The following is a guest post by Marion Desmazieres, GSB / GEW Coordinator from Startup Weekend headquarters, about her Global Startup Battle experience.
Startup Weekend – Why You Should Do It
Pitch your idea
Thibault Delourme was not a first timer when he attended the third edition of Startup Weekend Bretagne in Lannion (France) on November 9th. No, he had participated in previous Startup Weekends and knew about the pitching & voting format. Still there’s no such thing as an easy pitch when two hundred eyes are staring at you.
We, organizers, had repeated several times that attendees SHOULD pitch. It was a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It will not kill you. Everyone has ideas right?
At some point we managed to trigger something in Thibault’s brain. He decided to queue with the other pitchers. It was a big achievement for us. We even tweeted it and took a picture of him.
He was our “last minute candidate.”
Thibaut’s pitching went well. He had the ease of the freshly graduated Business School student. His idea was not new (MyGrandMaman.com: a digital book that would summarizes your Grandma’s life with photos, videos and other materials). Still, it got selected!
Listen to coaches and pivot if needed
Right after the pitches Thibault started to team up with participants and succeeded to gather teammates with complementary skills.
The first night was intense: two organizers, Pascal and Corentin, and I spent a long hour with them weighing the pros and cons of MyGrandMaman.com. It was a niche and it was hard to find a competitive advantage when you compared this idea to Facebook’s diary format. MyGrandMaman.com finally became UnionEdition, a digital gold book for weddings.
I think I would not be wrong to say that this team worked hard but had the most fun during the weekend. Their designer, Loic Piquart, was decisive in helping #swbzh lead a giant Hashtag Battle against much bigger cities such as Boston, London or Sydney. I remember reading one of his tweets saying “On ne va probablement pas gagner mais on se sera bien amusés!” (We won’t probably win but we did have a lot of fun!).
On Saturday night they were not reluctant to participate in a parody of Gangnam Style and they stayed up all night to improve their prototype. After winning the competition on Sunday night (!) Loic even apologized for having “too much fun” and making jokes that might have disturbed other attendees throughout the event. As we say in French they “played the game” from start to finish and took the most out of it.
Now you know what to do next time you see there’s a Startup Weekend coming up. Do it, you might get selected in the world’s biggest startup competition!