Wednesday, November 12, 2014

yet another innovation opp, right here on campus

Heck if you're gonna live in Silicon Valley and deal with the astronomical rents & soul-withering traffic, you really ought to share in the benefits from the startup industry that's fueling all that craziness. You're in Silicon Valley, for Pete's sake! When I taught in New Zealand a few years back, my MBA students thought I was an astonishing super-hero when they heard I was from here. Seriously–just cuz I was from here.

There are tons of ways to work your way into the innovation industry here or to just learn about it which is fascinating, fun and will impress any/every hiring manager you ever interview with. They love to hear you have a passion for the technology and the intellectual curiosity to pursue opportunities like...
  • the IBM Smart Camp tomorrow night (posted last week here), 
  • the Salesforce Workshop this Friday (posted here–few tickets left, register now), and...

This is an SJSU event that gives students a chance to develop their startup ideas and show them off. It's a competition and there's pretty big money ($10k) for the winner but the really big money comes from the VC's if you develop a good enough "Elevator Pitch" and really get funded.

Hey, it does happen. And I just heard yesterday that the VC funding level here is now surpassing the crazy high record level it hit back in the dot-com boom days. I think they said $19B and counting. (Yeah, that's with a "B".)

Anyway, it's too late to enter for this year but next Wednesday, the 19th, between 9 & 5 pm you can circulate around the Student Union Ballroom to check out the finalists' poster tables and hear their pitches. (This is where you get like 60 seconds to explain your idea and convince someone it's worth throwing money at. You have to hone it to make every syllable count.) There's even Elevator Pitch Competition at 3pm. Worth a look, for sure.

I heard an amazing elevator pitch story a few weeks ago on KQED's Forum with Michael Krasny.


At 24:00 into "The New Age of Podcasts", Alex Bloomberg, the producer of "This Amercian Life" (my all-time favorite show) tells how he pitching his new podcasting startup idea to a VC here in SV. It was his first try and he didn't know what he was doing. After awhile the VC stopped him and gave Alex the pitch he said he should have given. It's quite amazing. Being a radio guy, Alex recorded it and it really is worth a listen, especially if you think you might ever try this yourself, but also if not.

Anyway, there's a list of all the ideas being pitched here. Some sounds really crazy. Some sound very cool & I want to invest in them myself if I wasn't an impoverished professor. Oh well. Maybe you should give it a try?

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