Are You the Next Entrepreneur Idol?

Cross posted from Seattle 2.0

NWEN’s Entrepreneur University on Thursday is going to be fun!  Why?  Because in addition to speakers, panels, and mentorship sessions, there will be Entrepreneur Idol to wrap things up.  Tweet your startup tagline to #EUidol and the presenters will be chosen on Monday 11/2.  For many of you reading, that’s today – so get on it!  Even if you aren’t serious about starting your business, getting some practice pitching ideas can’t hurt.  If you are serious, there will be VCs, angels, and press present to make the most of your 60 seconds.  Here’s are some tips from a non-expert.

Tips for a 60 Second Pitch

  • Be memorable, whatever that means for your personality or product/company
  • Don’t write a 5 minute pitch and then try to read it in 60 seconds, no one will process the it
  • No demo, because it will either a) not work b) not finish in time c) just not work
  • Answer how you’ll make money ASAP, because someone is bound to ask anyway
  • If you have a working prototype say so and use 15 seconds to make sure people know where it is
  • If you’re serious, give business cards to the panelists and ask people to raise hands if they want your card at the end (don’t tell then to find you, they won’t)

Contestants, Meet Your Judges

The judges are local media reps from Xconomy (Gregory Huang), TechFlash (John Cook), and Seattle 2.0 (Marcelo) but don’t go thinking that just because they’re the media they don’t know about business and tech.

Gregory Huang (Xconomy)

In addition to being a much-loved local tech beat journalist, Gregory has a Master’s and Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT, and a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  He is published in 20 scientific journals and did research at MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab.  He also co-authored “Guanxi” – a book about Microsoft in China and the global competition for talent and technology.

What to pitch him on: Augmented reality, micro-finance, sustainable power, enterprise 2.0

John Cook (TechFlash)

I think John might know a thing or two about running a business of his own, considering he took the bull by the horns almost a year ago to leave his job at the Seattle PI and co-found TechFlash (a subsidiary of Puget Sound Business Journal).  John reminds me of many startup geeks I know, who work like crazy and occasionally come out of the proverbial cave to socialize.  According to his bio, John has been a journalist since high school where he compiled obituary and election info.  Sounds like the same single-minded focus entrepreneurs are encouraged to have.

What to pitch him on: iPhone apps, software-as-a-service, games,  Gov 2.0

Marcelo Calbucci (Seattle 2.0)

By now you’ve probably read about Seattle 2.0’s fearless leader and his experience with failed startup Sampa, which he co-founded.  Fortunately, Marcelo also founded Seattle 2.0 and its going pretty well.  He is also the creator of TweepML and codes on a regular basis.  He’s an ex-Microsoft guy too, so he has a healthy appreciation for making money.  Read his blog for a candid account of pretty much everything.

What to pitch him on: community-driven products, social media, travel, video

Upping the Stakes – Win Some Cash!

Before you start talking about how meaningless it is to have an Entrepreneur Idol contest in the comments, keep in mind that it is going to be fun and that practicing pitching is a great way for fledgling entrepreneurs to gain confidence.  Let’s be the kind of community that can support this exercise, and we might even be surprised by the quality of pitches.

You can score a discount when you register, by using the promo code “Danielle” and I’ll get a 20% commission on any tickets sold with this promo code.  Tickets are $150 for NWEN members, and $275 for non-members (and you get a 1 year membership for that price).

Wait, You’re Getting Cash to Write This Post?  I’m Calling the SEC!

Call off the regulators.  I’m going to take the commission and give it to the person whose pitch seems most likely to become a revenue generating business.  Not the funniest pitch, most creative gimmick, or best personality — just the pitch that represents an opportunity to MAKE MONEY.  I’ll give the money with no terms, other than that the person let me interview them for a Seattle 2.0 blog post.  This should be fun!