I made a lot of mistakes in my first tech pitch, but I wouldn’t change much looking back. The lessons I’ve learned have been invaluable. Most of these insights will help me improve for the next time I pitch this or another project, but the one thing I did right and will definitely do again is this: I submitted my idea. Period. Without thought as to whether or not it was good enough to win.
To be fair, the “reckless pitch” mentality was mostly a function of my naivete to the gravity of the competition. I didn’t realize the competition had been announced in the local newspaper (which it was), I didn’t think I’d make it to the finals (which I did), and I definitely didn’t think I’d get a chance to speak about it in front of a judging panel with clipboards and a rubric (which was also the case) – all I knew was that my idea addressed a pain point affecting many people in the education profession. The selection committee decided my pitch was well-formed enough with sufficient potential value to merit a deeper explanation in front of the panel.
Though my pitch was flawed in many ways, the experience of preparing for and participating in the final round of this pitch competition will drive me to progress this project. I realized through this process that I really am passionate about leveraging technology to improve education beyond the profitable sectors that are already being exploited in Ed Tech. To this point, I’d like to close this post in the same way that I closed my speech:
“I submitted my pitch under no pretense that I’d win development funds, though that would be wonderful. So I’m grateful to the selection committee for permitting me the platform to advocate for student safety in front of an audience that understands how much more valuable attendance data (which we already collect) could be if we were to leverage advances in Big Data methods & technology to make it more usable in responsive and proactive ways. My colleagues and I have many frustrations with the status quo; this is one conversation that I believe is beneficial to pursue and to develop. Thank you.”