By all accounts, the Seattle 2.0 Awards last night was a huge success:
- It was a packed, sold-out, crowd.
- The featured speaker, Glenn Kelman, gave one of the most inpsirational speeches about entrepreneurship I've ever heard (see below).
- The #seattleawards hash tag gathered over 120 tweets by 72 people.
The reception was still going strong, with lots of interesting people to talk to, when the Pacific Science Center had to kick us out around 10pm.
I think the event was invigorating for the broad Seattle startup community. Talking to Marcelo at the reception, I think he was very pleased with the event (as he should be). But his ambitions are still higher - he has plans to get even more potential entrepreneurs to test the "startup waters" and join the community than we already have.
While he said in his intro speech that Seattle will always be behind Silicon Valley, Marcelo is very motivated to help make Seattle the clear #2 Best City to start a technology company.
I Can Has Cheezburger? has really taken off over the last two years as
LOLcats and FAILs have tapped into a cultural phenomena.
Scott will share the some of the ways they've approached
technology to our advantage in running a content publishing website.
Mainly, these fit
into three categories: embracing a user-driven content model, accepting
the tradeoffs of working with strategic partners and adapting some
Agile like practices to suit the needs of our business.
Who: Scott Porad, Pet Holdings, Inc.
When: 6:00 pm, Tuesday June 2nd, 2009
Where: StartPad offices -- 811 First Avenue, Suite 480, Seattle, WA 98104
Cost: Free! (Pizza and drinks will be served)
About the presenter: Scott Porad is the Cheezburger Technology Officer of Pet Holdings, Inc., the company behind the popular websites I Can Has Cheezburger? and Failblog.org. The Cheezburger Network is a collection of web sites where millions of people share moments of joy through the humor and wonder of LOL.
Before focusing on user-generated content, Scott focused on e-commerce and online retail as part of the initial launch team at drugstore.com, and online publishing and content management at ESPN.com. And, prior to that, he worked for Seth Godin’s Yoyodyne Entertainment and Small World Software.
Scott's personal blog is http://scottporad.com and he tweets @scottporad.
This Startpad Countdown event is sponsored by:
StartPad is looking for sponsors for our annual lecture series, StartPad Countdown.
StartPad Countdown brings business, legal, and technical experts to the community of Seattle software-based startups. This educational series is attended by a broad range of local entrepreneurs, software developers, and students to get practical advice about starting and running their startup ventures. Last year we reached 1,500 viewers with our free in-person and online video series.
We hold 10 lectures per year (monthly on the first Tuesday of every month - free for attendees), as well as produce an online version of each lecture which can be viewed on streaming video.
We are looking for both individual event and year-long sponsors:
- Single event - $200. Recognition on our web site and all event communications. You are invited to distiribute promotional material at the event itself. You will be recognized in perpetuity in the online video presentation as well.
- Annual Sponsorship - $1,500. In addition to being recognized at each event in our series for a whole year (10 events), you will be given above-the-fold placement of your company name and logo as recognized sponsors on the StartPad.org home page.
If your company would be interested in helping us support the Seattle startup community, please contact:
After attending last nights Seattle Tech Statups meeting, I was left with the impression that:
- Seattle's startup community is alive and well - producing innovative new companies, even during a recession.
- The quality of the entrepreneurs, their sophistication in approach, and their passion for their chosen areas are all very high. We had a very impressive group of presenters last night.
- We've got a great diversity of ideas and ventures within the startup world - it's not just a big mob chasing the same market/business.
CueSense - News Feed Filtering and Trends Discovery
Sergei Sokolenko has built a solution to the information overload problem in a world where we are bombarded by numerous twitter streams, facebook status updates, and news feeds. Beyond building an interesting product, his presentation focused on how he was building his company. He had a great set starting points for how to start to build a companies initial audience of early adopters by taking advantage of company/service directories, and finding other online communities that are amenable to trying a new product like his.
VALU VALU - It's all about the PRICE
Emmanuel Marot and his co-founder are self funded (having sold a prior company to Microsoft). He's building a company around the idea that sellers do not have the tools to establish the optimal price for goods and services they are selling. He claims there is billions in lost revenue opportunity across numerous markets, simply because sellers do not know how to optimally price their goods. His pricing engine, can bring the tools to revenue management and dynamic pricing to small businesses and even individuals.
Not immediately concerned about revenue (they have a ready source - in the form of commissions on each sale, once they are established), Marot outlined his strategy to demonstrate his technology in the Used Video Game market - it's one with a high volume, lots of buyers and sellers, and a very standardized product. Once established there, they will tackle Used Consumer Electronics, and move on to more precious transactions.
I particularly liked the savvy he displayed in using tools like Google Base. By organizing his product listings and pushing them to Google, he's taking advantage of a ready source of buyers who use the Google search engine to begin their product purchase decision (and most of them don't have a strong allegience to a particular seller, giving him a good chance to complete transactions).
Econome - Online Role Playing Game for the Business Geek
Nimrod Hoofien's company emerged from a UW Business school operations simulation study group. He noticed, that, beyond the education value, he and his peers were become obsessed with the game dynamics of running a simulated plant. While in the very early stages, he's been desiging what could be called the first Casual MMORPG - a game that would appeal to 25 to 55 year olds by engaging them in a goal-based game that they can play in just a few minutes per day.
The important observation I had was that creating the illusion of
solving and managing a live problem and competing with other people,
some of whom you actually know, is a very powerful motivator. econome
is the natural extension of this observation.
We, at Six Slice Studios, are building an entire economy where players create and run companies, buy and sell products to each other and to the game, and experience many aspects of business. This is not a simple task, mind you, but I believe that our players will enjoy it and keep coming back for more. Distilling the fun and challenging parts of business and leaving the tedious work behind is the core of our challenge.
Kushal Chakrabarti demonstrated the diversity of the startup community. Here we have a passionate founder, who is building a 501(c)3 - non profit - in order to realize the dream of giving working poor around the world the chance to better the lives of themselves and their children by giving them educational loans. Their unique twist is that the partner with microfinance banks by giving them 0% loans, in exchange for their work in identifying and qualifying the student recipients. For lenders, they provide a highly transparent platform for "giving", where each donor can select to whom their loan is made, track what impact it had, and get repaid (in about 18-24 months).
In Vittana's model, someone may lend $25 to a student (which gets bundled with money from other lenders), allowing the student to enroll in a vocational school for welding, say. Once he/she graduates, the now skilled welder is able to repay the $25 they borrowed for their education from their earnings, allowing the lender to loan that money to further students.
Kushal impressed on us, that even though they are a non-profit, all the same energy and passion for building a sustainable business is involved in their venture just as it would be in a for-profit startup.
Marcelo Calbucci just announced a new (annual) award competition for Seattle area technology startups - the Seattle 2.0 awards. They are accepting nominations until March 25th, with the final awards ceremony to be held on May 7th at the Pacific Science Center. Categories include best Startup, best CEO, etc.
What most impressed me is the all-star lineup of panelists that are helping judge the awards. It's a veritable who's who in the Seattle startup community (many of whom would be the top picks for honors themselves - I couldn't help but nominate one of them, even though they are on the panel).
Seattle's startup community is pretty tight knit - but we've lacked this kind of larger more-visible event to focus the whole community. I'm looking forward to seeing the nominations and especially a fun evening hanging out with everyone at the award ceremony. Thanks for pulling this together, Marcelo!