Learning From TechCrunch’s Disrupt Battlefield
Posted By Joshua Condon On September 15, 2011 @ 6:19 pm In Apps,Blogging and Social Media,Business Software,Cloud Computing,E-Commerce,Gaming,Green Initiatives,Hardware,Innovation,Internet and Online Business,Location-based services,Online Marketing,PCs, Laptops, and Notebooks,Smartphones and PDAs,Tablets and eReaders,Telecom and Wireless,Tools on Managing Technology | No Comments
When you spend a large chunk of your day, for three straight days, watching enthusiastic tech entrepreneurs distill their products and services into a six-minute quick pitch in front of a rotating cast of industry heavyweights, you start to recognize some basic do’s and don’ts. Here’s are five simple take-aways from TechCrunch Disrupt SF’s Start-up Battlefield :
- Be ready to back up claims as to the size of your potential market: Tonara , aiming to become the “Kindle for sheet music” developed a very cool and technologically advanced iPad app that essentially replaces sheet music–something the presenters claimed was a $2 billion industry among the millions of musicians worldwide. The problem, though, was that none of the judges were musicians, all seemed to have a hard time grasping the potential market significance of the tech, and none seemed to believe the dollar value of the sheet music market was as large as claimed. Rather than having data readily available to back up their claims, or even testimonials from various musicians making up the target demographic, Tonara was stuck responding with some variation of “it’s not as small a market as you’d think.” When you’re presenting the culmination of years of work on a personal passion, best be prepared with relevant data for those who have a hard time seeing what it is you’re trying to do.
- Listen to what the questions are saying, not just what they are asking: Pressly  is like a Flipboard for publishers, turning scroll-and-click web pages into beautiful and tablet-optimized navigable HTML5 content. The founders spent a lot of the question-and-answer section dutifully responding to an increasingly entrenched set of questions before realizing that none of the judges seemed to understand that, unlike Flipboard, their product helps publishers deliver the tablet-optimized content directly from their home URL as opposed to end users overlaying a third-party app onto web-optimized content. They cleared up that point … right as time ran out. If they had recognized the disconnect a bit sooner, they could have spent more of their Q+A session talking about what else Pressly has to offer.
- Have a good analogy handy: A good way to address the issue above? Make a quick reference that everyone can understand. During the Q+A session for Farmigo , one judge started a line of questioning that had to do with the “razor-thin margins” of the grocery industry–but the Farmigo team was quick to jump in with a clarification: “Farmigo is the Open Table of this model … we’re a high-tech company, our margins are similar to high-tech companies.” A fast and easy comparison that put everyone on the same page.
- Even tech-savvy VCs and investors think business first, tech second: Watching the Vocre  translation demo was like watching science fiction–it was that well thought-out and worked that seamlessly. And the feedback was tremendous, until Google’s Wesley Chan talked about traveling across the world, often without a data plan or when using one would be prohibitively expensive, and did the service work in those scenarios? As it turns out, no–meaning the time when the technology would be most useful (i.e. as an English-speaker in a foreign country) is the exact time when it’s unavailable. As ground-breaking as the technology is–the main selling point of Vocre–if there’s a flaw in the applicability model, there’s no viable business.
- Beware the live demo: For some–Shaker , TalkTo , Tonara, Vocre–putting it all on the line with a live demonstration showcased an amazing new technology application, or presented an actual immersive experience that a simple presentation simply wouldn’t. For others, notably YouNow  and HouseFix , the attempt to bring the real product online led to long delays, aimless wandering, dead air and a general sense of awkwardness. If you’re going to try to show off your product in a pitch meeting, best of luck–but be sure to have a rock-solid back-up plan and switch to it at the first sign of trouble.
Article printed from Inc. Technology: http://technology.inc.com
URL to article: http://technology.inc.com/2011/09/15/learning-from-techcrunchs-disrupt-battlefield/
URLs in this post:
 TechCrunch Disrupt SF’s Start-up Battlefield: http://technology.inc.com/2011/09/15/techcrunch-disrupts-battlefield-and-the-winner-is/
 Tonara: http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/12/tonara-ipads-app-looks-to-reinvent-sheet-music-for-the-digital-age/
 Pressly: http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/12/pressly-turns-websites-into-tablet-friendly-html5-web-apps/
 Farmigo: http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/12/farmigo-tapping-into-the-power-of-the-web-to-bring-you-fresh-veggies/
 Vocre: http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/13/vocre-lets-you-instantly-converse-in-foreign-languages/
 Shaker: http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/14/and-the-winner-of-techcrunch-disrupt-is-shaker/
 TalkTo: http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/13/talkto-allows-consumers-to-sms-any-local-business-and-get-a-quick-response/
 YouNow: http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/12/younow/
 HouseFix: http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/12/housefix-bringing-social-recommendations-and-accountability-to-home-improvement/
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