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10151776_10152177015459580_3028647831890664740_nGoing for a Startup Weekend is like a roller coaster. At first, you are unsure and doubting whether you should be joining this event or not. And after you have completed the whole three days event, you get off the roller coaster and line up to get back on again.

From my experience, as a student without prior preparation before my first Startup Weekend, I learned 3 things:

Number One: There is a bigger world outside your university life and you shouldn’t be afraid to explore it. Personally, I have always been contented with staying within my comfort zone and find it difficult to talk to people outside my social circle. I got too comfortable in my own environment that when I am thrown into the outside world, I will be petrified. Sure, I can make do with a nervous chuckle and an awkward, “Hello” but after a while, you’ll realize that you can’t carry a conversation. So, go out and explore, meet new people and talk to them. You will find that there are so many things out there for you to find out and learn.

Number Two: Mistakes will be made but that’s okay. In my first Startup Weekend, my team and I worked on an idea which ungracefully popped into my head in the same morning I met them. A little sidenote to make is that I look older than I actually am, so, my team indirectly elected me to take charge for the rest of the three days. Keep in mind that this was my first Startup Weekend and that I had no experience whatsoever beforehand, so, the terms minimum viable products, the lean startup model, market validation confused and seriously scared the crap out of me. Mistakes were made, our minimum viable product was a powerpoint presentation and I used the term, “Fremium model” without knowing what it actually meant.

But you know what, that’s okay. It is alright to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Startup Weekend is a great place to learn because you are surrounded with not only students but also founders, co-founders, techies, designers and business developers who know their stuff. Being a student has its advantages because you are forgiven when you make mistakes. You won’t have this chance once you enter the working industry, so make mistakes while you still can.

Number Three: Don’t doubt, just do.Three days to work on a startup idea does not give you much time to daydream. That’s three days to cook up an idea, consider the business model, build a minimum viable product and practice your pitch. But one thing I did learn from this is that action speaks louder than words. Back in university, we’re bound by restrictions in terms of what to say and write during assignments and presentations that you will realize that nothing much actually gets done. During these three days, you will experience a whirlwind of events happening all at the same time and it challenges you on how you will deal with each of these issues at the same time. You will not have time to think about them, but you will have to solve them. Action speaks louder than words. You will learn how to walk the walk during these three days.

I hope that you are not intimidated by my experience but believe me when I say this. Startup Weekend changed my perspective on a lot of things that are happening around me. It is definitely a great opportunity that I highly encourage you, as a fellow student, to join because of the many things you can learn from which textbooks really cannot offer you.

Written by a fellow student,

Jiaway Koh

Jiaway Koh