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Playbook: How to Win Startup Weekend
Posted on 10/15/2013 17:59

Startup Weekend Pittsburgh is happening this weekend in Pittsburgh.  

Startup Weekend Pittsburgh October 2013

There is a special place in my heart for this organization and for the organizer who organizes this event multiple times each year here in Pittsburgh.  Special thanks to Kit Mueller.

Treatspace was the winner of the first Pittsburgh Startup Weekend.  It is with much honor that I have been asked to be a coach this year.  On Saturday morning I will be giving a talk entitled 'How to Win Startup Weekend.'

I will share the following 'plays' out of what I dub to be a fairly solid 'How to Win Startup Weekend Playbook' -- If you're competing, congratulations and good luck!

  1. Know Your Audience.  The other attendees are not the judges, but they are a key to your success.  You want them cheering when you’re presenting so make friends.  Lots of friends.
  2. Recruit people from each of these four disciplines: business/marketing, front end development, back end development, and design.  If you’re missing a quadrant, you should consider bailing and join another team.
  3. Build a large team.  Ten people can get done twice the work of five people.
  4. Steal one of the mentors.  Convince them to work exclusively on your idea for the entire weekend.
  5. SMVP – Streamlined MVP.  The product doesn’t even need to reach viable stage; it just needs the bare essentials to survive a sixty second demo… controlled by you.  You do not need anyone else to be able to use your product.  However, that demo does need to give everyone a taste of how great your team’s idea is and/or can be.
  6. Get REAL Customers – Get customers to buyin and prepay for your product.  The more impressive the title the better.  Interview them and get quotes as to why your product is a market winner.  Video tape it.  Show a 30 second clip of the quote(s) and the money changing hands. 
  7. 10/20/30 = 5/5/30. Utilize topics from Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 rule as a guide, but turn it into five slides in five minutes at thirty point font.  Remember your demo also needs to fit within that same five minutes.  Make sure you clarify the business case and the revenue model – how you make money and profit should be crystal clear, obvious and feasible.
  8. Check your presentation against the judging criteria again and again.  Criteria must be covered.  Everything else, cut.
  9. Explain your idea via demo.  Do this first i.e. before any other part of your presentation.
  10. Tell the user story.  In less than a minute visualize the user story and create a crystal clear understanding of the use case behind your company.
  11. Practice, practice, practice.  Nail your presentation.

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