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“Got kitesurfing on the mind, mixed with some search & classification tech, and a dab of political ranting”

SF NewTech Meetup – 4/07

Posted by direwolff on April 7, 2007

Last Wednesday I presented the Readware technology at SF New Tech Meetup. It was a bit surreal as it was nothing like I expected. First off, Myles Weissleder, whom I recently met and was gracious enough to invite me to present had mentioned that it would be an intimate affair (of course a week earlier he sent me a BBC article that covered the event and was surely going to bring more attention to it…it did). Second, I’ve only had to be rescued by a boat during a kitesurfing session at Crissy Field 3 times in the 6 years I’ve been riding there, this Wednesday was the third (good ol’ Murphy’s Law standing by hen you need it). Third, 5 minutes for a presentation requires a dedicated focus on a short message or purely on a demo, trying show any sort of Powerpoint is a mistake and that short of a time…I made a mistake :)With that said, I was off to the races. After me and 3 other kitesurfing buddies got fished out of the SF Bay by the Coast Guard and dropped on shore at 6:15pm, I managed to get dressed and over to the event with 15 minutes to spare. A bit frazzled mind you, but no matter I was there. As I walked in the room, it began to have distinctive less than intimate feel to it as there were a lot more people there than I thought would be attending. Not that I have a problem presenting to larger groups, it’s just nice to be mentally prepared for it. I basically zoned out of the scene while preparing so as to get overwhelmed. Of course this zoning was not to last as I was approached by the Valley A-Lister, Adriana Gascoigne of the bub.blicio.us video blog, who was interviewing all of the presenters and I was next up. “Interview?!!…what interview?! Yikes!”. Well, if things weren’t getting too weird for me yet, it was more as a result of not being intoxicated or medicated, ’cause everything else was definitely lining up to feel like altered states. Fortunately, Lil’ Pinot showed up like a warm blanket thrown over my shoulders to ease my nervousness. It felt good to have her there supporting me, ’cause boy did I need it that night.

Exposing Readware is something I truly enjoy and feel passionate about, but at the same time, as we ease our way into finding the right business model and direction, I like to do this in intimate gatherings where I can somewhat steer the conversation. This was definitely more of a “let the chips land where they may” type of situation. The unfortunate part is that in trying to spend more time defining what Readware is, I only had the opportunity to expose people to the classification side of the technology and not to the discovery side, which often creates a bigger “aha!” moment. Oh well, considering it was my first outing in such a public forum, the interaction with the audience was engaging, the questions were smart, and those who approached me at the end seemed to have a genuine understanding for the technology’s applicability, which was comforting.

All-in-all, it was an enjoyable experience from which I learned as much as I hope the audience did. The other three companies presenting were tellfriends.com, Merchant Cirle, and MyThings.com. The SF New Tech Meetup provides a really cool format for people with ideas to present them, and I’d highly recommend it to any one even if your idea is half baked as there’s also a 60 second format at the end where any one can make any requests, talk about their start-up, recruit, asked to be recruited, or make an announcement. People used this time very creatively which was fun to see.

Rafe Needleman blogged about the event on Webware.

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