Imagine walking into a room of 100 women , garbed in purple T-shirts which speak boldly, ‘#bossladies’, the chitter-chatter of creative ideas is sure to give you the heebie-jeebies. And by now, you probably have 15 tabs open that promise to give you tricks for ‘ How to make the most of your Startup Weekend?’ ! We have Been There and Done That! So, Fear Not as we are bring to you a day-specific article from the Techstars Startup Weekend Dubai Organisers themselves!
Reviewing DAY 1 and DAY 2(mid-day) guidelines, which is supposed to be the ‘break-the-ice’ moment.
1) Before you set out on a Headhunting Mission, Know YOURSELF! Are you an Alpha-Leader or a Beta-Follower?
TypeAlpha: You have a plan on how you will capitalize on time and people! You have the panache to make people buy your story, the vision to turn thought to a proof-of-principle concept, have already shelled out a few hours on market trends and target audience, and above all, you have the charisma to direct the team, then go ahead, Ms.Alpha!
Type Beta: You have an idea, which is an epiphany at its best! You don’t know what social, economic or environmental problem it targets in depth, but you believe that once you find your ‘fit’, you can make their ideas outshine. You have the skillset so you can contribute, and you listen more, work hard and speak less. Join the team who already has a plan to which you think you can offer the most!
2) Great Minds DON’T think alike!
Don’t just pair up with someone because you met them first! Network with people, understand their personalities, take cues from verbal and non-verbal gestures, and choose a member who is a ‘master of at least one of these skills’!
- Number-crunching Devotee: can skim through stats like it’s a cakewalk, has the flair for data-interpretation , analysis and visualization. She is the biggest asset when working on your business model, profit maximization plans and is best at realistic estimates!
- Designer(aka Front-end Developer): She has the skill for not just playing with graphics and colors ; but can see through both the user’s and investor’s eyes. How does the user feel using the product? How easy is the GUI? With investors’ tired of seeing numbers , how can you present data in creative ways? Tip: Don’t EVER waste a designer’s expertise for presentation design and basic infographics: DIY using Cava, Piktochart, Visme and Prezi!
- Dauntless Speaker: with diplomacy and wit running in her genes, she can enrapture any audience with a story that speaks to emotions, she can think on her feet when judges ask tough questions. With that aura of confidence, she can make you believe anything!
- Business Fanatic: Techstars, its powered by Google for ENTREPRENEURS, afterall ! You don’t want to be left behind, a finance or business or marketing background on a team is a mandate. No one understands investor jargon than she does. Enough said!
- Techie(aka Back-end Developer): Sure, investors don’t care whether you begged, borrowed or stole the code. But the prototype needs to work! Speak limited tech jargon, existing technologies and services that everyone knows about , will be perfect!
- The Critic: We bet you weren’t prepared for this one. With 54 hours to plan, implement, code and design, you will underestimate a critic’s power. Everyone thinks about the USP, well, someone needs to think of the loopholes. What are the technical, legislative and logistics constraints you need to compromise on? What future challenges does this pose? What are your alternative plans? Judges have an eye for flaws , and having someone who has ‘agreed to disagree’ can be a great way to prepare for questions and formulated answers.
3) Team Work Makes the Dream Work!
As one of the judges at University Edition pointed out, ‘Investors don’t always look for a ground-breaking product or service, many times, they invest in the people which make a great team to work with!’ Be compatible with each other. If you are the Alpha-type, then leave your ego and pride behind, if someone’s idea is more feasible, learn to compromise and work on it.
4) Carpe diem!
Take the opportunity to network with people, you are in a room full of big shots: Directors, CEOs and Tech Experts. Listen to their advice. Show your enthusiasm to know about their journey. Get to know what interests them in their industry, which is why ALWAYS read through their profiles.
But don’t just be ‘opportunistic’! Take coffee breaks and have casual talk beyond ‘work’. You never know, you might be meeting someone who can be your personal life coach, career counsellor or a good friend. Make lasting relationships and beautiful memories!
5) Recharge your startup suitcase!
You are going to embark on a 54-hour journey of creating something new , so be prepared. If you are planning to stay over, make sure you have comfy things: a cozy cabeu, a jacket, eye mask, toiletries, energy bars and definitely all your gadget accessories: power bank, pen drives, chargers and ear phones to avoid distractions!
Phew! That was exhaustive.
Head over to watch live interviews and podcasts in the next sessions!
Techstars Global Startup Weekend Dubai-Women Edition