Sunday, July 24, 2011

Always Prepare

Though many on our coasts don't believe it, Chicago is booming with start-up technology companies, venture capital and a strong pioneering spirit. For the next seven days, you can see all of these things first hand at TechWeek, a conference that brings it all together.

At the invitation of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, SquarePlanet was asked to moderate a panel discussion on the idea that regardless of the underlying technology, relationships are really the key to success. We jumped at the chance and were very excited as the panelists themselves couldn't have been better.

The panel included Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media Studios, Ted Novak from Clique Studios, Chris Mickens from Educo Web Design and finally Jon Schickendanz from Imaginary Landscape. Together, we were to tackle the product vs. people debate.

At SqP, we actually practice what we preach, so about a week before the event we all got on a conference call, and even the day of, for well over an hour, we sat together and discussed the topic. Additionally, I spent at least 3 more hours preparing opening and closing remarks, developing individual bio's on each person and a multitude of questions with potential follow-up questions.

You see, we had ONE shot to get this right. All of our chips were on the table, this was an "all in" bet, whether we liked it or not. That's simply the nature of presenting, no second chances. No do-overs.

All of that preparation paid off, as the audience thoroughly enjoyed the 60 minutes we spent together. Further, the CEO and founder of midVentures Geoff Domoracki wrote "I overheard, when your panel ended- from the leaving attendees- that that was the best session they had been to. Your session received a lot of positive feedback and we thank you for helping put it together!"

This is high praise...midVentures started TechWeek, and they are the single biggest contributor of time, talent and money to the whole event! When Geoff speaks, people listen.

So, this is NOT a blog entry to boast. It's a blog entry to remind you to ALWAYS prepare. Our ratio of preparation time to actual on-stage time was about 5-1. Five hours to effectively communicate for one hour. That's not a hard and fast rule, that's just specific to this event. But, the takeaway is clear, to ensure your "all in" bet comes up a winner; prepare, prepare, prepare.

Thanks to Linda Dao at the Chamber, the awesome panelists and all those who came out to see us. CHEERS!

1 comment:

  1. Outstanding points, Brian -- in addition to the value that you generate in the "public" portion of the process, who we become through the discipline of striving for excellence has tremendous long-term benefits.

    I have presented to groups, large and small, both underprepared and overprepared, and "overprepared" is the way to go. It's harder work, but it creates a vastly better result.