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Do you wonder what it’s like to attend a Startup Weekend? Still unsure whether or not to attend Startup Weekend Women Hamburg? In this series we’re asking former Startup Weekend participants about their experiences and the impact of Startup Weekend in their everyday life.

Marnie Knorr
Marnie Knorr

Marnie, you have been to a Startup Weekend before, what was your experience of it?

I would never want to miss the experiences I made during Startup Weekends, especially personal ones concerning the dynamics and teamwork taking place with a bunch of ambitious – soon to be friends – foreigners. I found out that my definite key strength is to motivate people, pitching ideas and that I urgently had to work on my indecisiveness. At my first Startup Weekend I had a hard time in choosing the team. Everything during the first hours happens very quickly. Lots of good and interesting pitches, many nice people, food and drinks… Finally I ended up being in two different teams having no specific function in any of them but motivating. The team I joined was big and I never experienced having to organize with many foreign people in such a short time in that way. In the other team some members left at night but the initiator put lots of heart into founding his online music school and I got along with him very well, so I just helped where I can. Well, I am a woman and at times women can be emotional wracks 🙂 But in this way I learned lots about myself and what is important to me. Wanting to care in a motherly way I perceive as very female and existential attitude. For me winning the competition was less important than being supportive and I think that I might share this characteristic with many other women, which is another reason I would be very curious to go to a Startup Weekend with women focus.

Have you been to similar events? How is a Startup Weekend compared to other events?

Startup Weekend is definitely a very good choice. I have been to similar events before and found out that the difference lies in the set of values. At Startup Weekend the customer validation, sense of the project and heart you put into your project is more important than the profit and business case. I found that very nice! Organizing an Startup Weekend that encourages especially women I find highly innovative as our society is transforming and leaving gender bias behind. I went to about five different events and all have shaped my personality. Many of these appear in my blog Skizzokitchen.
Another fact why I truly recommend to participate are the business opportunities: Tobi, the guy with the online music school won the Startup Weekend in Hamburg in 2012 and his online music school Get2Play were supported by accelerators like Prosieben and Axel Springer.  So another advice is: go where your intuition leads you to. Try to make the most of the time and reflect later. Don’t think too much, just do! – but do with heart! Even if you are the last one left, keep following your instincts.

Had Startup Weekend a lasting impact in your life?

Currently I am working with an IT start-up in my home town Bremerhaven and I got more decisive in my actions. I found out that I love to talk in front of people, organizing and hosting workshops for creativity and innovation and would love to bring Startup Weekends to my city somewhen. As I tend to prefer social projects I founded www.ichlehe.es which is an online platform to enter ideas about our neighbourhood which is a kind of hot spot in our city – which has also been a pitch before.

Thank you very much for this interview!

Theresa Grotendorst