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10 Things You Need To Know Before Startup Weekend Perth, #4 Is Vital

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Marcus Holmes

With Startup Weekend Perth fast approaching, we thought we’d compile the ultimate guide to the event.

swperthStartup Weekend asks teams to take an idea and turn it into a functioning business in a weekend. That sounds ridiculous if you’ve never done it, but the SWPerth veterans know that it’s not only possible, but many people have successfully done it.

So with that, these are our top ten tips for getting the most out of the weekend:

  1. It’s an education, not a chance to get people to work on your startup for free. If you pitch your idea on Friday and no-one likes it, get over the disappointment and treat this as an excellent education in how to build a startup with no risk: it’s not your idea, no-one can steal it, pivot it against your will, destroy it from the inside, or mess it up for you. Instead you get to play with someone else’s idea and learn a ton of practical knowledge.
  2. Validation, Validation, Validation. These are the three most important things in SWPerth. Don’t assume, validate. Get out there and find out what your customers want, then build that.
  3. Focus. The point is to get customers within 48 hours. Anything that does not actively contribute to that goal is a distraction. Do not do things that do not actively contribute to this goal.
  4. Growth Hacking. Do the cheesy things you hate (like me with this article title) but that are proven to get clicks/attention. If it works, do it, and deal with your conscience on Monday.
  5. Move Fast. You don’t have time to discuss things at huge length and work out every detail. Agree on roughly what needs doing, then do it as quickly as possible so you can get on to the next thing that needs doing.
  6. Break things. If you’re a coder, these are things you do not need to worry about:
    • Security – no-one is going to try to hack your fledgling database
    • Maintainability – no-one is ever going to read your code again, and if you can’t remember what you wrote yesterday then you have bigger problems
    • Architecture – this is not the time to test out that funky new Micro Services Architecture you’ve been itching to try. Slap it together with duct tape and nastiness.
    • Reliability – if you have to get through the demo by rebooting the server just before and just after the pitch then you’re all good.
  7. Teamwork wins. If you’re not getting on with someone on your team, just deal with it and get on with the work. It’s 48 hours. You can put up with anything for 48 hours.
  8. Delegation. You cannot do everything that needs doing. Assign authority over how a job is done together with the responsibility for getting it done, and give it to one person, and leave them to get it done.
  9. Iterate fast. If your customer thinks it sucks, it sucks. Change it now and try again. You haven’t got time to get precious about your baby, you’ve barely got enough time to build what your customers want, and definitely not enough time to build what they don’t want.
  10. Don’t worry about the judges, worry about the customers. The judges will look at your product, but what impresses them is customer engagement. Get a decent customer following and you’ll win.

This is an example of a wall pitch

If you’re pitching an idea at SWPerth, then here’s some bonus rules based on our experience:

  • The customers for your idea must be available over the weekend. This generally excludes B2B/enterprise businesses, so don’t pitch a B2B idea unless you know your potential customers are available.
  • Marketplace ideas are really hard to get going over a weekend because you need to sign up one set of customers in order to get the other set to sign up. You’ve got literally double the amount of work to do.
  • Keep It Simple, Stupid: if you can’t explain it in a single sentence, it’s too complicated so trim it down. You haven’t got time to build anything complicated.

Lastly, it is utterly cool to think up a simple throwaway idea and pitch it just for the experience of pitching an idea. If you don’t get a team, no worries, and if you do then you get to run a team for a weekend… which is fun. Stressful, but fun 🙂

If you haven’t signed up for Startup Weekend yet, go do it now here

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Marcus Holmes

Gentleman Technologist and co-founder of Startup News. His vision has made //SN a sustainable media cheerleader for the startup community. Former CEO of Phnom Penh Post, he can be found somewhere in S.E. Asia coding away...
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