What does it mean to attend a #StartUpBootCamp?
Yes, that’s the question we always had and we felt will remain a Pandora’s box till the end of the 2 and a half days that we were to spend on an otherwise-smeared-in-work-yet-lovely November weekend.
Reverse just happened. And we are floored with the brilliant outcomes the bootcamp gave to the community of startups that attended the event. I am talking about the 60-hour Lean Startup Bootcamp organized by 91springboard in Delhi from 8 – 10 November, 2013. And this post is a culmination of the experiences we had; the learning we gathered, the relationships we are honored to build and the laughter we shared.
Being based out of Delhi and not the so-called startup bay of India; it’s always difficult to relish the benefits of a bustling community of likeminded doers. Couple it up when you are working on your own venture where you are hard at work to figure out what’s brilliant and what’s terrible! The Lean Startup Bootcamp was the first of its kind in many aspects that we had never really witnessed coming to life in the startup community – least of all – in the rather scattered community of Delhi based startups.
Structure or lack of it. The beauty of the bootcamp was engrained in the entire structure / pseudo structure of the camp. Yes, there was a very loose structure to the entire 2 and half days. As compared to the mundane reality of attending series of lectures from biggies; the bootcamp was about ‘your challenges’ and ‘their solutions’; not ‘how-i-achieved-what-starters-like-you-only-dream-of-today’ lectures from biggies. Few sessions – interspersed at the right intervals – all hanging around the challenges of starting up and the hacks / pro tips on applying lean startup philosophy for ‘your business’ were enlightening. The big demon of market sizing (Yes, we call it that at GetEchoed Team coz we understood heck of it before we attended the event) delivered in a crisp talk on ‘Competitor Analysis and Market Sizing’ (Amit Lakhotia, GM – Payments at Paytm) ; that crazy thing called web hosting : hands-on talk on ‘Lean Prototyping using cloud’ (Amit Sharma, Solution Architect – Amazon Web Services); the obvious hassle of being design challenged in your venture and how to sort it out – brilliantly brought to life on the talk – ‘Design for the Lean Startup’ (Kshitish Purohit, Founder – Paperkite); and finally the hacks of lean prototyping tools to ensure you don’t run out of resources – delivered in ‘Lean Prototyping tools’ (Rohit Agarwal, Founder – Framebench)were all explained.
Most part of the camp; teams were left to discover their challenges; brainstorm in their groups; encouraged to go-out and talk to their customers seeking inputs on the most pressing challenges / riskiest assumptions made in their business models and so on. It was all about being lean – not by the books but by action!
We were all there. The camp had an aggregation of college students contemplating on the journey of starting up; seasoned folks who understand the dynamics; failures and sweet successes of handling ventures as well as early starters like us – the team of GetEchoed; having recently begun the journey. All questions that otherwise seem too business-oriented or too technical to handle for those lacking the know-how; were explained and addressed in the simplest yet sophisticated forms. Better yet, all the sessions were close to life.
It was not a hackathon. And that was brilliant. We spent most parts of the day interacting with different teams and discussing each other’s challenges. This may seem like the yet-again-another-non-geeky-thing to do. Nope, it wasn’t. It was fun. Sheer fun! Why so, if you ask. Because that’s where a lot of learning happened, relationships were formed and all the startups team were able to develop relationships at their own pace and benefit of their mutual experiences and leverage experiences. We understood challenges in scaling up location specific business when setting up in a new location, transforming modus operandi from people intensive to process intensive; communicating with customers who don’t understand your offerings and how to communicate with them.
And it was about brilliant hosts. The organizers of the event went the last mile in every aspect. Anand Vemuri and Apurv Agarwal – are two phenomenal folks helping fostering the culture of fearless entrprenurship in the Delhi / NCR region in their amazing ways. They never made any of us realize that we were meeting them for the first time and all of us were lacking expertise in some areas or the other. Basking in our small achievements and struggling in our crazy ways; they were around till the wee and the early hours ensuring all kinds of support; most critical product and business inputs were provided to all the startups in the most entrepreneur-friendly way. GetEchoed team received some of the most critical inputs and some very affirming good words from the 91springboard team over the bootcamp. And yes, not to mention the happiness of sharing round table networking over dinners and tea breaks! Yes, they do happen innocuously and are facilitated by these folks in the most subtle manners.
The brilliant experience and the fair treatment meted out to all of us is articulated hence. I encourage of you startup fellas to definitely take a break from the daily imperatives of your startup. As impending and critical as they are; your learning from interacting with heterogeneous group of startup folks; incubatee startups and the amazing folks at the 91springboard will definitely be worth hours of team brainstorming and much beyond.
Say cheers to starting up. Cheers to lean camps and cheers to Delhi!
This post is written by Arpita Chakraborty, straight from her laptop – sharing learnings and experiences of working across startups for years now. She is a social media geek and loves to question things at GetEchoed. Tweet to her about anything @arpitaambition