My Very First Startup Weekend

Written by
Joshua Holmes
Published on
November 19, 2015
Read time

I recently had the absolute pleasure of attending my very first Startup Weekend (Gold Coast), hosted at WOTSO. This was the first time I have been exposed to the pace and expectations of startups versus corporate culture.

It was an awesome experience, one which will stick with me for the rest of my life and one which has opened my eyes to the true possibilities of a few people sharing the same goal.

Never before have I been placed in a situation where I was expected to fail. Where I was expected not to build a product, but to ensure people actually wanted it. Where I was expected to gain revenue almost immediately as proof of that.

I thought I had some idea of what the startup ecosystem was about, and I thought I wanted to get involved. But after this weekend I can say firstly that my knowledge was limited and secondly that I now have a passion for trying new things and not worrying if it doesn’t go to plan.

Startup Weekend taught me a number of key points:

  1. Fail fast, fail early
  2. Know your market and what they want
  3. Ensure you have a sound business model, even if it is an early version
  4. Pivot, pivot, pivot
  5. Get shit done
  6. Seriously, JFDI

I also had the pleasure of working with a number of mentors and volunteers who always had something hugely important to suggest. On more than one occasion, we pivoted on some unique aspect because of their suggestions.

My whirlwind weekend went something like this:


  • 5pm: Hi, here have these words and make a business out of it.
  • Pitch your idea within 60 seconds.
  • Now choose your team.
  • Go and get started.
  • By 12am we had a product idea, survey started, website built and had already pivoted a number of times.


  • We started with breaky at 8.30am.
  • Development started on our MVP.
  • We headed to the local shopping centre to talk to customers, users and telco stores.
  • By 12am, we had launched our MVP, made some revenue, validated our idea, and started a marketing campaign all sprinkled with a generous amount of pivots.


  • *8.30am: *Bacon and eggs!
  • Continued working on getting research feedback, marketing and revenue.
  • Started work on the pitch.
  • 5pm: Pitch! Beer! Pizza!
  • Finished the night by 9pm, which was nice. Ready for work the next day.

An absolute whirlwind weekend. Not much sleep and a focused agile team allowed us to accomplish big things in just 54 hours.

The only thing I am disappointed about is not getting involved in more of these events earlier.

Check out our pitch in the Global Startup Battle and vote for us here:

Find out more about our app or purchase the first 5 lessons at

Headshot of Josh in black and white

Joshua Holmes

Josh is a product design leader based in Melbourne, Australia.
He has been working in the design space for 7 years across various industries.