“New uses for old things.” That was the theme of 1 Million Cups on Wednesday, August 10th. It’s here that we need to define “old.” How “old” is old? Engineering technology has been around for quite some time, but teaching Python (the coding language) has only been around since the 80’s… so says Wikipedia. And the widespread popularity of Facebook, only since 2004/2005. (Again, thank you, Wikipedia.) But that’s old enough these days for it to be made new. Thank you, Entrepreneurs!
On Wednesday, August 10th, Allen Selis and Curtis White both pitched their problem solving solutions. Allen with Tech Edventures and Curtis with Kavaleo, better known by the product PostaBlur. Each company looking to breath new life into their respective markets, schools and social media, respectively.
Allen with Tech EdVentures took the stage first and made Tech Wildcatters proud. He delivered a near flawless presentation showcasing the need for and advantages of his after-school and summer programs. Tech EdVentures teaches young children how to code webpages, write Android applications, and build robots (a curriculum that most schools ignore or do not have the capacity to teach). The community rewarded Allen for his pitch with great feedback on his slide deck (both additions and subtractions), as well as quality questions as to his go-to-market and funding strategies.
Curtis was up next and stole the show with a live demo of his app PostaBlur, a rare full user interaction experience at 1 Million Cups. PostaBlur is an option-based filter for monetizing content that you’re already posting to your social media feed. You can think of it like Groupon for content: get enough likes on a post and the blurred out image will become clear. Then add a charity element on top of that. Now friends have to donate (or share the post) to un-blur the image. If you’re a celebrity, get excited about that. Could you imagine [insert your favorite pop-star here] releasing a snippet of their latest and greatest song with the option to donate to their charity of choice to unlock the rest of the song for their deserving fans? Or [insert your favorite celebrity-to-hate here] releasing a blurred out image of their newborn with an option to donate to their charity to release the image… Annoying to some. Brilliant to others. You decide. The real problem that Curtis is solving for with this social media innovation is individual accountability on donations. (Looking at you yeah-I’ll-donate-$100-to-the-ALS-ice-bucket-challenge… Sure.)
So, what did these entrepreneurs learn from the community and vice versa?
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew when it comes to your product. If you’re targeting social media, test the market using one of the many platforms. Then expand with your users feedback.
- If you haven’t launched your product yet, or if you’re live with your product and are looking to expand, include a clear go-to-market strategy to request assistance from the community.
- Test your tech (thank you, Curtis!) and practice makes perfect. You’re only as good as your on stage pitch and presentation… so put on a good show and pitch what you came to pitch.
Have questions about 1 Million Cups? Interested in getting some practice? Reach out to the 1 Million Cups Community Organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org.