What to expect as a Developer…

 Blog Submitted by: Ross Collicutt

So you’re a developer. What will you be doing at Startup Weekend?

As a developer, you’re an important part of Startup Weekend. No one can make a new technical product without the assistance of a technical person. That’s you.

Friday you can make a pitch if you want. I’m sure as a developer, you’ve had no shortage of ideas for new products you could make.

A team will join you if your idea is good or you’ll join another team. There’s not much time so you’ll need to work fast and reduce your concepts to the absolute minimum to get the idea across. By Sunday evening, you’ll be pitching a demoable idea to the judges. You won’t have time to implement every feature. Keep it small.

Even if your idea doesn’t go anywhere after the weekend or you join another team to work, the experience will be invaluable. Ideas and projects don’t exist in vacuums so collaborating with designers and non-technical folks will be required at some point. Practice while you can.

Time is extremely restricted on a Startup Weekend. You’ll have to make quick decisions about what you can and can’t get completed by Sunday. Ruthless focus on what’s most important will serve you on the weekend as well as any future projects like building a business or the next feature in a mobile app.

The experience of leading a team can be the toughest but most rewarding parts of the weekend. You might find your idea doesn’t go any farther than Sunday night but you could also find yourself in the company of co-founders working on the next big app. Many small Startup Weekend ideas have grown into successful companies. Yours could be next.

If you are sitting on the fence…Get off and join the FUN!

Are you sitting on the FENCE?

Do you ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found all around the world. People around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

What’s in it for me?

LOTS!!! You will meet other startup enthusiasts. Designers, developers, engineers, artists, marketing peeps & change-makers. You will have the opportunity to build a startup or product in less than 54 hours. You will build your network, we will feed you 7 meals to keep your energy flowing. There are some really cool prizes and swag bags. Plus a whole lot of FUN!!!

But I’m not a programmer, am I still welcome?

OF COURSE YOU CAN!!! Startup Weekend isn’t just for developers! Teams, just like businesses need a diverse skill-set to succeed. On average, half of Startup Weekend participants have technical backgrounds, while the other possess a business mindset. Whether you’re primarily software developers, graphics designers or business people such as marketers – if you have great ideas you’re dying to share with the world, love learning and meeting new people, it’s not too late to sign up for Startup Weekend Nanaimo and gain a real hands-on startup experience unlike any other.

Do I have to come with a business idea?

NO! Not everyone has to have an idea. Come with an open mind and think about pitching a solution to a problem you think needs to be solved. It’s just a weekend… Just think about having fun. Perhaps your idea could be the next biggest thing!

Innovation Island and SquareOne are proud to collaborate with the Startup Weekend Organization!!

Need more info, click here!


What to expect as a Designer

Blog Submitted by: Ross Collicutt

What to expect as a Designer

As you probably know, design can make or break an app, website or presentation. That’s why your design skills are so critical to a Startup Weekend.

You’ll be working with non-technical folks like marketers, business people, copywriters and pr folks as well as developers to bring an idea to life in 54 hours.

You might be working on mockups and design for an app. You might be designing beautiful graphics for a new website idea. You’ll probably be putting together an eye-catching presentation to present your final pitch.

Startup weekend is a great way to stretch your design skills, break out of a rut and light a fire under that day to day creativity. It can also lead to freelance work because of all the new contacts you’ve made.

The exciting pace of the weekend shows you people’s true work habits. You might find some new people you love working with. You could work with them on contract. You might even start a business with them.

Or that idea you pitch for the weekend could become the next big thing online.



What makes a good Startup Weekend idea?

Blog Submitted by: Ross Collicutt

What makes a good Startup Weekend idea? 

Startup weekend is all about the ideas. And it isn’t about the ideas.

A bad team won’t get far with even the best idea. Great times can take a mediocre idea and make it into something great.

Ideas at Startup Weekend have to be original, they can’t have already launched or have had substantial work on them already so you’ll be working on something very new.

Whatever it is, you’ll only be working on a minimum viable product version of it. There just isn’t time to make a suite of features so you’ll likely only focus on one thing. Getting a working demo of that features will be your goal. See this for what a minimum viable product is https://hbr.org/2013/09/building-a-minimum-viable-prod/. It will be an important idea over the course of the weekend!

Here are a few ideas from some other startup weekends around the globe.

