Startup Weekend University: What to expect at Startup Weekend?


Welcome to Startup Weekend Tahoe University!

This is the first of four weekly emails (and reposted in our blog) that we’ll be sending you to make sure that you’re 100% ready to get the most out of SWTahoe on March 7th. The content is based on our experiences at Startup Weekends in other cities and resources that we’ve found helpful when thinking about how to launch new companies.

Here’s an agenda of what is coming in this and future emails:

  1. What is Startup Weekend going to feel like? [this email]
  2. What does it take to figure out if an idea is worth pursuing?
  3. Customer development: the most critical skill for building a startup
  4. Tools that we think will help you during SWTahoe

Each email will have three sections: “required reading” on things that will be super helpful for you to know before the event; extra resources to help you excel; and bonus material if you get really into the topic

On to the content…what is Startup Weekend Tahoe going to be like?

You should definitely read this part:

If you haven’t yet had a chance to take a look at Startup Weekend’s official video and FAQ, they will give you a quick overview of why people get so excited about the experience

A couple of questions come up pretty frequently and so we’ll include them here:

What types of ideas can I pitch?

Any business ideas are eligible (whether for-profit, ‘social’ businesses, non-profit organizations, etc.), however the event is strongly tech-oriented. Approximately 95% of all ideas are mobile or web focused, and given the short time-frame, we strongly recommend that even non-tech ideas focus on a tech-related deliverable (i.e., website) by Sunday.

How do I protect against people stealing my idea?

The short answer is that you can’t. If you’re very concerned, you can limit your pitch to the rough outline of the idea without giving away key information.The longer answer is that this is not something worth worrying about. Unless you are confident your idea is a ‘key-in-hand’, easy-to-implement innovation that hasn’t yet been thought of (which it almost surely isn’t), the advantages gained from getting broad-based feedback and a strong team motivated by collective ownership far outweigh the remote risks of someone stealing and executing on your idea. The truth is that over 90% of ideas pitched at any given Startup Weekend have already been pitched – probably many times – in the past. This doesn’t imply that the idea isn’t a good one, but rather that what truly matters is how well you and your team execute the idea.“One can steal ideas, but no one can steal execution or passion”

Here’s some great extra content we highly recommend:

The best articles we’ve found about the Startup Weekend experience:

Tips for First-Time Startup Weekenders

Startup Weekend Isn’t Just for Entrepreneurs

How Startup Weekend Changed My Life and Career

…and some local perspectives from participants at Startup Weekend Reno:

The co-founders of Mambo Health shared their Startup Weekend experience at the last Thrive Tahoe meet up. Mambo Health is a digital health startup formed at the last Startup Weekend Reno.

Beth Portesi, a student at Sierra Nevada College, reflects on her experience at SWReno

And if you want to learn even more, here are some more videos we love:

Inspiring Startup Weekend Videos playlist

Thanks and please let us know if you have any feedback,
The Startup Weekend Tahoe Team

P.S. If you haven’t registered yet, head on over to our signup page: