Saturday is a day of work for teams. It’s also by and large the most relaxed day of the event for the organizing team. You will spend most of your time answering inquiries from attendees, giving advice and making sure food, drink, and coaches are all on track.
To minimize the amount of face-to-face explanations you’ll have to give, we recommend sending an email Saturday morning to all attendees. There’s an email template you may find helpful in this toolkit. Be aware that our partner F6S will send out an email on behalf of Startup Weekend on Saturday as well. The F6S email does not include any event logistic information, but asks attendees to fill out the team registration form before leaving the event.
Things to include in your email:
The basics of the Sunday presentations, including a brief overview of the judging criteria and the process for signing up for Sunday presentations
The schedule of speaker/coaches for Saturday, as people will often forget
Some background information on each coach, what particular topics each coach will be able to provide advice on, the times during which each coach will be on site, and instructions on how to sign up for a coach time-slot (see below)
After sending out the Saturday morning e-mail, work with your facilitator to create a coach signup sheet: a table listing available time slots and a brief coach bio. Have teams sign up for specific time slots of coaches whom they are interested in getting advice from. Creating a map, showing the locations of each team is especially helpful in venues with more than one working space. This will create a smooth process of coach-team matchmaking and ensure each team gets as much tailored coaching as possible.
It’s best to schedule your coaches to come in at the same time, or in batches (10am, 12am, 3pm work well). When they arrive have the facilitator or an organizer hold a quick briefing to set expectations and brief them on the teams in the room. It can be helpful to have teams do a quick stand up so the coaches could see what teams were working on, and share their progress or needs.
If you have a speaker scheduled for Saturday remember to keep their topics short (20 minutes maximum), energetic, and to the point. To avoid killing the event’s momentum and distracting teams, we suggest keeping attendance optional, during meals, so teams don’t have to take an extra break.
Ensuring all attendees are well-fed and hydrated is essential. Try to have all meals arrive slightly ahead of schedule and have snacks available between meals (see the Food section for more information). Keep in mind that three meals, drinks, and snacks generate a lot of waste over the course of the day. Be sure to have at least one person circulating the venue and cleaning up trash throughout the day.
Plan ahead with your facility regarding recycling so you can minimize your environmental impact. Encourage attendees to recycle as well!
Don’t hesitate to ask attendees to clean up their own mess over the weekend. Emphasize that the event is a low-budget, community-driven affair, and it wouldn’t be possible without their support. Attendees are surprisingly receptive to this language.
Assume your food is going to be delivered on time. Food is always late and hungry people get grumpy. It’s extremely helpful to designate one person to be in charge of organizing the food.
Keep the event alive to the outside world. Remind all teams to post tweets with the event hashtag and upload all media to a dedicated place (typically Flickr or Facebook.) There are almost always other Startup Weekends going on in parallel and you can see that list here. Generate a little friendly conversation and set up a Skype call with other teams around the world!
Common mistakes made on Saturday:
- Endorse laziness. Enforce a culture of being on time, considerate and clean.
- Let coaches just randomly wander with no strategy and annoy teams
- Have more than ~5 coaches/day
- Let people come and “spectate.” They can be very distracting for teams.
- Let teams hide in conference or breakout rooms the whole time. Make them mingle with others.