Mass Challenge Kick-off Party

Great time last night meeting the MassChallenge crowd at MJ Oâ??Connorâ??s at the convention center. I went with one of my advisors, Anu Yadav, and we just went around and around pitching Blastoffice. Actually, we called it â??Fill The Buildingâ? last evening. I have been playing with names lately. People liked it. It was great to be in a crowd where everyone just wants to strike up a conversation and hear about the cool idea you are working on. Really enthusiastic and ready to help crowd. I met a guy from Korea who was a little shy (on account of the language) and I know what thatâ??s like so I talked with him for a while and gave him some links to look up as he was interested in knowing how to incorporate in Mass. and where to find office space (I suggested looking at to find a small shared space, as that would be best for a lone guy with a biz idea).

The party was following the afternoonâ??s official launch of the 2012 MassChallenge â?? which I caught on webcast. That was a good ceremony. A few notables â?? Governor Patrick, Mayor Menino, and Jonathan Kraft (of the Patriots) all had great things to say. But the keynote was Dharmesh Shah (whom I follow on twitter of course) who had a laundry list of things to think about, aimed directly at potential applicants like me. It was great. Here are some of the things I jotted down while listening in:

  • You have got to just take the leap, jump, start. No one ever says, whether they win or lose, I wish I hadnâ??t tried. Gotta jump!
  • Some things canâ??t be done in little increments, you have to make bold moves
  • Marry the problem, focus on the problem you are solving, no what you think is the solution
  • Donâ??t go for venture money no telecheck payday loans: find customers!
  • Donâ??t be in stealth mode â?? share with everyone! The idea is chump change: the value is in execution
  • Donâ??t wait to get it out there till you are totally comfortable with what you are presenting: you should be a little embarrassed, and then get the feedback you need to make it better
  • Customers are awesome â?? you are not. Make your customers awesome. That is success for everyone.
  • Build online fans (thanks for reading!!!)
  • And there will be no easy wins, there will be moments of despair. Stay true to your goal, to your beliefs, and you will manage.

At the after party, I caught the ear of Akhil Nigam, one of the co-founders of MassChallenge, and I think I was in top form. He said he liked it, and Iâ??ll take that as encouragement. He did mention how there are a lot of people working on â??that peer-to-peer market making spaceâ? â?? and I rattled off the known competition. I know that it all comes down to making it happen. As one of my advisors said, make the competition earn their market share! Thus, my efforts here to build it out.

Brain Mullen of Therapeutic Systems, a winner last year, spent more time than I deserved vetting my idea. He had some great insights, and it all comes down to getting the prospective users to hear about it and enable me to tweak it.

Other folks who were helpful: Tivan Amour from inCrwd, Isabelle Pallanca from SmallShoes, Christo Darsch and Will from Vehrity (they actually got their MBAâ??s with my sister in law last year at Babson â?? small world!), Xia Zhiquiang fromNanyang Technopreneurship Center in Singapore, Jaime Reynolds from Mitxand Joe Nigro at Vsnap. I should have taken notes, but that is kinda weird during a bar conversation. The important stuff sank in, hopefully. Thanks everyone!

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