Last night SingleHop sponsored the Chicagoland Fast Pitch Competition, a local competition where entrepreneurs vied head to head for $5,000 and validation of their aspirations! We were on hand to lend our support and to watch the best and the brightest pitch their ideas for a panel of judges made up of professors, investors and and influential movers and shakers from some very big Chicagoland organizations. From a pool of 55 pitchers the field was narrowed to five finalists who would describe their business model in front of an audience of 200 and the winner decided by a vote from the very same audience.
The keynote speaker was Howard Tullman, noted Chicago entrepreneur and founder of Experiencia. Howard spoke for 45 minutes and covered a fascinating variety of topics revolving around being successful in business. There are mistakes to be made and it's how you roll with the punches that will determine how graceful you recover. Never ruining good apologies with excuses and always coming clean with your customers is a very important lesson to be learned and at SingleHop we certainly subscribe to that philosophy. Outages happen and while you can do everything in your power to limit them and to keep downtime at a minimum, it doesn't take away from the fact that there will be freak accidents and problems that arise unexpectedly. Covering it up and pretending nothing happened will only make us look foolish at best, ignorant and deceptive at worst. We believe in keeping the lines of communication open with our customers so hearing someone as wise as Howard talking about it validated what we felt was a very honest and worthwhile approach to customer service.
After Howard gave his keynote I had the opportunity to give a brief message thanking everyone for making it out and a rundown of what SingleHop was about. Talk about pressure! It's not everyday I get to speak to a crowd of hundreds directly after one of the most influential and respected members of the Chicago business industry. I liken it to going directly after Jimi Hendrix on The Gong Show: no matter what you do it's not going to measure up so you might as well have fun. Once my shennanigans was done the final pitchers went on to do their best and then the voting and reception began.
We got the chance to talk to a lot of people from different sectors. The interest in midPhase and SingleHop was noticable and appreciated, I definitely think we found our niche audience in entrepreneurs and other business heads. We gave some people good ideas about their businesses while others gave us food for thought with where we want to head as well. The winner of the Fast Pitch Competitation was ParkWhiz, a site that helps you find parking around Chicagoland. They're also parnering up with local entertainment and nightlife websites to provide parking information to supplement searches. All in all very cool technology and definitely a good sign of things to come. Congratulations to ParkWhiz! The top three winners were also awarded SingleHop green iPod shuffles by us so that they could play as hard as they work.
It was a great event and experience. We're looking forward to similar events in the future as well as the bright future the Chicagoland Technology scene has before it!