Merrimack Analysis Group
Class: 2013 Summer Accelerator
Online identity and security. Seminars for student groups, parent groups, job seekers, and senior citizens that help explain the ins and outs of digital footprint. Proprietary analytic software to review social media profiles. Consulting engagements by request.
Last night, we delivered our final pitch.
Afterwards, at the Beer Works, as we reflected on it, we said that it went as well as we could have hoped it would. The end product hit all the major discussion points that we thought we needed to emphasize, it conveyed the gravity/scope of the problem we're seeking to solve, it tied our personal stories in with our business, and it showed how *real* we are with a map depicting all of the locations in Massachusetts we've lined up so far for work.
But as smooth as things may have appeared on the surface last night, the road to that pitch was a bit rocky.
First, the "dry run" in front of the other entrepreneur teams last week was a C+/B- effort. It didn't help that I was running a 100+ fever that day, but the bigger issue was the content. The thoughtful, heartfelt feedback we got from other teams was that we didn't convey a real sense of what we actually did during that initial run-through. We spent way too much time pre-emptively addressing concerns (i.e. SWOT analysis, statement about 'known unknowns' at the end) and not enough time explaning how our seminars help people, or about how many people in Massachusetts are aware of what we're doing.
One particular bit of feedback really resonated with me: "I came in to this expecting you to win, and you basically just talked me out of it."
That comment impacted me significantly because it came from someone with whom I haven't had much personal interaction during the accelerator, but who revealed her positive overall feelings towards MAG with her words.
Todd and I took the feedback we got from other teams that day, the bullet points we got from David in an e-mail, and our own thoughts about what needed to change...and we set out to make it happen. Even though we were still tweaking slides late Monday night, we knew there would be time for dry-runs during the day, which were a great help.
Just as we did prior to the mid-pitch, we went out to the Notini lot and did a pre-game dry-run out in the open air.
And although we knew that the somewhat unscripted way we were going into the mid-pitch presented a potential liability (clock management), we were saved by the gigantic timer that a fellow accelerator CEO set up in the back of the room.
When I saw the "9:00" marker flash with three full slides left in the deck, I "floored it," so to speak. I kept my pace somewhat measured, but I moved through everything left at a rapid clip so that I could be sure to articulate each element of the ask. As it happened, I completed my very last bullet point on the ask with exactly one second to spare.
The best metaphor I can think of to describe the way all of that came together is a duck -- on the surface, things looked smooth, and we may have appeared to be gliding along, somewhat effortlessly. Out of immediate sight, however, there was some intense paddling going on to make all of that happen, however.
As a result, Todd and I feel as if we ended the formal part of our Accelerator experience on a high note.