A Student’s Experience at Startup Weekend Tech Valley

One of my professors sent me an email mentioning the Startup Weekend Tech Valley. It seemed like an opportunity to gain a lot of business experience in three days, and I felt I had to take it. I emailed the College of Computing & Information, and I was happy to learn that there were still tickets available. Since I was required to pitch a business, my proposal was based on an opportunity I had thought about a few times here and there. I wrote it up, and CCI sponsored my attendance!

 Startup Weekend Tech Valley took place Friday, March 2 in Troy. Our gracious host provided space for the meeting where over 160 people attended. My pitch was far from perfect and I was pretty nervous. There were around 40 other really good pitches made. But that’s how the event began, with a lot of energy in a cool place. The individual that had made one of my favorite pitches during the “pitchfire” congratulated me on my pitch as I walked by him. That brief moment was so important. When the event organizers asked us to find a team, I had joined this person’s team. The idea was fresh and the passion behind it was great.

 We had a lot of fun. Tommy drew a picture of his idea. He used letters, shapes, and arrows to describe how passion transfers from one person to another. We brainstormed, asked questions, drew pictures, and took a great deal of notes. The ideas kept on coming.

 I was a bit frustrated Saturday because of a problem I was not able to solve, but someone seemed to have said the right thing and the energy came right back up. The team was amazing. The organizers did a great job planning the event, speakers, etc. We were supported by a lot of awesome individuals.

On Sunday we stepped up refining the business. The mentors and others that stopped in seemed really excited about it, and we were glad at how much we were achieving in so little time. The final presentations were all very impressive.

The weekend is over but the experience and energy lives on.

Alex Trofimovsky is an informatics PHD student. He is currently a TA in the School of Business. His research focuses on Strategic Sustainability Systems.

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