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Five things I learnt at the Startup Hackathon


When my friend convinced me I should join him in the Startup Hackathon – an event where mostly everyone involved is awake for the majority of a 48 hour period and creates a startup with a real product – I did not know what to expect.

From the first minute of walking into Inspire 9’s office space, the weekend was bristling with excitement, passion and energy drinks.

I learnt many things at this event, but here are the five things that stand out most…

Startup Entrepreneurs are DEDICATED

Student entrepreneurs, hosts and others were more than willing to do everything possible to create and develop the most exceptional startup ideas and products.

When it approached roughly 9am on Saturday and it was clear the vast majority of organisers and developers still had not slept since Thursday night, I began to question the sanity of myself and everyone else in the room.

AGILE is much more than a buzzword

With such little time to build a startup and a product, all teams had to approach absolutely every problem with an agile mindset.

I think each user story we wrote was roughly two sentences long and each test roughly one sentence long.  We also wrote just five user stories to completely implement our product – this made it extremely easy knowing what to focus on and when we had properly implemented a feature or not.

My final theory is that an agile approach can solve problems and build products at an extremely fast pace.

It’s all about the PEOPLE

Although it was just a weekend, it was evident that ideas are and will always be secondary to networking and team work.

Team members listened to one another and morphed their ideas and products in real time to meet the tight deadline requirements.

It was incredible to watch the team dynamics develop in action over the weekend.

DELEGATING tasks among team members is critical

A clear division of tasks and responsibilities were key to reducing overhead and getting things done fast and reliably.  I found that the more people we tried to stack onto solving a problem or implementing an idea, the slower we worked.

More people on one task meant more overhead, more confusion and in general more pandemonium, in what was already a chaotic time of trying to meet the Sunday noon deadline.

It takes TIME to polish a product.

We had a general prototype working by Saturday afternoon, but the polishing process took us the remaining 24 hours of non-stop work and just a small pit stop for a few hours of sleep on Sunday.

Little things matter.

The new generation of Melbourne entrepreneurs are sinking their teeth into exciting things, and this weekend proved that for me. Thanks to the organisers, sponsors and hosts of the event, the inspiring weekend was a giant success.

Image by Photostock