A couple of weeks back, I got a chance to go and attend the Startup Weekend in Boston. This was my first time attending an event of this kind and it turned out to be a great experience.
For those who don’t know, Startup Weekend is a 3 day event where people get together, they form teams and then try and launch companies. It’s very organic, extremely intense and immensely rewarding.
I heard of this event through a friend of mine and I just decided to show up.
You get together, have a general networking session. Then you get an opportunity to either pitch an idea or you simply decide to be a part of a team.
You form teams and work on brainstorming the idea. You get going right away. Working on the ideation, customer development ( customer discovery/validation) phase, as well as product design and development phase. All of these activities and more are occurring concurrently. You just roll up your sleeves and off you go!
By the way, that’s me in the Turqoise t-shirt, listening in during the pitch session on Day 1.
Decided not to pitch this time around and hence I was going to join a team. But even joining a particular team, was a tough choice to make as there were a lot of candidates who were extremely passionate about their ideas.
Hence, I joined one of the teams and our product/team was called #teamfitsy. It’s a platform designed to encourage people to get up and moving during events. Thus, all the subsequent benefits derived from physical activity (cognitive, health e.t.c). Post-event, this platform could be expanded to include other activities (Yoga, meditation e.t.c). Gamification was built into the system from the get-go and there were a number of ways you could implement this solution.
Chatting with Justin here about the Fitsy product. We didn’t even have a name for the product at this time and the idea was just getting formed.
Hmm, my default expression looks a lil scary. Yikes!
Day 2 is where the bulk of the work is conducted. You have a ton of activities that are being conducted in parallel
Refine the Problem that you Defined the night before
Customer Development and Customer Validation.
For example: Talking to those who have already been part of a venture that is somewhat similar of a nature. Listening to their feedback and taking detailed notes and action items. That’s just one tiny part of the whole process.
Code it (Front-end and Back).
You need to code the solution in place. And like I mentioned, there is a ton of healthy pressure to have all of these activities and then some more, being conducted in parallel.
Adequately fed, caffeinated and with the right amount of sugar in the system, everyone is busy brainstorming/thinking and doing at the same time.
After catching some shut-eye you get back up and running to put the final touch(es) on the product. The deadline will soon arrive. The pressure is on to get a working prototype of your product. You also need to have a set of slides ready, as well as practice your pitch before you go in front of the judges.
You don’t really get a lot of time to practice the pitch. But our team did a great job with the limited amount of time we had. Here’s a screenshot, with our Team Lead (Justin) promoting the product (Fitsy). Off-topic, Justin is a great leader and he is very focused on a key and important sector. The health+technology+getting people more fit and healthy. I’m convinced that Justin is going to thrive in this space. Good luck my friend!
Overall – Startup Weekend Boston
Overall I had a great time. I learned a lot and made some amazing new friends. Those on our team and a lot more individuals attending the event. During my breaks, I made it a point to show interest in what others were building and it was amazing to see and meet so many different individuals and get to know them, understand their products and see some amazing work in place.
Also, it seems like I put on a little bit of weight.
It was great being part of dynamic and talented team. We made a great product within a very short amount of time.
Overall, I’m really proud of what our team and some of the other teams there were able to accomplish in such a short timeframe. It’s truly amazing to see companies being launched in 2.5 days!!!
For a snapshot from the event, here are two videos from the pitch that Justin (our Team Lead) had made:
Pitch – Team Fitsy – Part 1
Pitch – Team Fitsy – Part 2
Overall – Boston
Overall, I really enjoyed my trip. Boston is an amazing city with a vibrant culture and rock solid institutions.
I got a chance to visit a handful of these institutions. Such as, MIT and Harvard. I was very short on time, but somehow I managed to spend an entire afternoon at the Museum of Fine Arts. Wow! What a gem! It’s a huge museum, full of amazing Art work of all types. Classical, Renaissance, Contemporary e.t.c. You need a couple of days to go through and appreciate the treasures stored at this facility. I’m definitely going back at some point.
What a great city! Nice and friendly people.
Thank you Boston. I believe I have made another lifelong connection.