Inno/Vention Power Pitch February 2014 NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering Pfizer Auditorium, Bern Dibner Library of Science & Technology 5 MetroTech Center Brooklyn

Brooklyn Borough Hall Station

Last night I was invited to judge the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering Inno/Vention Power Pitch hardware (There was a software competition. I did not judge that) competition. This competition is a student run event sponsored by the EIA student club.  I love going to these events to see and hear the product ideas the students have and how they plan on executing the business.

Inno/Vention Team List

Inno/Vention Team List

This is how it works: At the start of the semester the EIA holds an event called the Sparkstart Kickoff/TeamHunt. At this event the students announce their ideas and hunt for people they would need to build their team. During the next several weeks the students attend educational events to help them develop their idea further into a business. They learn customer validation, market research, product development, business model canvas and various techniques from the great mind of Steve Blank. The students gave their first pitch at the event last night. Five teams are picked to move forward to the next pitch event. The student teams are given a stipend to spend on prototyping. There is a schedule for the Inno/Vention Competition here.

Our task as judges was to score the teams on various categories that are part lean startup model. After all the teams presented the judges collaborated and picked the five winning teams. The winners were:

  1. Skinesiology
  2. C-Cubed Robotics
  3. Team Limitless
  4. SensD
  5. Listen To Your Wrist

#CleanwebNY February 2014 Hosted at NYU Urban Future Lab Brooklyn NY

Patrick Morris Co-Organizer With Opening Remarks

I got there very early. It said it started at 6:30pm, but the people started to arrive at 6:30PM. This was my first time attending the #CleanwebNY Meetup being held at NYU Urban Future Lab Brooklyn NY on the Engineering (formerly know as NYU-Poly) School’s campus. The venue is a partnership project between NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering and the NY NYCEDC. The space is in the 15 Metrotech Center building. Amy (Head of Community) gave me a great tour of the space. It has not officially opened yet, but it is looking great. I can’t wait till after the build out and they have their opening. Congrats on the great space NYU Urban Future Lab!!

The  #CleanwebNY meetup is about startups developing products (software or hardware or both) for the Clean Technology space.  They also are a part of this initiative:

Patrick Morris Co-Organizer With Opening Remarks

Patrick Morris Co-Organizer With Opening Remarks

The opening of the event was done by Patrick Morris Co-Organizer of the event. Great job in introducing the line up. The theme of this event was Cleanweb Connected Devices.

The first up to present was Jun Shimada Co-founder of ThinkEco. Their produce connects electric utility customers’ appliances such as air conditioners to the web. The data the devices collect flow into their cloud solution and gets processed for the utility companies. They partner with the utilities companies to create a program such as this for the customers. I have seen many variations of products like these in the past the difference with ThinkEco is their execution strategy. The partnerships with the utility is key. From the presentation it sounds like they have learned how to work with the utilities communicating their vale to them effectively.

Next up was Gabe Blanchet and Jamie Byron Co-founders of Grove Labs. Grove Labs creates hardware and software appliances for greenhouses and farms. The have created their own platform called GroveOS. Their competitive advantage is that they are cheaper and cloud connect when you compare them to their competition. They are also working on a pilot with Abu Dhabi and the UAE. If successful their products would be used in the entire country. That is a huge deal. I wish them a lot of luck. It sounds like Grove is a company the big players would want to buy. Such as what happened to MakerBot (bought by Stratasys). The big companies are making an effort to outwit the Innovator’s Dilemma. 

The last presentation was given by Brian Langel Co-Founder Dash Labs. Dash Labs creates software that uses information collected from a OBD device. These devices connect to the car diagnostic. I have seen their product before. I had sworn that they at one point they were selling a hardware product. I am not sure if they pivoted from that. Their direct competitor Automatic sells the hardware and provides the software. Dash Labs concentrates on the data collection and provides a social driving experience for their customers. If I had a car I would use their product. 

All in all I thought this event was informative. It was great to see the progress of the companies I have seen before.  

Check it out. I have more pictures of the event below. Sorry for the low light conditions, but you should make out the slides and the speakers ok. I did my best to caption the images and make adjustments to the images. Enjoy.

Over a Billion Apps and Nothing on: Why should I install these apps?


