Getting to "yes" in a world of "no"…


Congratulations to Jay Nguyen and Chris Maddern for another well-run Flagon’s Den evening last night, with copious free pizza and beer (though… Budweiser? Try a local microbrewery next time, guys!) to feed and water the decent-sized turnout. They held the event at Innovation Warehouse right in the middle of Smithfield Market, though sadly a little too early in the evening to get some decent sirloin. 🙂

Why run such an event? Well, spending too long hunched over your workbench can send you a little crazy, so it’s always good to get out and about. Which is why I took the excuse opportunity to wheel out my slightly knackered (but still hi-tech & shiny) prototype camera to Flagon’s Den, basically to get back in the swing of just plain talking about it to people.

Feel free to read all the top 10 pitching tips lists you can find, but the only real way to become good at pitching and demoing is by, errrmpitching and demoing, and then working out how to do it better. When I first started discussing my company’s security camera (don’t ask me how many years ago, I’d get all maudlin), it generally took me about an hour to get across how it was different, and why it had the potential to change an industry. But now, thanks to this hugely scientific method of trying it out on loads of people, I can get to the end line in about 30 seconds:-

(“Nanodome makes a new type of Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera, one designed from the ground up for reliability, the #1 buy feature for security cameras. To do this, it uses image-processing software to replace unreliable hardware components. Its cameras get manufactured in Taiwan, and then sold to mid-size security distributors.“)

Hence I’d thoroughly recommend demo evenings (the Flagon’s Den one is very good, but I’d expect TechHubTuesday to be pretty good too) to startups as a way not just of getting the basic message out that you’re alive and pivoting kicking, but as a way of actively working out how to tell your story better, faster, and stronger.

As for the attendees last night, they were a right old diverse mash-up of the London tech startup ‘scene’.  Not only were quite a few OpenCoffee Mailing List people (Iqbal Gandham, Phillip Hofmeyr, Johnathan Agnès, etc) there, but also bloggers, networking obsessives, and even a sprinkling of top-end VCs. Though given that Balderton doesn’t seem to have made any UK investments since my-wardrobe.com, Stan Boland’s Icera, and The Hut Group back in 2010, perhaps it wasn’t too surprising to see Rob Moffat slumming it with the Flagons. A good VC can find a needle in any haystack, right? 🙂

For me, though, the only real downside of the evening wasn’t that I didn’t win a prize (probably because I don’t have the kind of needy puppy-dog eyes people feel compelled to Tweet votes for, but I’m OK with that), but that as the only hardware startup in the social/digital/enclouded village, I did feel somewhat like Little Britain’s Daffyd Thomas. And as far as funding goes, my startup’s not gettin’ a lot of action either, thanks for askin’. 😉

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