I just came back from Cologne, Germany where I spent two amazing days with Europe’s top Internet entrepreneurs and investors at European Pirate Summit, an invite-only startup conference like no other, held in Odonien, a unique artistic place on open air, held just opposite Germany’s biggest multi-store whorehouse.
These two days were exciting and inspiring. I listened to the crazy stories of people who “ate their teeth” on entrepreneurship, I met old friends and met new ones. I also went on stage to pitch an idea that seems more ridiculous than it really is.
Last weekend I was mentoring at Startup Weekend Szczecin, the first Polish-German meetup of this kind. It was my first Startup Weekend and also the first time I mentored on any startup event. Startup Weekends are events organized all over the globe where young people have 2 days to organize a team, analyze the market and implement a product prototype. Quite a challange!
The winner of StartupWeekend Szczecin was ScatchApp – both by jury, mentors and community vote. It’s an app coded by Michał Łyczek, that transforms hand-drawn diagrams into HTML diagrams (like flow charts or mockups). Michał managed to produce a working prototype just in 2 days and pitched his idea in such an energetic way it is obvious he’s set to succeed. And he already found a partner, a German company in the flow chart business! I recorded a live demo of his product, so you can see it for yourself here:
Another team that got recognition was Sportfolio, “Linkedin for sports”, a startup created by Anna Pietka, a just-graduated student with no experience with “the Internets”, but with a lot of passion, ideas and a very important feature: the ability to listen and change her idea based on feedback. You can listen to Anna pitching Sportfolio here:
Other startups included Vinestry, a wine discovery app (similar to Vivino), Dine_Alike, which helps people socialize around food, Festivity, a CMS for events, StreetAd which is set to revolutionize street ads, or Taskbeat, a task management tool for companies.
Here are some of my thoughts fresh after the event
– StartupWeekend is the best place to be if you want to become an Internet entrepreneur but don’t know know to start.
– If you want to get feedback: listen, don’t talk! Some people could not stop from blabbing about their ideas all the time, instead of listening to others and making these ideas better. The most successful were those who listened, like Michał and Anna.
– Show your passion for the idea. Come to StartupWeekend with a goal to get this idea going and do everything possible to get it going. Passion is contageous. People follow those with passion as they become the successful ones. If you want to be a leader, show your passion and show that you really want to achieve it.
– Woody Allen once said that 80% of success is showing up. Very true, especially in case of events like StartupWeekend. Show up, meet people, don’t sit at home!
You can follow some of the new startups on Twitter: