On 22 April 2017, I have the opportunity to attend Start Up Day 2017 (I know, Start Up Day again). A few students have shared about their experiences at the Start Up Day, especially about what they have learnt from the talks, but I realised nobody did talk about the workshops that was held at a separate studios. Hence, I will be talking about what I have experienced from one of the workshops which Start Up Day offers as well.

I first attended a Pre-Pitch Workshop where coaches from different organisations such as Slush, SUP46, Sting and Wave Ventures, helps participants to improve their pitch. During this workshop, people learn how to write and structure their pitch and train how to pitch prior to their pitching during lunch hour. I was fortunate to be able to interact with one of the coaches and he had helped my friend in refining his pitch. While it is important to fit every information regarding why and how about the new idea, it is also important to not forget about passion. I think that it is crucial that people speak with passion and that will capture the audience’s heart.

Following which, I attended the open pitch which was held during the lunch hour. During the hour, participants have the opportunity to pitch to the audience and at the same time receive feedback from the judges. Having heard more than ten pitches and their respective feedback, there are some of the common mistakes made in the pitches. For example, some people lack a catchy name for their ideas, and this made it harder for the audience to remember their idea.

 

Next, I attended a talk by Niklas Laninge, the founder of Daily Bits Of who talked about the three dysfunctions of start up.

1. Making it about ego
A startup will never survive if it is about their ego. With different people only concerned about themselves, the team will have different agendas and there will be no trust in the team. This slows down the productivity in the startup as things take extra time to be done. It is never about one’s wants but how the team come together to decide what should be the priority, and then work together as a team to meet their priority.

2. All talk no action when it comes to diversity
There is a general lack of diversity in the industry, in terms of gender, age and race. Diversity in the workplace can bring about increased productivity and creativity. With a diverse workforce, there will be different perspectives present in the team offering view points which could be missed without diversity. Niklas did mention a good way to obtain a more diverse team.

  • Anonymous Application Process: to avoid stereotypical judgments about others
  • Standardising Testing & Interview: through personality tests and structured interviews
  • Having separate evaluators: avoid bias

3. Making it about long hours
The common myth is that people at start-ups usually work long hours. However, there is no merit in obsessively long hours. It is counter productive with the lack of work-life balance. Hence, one should never obsessively praise long hours as you want your people to work out of joy and not to work for long hours out of typical norm.

 

In conclusion, Start Up Day had been a good event and I have learnt a lot from interacting with the many people at the event. It was certainly informative and worth attending.

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