CategoryStartup Weekend

Startup Weekend in Romania

Startup Weekend Romania took place this year on 9-11 November and it was the best edition so far, as most of the attendees told me. It was fun to have been involved with the organizing team and I’m so proud we did a wonderful job that everybody was satisfied with.

I think that overall, the entrepreneurial community in Romania is starting to understand the importance of “no talk, all action” type of events where people with different skills can be brought together to create startups in just a few hours. Yes, we still have a lot of work to do to improve our pitching skills and yes, we’re not so touched by the business part in a startup mainly because this is not something embedded into our culture, but damn it if we don’t like to create stuff: either it’s a script that hacks something or a robot that does some shit when you hit it with a light, we love creating this stuff and we’re proud of it. Selling it, that’s a different matter and I’ve seen that most of the people that can’t sell their product/service are awful at telling the world about their personal skills also – they’re usually too shy about it or too humble although they’re magnificent engineers, for example.

I was no different until I realized that I’m doing myself a big disservice by acting this way. Since this is too deeply seeded in my being, sometimes I have to remind myself to go into the sales mode – something that other people tend to do without thinking.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you want to have your own startup, you have to also be able to sell it, to talk about it like there’s nothing else out there, like this is the most important thing for you and your life depends on it. You’re a developer and you’ve cofounded a startup where a colleague of yours is the CEO doing all the sales shit, do you also need to be able to sell? Hell yes! You have to stand up for your cause, not relying only on your CEO to do the pitching part. Gone are the days when being a developer and sitting in a dark corner minding your own code was enough to ensure the wellbeing of your startup.  At the end of the day you have to ask yourself what’s the difference between you and another developer in your company? That you’re a cofounder? Well, if that’s the case than you should act like one, correct?

Startup Weekend is the place where you can practice your pitching and meet great mentors. Nobody is judging anybody and the most important thing is to create a sustainable environment that can provide an educational platform for future entrepreneurs.

Nothing would make me happier that just to hear one day, for example, a professor from the Automatics and Computer Science faculty saying: “Today, students prefer to work on creating their own projects/startups than to search for a job.” That’s when I’ll know something significant has changed into our mindset and we have to go back and really appreciate people like: Marius Ghenea, Radu Georgescu, Vlad Stan, Vladimir Oane, Emil Gal, Bogdan Iordache and others as being the true pioneers & facilitators of entrepreneurship in Romania.

Cheers Frode! … and how I came to “love” the “Trololo” song after EU SW Organizer Summit

It all started in March when Anca Foster sent me an e-mail inviting me to the Europe Startup Weekend Organizer Summit in Athens/Greece. Months have passed by and, while summer was approaching, the thought of spending some quality time with a bunch of cool people with whom I share a common interest (organizing/facilitating Startup Weekend events) was getting stronger and stronger. Don’t ask me how I got my girlfriend to let me loose, but let’s just say the miracle making Anca had an important role in this.

Villa Agnanti

So, as the story goes, eventually I got to Greece and met at the airport with 3 awesome guys I didn’t know until that weekend: Nick Stevens, Don Ritzen and Dwight Gunning. The rest of the gang got to the Agnanti Villa during that day and immediately everything went crazy: playing volley in the pool, getting to know each other better while tasting some local wines, having an awesome Greek dinner and ultimately playing the devilish “3 man” drinking game. For us, the game evolved into drinking and cheering for Frode (it was his birthday) every time we threw the dices. Oh, and because of a wonderful 6:6 rule all the girls had to drink whenever the dices combination said “Pass turn”. We only had 4 ladies at the table so we had to make sure they were having a good time, not feeling left out.

For all of you who want to experience the “3 man” drinking game you should attend the next Startup Weekend Vampire event; we’ll make sure you’ll get it from the first rounds :).

And, as if this was not enough we also got infected with the “Trololo” song:

Thank you for bringing the “3 man” game into our lives, Don! And thank you Vaidas for singing the shit out of this song … you made it stuck to my head and now I can’t get it off :(.

The next days were dedicated to actually doing something productive: yoga, learning how to cook Greek dishes and workshops in the pool :) (not necessarily in this order). We discussed about how we could make SW events better and came up with some amazing ideas to be considered and applied in the following months. I learnt so much from just listening to different guys talking about organizing SW events in their country and I was definitely impressed by the quality of people that shared their experiences with the rest of us.

These people are not only about organizing few events in different countries, but they are living and breathing entrepreneurial culture all the way and they are a continuous source of inspiration for the entire Startup Weekend community. Not only they have a great experience in running their own startups, companies, business-accelerators, co-working spaces or doing other similar activities that makes entrepreneurial life worth living, but they also have an enormous appetite for sharing their knowledge with others.

For this and for so much more, I would like to thank Anca, Déborah and Stavros for organizing this awesome Europe Startup Weekend Organizer Summit and everyone for making it unforgettable.

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