Du hast eine geniale Startup Idee? Es wird ein kreatives, originelles und innovatives gewerbliches oder industrielles Startup mit oder ohne hohe Wachstumsabsichten? Du wirst diese Idee an diesem Wochenende am Startup Weekend Lucerne 2015 ausarbeiten (falls nicht, hier gibt es noch Tickets!)? Und für den richtigen Knall zum Start fehlt Dir nur noch das nötige Kleingeld?
Dann bist Du hier genau richtig! Die besten Geschäftsideen der Schweiz werden im Rahmen der SWISS STARTUPS AWARDS 2015 mit CHF 200‘000 Startkapital prämiert.
I played my first poker game recently. Although my hope for beginner’s luck didn’t pan out, I learned a lot during that game and saw many parallels to starting a company. And the more I understood poker, the more it made sense as to why poker was declared a game of “skill”, instead of a game of pure chance. Entrepreneurship is much more like poker than other games in that:
- Success is the combination of luck and skill.
- The more rounds you play (the more experience you have), the better you know yourself and how you react to certain situations.
- Even if you do not have the best hand, you can come out as the winner.
- Bluffing is a mandatory – sometimes you have to act as if you have the best hand even if you don’t necessarily have it (yet).
- You have to know the rules really well. Similarly, to start a business you have to know the industry.
- After every round, you may have to alter your strategy as new cards are revealed.
- You have to learn the habits of your opponents (and competitors).
- Every round is a new round – very little carries over.
- Know the risks and probability of success when you need to make a decision.
- Small things can completely change the whole strategy
- You have to know when to fold – sometimes it’s ok to give in if your hand you’ve been dealt won’t win.
- You cannot win every round – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
- You have to be patient when you lose a round – aggressive actions will not help
- Number and statistics matter as much as your gut.
- Play the cards you have OR you can also play the people opposite to you. Only having the best cards would never allow for success.
The #entrepreneurfail comes in when entrepreneurs decide to go all-in too quickly. Yes, you have to think positively and you have to work and act as if there is no other option except success. But, liquidating your retirement accounts, assets, savings, and family jewels is a bit too hasty especially if you don’t have market validation yet. For the same reason, it’s extremely important to know when to walk away. And if you play your cards right, you always have a good chance of winning the pot!
Poker enthusiasts and entrepreneurs, in the comments below, tell me where I’m wrong and where I’m right in my comparison!
This comic was originally created by Kriti Vichare for #entrepreneurfail: Startup Success.
I joined the Boast Capital team in the fall of 2013 and was encouraged to participate in my first Startup Weekend (SW). I was so nervous! Boast Capital has been a big supporter of SW – my colleagues have personally participated in, facilitated and helped organize SW in over 10 cities, and the company has sponsored previous events in both Calgary and Vancouver. If I was going to truly become part of the Boast Capital team, I thought I should give it a shot.
And, I loved it!
As a Startup Weekend participant and a sponsor of SW UBC, I wanted to share some of the lessons I learned that helped my team and I win runner up:
1. Designate a project manager from the get-go and define your methods of communication.
Luckily, my team had a project manager who stepped up and got us organized within the first 15 minutes of getting to work. We added everyone to a Google Drive folder and created a comprehensive Google Doc to keep track of everything. We wanted to use a communication tool that everyone was familiar with and that could get the job done, quick and simple.
2. Work backwards.
Thirty minutes into our initial discussion, our project manager interrupted our noisy chatter and asked: what’s the end goal? We stopped talking over and around one another and actually listed out our personal goals/expectations as well as went over the judging criteria in as much detail as possible. We created a road map.
3. Divide and conquer.
The first 45 minutes were rough. I honestly thought to myself, “Oh boy. I’ve never lead a team this big. I have no idea what I’m doing.” It was a nightmare trying to collaborate as a team of 8, especially with very different thinking mentalities. My team members had engineering, design, development, marketing, and finance backgrounds. This was great for collaborating, but it was also a challenge trying to get everyone on the same page.
We roughed our way through a hypothesis to the problem and then quickly divided the team based on skill set: Development/design; Business modelling and finance; and Customer validation/marketing.
4. Validate, validate, validate.
All of our features and pricing model were based on market research with our target audience. We knew it would be the key to our success so we focused our attention on it from the start. We created an online survey, approached strangers at a busy location where we knew our target audience would be and intimately interviewed 10 potential customers. It helped us paint a clearer picture of the problem we were trying to solve and how we were going to solve it (and make money doing so!).
5. Check in with your teammates.
Dividing and conquering and having a project manager to keep track of it all is great, but it’s so important to check in with your teammates. I constantly asked if they were still having fun (one of their personal goals for the weekend) and how they were feeling. Sure, this is touchy-feely and didn’t contribute to hard development, but it helped us become a unified team.
