Hackathons and Startup competitions may seem like a great place to network with people from different sector and validate ideas, take inspiration from people but what happens after that. Let’s check out the truth behind the after party. We will be talking about student hackathons mostly.
Startup events are usually a team thing and such competitions help you create a temporary version of it. A temporary team works on an idea from one of it’s member who thinks he/she owns the idea. Coder’s think they are doing their best. Presenters and documenters think they have played their part nicely. Everything works until the end of the competition and then the real thing starts to happen. The teams degenerate in most cases.
This happens because of the following reasons:
Passion & Vision : The one with the idea is the most passionate about his/her idea. They have a certain kind of vision that the temporary team may not agree to. Even if they agree they don’t have the same zeal to work on it day in and day out. The hardest thing to do in a team is to transfer the same zeal to the other team member.
Arrogance: The ideator may be arrogant about the idea most of the time and may not want to pivot even if the team suggests so. The business person may think his way of defining the business model is correct. The other team members may have similar reservations and thus the arrogance develops and tears the team apart.
Overall Understanding: It’s not about your idea works or your code works so it should work overall in the market. Going to market need a lot of homework rather than the product itself. A product works only when so many internal and external factors get along well. There needs to be someone who is ready to go all out and tell his peers to try their product and market it to other people as well. You have to be ready to accept that it’s not as sleek as working for 3 nights.
Lack of Humility: Sometimes the greed for prize money overshadows the project itself. You don’t know what to do with the money. The money is given to you to invest on the idea itself and spend it efficiently not recklessly for your personal benefit.
Most people back out from the idea after the event is over because they think they were there to only learn how to do things , which is completely fine. People come in baggage of commitments. They will give more priority to their regular work which is less strenuous and stressful i.e. withing their comfort zone and money yielding.
However the upsides of such events are that you get to meet people who you can be friends in the long run, ask for advices and help when needed, get their expertise after the event as well.
In Nepali Context the success rate of startups coming form startup weekends and other similar competitions are tragically low. Nepal has been a graveyard for startups for many reasons. We will talk about in another article.
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Here are important links if you want to learn more about the scene.