Friday, February 6, 2015

Technori Hits a Home Run

It's Good to See Someone Good at their Job

About this time each year, I inevitably start to miss baseball. It’s a function, of course, of the grey snow, the arctic blasts of cold air that whoosh their way through the train when the doors open at Clark/Lake, and the lack of sun. I await the first hint of spring training, though, not only for the reminder of warm weather, but also for the opportunity to see the skill and craft of the game again after six months. A dropped fly ball or two aside, baseball has always offered me the opportunity to see a sincere effort towards developing fine-tuned teamwork and individual dedication toward improved performance. Not always, of course, but a lot of the time.

Our company, GimmeAnother, had the chance to pitch at Technori just over a year ago when we launched our ‘Save to Mobile’ functionality and our iOS app on the same day. For us, it was a nerve-wracking, fun, exciting time and event… and somehow the experience itself felt like it was designed with those emotions and elements in mind. The collection and diversity of start-ups we pitched with that night (including DonorPath, BadgeCert, and AmStatz) helped to create a vibrant dialogue and pace, keep us (and the crowd) on our toes, and fire up good exchange of ideas at our company even the next day.

So, when I learned that Technori Pitch had changed to be theme-based – rather than a simple and crazy collection of interesting start-ups – I was somewhat suspicious of the move. As an interdisciplinary devotee I'm inclined against too much over-specialization and the tendency toward group-think it can sometimes produce. Start-ups, in particular, need – I still believe – to be shaken out of their silos. But, I think what I found with the new theme-based Technori Pitch was, simply, a more coherent and better organized event that still retained the depth, dynamics, and vibrant display of really clever business ideas that I had seen in the past. Given the success of the event, both in press coverage and attendance, over the past few years, this initiative toward an updated format is really pretty commendable as far as I’m concerned. It's easy to not change.

The event looked and felt like a professional team, honing their game, getting better, and feeling confident in the direction. It felt like a satisfying game of baseball without the booziness or disappointment of a ninth inning dropped fly. The keynote at this most recent Technori event (@Properties founder, Thaddeus Wong) provided a really nice, appropriate foundation for the pitches that followed, many of the presenting founders referencing the keynote itself as a legitimate guidepost for the logic and usefulness of their businesses and direction. That alone makes a ton of sense.

There’s something satisfying, of course, in the excitement of a start-up and the initial chaos that ensues. Lots of entrepreneurs are attracted to that. There’s also something to be said for the discipline it takes to step back, reassess, then dig into the hard work necessary to improve an already good product, making it more cohesive and useful. Technori Pitch has done that. It’s a good lesson for me, too.

Do yourself a favor – ignore the theme if it doesn’t match your specific industry or vertical – when the next Technori Pitch rolls around, go for the ideas.

-- Jon Roketenetz

Jon is the CEO of GimmeAnother and founder of 3VERB. He blogs at

P.S. Technori has good set of their pitch and keynote videos available online. You should check ‘em out.

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