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Identity & Technology

Tactical Information Systems Blog

In Which Tim O'Reilly and Fred Wilson Say Nice Things About WanderID

The main point of going to New York for the Web 2.0 Expo was to participate in the Startup Showcase. It was described as “the speed dating version of your pitch” because about 30 companies would be set up at small tables in a large room and people would circulate and every five minutes a bell would ring and everyone would go to the next table. This would continue for about 90 minutes after which the two judges (Tim O’Reilly and Fred Wilson) would each pick a company and one would be voted in by the crowd. Those companies would be invited on stage to have a conversation with Fred & Tim.

Mary Haskett & Dr. Alex Kilpatrick prepare to pitch.

Mary Haskett & Dr. Alex Kilpatrick prepare to pitch.

The point, from my perspective, was to practice and refine our pitch and to get more feedback. My appetite for feedback is voracious. I want to hear from people who like our idea but I especially want to hear from people who do not like it. I want to know why. So I expected to make it to the stage – because we are awesome – but it wasn’t really important to me. Talking for an hour an half to a whole bunch of people was an end in itself.

So the set up was about how I imagined, except the large room had two bars and waiters circulating with trays of hors d’oeuvres. And the whole speed dating thing went out the window as soon as we started – it was just a swarm of people in a loud room pressing close and listening. They came and went randomly and soon Alex and I were both doing two pitches simultaneously on each side of the table. Most of our planning and preparation went out the window but it was fun. I was close to losing my voice.

We didn’t make it to the stage, but both judges said nice things about us. If you listen, it seems like Fred is about to tell the crowd why he didn’t pick us, so I’m going to have to follow up with him and see if I can find that one out.