Gearing up for @erickmsanchez successful @kickstarter for @kennyloggins #logginslivingroom
The annual Georgetown University StartupHoyas Summer Launch Program Showcase kicked off last night at 1776 DC, where Gray Street Solutions (GSS) Principal, Tyler Gray, and Managing Director, Rick Burchfield, pitched their second venture, PitchPoints, to a sold out crowd!
Gerogetown’s StartupHoyas Summer Launch Program (SLP) is very near and dear to us here at GSS. After all, it was the vehicle we used to successfully launch and scale our creative digital agency! Under the tutelage of Jeff Reid and Alyssa Lovegrove, and with the availability of the fine facilities at the McDonough School of Business, this 8-week program provides students from any GU program with the infrastructure and mentorship to learn and apply Lean Startup best-practices to develop their own new enterprise. Working with excellent mentors such as Marc Steren, Jules Weiss and John Jabara, we continually refined and validated the PitchPoints business model.
See the deck here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/235567101/PitchPoints-Showcase-Deck
As PitchPoints took the stage, our goal was to engage the audience and inform them that the progress we’ve made over the course of the summer has supported our Validated Learning endeavor, conducting multiple customer interviews to make headway on our proof of concept and breathing life into our idea. Currently in the development phase, PitchPoints is looking for mentors, advisors and investors who would like to help the company deliver its MVP! Want to be a beta tester and have your feedback help shape our product? Sign up here.
We’d also like to lend a shoutout to our friends Scott Thompson and Matthew Gonter of VetPrestige. GSS is working with the VetPrestige team to build a custom-designed NationBuilder website, launching the company’s career-focused, social networking site for Top 50 university-educated military veterans.
All of the StartupHoyas participants in the 2014 Summer Launch Program definitely did a great job representing Georgetown and the entrepreneurship initiative! Check out some of the tweets from the night:
Jeff Reid kicking off the pitches!
Definitely an awesome night for all the entrepreneurs
PitchPoints gets praise from those seeing them pitch again.
From left: Scott Thompson (VetPrestige), Tyler Gray (PitchPoints), Matthew Gonter (VetPrestige), Christine Lai (Consequi)
@Hoyaprenuer closing out a fantastic night!
PitchPoints is hoping to roll out its beta version MVP for Fall 2014 and wants to hear from anyone genuinely interested in soccer and the fantasy sports industry! If you’re a passionate soccer fan looking for a way to express your knowledge of “the beautiful game” with friends and like-minded fans across the country, check us out, give us a look and let us know what you think! You can find us at www.pitchpoints.co and @PitchPoints on Twitter.
The User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) DC chapter hosted John Douglas, Head of Social UX Research @ Google, last night at nclud for an interesting discussion how to better “Make Your Ideas Stick,” while battling the “curse of knowledge” that plagues UX pros far and wide.
We all have ideas. Most ideas are crap. Some are worth pursuing. And then, there’s that idea, that one revelation that has the potential to change the world. For all you future Zuckerbergs, how can we take these brilliant ideas and turn them into incredible products, defeat the curse of knowledge and have our peers, clients, team members, investors and venture capitalists buy in?
Remember that old John Maxwell book Talent Is Never Enough that was on your reading list (or at least it should have been) back in high school? The premise is that we all have certain, natural born, God-given (if you will) talents that are only useful though verification and application. Well, ideas, in this case, are never enough. Douglas posits that ideas need certain characteristics and motives in order to come to fruition and realize their full potential. It starts with relational communication. Take your geek hat off and put you social cap on!
Lesson 1: Make your ideas concrete.
You’re the expert! Your users (unfortunately) are not – at least not yet. So how do we get our ideas to resonate with our audience? When you sell UX, what do you talk about? What do clients hear? Have you ever asked? We need to strike the balance between jargon speak and that magical universal language so everyone clearly understands why our idea is so great!
Douglas spoke about talking to your audience in “human scale.” WTF is human scale? In general terms, it’s the difference between saying “Bill Gates has a ton of money!” vs. “If you stacked Bill Gate’s money in $1 bills, it would go to the moon and back 7.36 times!!!” Which do you think is more impactful?
Douglas gave his favorite example of human scale by showcasing the first iPod marketing ploy. “Say hello to iPod. 1,000 songs in your pocket.” Literally, the iPod was a portable, chargeable hard drive with an adaptive screen and a program to play songs. Figuratively, it kind of is 1,000 songs that you can fit in your pocket.
Lesson 2: Know your audience.
Knowing our audience allows us to make calculated decisions based on our specific users. With user research, we can begin to predict our first audience - people that directly interact with users, such as clients, bosses, etc. Once we know who we’re pitching to, we can begin to define the problem in a way to make our stakeholders give a shit. We can do this by finding out what keeps them up at night or what reduces the workload. Then, and only then, may we present them with a solution!
Implementing our ideas takes vision. And it’s that vision that carries the idea through to implementation phase. We may get frustrated with our products, explaining the problem and how our products make user’s life easier. However, it’s important to remember what our product market fit is and speak to those individuals within the given market. Once we understand their pains, we can then prescribe the medicine!
