Coming off an amazing Disrupt San Francisco event, I have to say that I am feeling pretty good about things. Sixty percent of my picks made it to the Final Six, which included the ultimate Winner and Runner Up. While Layer and Dryft are bound for amazing things, there were other lurking in the corners of Start-up Alley whom I think will also drive some incredble success. The entire Disrupt experience this year was pretty incredible. An incredible line up of speakers combined with an amazing array of start ups. It was an incredibly fast paced event that really made you strategize around how you spent your time attending. Decisions on When and How often to cruise down Startup Alley each day, figuring out which groups you would come back and do some follow up with, dig a little deeper, which you would pass on, and then race back to the conference hall for the next panel, speaker, or special announcement. With the exception of the subzero temperatures in some locations and the general chaos around lunch time, it was about as seamless as an event could be.
While alot of the attention focused the thirty or so finalists, there really was some great things going on in the Startup Alley as well. I had a bunch of favorites with regards to either the technology and/or the business models present. It was rare to come across something that I felt was “done and ready to go” but there were some real opportunities to grow and differentiate over time. In some cases I shared my thoughts, in others I took down their contact information to reach out and touch them later or at least in one case to offer them some additional ideas. These were the unsung heroes and stories of Disrupt who no doubt learned a very great deal about how to move things forward. As an engineer by trade I was specifically energized by the general “amping up” effect that the engineers had in their interactions with one another. The exchange of ideas and free flow of feedback was pretty incredible. Its easy to see why the Valley has this persistent culture of innovation. Its something that I wished could be duplicated elsewhere. It was an inspriring event. For me personally, for me as a leader, and hatching some of my own crazy ideas.
One of the ways I measure the impact of walking Start-Up alley is the 72 hour test. The 72 hour test is essentially which firms or technology still occupies a portion of my mindshare 72 hours later. This is not necesasarily an endorsement of the firm or its approach but rather that some aspect of what these firms presented has continued to rattle around in my brain.
The firms that have successfully managed a foothold in my brain are:
These firms really got my mind spinning in some interesting directions and I wish them well!