was simple; really rich people buy fancy sports cars all the time and don’t drive in them but just look at them. But they are stored in a garage somewhere! Cube offered a great service to these extremely wealthy car lovers; they will buy a really expensive car (like a Bugatti Veyron or a Porsche 918 Spyder) and they will put it in a car crusher, making a cube out of it. Then they will put up this cube on a pedestal for displaying purposes in house. Awesome! They never executed it unfortunately… it’s not just for really rich people, I would have loved to have my first car ‘Cubed’!
If you have to convince someone to join #SwGro14 in a few words, how would you do that?
You won’t regret going. I don’t know what you’re going to do, who you’re going to meet and how much partying you’ll do (as opposed to working) but you’re definitely going to think it was well worth the weekend! Go in blind!
Anything else you want to say about Startup weekend?