Coordy App: iPad app customized to your body that you can drag and drop clothes on to see how they will fit.

Colish: find people with the same perspectives, professions and other things so they would get along and be able to share a house together better.

FutsalMatch: an app to help Futsal players find other places that want to play, organize a game and find a venue.

Patungan: Easy cost sharing between friends when you buy presents and want to share costs.

Koffee: meeting like-minded people around you for coffee.

InfitiniteLooks: Shows you what to wear today based on your mood and wardrobe.

CoHabit: Keep track of to do list items with your roomies.

Hopefully that gets your creative juices flowing and helps you come up with many great ideas.

See you April 17 for Startup Weekend Nanaimo!

Ummm, what’s a pitch?

Blog Submitted by: Ross Collicutt

Ummm, what’s a pitch? How to present at Startup Weekend.

Pitching is a huge part of startup culture. If you want to let anyone know what you are doing, then you’re pitching them your idea. Whether it’s  giving an elevator pitch to a group at a networking event or going through a slide tech with potential investors, they are only going to understand and help you if you give a good pitch.

You have to convince them that you have the best team and the best idea.

How do you do it right?

Pitching is hard. No one is born to do pitches. Maybe Steve Jobs was but he might be a little bit of an exception. We’ve pulled together some good pitching resources to get you started. Remember that you’ll be doing 2 pitches at Startup Weekend Nanaimo. You’ll have 1 minute Friday night to convince potential teammates to help you build out your idea. Then you’ll have 5 minutes to convince the judges that your idea and team is best and win the internet.. I mean the weekend. 

Dragon’s Den – 5 Steps to the Perfect Business Pitch

How to Pitch by Aron Solomon, senior advisor with MaRS Discovery District’s education practice and coach at Startup Weekend Toronto

The Best Startup Pitch Desk: How to present to Angels by J. Skyler Fernandes, Managing Director at Simon Venture Group

“What makes a good Startup Weekend 1 minute pitch?” on Quora

Preparing for the Pitch on the Startup Weekend Blog

Startup Weekend pitches on YouTube

And the biggest tips from those resources?

Showcase yourself and your team. It’s not entirely about the idea. It’s about the team that could carry that implement that idea. People might work with a mediocre idea but they aren’t going to work with people they don’t like.

Short and sweet. You’ll have one minute Friday night to pitch your idea and 5 minutes Sunday night to pitch and demo. It’s not much time. Make an impact with it.

Be clear. If people don’t understand what you are talking about, they aren’t going to do join your team or vote for your idea. Start off with a short elevator pitch and fill in the details from there.

Tell a story. People relate to stories. You won’t have much time but a story can pull people into the problem your team is solving.  


Do you have an idea?

Blog submitted by Ross Collicutt

Do you have an idea?

Maybe a new website or mobile app that would change people’s lives?

Why aren’t you doing anything with it?

I’ll take a guess. Because taking ideas and bringing them to life is really hard. It’s even harder when you try on your own.

You need something that could put you together with a whole bunch of like minded people with a variety of skill sets and sit them in a room with some very knowledgeable mentors to help them flesh out the ideas.

Does that sound like exactly what you need? Then you need a Startup Weekend.

What is Startup Weekend? 

A Startup Weekend is all about going from idea to prototype in one weekend. In 2 days and a bit you sit down, make a team, and crank out a a working version of what you want to do. No hesitating, no second-guessing, no procrastinating allowed here. Just fast decisions and more learning than you could get in months of working on your own.

Who goes to a Startup Weekend? 

Designers, developers and business people. You want to make a successful tech product? You need em all.

What do we do for 3 days? 

Friday night April 17th at 6:30pm you’ll sit down, have dinner, meet everyone and pitch an idea if you want.

By 9pm Friday night, you’ll have formed teams and started to work on something. Bring an idea of your own or find a great one to work on.

Saturday is all about work. Breakfast followed by as much work as you can put in. Oh, and there’s lunch and one-on-one meetings with coaches in there too. Pick their brains as much as you can. Break for dinner and then work till late.

Sunday. Crunch time. Time to finish off as much as you can of your project and then pretty things up for the tech demo after dinner at 5pm. Judging and awards are last and then it’s wrap up and go home.

Then you can sit back and relax knowing you’ve done more work in 2 days than most people do in months.

And then you may want to get some sleep.