Other than why are Jeff and Amanda so awesome, the most common question I get when pitching Startup Weekend is, can I pitch my idea, followed immediately by, how do we pick the best ideas and form teams. The process is a slight tad messier than PITCH * POOF * TEAMS, so let me pull the curtain back on the inner workings of our own kingdom of oz.
Pitched in 60 Seconds
The time to pitch your idea is very, very short. 1 minute. 60 seconds. The time it takes light to travel 1.8 x 10^6 km. An interesting way to package your idea is to tell it as a story. Your protagonist is your user, the climax is a pain they experience every single day (traffic jams, paper jams, lack of strawberry jam), and the resolution is your idea, how you solve the pain, and hopefully, make a little scratch along the way. You should also mention what resources/skills/political contacts you bring to the table, and what kind of team members you are looking for.
One Person, 3 Votes
Once you finish pitching, you will be handed a piece of butcher paper with your idea scrawled across it. After all the pitches are done, everyone will be given 3 post it notes to stick to the papers with the ideas they think are best. You can put one post it on 3 ideas or all 3 onto one idea or any combination thereof. After everyone has finished milling about and voting by adhesive paper square, we will tally the votes, and teams will typically then form around the top ideas.
May the Ideas be ever in your Favor
Once the teams are formed, everyone huddles up and starts figuring out how to bring their crazy idea to life. Who are the customers? What is their pain? What do they pay now to solve that pain? How is our idea better? How will we find the customers? What tools do we have? What is our minimal viable product? Who is going to do what tomorrow?
The process takes some time, but along the way, you meet some great people and come up with some truly interesting ideas. So put on your thinking cap for ideas, look through your pain seeking binoculars for customers, and start practicing your perfect pitch for day 1 of an awesome, Startup Weekend.