Minding the Borderlands

Mark Koester (@markwkoester) on the art of travel and technology

Thoughts on First Startup Weekend Taipei: Part 2

A couple weeks ago, I posted a few thoughts on the First Startup Weekend in Taipe. The two main commentaries were 1.) to encourage more networking and interaction between groups and 2.) to encourage “pivoting” your idea. I’d like to continue with a few more of my observations on the weekend and starting a tech business in general.

One of the interesting surprises during the weekend was the realization of how much tech talent had showed up for the first startup weekend. While most of the software engineers ended up in one supergroup with 13 some programmers, it was clear that Taiwan has a number talented software engineers. At same time though, several groups were severely lacking in tech developers at all. From talking with several of the tech guys after, many planned to recommend to their friends to come next time.

For the next SW Taipei, it is really important:

#3: Tap into the hacker / programmer community in order to bring builders to the table.

It is possible to have a successful SW without a developer on your team, but a team that is able to build their own prototype in a weekend is already off to a great start.

Many of the teams at SW Taipei were able to create working prototypes over the weekend. They had sites up and working code, but surprisingly many of the teams didn’t show during their presentations. So if you are in the next SW Taipei:

#4: Don’t Be Afraid to Show a Semi-Working Prototype. Even if it isn’t perfect, judges and participants like to see how far you got.

When I was talking to the other judges after the presentations, most of could not tell which groups had actually built something over the weekend. For those that weren’t around most of the weekend, some of the presentations merely had a slideshow or video showing their project, but many failed to show us “en vrai,” in reality.

It is really important to make sure everyone can see exactly what you managed to do over the weekend. It’s true your prototype might not be what you want it to eventually be, but by showing what you’ve successfully done already can significantly improve your chances at winning (or at least impressing everyone with your raw-I-can-in-a-weekend-build-it skills!).

PS – A bit of shameless self-promotion. Just finished. Check out my newest biz project launch: Language Corner, free, online group work spaces for learning.

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