Web2Open: An Exciting Experiment

As I’ve written here recently, we’ve got some amazing sessions scheduled for Web2Open–the free unconference hosted by Web 2.0 Expo in SF this week. One that I’m particularly excited about is a new experiment, “Practice Your Customer Pitch.”

We’re bringing in five startups who will get two minutes each to give their customer pitch (not their VC pitch), as if meeting a potential customer at a cocktail party (i.e., no slides but OK to drink if you want). To give them feedback, we’ve assembled a top-notch panel of serial entrepreneurs and marketing experts. It’s not a competition, so there’s no judging or ranking—just discussion among the entrepreneurs, panelists and other session attendees.

We’re trying this idea for the first time, so who knows how it will go? But in the entrepreneurial spirit, we’ve mitigated our risks: even if the format doesn’t sing, the session can only be a hit given the participants. (Thanks to Sean O’Malley for helping us connect with a lot of these folks.)

The rather impressive panel:
*Rashmi Sinha, moderator. SlideShare CEO
*Robert Acker, panelist. LiveSpot CEO
*Michael Cerda, panelist. cc:Betty CEO
*Nilofer Merchant, panelist. Rubicon Consulting CEO

The smart startups:
*CrowdVine, social networks for conferences
*dbTwang, Dogster for guitars
*Doodle, online scheduling magic
*Maestro Market, a Web 2.0 speakers’ bureau
*Magoosh, customized test-prep

The session is on Weds, April 1 from 10:50 – 11:40a. If you still need a free pass for Web2Open, you can register using the code websf09opn. There’s more general event info on the Open website.

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