Wednesday, December 05, 2007

December's NY New Tech Meetup Review

Went to IAC last night for the December installment of the NY New Tech Meetup.

The companies presenting had 5 minutes to show off what they are working on infront of 400 people. You would think people would prepare for these presentations in advance. Unfortunately that didnt seem to be the case this evening.

Lots of people had really great stuff to present tonight however they were plagued with technical difficulties, even Mr. Meetup himself Scott Heiferman had some technical issues towards the end of his presentation. If you werent there last night, dont worry you didnt miss out on much, but you can still see the video presentations over at Center Networks. Here's the quick run down of the companies who did present and their simple mistakes that could have been avoided

  • Ignighter: Facebook App for group dating
    • Couldnt create demo group, since too many groups were created already that day, since he was practicing.
  • Evolvist Directory of Green Companies
    • couldnt get the search for coffee in NYC to be displayed
    • pretty solid demo, left people wanting more.
  • Kaltura:Enabling online video collaboration
    • while attempting to show off some RSS feed capabilities, he ended up closing the tab he was working in.
  • Unype - Your friends on various social networks being displayed on Google Earth
    • Phentermine pill spam was being displayed on Google Earth during demo which prompted an audience member to ask, "Is Phentermine a friend of yours?
  • Meetup Alliance - Allows local groups to create global groups/alliances
    • Prepared relevant tabs for presentation had webcam failure while attempting to show the New Tech Alliance leader who was in San Francisco.

Granted most people presenting have no prior presenting experience and are probably really nervous standing in front of so many people. Thats why I wouldnt advise companies to just go out there and wing it. If you think a simple walk through of your site will get everyone in the room to understand what you are selling, you are kidding yourself. Odds are it will take longer than 5 minutes to navigate your site alone.

Demos should be completely prepared in advance. When presenting your company be sure to apply the KISS Principle and keep it simple. Just going through mock run throughs by yourself are not enough, as we saw tonight something will go wrong. There Is nothing worse than dead silence in a room of 400 people watching you fumble with your own product. You only have minutes to wow people don't waste it on technical difficulties.

Why not present in front of family members. I am sure they have 5 minutes to spare. Dont present in front of anyone who knows about or has seen your product before, they already know what you are going to say and you cant really wow them.

Make sure to have all relevant pages open, thats the beauty of tabbed browsing. Prepopoulate your browser with all relevant information. You shouldnt have to rely on the internet connection to get to your next page. Try to even save all your inforamtion to your local hard drive. Scott was the only one to do this last night. He even had filler tabs that just had the meetup alliance logo showing to build up the anticipation.

Whatever you do, do not show powerpoint slides people will be sure boo or get restless. Nobody wants to hear you talk or ask rhetorical questions. They paid $5 to be wowed. So WOW them. I think everyone who presented last night could have, but they were preoccupied with technical difficulties.

If you have created something really technologically awesome, dont focus on the tech part. I know its called the new tech meetup, the majority of people dont really understand the technology, if they understand the gravitas, odds are they will approach you afterwards. They paid for the chance of seeing you live opposed to just reading about it online the next day. Dont make them regret coming to the event.

Your main focus should be giving people a taste of how awesome your product is and leaving them wanting more. Allen Stern's provides a nice anecdote to convey this message:

"Imagine going to the red light district in
Amsterdam. There are hot girls in the windows. Each of them knows they
have 20-30 seconds to get you aroused enough that you want to go inside
for some "fun". Think of your demo just like this. You have 5 minutes
to arouse the attendees enough so they will want to come find you after
the demos are over and learn more. Make sense?"

Here are some photos I took from last nights event:

IACDecember NY New Tech MeetupmeetupIgnighterthe funded


Anonymous said...

Great recap- looks like we agree on the preparation. It almost pains me to do all this work when they don't even do any themselves!

-- allen

IsraLuv said...

i wish more people understood how important it is to practice a power point presentation in front of an audience that is not part of the statup team. trying it out on the family is a great solution!
I coach startups on their investor presentations and I constantly BEG the presenters to keep practicing after our sessions and to please not read from their slide show.