3) Facts tell. Stories sell.
Facts are great! Facts support the basis of qualitative and quantitative data that supports our propositions and ideas. But at a deeper, more relational level, what hits home with most people is playing to their senses and emotions. We do this by telling engaging stories. Stories need to have activities, motivations and characters. Stories evoke imagination and help mold ideas into reality. Once users are able to envision themselves interacting with your idea, they’re much more easily sold.
Ever been to a car dealership and had the salesman ask you “Can you see yourself in this car” or something to that effect? They’re actively trying to get you to imagine yourself in the car, to involve your emotions and senses. If you can’t imagine yourself using the product, or seeing how others might use it, then how do we expect our audience to see it?
Hence, our favorite lesson of the night: Facts tell. Stories sell.
Yesterday, the seventh annual Google I/O conference kicked off with viewing parties at far off locations around the world, such as Rosslyn! Organized by our friends at TandemNSI at the Artisphere in Rosslyn, the day started off statistics of vital national importance- specifically the 93 million #selfies taken on Android devices a day. Hopefully more selfies will be taken all over the world on the new Android One—a more affordable “smartphone” with the purpose of disrupting underserved and emerging markets, thereby “changing the world” or something like that!?
Other Clickhole worthy “innovations” announced included the concept of “material design,” which will add a “z” component, transforming (merely scary?) shadows into shadows that are “real-time!” There’s also a new “personal unlocking” feature, which uses voice prints, location data to easily unlock your phone, or simply drain the battery with useless tech wizardry, thereby rendering it useless for thieves - Brilliant!
An area of particular interest to us—Android Wear (OS for wearables)—was unfortunately given less attention during the opening keynotes than we would have liked. Will the new “smart-watches” from Samsung, LG and Motorola be anything more than glorified iPod nanos? So far, ehh, not so much. Although, standardization of SDK / APIs for wearable technology from Google in the form of “Google Fit” is a development we believe has got legs!
Android Auto was unveiled! Having extensively tested the multimedia / GPS systems of every ZipCar imaginable, it is remarkable that automakers have finally realized that they their proprietary navigation and multimedia systems all suck. Now, simply plugging your phone into the car for music, navigation and voice controlled messaging should be available later this year, with a list of 40 partners partners on board.
Since nothing says #MERICA like an more efficient way to stay glued to the couch, we’ll now be able to control the swill available via Android TV with a phone, watch or tablet! Personally, we’d rather have better, cheaper broadband without risk of death via balloon, but okay?!
Also, for those of you with a Chromecast, you will soon no longer need wifi to connect. Prepare for hilarity as scoundrels takeover TVs across the land via HDMI port to stream whatever they please!
Google is doing big things to disrupt multiple markets. The Hooli of Silicon Valley is making moves. As proud Google Partners, GSS will be looking to use these new tools to help with the development of the new Amplifi app. Amplifi is an application that creates “smart playlists” based on your body’s feedback during a workout and sends it straight to your earbuds. You doin’ cardio, bro? Amplifi detects your heart rate and will automatically play tunes best fit for cardio. On a cool down? It will grab some of your favorite chill-lax mixes for you to taper down your workout. It’s like a personal DJ for your fitness routine! Amplifi’s founder, Grant Hill, joined us at the end of the day for a great happy hour, still at Artisphere, connecting with a few old friends and making some new, all conversations about Android and Android Wear, of course!
It’s Been A Good Year - Let’s Celebrate!
Thanks to a great team and some fantastic clients, the agency I founded last year via Georgetown’s StartupHoyas summer launch program is now one year old! So, if this is the first time you’ve heard from me in awhile, come join the GSS team along with my favorite #dctech group, DigitalDistrict, for a drink.. or two… or three. But first.. Sales Pitch!
- Innocent Ford and Toyota trucks were harmed in the making of this video, forMBDA Missile Systems, freedom and #MERICA.
- After achieving dominance from the air, we turned our sights to the seas, and completed together a fully responsive Wordpress site for the American Maritime Partnership.
- If you love America, and your health, check out the Healthy Young America Android app we developed for Young Invincibles.
- “Rain makes corn, and corn makes whiskey…” and whiskey helped us deliver this blast SMS App for the kind folks at the Illinois Corn Growers Association#justkidding #butseriously
- Working with DeConstruction bringing the Internet of Things to real-time construction monitoring. “Rock & Roll ain’t no noise pollution…” but jackhammers at 6AM are!
- And we found “America’s Next Top Gentleman on Campus” for our friends at theNetwork of enlightened Women
WHERE: A-Bar DC (Directions)
TIME: 6:00 to 9:00 PM (EDT)
WHY: First Drink is FREE!!!
By Leah Bannon and Gray Brooks
We recently launched our /Developer Program (pronounced “slash developer”) to help federal agencies develop useful, robust APIs. The Program is a collection of educational resources, opportunities to engage the community for help and feedback, and tools that can…
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