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Startup Weekend Stamford: Why I Want To Go and Why You Should Too

How Stratfordites can spend a weekend to experience what it would be like to create the next Google.

Ever wanted to live "The Social Network," to work on a startup taking an idea from concept to product?

I have and the idea of spending a weekend putting together a company seems daunting. But today anyone can by registering for Startup Weekend Stamford on March 30 in Stamford.

Now without having to quit your day job you too can participate in putting together a new iPhone app, website, or something completely different even without being a software developer or rocket scientist.

HOW IT WORKS

Startup weekend has the goal to take 54 hours hours of your weekend to give you first-hand exposure at putting together a startup, so the event begins as soon as you clock out of the office on Friday at 5.

Once you get there, there is an intro game and then the pitching begins. The key caveat here is that while the idea can be pitched, none of the development or coding of the product can be done prior. So all you can bring is your idea for a 1-minute pitch session. 

Many times there will be a theme for a particular startup weekend such as rewriting education or leveraging a certain type of technology like cloud computing. The key of any of these is to put everyone on the team out of their comfort zones and into the complete unknown or at least into the lesser known. Teams then will decide how much time that they are going to put on their products over the remaining few days. 

Teams then have the remaining time left to work on the product and the subsequent final pitch for the product over the course of all day Saturday and mid day Sunday until presentations occur. Once the pitches are completed, teams then form around the product that they want to work on. The crowd-sourced approach allows for the community of the event to go toward the product that they would like to work on.

AND THEN THE FUN BEGINS

The judging criteria involves the business model, customer validation, and execution of the final product. With this not being a business model contest, but rather an event that is "no talk, all action," the key focus is in getting the job done. From here, winners are then selected and prizes awarded. But the startup experience doesn't have to stop there. More than 70 percent of the startups continue, with 55 percent continuing with the full team.

A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT TO THE ROAD TO CHANGE

Startup weekend is something that we should be encouraging everyone to be doing, not just those looking for new careers or new markets to experiment with.

Developing an acceptance of failing and what can be learned from it opens up the chance to learn perseverance and to keep fighting to develop new and cool ideas.

When will you ever get the chance just to try out a job for two days? Probably never once you reach adulthood. The view of the what could be seems to provide the flexibility to be willing to swing for the fences and if you fail, you still have your day job or even better can continue to work with your team to refine your plans.

WHY YOU SHOULD GO

Getting behind the scenes to work at a startup is not something everyone can do every day, and in most cases, with work and other life activities most people will never get the chance to.

For many in Stratford the exposure to this is very limited but these hours could provide a glimpse into a very challenging world that you think you have no right being involved with. But think for a minute the impact of working on something over the course of a weekend to perhaps solve a problem that you have been thinking about constantly, something that you are very passionate about.

Now think if you were able to solve a small chunk of that problem but at least be on the first step to get it completed with a team of like-minded people. Now you can see the point of why you need to bring your challenges to the Stamford Startup Weekend.

Tickets are $99 or $50 per student to attend the Startup Weekend Stamford on March 30. Click here for more information about registering.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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