Have you ever had this experience; while surfing the web asked to install an app for every website you land on. What is happening? Why do I need all these apps when the website works fine? Installing the app brings no value. I have installed some of them and then as quickly as I installed them I delete them. They are the same thing as the website…no value. 

The more apps out there, the more the app stores are clogged with mediocre junk, the more the overall noise level keeps going up, which leads directly to this profligate nagging. Companies keep asking how can we get people to find and install our amazing app instead of the one question they really should have asked.

Why the hell are we building an app in the first place?

I want to know who exactly is going to all the trouble of installing the McDonalds app on their device instead of simply visiting the McDonalds website in the browser as needed. What problem does that app solve for french fry enthusiasts that it needs to be permanently installed on your device? Why are they giving away free Big Macs just to get people to install this thing?

Jeff Atwood makes a great point here. I don’t see the value in installing their apps. Visiting the website works fine. Just seems that everyone has been on and is continuing the “we have to have an app” trend.  

via Coding Horror: App-pocalypse Now.

I Thought Facebook’s WhatsApp Deal Was Crazy. Then I Did Some Math. –


This article, I saw this morning, puts together a good argument why the cost Facebook paid for WhatsApp was justified.

There’s no disputing that Facebook paid a huge premium for an untested company in a hotly competitive communications sector. But it takes less than I thought to turn WhatsApp into a decent, if justifiable, business. And that doesn’t even count other benefits of scale, strategic defense and Google -rattling that are harder to quantify.

Turns out when you compare it to the wireless carriers such as Verizon’s purchase of their 45% stake in its Verizon Wireless joint venture the reasoning is clear.

At first, the numbers look as stark as you’d expect. We know that Facebook paid $42 for each of WhatsApp’s 450 million users. Verizon, by comparison, valued each of its roughly 97 million monthly contract connections at about $2,984.

Verizon collected about $669 for each of these post-paid connections last year, and made another $168 per subscriber from other sources.

What did WhatsApp collect for its service, which allows for unlimited and quick text messaging? What a pesky question. Basically zero. For math’s sake, let’s take the figure to 50 cents per user in 2014.

The analysis goes on from there. You can read the rest in the article. Looking to the future and WhatsApp’s recent announcement at Mobile World Congress about adding voice calls looks like it might have been worth it for Facebook to buy them now.

One last not about this. This could of been a defensive move by Facebook. Why let Google buy them.

via I Thought Facebook’s WhatsApp Deal Was Crazy. Then I Did Some Math. –

Startup Pitch Deck V1.6

An Office

I have been asked many time to help out with pitch presentations. Over time I have come to realize it would be great to have a template that I could give out. This PPT is that template.

The following are slides that you can change and move around. Basically do whatever you want to it. It is free to use. Take out stuff or add stuff…whatever.

The last several pages contain references, notes, further reading and other resources that may help. Enjoy.

Let me know what you think. Over time I will update it and post new versions. Enjoy.


The Application of Implant Technology for Cybernetic Systems [Arch Neurol. 2003]


To assess the usefulness, compatibility, and long-term operability of a microelectrode array into the median nerve of the left arm of a healthy volunteer, including perception of feedback stimulation and operation of an instrumented prosthetic hand.

via The application of implant technology for cybern… [Arch Neurol. 2003] – PubMed – NCBI.


And there soon will be the six million dollar man/woman. Or will it be 6 billion dollar man/woman with inflation.


Comcast vs. the Cord Cutters –


“Comcast and the new, giant Comcast are going to do as much as they can to stop you from unbundling,” said Craig Aaron, president of Free Press, a consumer advocacy group. “In order for you to get content you like, you’re going to be pushed to pay the cable bill, too.”

via Comcast vs. the Cord Cutters –

I got rid of cable TV during the summer. I feel free!!!! However I use Time Warner Cable Internet (Premature freedom) with boost. Sometimes they have forgotten the boost. The speed is ok, less than what they say it should be, and the support is lacking.

I called up last week because the internet was out. I did the entire reboot and restart thing. They wanted to send someone out. The next day it was working ok. They forgot to tell themselves to cancel the appointment. This was not the first time this has happened. Can’t they tell when the internet is back up? Yes they can. Ugh.