5 Reasons for Developers to Attend Startup Weekend

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Written by Mohit Singh, winner of November 2013 Auckland Startup Weekend

Last year, I decided to attended my first start-up weekend. Committing to a weekend of no expectations, lots of learning and testing my personal limits. That too after a 40 hour week of software development at work (Datacom).

But little did I know, that I was on the verge of a life changing experience.

Our team, Garden Genie was born over the Startup Weekend, consisting of 6 other individuals who had never met each other before.

Together, we ended up winning the Auckland round, followed by taking first place in the e-commerce circle in the Global Startup Battle, beating teams from 200 other countries. A life changing experience for all of us, to be traveling to USA and representing New Zealand on a global stage.

More developers should make use of this platform to bridge the gap between technology and business, who knows what unexpected surprise you might get, off the back off your next startup weekend :)!

So, here are 5 reasons why I think developers should attend Startup Weekend.

1. Lots of fun

You make the shots, build using any technology that you never had the time to work with before! For Garden Genie, we used Windows Phone (super fast for prototyping) backed by Dynamics CRM 2013 which had just came out but I never had the chance to play with before!

2. You are provided with tools and knowledge

By the end of the weekend you will walk out with tools in your bag and knowledge passed on to you from mentors off high calibre, in return you will have the right framework for thinking towards your own start up. Upon attending the start up weekend, a big change in thinking for me had been to gracefully accept failure, learn from it and re-iterate. This is not a traditional developer thought, as our whole career growth is depended on how well we build things which don’t fail. So this form of thinking was very new to me!

3. Developer’s are in high demand.

If you’re pitching an idea, it gives you a higher chance of attracting business/design/marketing/sales talent to help you execute your ideas.  Or, if you’re joining another team like I did, you will get the opportunity do more then just software development. For me, I lead the solution design to fit a market, and helped create a prototype with another developer, while the other team members validated the solution with our market. It’s was a great way to see the process of identifying a product-market fit. Where else do you get this kind of rapid feedback on your innovations?

4. A step closer to becoming an all rounderYou are forced to communicate your ideas and thought’s in layman terms while working alongside designers, and business folks. This kind of exercise takes you one a step closer to becoming an all rounded individual. It was a nice change to hear developers talking about markets, people and benefits as opposed to C#, Java and javascript!5. Rapid prototyping

You put your self in a high pressure situation to deliver. This for me had been a great learning in the form of prioritization of development tasks, being agile and understanding the dynamics of creating an effective proof of concept application. This is valuable experience to bring into your existing work/business from day one.

The future is looking bright for startup’s, and no better time to start then now. So if you’re still on the fence then check out 5 reasons why you should be part of a start-up, a post I wrote off the back off start up weekend.

Mohit Singh
@mohitbaweja