This weekend I attended June’s Startup Weekend event in Paris. I must say there’s nothing like a startup addicts environment – it gets you all energized and positive!
Here’s a brief on how the event is organized:
– on Friday everyone shows up for the elevator pitches sessions – usually more than a half of the attendees have their own pitch. After some networking over a drink time, each person gives their vote to the project they liked best. Soon after, the recruiting part comes in – the pitchers that got into the final go all PR and try to get the best teammates.
– Saturday is all about work – building the business plan, the product (if any) and distributing tasks. All teams get the support of at least one mentor.
– Sunday is the big day. They push themselves to finish the project and to get ready for a 5-minute presentation before a jury. Members of the jury than appoint the winners (3 prizes).
I met a bunch of great people, from promising students to tiptop mentors and entrepreneurs. But what fascinated me more was the collaborative system that stands behind these exceptional events.
We had this post on why collaboration is easier adopted within startups, but witnessing knowledge sharing and teamwork in full play between people that just met, made the social ingredients that makes businesses succeed even more relevant.
So here are the 3 lessons I learned from them:
1. They understood common goal – and that was to deliver. Higher quality work was their main focus during the whole weekend. Out of the 70 attendees, 33 had an elevator pitch and only a third made it to the final, but being recruited in someone else’s team didn’t stop any of them give their best.
They worked together leaving aside any differences: language (as not all attendees were French), age, expertise. And this was the driving force behind their accomplishments. It’s collective effort and success that got them to innovate and to have their 5 minutes of fame during Sunday’s presentations.
2. They correctly delegated. Ideally, each team was supposed to have at least one developer, one designer and a business-focused person. But as it turned out, not all of them got that (just as in a non-simulated situation – resources are limited for startups) – recruiting happened fast and it was challenging. None of them knew each other before the event, so spotting the best people for your team wasn’t an easy job. But once they sat and talk about their competences, it got easier to name responsibilities for each.
By Saturday at lunch, they knew who’s going to build the product, who’s going to get out there and talk to potential customers in order to validate their idea, who’s going to be the speaker on Sunday and so on.
3. They didn’t let pride get in the way. The success of their project depended on combining their efforts and figure out how it fits within the larger model. They understood completion time was more important than them trying to show of leadership virtues.
They left room for input from all team members and this kept their focus on the execution itself. It didn’t matter if the best solution came from an intern and not from the guy that had more experience with launching a startup – they maintained open lines for contribution and that was the smart way to get to a better end product.
Happy Knowledge Sharing!