VP Marketing Chris Breikss and I headed to Dublin last week to partake in the Web Summit (now “The Summit”) conference. WOW! Already a massive conference by any standard, we were totally psyched to be a part of it.
Monkey Box won a spot in the “Alpha Startup” program, which gives early-stage startups a chance at exhibiting at the conference for one of the days. When someone asked me what our purpose was in attending the conference, I listed:
- Networking with peers and colleagues
- Perfecting our product “pitch”
- Learning from other startups, and what they’re doing right or wrong
As it happened when I attended GROW in Vancouver earlier this year, I pretty much lost my voice from all the talking – it didn’t matter if it was networking, pitching, telling Shakira stories, or checking in with wifey and the little one via Skype, it was pretty much non-stop shop-talk the whole time I was there.
The one thing I learned the most, was how people perceive Monkey Box – in other words, what they think it is and does. It’s hard, after having my head in the sand for months building Monkey Box, to take a breath and look at it from a different perspective, so this info was totally invaluable.
Another key lesson learned, was reworking how I “pitch” Monkey Box to passersby. You see, with only a few seconds to grab someone’s attention and keep them interested in what we’re doing, it was gratifying to find my stride as the day progressed. By the end of the day, I had perfected 10-second, 30-seconds, and 1-minute pitches that allowed me to shift gears as necessary. I think all startups should really focus on this messaging delivery – it’s super important.
Above all, though, I was very self-conscious about my disposition towards the conference in general. I spoke to every person that would listen, I shook every hand I could, and took in a whole bunch of pitches from other startups as well. It was a very rewarding conference, and we had box-loads of fun.
There are other stages to the conference, where startups with more experience and traction get to compete in a “pitching” contest, but we weren’t quite ready for that. We do hope to be back next year though, and perhaps with a bigger and even more exciting story to tell!