Thoughts on Presenting at Startup Riot

Last Wednesday, I pitched Layer, a new startup I’m working on, at Atlanta’s Startup Riot. Held at The Tabernacle, this was the fourth iteration of the event, and it’s without a doubt the best gathering in the area. I’ve been to the past three – Startup Riot 2009 was one of the first forays I made into the local tech scene.

For those that don’t know, Startup Riot is an annual conference where 50 startups each get a 3 minute pitch in front of other entrepreneurs and investors. The pitch is done in only four slides, but booths with more schwag are available in an adjacent room. The format’s great, because if you get bored with one presentation, you can check Twitter and it’ll be over before you know it.

Flickr: sanjayparekh

In the weeks leading up to the big day, I’d been practicing and writing out the pitch a good bit, as well as attending feedback sessions at ATDC and 151 Locust. I’m really appreciative of the helpfulness of everyone and their willingness to give an honest, cut-and-dry opinion – something that’s extremely hard to come by. I had a lot of improvement to do, but my performance would have been awful if not for the recommendations of Ed Rieker, Paul Freet, Jeff McConnell, and Linnea Geiss. I spend a lot of time driving, so my car was one of the best places for me to compulsively work on the talk, despite the fact that my wild hand motions at traffic lights probably made people think that I was insane or something.

I was less nervous than expected in the hours before the pitch. I had a pretty good idea of what was going down, and figured it’d be better to just get up there, be myself, and have a good time. When backstage, I also got to cross an item off of my bucket list: meeting David Hauser, one of the guys behind Grasshopper’s New Dork video.

The three minutes flew by. For the most part, I didn’t even look at the timer onstage; I knew I had plenty of time to work with. The most important thing I tried to remember was to slow down, enunciate, and make things easy to understand.

Flickr: sanjayparekh

2009 seems like yesterday. I remember the awestruck, elevated view I had of the community, and despite a few nerves here and there, I jumped right in. I’m equally humbled and proud to participate in what I’ve been observing for the past two years. If you’re an entrepreneur in Atlanta, pitch at Startup Riot.

New Dorks for life.

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  • dabent

    Great recap and my thoughts as well. The help from Startup Gauntlet was incredible.