Entrepreneurs unite! Weekly at 1 Million Cups:
What is 1MC? It’s pretty simple really. Entrepreneurs, small business owners and dreamers gather every Wednesday morning over a few cups of coffee. There is typically one or two presenters who pitch their start up, shop, idea or fully functioning business to the crowd. These presentations are about 6 minutes followed by questions, ideas and feedback from the audience. Oh and it’s FREE…and there’s coffee…did I mention there’s a silly amount of it?
The Social Larsons Experience at 1MCKCO:
It was this time last year when I was contacted by the local organizer of 1MC. The Kent County Delaware chapter is hosted by Delaware Tech Terry Campus and is maintained by passionate volunteers. 1 year ago Data Dan and I were not writing a data visualization blog. If you’ve followed us for long you know that we only recently closed our brick and mortar baby boutique in Dover, DE. My originally 1MC presentation would have been on topics like merchandising, marketing and customer experience…a lot has changed in one year. I was thrilled with the opportunity to present this year on our new adventure. Plus, we needed as much feedback and ideas as we could get.
The application process sets you up for success. After agreeing to present, I was sent to the 1 Million Cups site to apply and register. This portion alone was super valuable. The organization actually guides you with a series of videos on crafting a WOW statement and creating an impactful presentation. I returned to our website and social media platforms after watching this series to contour our mission, values and pitch. I highly recommend taking the time to watch the series and ask yourself the hard questions about your business. After registering and preparing it was my turn to share my business concept, ideas and challenges with my peers!
The Elevator Pitch! Here’s me, telling YOU how awesome 1MC is:
The Presentation & Key Take Aways:
The vibe in the room was friendly, relaxed and informal. There was enough coffee to alert an army of sloths and the lighting was kind enough to disguise even the deepest dark circles…not that I have those (omg I’m so tired). These elements may not matter to everyone, but they really work for this mama. The organizers were so warm and welcoming, reminding me to keep it loose and light. And that I did. I had prepared a handful of slides to share the logo and images of our data visualizations, but I had no script of any sort. This is just not needed in the environment created by 1MC. Once I gave the brief about our blog, ideas for the future, and CHALLENGES [there are lots of them] we face…I awaited feedback. I didn’t wait long. Hands popped up left and right with the most amazing insight from my peers, marketers, students and the like. Here’s a few key takeaways provided by this awesome crowd:
1) Maintain a connection with local businesses and organizations. Perhaps through providing social media services, featuring them on the blog or offering advertising space on the site. Connect them with local families like us.
2) Tie the data visualizations in with a larger campaign. (This was one of my favorites.) The example given: When sharing a data viz about coffee consumption, go to local coffee shops or hot spots and create video content. Include Nola (our daughter- check out her Wisdom Wednesday segment) and have her ask locals about how much coffee they consume.
3) Involve/engage audience in data visualization. Poll them about what types of data viz they would like to see. Include them in a LIVE data viz or poll them on topics to create audience driven visualization. (This idea came from a DTCC student, and I LOVE it.)
4) Dig deeper into what it takes to monetize a blog. The book Blogging for Dummies was suggested as well as researching similar blogs, resources and stats.
5) Consider another element to the blogging. A local life/travel portion which includes family adventures with coordinating data viz. Providing insight to other families looking for fun. Perhaps reaching out to local chamber of commerce and other organizations.
The Full Video:
Every presentation is recorded! The best part about this is that I was able to watch the video and record the ideas that really spoke to me.
YOU at 1 Million Cups:
How to participate: just show up for the next session, sit back, sip some coffee and offer thoughtful feedback to the presenter. It’s FREE and so is the coffee. There are no strings and the sessions are under 1 hour.
How to present: GO REGISTER HERE. It’s so easy and will take you about 20-30 minutes to craft your bio and watch the awesome video series. One of the local organizers will contact you after and set up your presentation time. Don’t forget to join every Wednesday morning whether you’re presenting or not!
1MCKCO picks back up in the new year, so take a little time this holiday to get to know them, register and maybe even apply to present.