6. Take advantage of free advice, but be specific in your ask.
We requested two marketing coaches who were members of our target audience. We interviewed them and got testimonials then dove into questions about the business model. The development team requested a great coach near the end of Day 2, who showed them a WordPress theme that would make development a whole lot easier. It wasn’t that easy to transition to, but it paid off in the end and our developers learned A LOT about customizing
WordPress themes. 🙂
7. Show your team you trust them. Don’t micromanage.
I caught myself doing it on the first night. (I literally started typing on someone else’s computer, then shamed myself!). Take a leap of faith and let them take a stab at delivering. Then give them your feedback.
8. Laugh. Have fun.
When I walked by some of the groups to grab lunch, they looked so serious. We were a ‘punny’ group, and I highly encouraged any and all silliness. During crunch time, a teammate and I looked at a ‘Makes me Giggle’ Pinterest page for a minute, had a (really) good laugh, and then got back to work.
9. Be authentic.
Alice Reimer, one of the co-founders of Evoco (acquired by Accruent) gave an inspirational talk on pitching and one of her key points was to be authentic. You could tell she lived and breathed it, and she was truly inspiring. The final pitches that grabbed my attention (and stopped me from glancing at the #swyyc Twitter feed), were the ones where the founder was clearly passionate about the idea and it showed in their eyes.
10. Take care of your body: Hydrate. Eat well. And sleep, somewhat.
Drinking lots of water = lots of bathroom breaks = getting out of your chair for a brief burst of exercise. #Winning.
Don’t just stock up on the sugary treats and salty snacks. Eat lots of fruit, veggies, and get your protein. Thankfully one of our team members brought a 2lb bag of apples everyday. My dentist will be happy with the results.
Sleep is also really important. However, I can’t say I did much of it. I was running on pure adrenaline when I finished my pitch on Sunday evening. Yes, I may have laughed more than usual, but I was ok for the most part and got caught up on sleep the following day.
I’m so honoured (and proud) to have worked with an amazing team who supported my vision and allowed me to be an ‘entrepreneur’ for the weekend. Follow my colleagues and I on Twitter (@BoastCapital) and share your Startup Weekend stories with us using hashtag #SWUBC!
This article was written by Dane Alexander.
Last weekend I attended my first startup weekend in Sydney, Australia. I joined a great team, we won with a new messaging service, HatchChat!
HatchChat is a new messaging app that allows you to send videos to friends that are “locked” in the recipient’s inbox until a countdown completes. Think of the anticipation you used to feel pre-Christmas at seeing your presents under a tree – HatchChat is bringing that to messaging.
Below are my 6 steps on how to win Startup Weekend…and have fun doing it!
1) Start meeting people as soon as you arrive
Get a head start on the weekend by meeting people as soon as you arrive. It’s a great opportunity to chat with interesting people and it also allows you to see what ideas you like and who you click with.
Prior to the initial pitch, the majority of our team members had already met and exchanged ideas over the intro-beers. Don’t worry everyone is as nervous as you!
I’d recommend no matter how weak your idea is – get up and pitch. Pitching is a great way to let people know you are invested in the weekend and are ready to make something exciting happen.
During your pitch make sure you introduce yourself, let people know about your problem / solution and finally who you need to turn your idea into a reality.
In the end, I was the only person who voted for my idea – no big deal. I’m glad I got up and gave it a shot. It gave me something fun to chat with people during the selection phase.
3) Voting – hustle votes or join a team
Post pitching, people pin their ideas around the room and form teams around those ideas.
If you are set on your idea, make sure you begin hustling support. Seek out the people you need and convince them of the merits of your idea. You’re pitch only lasts a minute so the selection phase gives you more time to let people know the merits of your idea and the problem it is solving.
If you’re joining a team, make sure you believe in the idea and more importantly make sure you click with the team. Be honest about your skill set and sell your self accordingly. Everyone comes to a Startup Weekend to learn.
4) Validate your idea
There is a heavy focus on validating your idea. We used a wide variety of methods including face to face interviews, phone interviews, online surveys, facebook and Launchrock. A number of competitors had even made pre-sales of their product prior to presenting on Sunday night!
If people don’t love your idea, don’t be afraid to take their feedback, pivot and begin validating a slightly new idea.
We got a head start on other teams and began validating on Friday night.
5) Seek the help of mentors
The quality of the mentors over the weekend is amazing. All mentors had launched successful businesses and with some even coming out of previous startup weekends.
Seek out the mentors and gather their feedback and opinions on your idea.
6) Begin preparing your pitch early
The weekend comes down to a five minute pitch with three minutes of questions from a judging panel. Make sure you begin preparing your pitch early, we began on Saturday afternoon.
On the advice of the mentors we kept our pitch short – seven slides! The areas we covered included: problem, solution, snapshot of the product, validation, monetisation options and steps to scalability.
The pitch formats varied with some having multiple speakers and video. We kept to a single member presenting with multiple members answering questions.
Startup weekend is a great opportunity to meet interesting and exciting people from a diverse set of backgrounds. It was fantastic to win but more importantly it was great to see I wasn’t the only one out there trying to get ideas off the ground and do new and challenging things.