It’s nice to be back in one place for a while, I have to admit that having only 2 days to recover from almost 2 weeks on the road, 7 timezones away, before leaving for San Francisco wasn’t much fun. I think if it was an option, I would have forgotten about the whole thing.
A trip to San Francisco is always nice though. The flight can be a tough trip, 5 1/2 hours in the air if you are going direct, longer if making a connection but when you get there, and the sun is shining, things start to turn around.
I was honored to be asked to come to Under The Radar and show off Firestoker. Being a truly “under the radar” company, it made a lot of sense. After working with customers and overseeing development day in and day out, it is nice to get to show things off in public a little more.
After seeing just how mature some of our “compeitiors” for our track were (VC funded, been around for 2 years+), I admit I was a little worried. In the end, I ended up tossing my prepared talk and went for an off-the-cuff overview of the company, with a quick demo (I would have loved more time to demo).
Things went fine, and while we didn’t steal the show, it was a great first for us. It has drawn a lot of attention to Firestoker, and it’s all been good attention.
A few notes:
* A lot of people commented on the fact that we were “missing” some features, such as wikis, document management and fine-grained security controls. What we have discovered, however, is that these process-driven “features” are bigtime distractions for our clients, who’s real interest is not in helping people get “better” at creating documents or process together, but rather to find new things, like new efficiencies, new ideas and new innovations.
* Stowe liked us the best in our track, he thinks, which is awesome. Account coming soon Stowe,. promise!
* Being a deliberately small, revenue-funded, company like ours seems to be immediately less-sexy to this crowd than over-funded feature-insanity products based in SF. I can understand that I guess.
* I thought microsoft would have much healthier food catered than sandwiches and brownies!
* I think the companies who paid for the “Graduates Circle” really overpaid at 4000$ each. If the intention was to sponsor the event and earn some goodwill, then it probably is money well spent, but if the intention is to get in from of potential customers, or even get an audience with some VCs, then UTR wasn’t a good event for that. The time slots for these companies were poor (people were switching rooms during them, etc) and people were distracted.
* You could not vote via SMS from a Canadian cellphone. Canadians were shut out of voting.