While we were going through the tickets on JIRA last week, Syed told me that 272 early-stage companies have thrown their names into the hat for TechCrunch's Startup Battlefield... I would like us to make it into the top 15 in Australia, but only because I want Syed and the team to be happy. Syed is so excited about this!
Regardless of whether we are going to be pitching on stage, I think VIVA is an awesome product.
My childhood years as a boy scout have taught me to always plan for the worst (to be exact, it was "traffic patrol" - it's a weird thing that exists only in Hong Kong - we were trained to control traffic for safety. The training involved matching in goosestep and holding one end of a rope to cordon off half the street to form a makeshift footpath for school kids departing for home. We were the height of military childhood fashion with our navy shirts, white pants and a fluorescent yellow belt-sashes). So, I always have contingency plans for contingency plans.
The most important thing to me is to create the best possible product.
Creating the best possible product requires us to mix the perfect cocktail of content, channel and customer service:
Maybe then, we will have a shot at success (with or without TechCrunch).
This is why I spend my evenings writing and refining the external-facing documents that live on this website and the internal-facing documents that live on our Google Drive.
To show our event organisers a lot of love, Alan, Nicola and I spent the last week putting together our first quarterly newsletter. We want them to share in our joy and delight. The newsletter is due to be sent on Thursday this week, subject to completing one function on our web content management portal.
We plan to follow up the newsletter with a Christmas present that will show them how much we love them - I am designing the present, but it has only gotten as far as whiteboard sketches at the moment.
Syed and I are beginning to form a habit of meeting in the Westfield Shopping Mall in Parramatta. I wish we knew somewhere in Parramatta better than a shopping mall. Matty B showed me a nice cafe a few months ago which wasn't too far from the station, and I had meant to message him about that cafe, but it always felt easier to just roam around the shopping mall to find a place with a spare table.
We acted like excited children today because we submitted our entry into the TechCrunch Battlefield. We know we are up against hundreds of other applicants and there is no guarantee we will make it into the shortlist, but we were high fiving and fist bumping at the prospects of pitching on stage.
Dial it back, dial it back. You are in the top 5 percentile of the nerdiest people at this Starbucks.
If VIVA doesn't work out, I have decided to open a novelty restaurant where every menu item will be an alliteration or a rhyme, and customers will have to say the name three times very quickly to order that item.
"I would like to order a pepper paprika pineapple prawns pepper paprika pineapple prawns pepper paprika pineapple prawns."
"Excellent choice, sir. What would you like for your main?"
"Chilli chicken crusted kraken?"
"Would you like to order one, sir?"
"You will need to say it three times quickly sir."
"Chilli chicken crusted kraken chilli chicken crusted kraken chilli chicken crusted kraken."
"Excellent sir. And for dessert?"
The restaurant will be called Shelly Sells Seashells By The Seashore.
I will change my name to Shelly.
Alan has been gently prompting me for weeks now that I need to start working on our VC pitch deck. This has come a lot earlier than I expected.
When I resigned from the firm to take on VIVA full time, I had thought that we would run a full year before we would start talking to VCs - because that is what I would want if I were a VC - show me what you can do, don't tell me what you can do. I wanted to score some runs on the board, win adoring fans, and then ask for a little capital injection to scale up the business. Alan, being a business genius, managed to pique the interest of investors about two months ago. Ever since then, my to-do list has had the bullet point - "prepare VC pitch deck".
Today is the day... that I start.
Sure... I would rather be back at the King Street Crawl with Neal and Reece sipping schooners of beers... but I suspect Alan will kill me if I don't finish the first draft this week.
Meanwhile, we submitted our TechCrunch application this morning. I am still unsure if it was the wisest move, but it's TOO LATE! There is no backsies!
I want to share our 2 minute product demo. I am ashamed to admit took more than 2 hours to script and film this demo video - but I managed to capture something viable on take number 23 (filming this demo video reminds me of a fantastically funny Reddit thread from a few years ago about how someone took a photo of both their hands).