Last weekend I had my first Startup Weekend experience. I must admit I have always been skeptical about this kind of events and came with two goals in mind: try to change my mind about it and pitch some idea I had in the back of my head for a little while.

The formula is quite simple yet efficient: 54 hours to bootstrap a startup. Participants are pitching the first evening, then the audience decides what projects they want to see come to life during the weekend, and finally, teams are formed out of this first session.

I came with the goal of not writing a line of code during this weekend because this is the kind of activity I could do alone when the kids are asleep. I came to pitch an idea, understand the mechanics of writing a business model and meet people.

Those three goals have been reached.

  1. The Pitch: 60 seconds to convince people that my idea was awesome. I used to talk a lot in front of people (at previous jobs, at conferences, at meetups or small events like Code Retreats), so there was no stress doing it, but I kinda failed at explaining the vision in such a reduced timeframe.
  2. The Business Model: I discovered a lot of tools (like the Lean Business Model Canvas). The tools alone are useless, and the mentoring from more experienced people in the team and from the mentors like Jerry Nieuviarts, from Clubic, or Thierry Boiron, from… Boiron (!), were more than welcome.
  3. The People: From the participants to the mentors thru the organizers, the work environment was awesome. I was afraid by the spirit of competition, which often ruin the general atmosphere, but everything went just fine.

As a conclusion, I’m definitely going to participate in the next sessions, and probably not only in Lyon. I met good people, inspiring people, and the format of the event is perfect to engage one’s attention on a single thing: bootstrap a startup.