This last weekend I made an investment in myself that paid off.
I’ve been wanting to find new startup collaborators for a while – or even just smart people to work with at Native. So I signed up to Startup Weekend – a competition where you pull together a team to build a startup project and (hopefully) launch something in a weekend.
I wanted to invest in my ability to develop compelling startup concepts and execute on them.
It was an intense weekend. We worked hard from Friday at 8 until the pitch on Sunday at 7 with very little sleep in between. The two main things I got out of the weekend.
1. Everybody sucks.
It’s hard to articulate your idea to people who you don’t know in a cold pitch.
When I pitched the idea for Theme Pivot no one really got what it was and I didn’t really know how to convince them.
Yet somehow I still managed to convince a couple of people that my idea had merit. First our small team of legends and Mark Pesce who ended up giving me an HTC Android phone for “Best Pitch”. Thanks Mark!
2. No reward without risk
There was a fair bit of risk getting involved in doing Startup Weekend. It was a lot of time to give up, particularly at this time of year. There was also a lot of people I respect there. It wouldn’t have been great to fail in such a public way.
It would have been a lot easier to focus on perfecting a project over months without that kind of pressure and release when I was ready, when the product was finished. But then I wouldn’t be seeking rejection.
We ended up winning the weekend with our concept Theme Pivot – a service which takes your CSS from “good enough” to pixel perfect. We won $5k in cash, $1k in Amazon credits and $5k in credit against co-working at the York Butter Factory.
And the investment I made in improving my startup and product development skills paid off.