Guest post from Greg Connell – team member on Startup Weekend Toronto’s first place team and Global Startup Battle Champion (2012) for GroupNotes.
1. Late nights and lots of coffee
Startup Weekend kicks off Friday night with 1 minute pitches and ends with the final presentations on Sunday evening. That’s not a whole lot of time to do everything needed to wow the judges, including customer validation, design, and the actual building of your idea. To make the most out of this time, you might have to sacrifice some sleep. Be prepared to stay up late coding and up early the next morning getting back at it. I promise, it’ll be worth it. And coffee helps!
2. Learn something new
Have you been wanting to learn a new coding language like Node.js, play with cool things like Arduinos, Raspberry Pis, and 3D Printers, or have an idea you think could turn into a business? Well there’s no better place to do it then a Startup Weekend.
3. Meet some cool people
MakeWorks is going to be packed full of talented designers, developers, hardware hackers, marketers, and people who love startups. Expect to work closely with your team and mingle with everyone else. You never know, that person might be your future co-founder, next employee, or someone who can help you with your day job.
4. Actually build something
Startup Weekend’s slogan is “No talk, All action”. That means there’s no time to hum and haw over options and there’s certainly no red tape to cut though. If you have an idea, you can build it immediately. Aim to have something built by the final presentation on Sunday and maybe, if you’re brave enough, even do a live demo!
5. Mentorship and advice from experts
At Startup Weekend, there will be a whole slew of mentors there to help your team out. These will be people with a whole lot of experience building things so I suggest you ask them questions and have them scrutinize your plan. The more help you get, the better your final pitch will be and the better chance you’ll have at taking home the grand prize!
Bonus: You’ll quit your job and start a company
This might not happen to everyone, but I’m willing to bet it will happen to someone. Over the course of the weekend, you’ll be validating your ideas, talking to customers, and building a ton of awesome things. But after Sunday, everything doesn’t have to stop. You can take what you’ve worked on and turn it into a real business that might even let you quit your job. It happened to my team at Startup Weekend Toronto in 2012. Who will be next?