I was a Judge at the MIT 100K Accelerate Competition

100KVery cool – I was invited to be a judge for a Web/IT track at one of the rounds for the MIT 100K Accelerate Competition.  The judging happened a couple of days ago and, while I can’t discuss the details, being on the “other” side of the fence was definitely a fascinating experience.

 

Observations:

  • Some teams could benefit from a more focused presentation.
  • Entrepreneurs need to get out of their comfort zone and focus on actual, rather than perceived, pains. 
  • I still prefer something ambitions and risky to small incremental.
  • Don’t start with “I want to change X because Craigslist sucks”.
  • It was interesting to observe the judging process and to acknowledge when one of the other judges kept pointing out the general lack of awareness on the business side.  Not that it’s a bad thing per se, but if you didn’t do your homework, don’t try to bullshit – pisses judges off.

On presentation: what I didn’t realize is how much work it is to judge when there is a large number of submissions.  One thing is for certain – in such situations, allergy to bullshit comes about faster than defensive maneuvering upon unwanted canine best-friend affection. (it took me way too long to come up with an analogy…  need to work on this.)

Anyway, the people at the event were great, some submissions were really thoughtful and interesting, although I do wish I saw more things that aimed to have real fundamental impact while demonstrating a deep understanding of the underlying pain point being addressed.

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