Pitch Practice

PitchPracticeOnStagePeople fear public speaking more than death. When you say it out loud or type it it sounds ludicrous, but you are standing in front of others, presenting your thoughts and ideas, and facing judgement for what you are doing and saying.

Pitch Practice is something each of the teams is doing to prepare for Tuesday, our big pitch event where we will present SidePrize to a network that the LA Dodgers and R/GA have curated for the sports technology companies. Every day we are working on getting better – working with our slide decks, working on memorization, working on interacting with the crowd (through cues and gestures, not questions).

A great way to practice public speaking has been to join a program like toastmasters (I’ve still not done this) as giving a toast requires some quick thinking and empathizing with the audience. Another way is pitch Karaoke – give a pitch for somebody else’s idea without knowing all of the details – you can invent some, but ultimately, fill the details with something that’s not wrong, but entertaining.

According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that seem right? That means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy .Jerry Seinfeld

With the accelerator, I’ve been extending normal team updates with a toast (When I first got the ESPN integration working correctly), talking with company representatives and mentors to really explain what we do, and a few days stood on stage to give the weekly update. It is good practice. I’m reminded of presentations I gave to auditoriums in college with slide decks and content that a team and I created only a few minutes ahead of time.

Are you afraid of public speaking? Can you form presentations on the spot? How do you practice to get better at this skill?

Sometimes smaller is better

Last week I laundered my wallet. I mean, I left it in my jeans pocket when I did my laundry so this led me down an experiment that some of my friends have suggested, using a money clip instead of my wallet. This has a few advantages, you’re not sitting on a big wallet to mess up your posture, it’s smaller, it’s quicker to get to.

Learning to surf on a board is a similar experience. You don’t have to try to get out to and on the 5 for waves, you can practice standing up and steering on the surf without getting knocked on the crush. (Though longer is better for the board choice, this is a long board)


Smaller projects can also be good. Get measurable results quickly. Talk to your users while your user bases is small because you will lose some of that intimacy when you get bigger. Make changes that make a difference. Don’t worry about a global brand image, get word of mouth about your new product.

Cell phones are a great case too (ironically, I’m in the middle of a switch to a Google Nexus 6). But you can do more with less when you can carry it more easily.
What are some other great cases where smaller is better?

Sometimes you have to swim in dirty water

In waterskiing or surfing you sometimes have to face water that isn’t the smoothest, doesn’t have perfect waves, that smells weird, is too cold, or had a recent sewage issue (welcome to Santa Monica Bay). It’s important to be safe, bit its also important to make the best of situations.

Maybe that means you goof around instead of getting a hardcore slalom session in, maybe it means sitting in the ocean waiting for waves, and maybe it means waiting a week for the beach to clean up – or helping clean it up yourself.

If you always wait for perfect scenarios then you’ll really miss out on life, meeting people, and breaking your personal records.

This originates from watersports, but a segue into life and startups is pretty apparent. When was the last time you swam in not the best water? Did you enjoy it anyway?

Pool Parties and Celebrities

A cool part about being in LA is that I get to be a tourist or partier and see some great LA sights and potentially celebrities.

An event that I went to last weekend was an artist’s ( Spencer Mar) presentation at the Mondrian Hotel Pool Party. This was a fun time to splash around in a pool, tell people about why I’m in LA and act casual around some celebrities.

People were really receptive and loved talking about fantasy (and loved talking to me). … And I look good in a bathing suit, so I had a little fan club of people wanting pictures with me (that or they thought I knew the NBA player that was joking back and forth with me.)

I also got to find a company party from San Francisco that had a similar concept as Doorstat (another company in the accelerator) except not thinking about it from a sports technology perspective, maybe they’ll give me a call and I can connect them.

Intel and Intelligent Appliances

On Wednesday Shasha Jain from Intel came to visit the accelerator and share a library of hardware devices that might be able to be used with some of the teams – particularly those tracking athletes – and possibly those tracking consumer behavior at games.

One of my favorite project based classes at the Georgia Institute of Technology was Developing Intelligent Appliances – and these type of sensors would be extremely useful.

Generic Intel Inside with exposed silicon
Generic Intel Inside with exposed silicon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Real Sense Camera
    This camera does 3d imaging and even has some ability to detect density and heat.
  • Basis Watches
    I really want to check these out because I used the Sleep as a Droid Sleep Tracker and a soft alarm timed with my sleep cycle is a better wakeup
  • Intel Edison Board
    for quick sensor access on an arduino + dual atom chips for hardcore processing
  • Intel Quark
    Motion sensing xyz accelerometer with pattern recognition

One project the quark or an arduino (with some pattern recognition) that I would like to prototype is a Waterski Jump Sensor. Currently, jump measuring requires 3 camera angles or 3 sights set up to triangulate a position – by using a sensor on a ski, we could drastically better jump practice and tournaments. (and GPS just isn’t accurate enough for this.)

What intelligent appliances do you dream of? Who would they help?