Reflections on Start-Up life: Week 21.5 — San Francisco Edition

Since arriving in San Francisco there is more happening than I can cram into a weekly post, hence this special edition. It’s been a really exhausting few days and I’ve never been as tired as I was last night in my life.

After arriving Tuesday AM after around 20 hours of travel there was a preChirp party which of course I went to to network and meet people. That was great, but of course tiring, although the timezone worked in my favour.

Wednesday morning Alex and I headed to Chirp, the first day was all conference and pretty straight forward — lots of talking at us and announcements. It was held at the Palace of Fine Arts, which is a strangely renaissance or italian style building that feels our of place in the US. The evening and second day was at Fort Mason centre which is a huge old army warehouse and was a lot more informal.

Wednesday evening we were bussed to Fort Mason for some dinner and drinks and some more informal community presentations, then the hack day started and ran all night for those who wanted to do it (you could hack all night or just rock up on the Thursday for the informal talks).

Alex and I had an idea which was to make a chirp specific version of Tribalytic that looked at all the attendees and analysed them in 5 minute intervals mapped against the presentations.

We realised pretty quickly that with 1000 other developers clamouring for attention, it was going to be really hard to cut through and get noticed so we needed to do something special. The Twitter guy (@dougw) organising the demo slots was impossibly busy and we felt we weren’t going to make the show case, so we needed a new approach.

We committed to the all nighter to make this happen.

Come Thursday morning, we were wrecked. After another brush off trying to secure a pitch spot, we were close tossing it in and heading back to the Hotel and sleep but we egged each other on and hung in there. We were feeling down though.

Then things started to happen! Someone saw me and I demo’d the application, we got some nice feedback. Then Alex met someone he knew from O’Reilly media, we did a demo to him, he called someone else over and by the end of Thursday we had an email in our inbox from the first investors inviting us to come visit them on Tuesday next week.

There was a meet the co-founders session in the afternoon, so we queued for our 3 minutes with them, but time ran short so we ended up with 1 minute. In that 1 minute we pitched hard, showed them the app on the laptop and then got invited to come to Twitter HQ next week to share with them our analysis of Chirp and Tribalytic. We are really excited about this and just trying to set the meetings up now.

Then there was a meet the investors session — basically investors milling around and all the developers pitching. You met the investor and you got to “shoot the shit” (as it was attractively called). We pitched to 4 and got 3 invites to follow them up for meetings.

Turns out that analytics is a hot area and we are right here at the perfect moment. Everyone wants some skin in the game in the analytics space.

The other great thing that happened was one of the people recording the event for Twitter saw us, liked the story of a 24 hour hack and the fact we’d travelled from overseas so I did an interview and a demo of the application, now we’ve got a great video to share around that shows me tired and unwashed, but still does a good job I hope.

If you’re wondering what we are up to, check out the video.

We then also met a couple of other Twitter guys who were interested so we’ve really made some progress.

Have to get back to some work now! Plenty to do to be ready for all these pitches and demos next week.