I recently participated in Startup Weekend
Corvallis and I thought I would share my experience and offer a
few suggestions about how it might be improved for next time.
I generally enjoyed the experience. It was interesting to
work with new people (especially Michael and Chris at Peak Internet!) and I think
we created something useful if not super-lucrative (Web Project Wizard).
I also learned some new skills that will be great professionally
for the future. I'd do it again once I have time to forget
about the week after :). I haven't programmed until 1 am in a
long time... (I'm a morning person)
We have continued development on the Web Project Wizard and will
have a Beta product before the end of the year. Whether it
ever makes it to revenue for us remains to be seen, but we have
agreed to spend the first $500 on a big party! :P
* Have roving experts or skilled people
available for "rent" throughout the weekend. We didn't have a
graphics designer and really could have used one for about 3-4
hours (have you seen our logo? Michael, no offense :)). I
imagine others could have used a Linux admin or PERL guru.
Having people not attached to a team but available to be scheduled
would be nice.
* Have a "start quickly" period where everyone
gives suggestions/options on tools that can be used to help with
the process. This could be project management web sites, easy
source control, design templates/resources, easy CMSs, marketing
tools, etc. Maybe it could be a quick 30 min. session to
brainstorm, then just a running list throughout the weekend.
* Have a way for teams to network more.
Maybe make dinner a forced break and networking time for 45
mins. Basically, I didn't "get to know" many of the people I
didn't know on the other teams because everyone was pretty heads
Another way to do this and tackle the "roving experts" side of
things could be to trade team members for a time period. Say
we needed a designer and a team with a designer needed a jQuery
expert. We could "trade" for 3 hours and both teams could
gain from the expertise of those people and those people get to
know the other teams better.
What did you think?