What’s the Hardest Part about Startup Weekend? [Vancouver Edition]

August 20, 2012

1:05 pm

Startup Weekend, the 54-hour race to build a working product and pitch to judges on Sunday night, came to Vancouver this weekend. The event jumpstarted 17 ideas, from planning routes to selling tickets to epic Pokemon-style networking battles. And contrary to popular belief, few people pulled all-nighters – although “maybe that’s just the Vancouver mentality,” as someone said.

Marc Kuo, RouteCaptain (1st Place Winner)

What was your favorite part? I could never, ever imagine before this weekend that you can get so much done in 54 hours. Like, 54 hours before this weekend, I was just doing my day job, playing around with the idea in my head…. It allowed me to conceptualize this idea that’s been playing in my head for years, ever since I graduated, and actually form a really solid team around it.

What was the hardest part? There was nothing hard about it. I felt like the adrenaline was rushing every minute, even though I only slept 5-6 hours this last weekend. I feel really energetic.

Alex Shipillo, 7PM (2nd Place Winner)

What was your favorite part? Actually, we did a major pivot halfway through. Our team started doing crowdsourced micro-translation. We realized Saturday at 5 pm, after trying to validate it, that we had nothing. So we threw the dynamite and said, “Let’s try something else.” So literally the last 24 hours we’ve been building all the apps and validating the model and trying to figure out how we can make this happen…. The coolest thing was how quickly things come together, how quickly your team bonds. Everyone really wanted to get the task done, which was showing that minimum viable product or showing that business case by Sunday evening.

What was the hardest part? Same thing.

Did you sleep? We did sleep. One of our designers was up until 5:30 in the morning doing the iOS front end, so she was the one that was very dedicated.

Vincent Ng, CodeFolio

What was your favorite part? My personal favorite part is hearing people pitch ideas. When they go up on Friday night and they pitch ideas, it’s amazing because sometimes you hear some of the best ideas that you’d never think of, and it really opens your mind. I’m not going to lie: some ideas, you go, “Okay, that’s a little far-fetched,” but it’s that courage to allow the ideas to flow and to share it with 100 people who are your peers, and that’s cool.

What was the hardest part? I think the hardest part is just finding the right fit of people. To be honest, I think we’re very lucky. Our whole team at CodeFolio – literally, everybody that stayed, stayed until the end, and we had one additional member. Just walking around, I realized it wasn’t quite like that. People, if they didn’t like the idea, they quit the next morning; people wouldn’t show up. And the other idea was that some people would sometimes join one team, and then they’d shift. That kind of sucks.

Did you sleep? Surprisingly, our team did. I know it’s kind of stereotypical where people don’t get sleep. But I think the thing is, if you have a good team from the start, you get sleep.

Jason Harmer, Social Stak

What was your favorite part? Having a spontaneous team. Working with a bunch of people that I’ve never worked with before, where everybody’s got different skills and you don’t know each other, and you have to figure out what everybody’s good at and where everybody should fit and what the best way to work with these people is – I enjoyed the crazy spontaneity of the way it all comes together.

What was the hardest part? Probably about 3:15 – 4:58 Saturday afternoon. You get into this malaise of “This thing isn’t going to get done, everybody hates me, was I a jerk to that guy?” There’s this point of you’ve spent so much emotional and mental energy getting this ball moving in one direction, you get into this self-loathing malaise. And then we all went for ice cream and that fixed everything.

Dobrin Dobrev & Nick Karrasch, 42insights 

What was your favorite part? It’s a proof of concept that you do for a startup. A feasibility study in 72 hours, right? Can this be done or not? So it was great; it’s action-packed.

What was the hardest part? Narrowing down the business model. Once that came on, the technical part was a lot easier.

Did you sleep? Yeah. We got some sleep. They closed the building at 11, so we had to go home.

RouteCaptain won a chance to showcase at the Launch@Grow party in Vancouver on August 22, where Tech Cocktail is a media sponsor. 

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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