We had a busy week at SXSW, from pitching in startup competitions to exhibiting at the Austin Convention Center and taking the opportunity to learn from our peers and absorb the expertise and innovation that descends on Austin during the conference. Here are a few highlights and tweetable moments:
Launching & Pitching
We kicked the week off launching the beta release of our Internet-of-Crops software platform and participating in the International Accelerator Fastpitch competition amongst 82 international startups (from Greece, Hungary, Russia, Mexico and other countries). We advanced from the initial round to the final round, where I delivered a full pitch presentation and came in first place out of all the startups that presented. It was an incredible way to start SXSW!
In between meetups, we continued pitching over the weekend at the SXSW Accelerator pitch event as part of the Innovative World category. We advanced to the final round, pitching at the Sunday evening awards ceremony!
Soaking it in
After the weekend’s excitement we were able to check out the abundance of technologies and panel discussions that make SXSW a rich experience. A few noteworthy moments include:
Scoot Cook, of Intuit fame, reminds everyone that in the world of business one should be prepared to adapt and evolve. He mentions how Intuit stumbled upon a huge B2B opportunity with QuickBooks, reacting to overwhelming demand from consumer users of their original Quicken product. Or that Twitter soon enough realized its potential as a platform for digital marketing.
Baratunde Thurston takes on Silicon Valley and offers an exhilarating standup session. His wake-up call to the tech entrepreneur shook me to my core: “Fix the mess down here on Earth folks, before embarking on a trip to Mars!”. And boy, isn’t humanity still fraught with challenges that tech can help fix!
Rohit Bhargava is famously writing on non-obvious market trends for each year. Coming up in 2017, people start embracing ‘lovable imperfection’ in products. Embracing imperfection in ag produce (think ugly but delicious apples) would definitely help us waste less!
Dr. Melis Senova is an advocate for human-centered design. Her advice to innovators: embrace the fear your new product creations will instill in people. Then you can respond to it and help your users come to terms with your new product reality. If your users don’t get your product – it’s your fault and you need to do something about it.
Well that wraps up our week in Austin, TX for SXSW! I’ll be back later to chat more about Centaur’s own progress with our Internet-of-Crops software beta release, which coincided with our presence at SXSW.