Over the past few months, I’ve spoken with a few people about my idea, The Project, and started posting about it here and there. I spoke with friends and family about it and got some response via social media.
Then I did this thing. This past weekend. I ran over to the big building to attend StartupWeekend Groningen 2015. Based on The Project Pitch. To be clear, I have had my own dance company. I have worked as a freelance consultant for many years. I thought I knew quite a bit.
To (mis)quote one of my favorite shows, “You know nothing, [Rain Leander].”
The first part of Startup Weekend is sixty second pitches. Anyone who wants to participate, stands in line, and tells their idea in sixty seconds or less. Then they write a summary of their idea and all those ideas are on walls in a massive room. Then everyone gets three post it notes and puts their ‘vote’ on the idea they think is cool. The top fifteen or so ideas ‘win’.
The Project made it through.
Then we form teams and that is this horrible combination of a cattle call and a popularity contest because everyone who won, goes BACK into the big room and sits somewhere with their winning idea poster and then everyone else runs in and mobs them to talk about their idea and figure out what teams they want to join.
It was hell.
A developer, K, came over and joined my team. And stuck by me. Even when I was unable to voice my idea. Even when I talked with people until I was almost hoarse and everyone else walked away. Even when we almost got swallowed up by another team that seemed to be working on the VERY SAME IDEA, but I knew it wasn’t the same idea, I just couldn’t figure out how to communicate it.
It meant we had three ‘creators’. Let me take a step back a minute and describe Startup Weekend a bit more. You register as a Creator or a Designer or a Business Person. During my pitch I asked for one of each, a creator, a designer, and a business person. I didn’t need a creator as much because I am a creator, but that was my team. Three creators. Three because I had a sneaky ally who wasn’t there for the cattle call, but was the entire reason why I was attending the event, Courtney of Courtney’s Kitchen.
So we had three Creators and another team pressuring us to join them and I shook my head, grabbed K and we went off to pick the brain of the guy running the show, Nick. We talked with him for around fifteen minutes and, at the end of the night, I still couldn’t communicate my idea, but I knew why we were there and that it was going to be just fine.
We wanted to learn a lot. And we did. We wanted to define The Project. And we did. We wanted to get it started. And we did.
Startup Weekend is also a contest. There are all kinds of prizes at the end of the weekend. You can do anything you want over the course of the weekend, there are no rules, and then you give a four minute presentation and answer questions for three minutes and then… they pick the top three ideas.
We were not one of those ideas.
I am damn proud of what we accomplished.
Over the course of this weekend we have started off with an ill-defined and miscommunicated idea. With the team of three people with the lack of business knowledge and designers we’ve turned to our network to help us crystalize this idea, now called Project DO.
And we did so much more – registered the domain name, built the website, started the business model, to name a few – I could not be more proud. There is so much more to do, but I’m using the model, Define, Refine, Plan, DO, to make things happen. If you’re interested in joining the movement, in helping Project DO get started, in accomplishing your own dream that you can’t quite communicate YET, hop over to projectDO.co, become a member, spread the word.
Ask yourself, “What will you DO this year?”