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It’s time again for Startup Weekend Louisville! Our 11th consecutive event is coming up this October, and we’re so excited to be bringing this 54 hour frenzy of fun, innovation, networking, and entrepreneurship back again!

Check out the recap of Startup Weekend Louisville #10, held at the Kentucky Science Center and LouieLab in April 2017.

Since this will be our eleventh event, we’ve learned a great deal about what Startup Weekend actually is, but many people that haven’t been still don’t know. One of the most common questions we get is “What is Startup Weekend?” We want to answer that with the words of the people that have been there.

Welcome back to “What is Startup Weekend Louisville?”

In this ongoing series, we’ll present what past attendees have to say about their time at Startup Weekend Louisville. We hope it will give you a better picture of how and why we do Startup Weekend in Louisville. We’ll be posting accounts, results, and stories from past attendees as we get closer to Startup Weekend Louisville #11 on October 13-15, 2017.

Take a look at what Alex Haynes from The Glass Capitol team at Startup Weekend Louisville #9 in October 2016 had to say. Alex’s thoughts originally appeared on The Blackstone Media website here.

It’s an entrepreneurship competition; it’s about the money

First things first. Entrepreneurship is about making money doing what you love, and providing services that others want and find beneficial. If your idea can’t make money, or if you can’t figure out how to make money with it, you’ll have a hard time winning. That’s the problem my team and I ran into. We started The Glass Capitol, and our goal, first and foremost, is to empower others to help build a better government. For us, the money was a secondary concern. We focused on illuminating the inner workings of our government through analysis and statistics. We learned quickly that building a business requires more. It requires a firm revenue model. It requires a proper business plan. That’s what the judges at Startup Weekend are looking for. No idea is a great idea until it’s validated

“The secret to winning startup weekend is validation.” That was the first thing our first mentor told us on Saturday morning. We were told that you can think you have the greatest idea in the world but it doesn’t matter without proof. Surveying your consumer base is the first and most important step in starting a successful startup. People will give you ideas you wouldn’t come up with on your own and can give fresh perspectives on the problem you’re confronting, but outside input can be harsh, and it will also tell you what the most glaring flaws in your ideas are on the spot. Learning to approach and speak with people about potential businesses is the best skill I gained out of startup weekend. It brought me out of my comfort zone, and now I have the confidence to talk to the public about my ideas. The public is the best place to vet new ideas. They’re forthcoming with criticism and the wisdom of the crowd will find improvements you wouldn’t on your own.

You don’t need to code to win

A working MVP is good. Numerous potential customers wanting to spend money on your product is better. Our team at startup weekend was mainly non-programmers, and their hard work was more valuable than the code we wrote during this event because their persistence got us the validation we needed. We were able to canvass public spaces and talk with more than 100 people about The Glass Capitol. It was the most enlightening part of Startup Weekend because we got the feedback and proof we needed to show that people want us to keep building The Glass Capitol. We want to build a better government; and as a team, we proved to ourselves, and each other, that we can get ideas about how to do that out there into a public space. We gained social proof. Without social proof, a business won’t get off the ground.

Paul Blakeley