The Heroe’s Journey to Startup Weekend Goes On

10/08/2017 | By Andreas Schliep

This post originally appeared on

This is part two of a three-part series. The first part can be found here.

In my previous post, I described how the hero - you - comes to the adventure and masters the first challenges. Now it is time to look at the event itself - the core of the challenge - the Startup Weekend. I will use the steps from Campbell's Heroe's Journey again to illustrate what you are up to.


The Road of Trials

The initial pitch is just the first trial. You will experience the work with your team as a series of tests. Will you be able to form a team in such a short time? Will you be able to find the right words to describe your vision? Can you master the initial technical challenges? Only those who do not refrain from failing sometimes will be able to win in the long run.

The Meeting with the Goddess

While the hero has already found some helpers, there is a special force at work that wants the hero to succeed. In case of the Startup Weekend probably not a divine intervention, but the help of all volunteer coaches and mentors. Your coach will help you get through the trials, confront you with your own blind spots and guide you towards your perfect final pitch.

Woman as Temptress

Well, this is the classical expression. But there are temptations, too. Will you work on your product or service, or spend all the time partying? Both is fine, and sometimes a little distraction is really helpful to recollect your energy and wits. It happens to some teams, that they party so hard that they find it difficult to carry on the next day. The jury will not place judgement over your fun level or blood alcohol, only over the result.

Atonement with the Father

This is also meant metaphorically. You are up to confront not only one, but several persons of authority: the jury. Whatever happened before, now is the time to show what you are up to. You won't have much time. Some teams have great products but poor presentations. Some present a less than great product convincingly. This is the highlight of the Startup Weekend.


Now you will recognise, what your idea is really about. How strong you and your team were able to demonstrate your idea. You will be able to reflect on your learning and recollect your experiences. The jury retreats to discuss the presentations, products and ideas. You should retreat with your team to reflect on your collaboration.

The Ultimate Boon

This is the ultimate battle, the final moment of the challenge. Will you win a price? Will you reach one of the top places? This is the most interesting moment of the Startup Weekend. Even if you come up empty-handed, you should have gained so many important and new experiences.

We will talk about your return in the third and last part.