My Startup Weekend Experience in Bali

I didn’t know about Startup Weekend until end of last year when someone who I just met for the first time–who then later become my friend–told me about it and volunteered to be my sponsor for the event.

I was in Bali for my fashion design course and as I am a hyperactive person, I always looked for interesting events in the area, I wanted to make the best of my time in Bali. There’s a cafe-coworking space in Sanur which regularly holds free events/ talks every week that I always tried to come when I could, even though it’s not close to where I stayed. In one event, at that time Aaron Mashano was the speaker, I met Jennifer. She’s a foreigner living in Bali and pursuing her fashion design career (but with different approach from mine) and she’s almost similar like me, she likes to come to events as well.

Then she told me that there was an event in the upcoming week which is very cool and a good learning and networking experience that she really liked. I didn’t really understand what it was at that time, and also hearing that it’s a paid event and in dollar rate, I thought I wouldnt be able to join. I was surprised that Jennifer just offered herself to be my sponsor, meaning she’d pay for the events and let me stay at her place during the event (because the event was held in Ubud, which is 30km from my place). It’s not cheap I think to give to someone you just met for the first time, I didnt know why she just trusted me, she only asked me to promise that I would give my dedication to the event. So I said yes and promised her that I would not take it for granted.

I didn’t know much info about what the event is about and how things would be run. All I knew is that you might pitch ideas of a startup and then we would be grouped into the chosen startup ideas. I didn’t know really clearly what to expect from the event, I only knew there would be winners in the end, and I like winning. So I already prepared an idea and a one-minute speech for a pitch.

Startup Weekend is actually a global event now run by Techstars with the help of a lot of Volunteers. It’s held in hundreds cities in the world annually, in Indonesia it’s held in several major cities like Jakarta, Bandung and Bali. But the one in Bali is the most different from other cities in Indonesia because the one in Bali has internationally mixed participants while in other cities are mostly Indonesians.

It’s a 2,5 day event started from Friday night until Saturday night. In 54 hours, we learned and experienced what it’s like to make a startup, from finding the ideas to brainstorming the execution to sell it. We’re given the opportunity to pitch our idea in such a short presentation time (so we had to make every second and sentence count) then sell it to market (the audience), recruit team, and make a product mockup. My idea and team was chosen as the 3rd winner. I was very happy that I also made a remarkable impression to the people there, every presentation I made always caught attention.

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It’s a very good event to network with people who might need your work in the future or if you’re looking for a side project to break from your routine. As for freelancers, networks is a vital part.

At that time I totally had no idea that it could be used for that, I was just there to compete and have fun. So I didnt understand why people were really putting their time, efforts and energy to the max for just a weekend activity. Now I understand that they were marketing their selves. Who knows you might find a potential client who’s looking for say a designer or programmer. At least the people who know about what you do could refer you someday to someone.

This year, I will join the event again or the ones next year in order to market myself. I will come back with different strategy and different mission. Last year I came to win and to prove my idea, but this year I’ll come to market myself as a graphic designer/ illustrator. If you’re a freelancer/ digital nomad, Bali is the right place for you to find and be found. Hence I’m preparing myself for it, that’s why I’ve been locking myself in my room since I arrived from SA to improve my skill, learning from the very basics. I’m not a good drawer, many people can draw much better than I do, but I’ve learned several skills by myself because I didnt have the fortune to pay for expensive schools. That being said, I’m a hardworker. I’ve had some plans what I’d do and make people remember me again, to tell that I’m not only a fashion designer but also I can do digital art work. Hopefully things will go as planned or better, I cant wait!! Watch Startup Weekend 2018’s video here and see more photos here.

 

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