Friday, August 2, 2013

Geek Camp IV: A Day with Start-up Entrepreneurs...Again

Last week, I had the pleasure of joining @Marcelodiazb from IncubaUC and @HiroshiWald of Austral Capital again for Geek Camp IV. I last mentored a set of geeks in Geek Camp 3, primarily listening to their business pitch and providing feedback.

This time, I decided to try something different. I decided to hold "office hours" where I didn't want to be pitched by a PowerPoint deck. I had founders stand with me up at a white board (my favorite canvas, followed by PowerPoint) and describe their business model and to share a challenge or decision they were facing.

Explaining how "office hours" will work to the Geeks

The first guinea pig was Daniel from Cloud Intelligence, which developed a business intelligence reporting software for retail and manufacturing industry. We had a great discussion about where he could best create and extract value from the industry: retailers, distributors, or manufacturers. This in turn led us to develop the GTM strategy once we figured out where to fit in within the value chain.
Whiteboarding Go To Market Strategy with Daniel of Cloud Intelligence
I also met with Javier from BeCycling. His company had developed a bicycling app that let people complete challenges to receive rewards for their community. For example, if I completed a bike race, it might go towards a new bike rack at the local library. What was interesting is he had some altruistic and socially responsible ambitions. He wanted to focus on corporations' employee wellness programs and non-profits who would want to sponsor and promote biking challenges to improve the world. But then I had him imagine what if we targeted advertisers instead. For one, marketers spend a lot more money than corporate and non-profit do-gooders. So, we talked about various ad products that could be integrated into the app for brand advertisers or direct marketers. For example, creating a CPL-based lead gen form for a bicycle insurance company he was starting to talk to.
Whiteboarding Business Model with Javier of BeCycling
A few more entrepreneurs went to the front of the class, and by the end of the day, I had a blast! I was fired up to see all these young entrepreneurs with such passion and drive, making me feel more alive as well. So, thank you, Geeks!

In the end, I realized what I was to these young entrepreneurs. I wasn't a marketing guy or digital strategist. I was their THOUGHT BUDDY, someone to bounce ideas off of and build on each other's comments in conversation.

And big thanks to @HannaIsBack for this lovely drawing sketched from her iPad! (If you're wondering who or what's behind me, that's supposedly an entrepreneurial geek she says.)


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