Huddly made it's first trip to CES!
We build things that see, but to be honest ... there is not enough power in the universe to see it all at CES. The numbers are impressive.
- 177,383 attendees (Huddly met at least a couple 100 of them)
- 2.47 million square feet of exhibit space (Each Huddler walked >20,000 steps/day)
- 81% of world countries were there (Including Norway!!)
- ~200 government officials (~same number of Physics Nobel Prize winners)
- 7,545 media attendees (Huddly met some of them)
- 32,949 reps from buying orgs (Huddly has something they all want!)
- 68,331 senior level executives (Huddly definitely met some of these guys/gals!!)
A very productive trip including technical meetings, customer meetings, strategic meetings, investor meetings and some fun activities too.
The primary purpose of the Huddly trip to CES was to participate in the Extreme Tech Challenge 2017 event. We were proud and humbled to represent not only Huddly, but the entire Nordic region! You see, in October 2016 we WON the Nordic Extreme Tech Challenge during Oslo Innovation Week. As the winner of the Nordic vertical competition, we were invited to speak at the semifinal event in Las Vegas. We also got to participate in all of the other XTC events over the three day event. We met a ton of people, got to spread the Huddly vision and had an awesome experience. It was EXTREME!
Speaking of EXTREME, you have to check out the genesis of the XTC organization. Combine technical entrepreneurs, extreme kiteboarding and elite venture people then mix it all together and you have a truly magical event.
Does that mean we have to start kiteboarding? Check out this picture of Bill Tai (co-founder of XTC) taking to the air. These guys work hard and play hard. Sounds familiar.
Thanks to XTC for inviting us! Thanks to the Oslo Business Region for everything you do for the startup community. Special thanks to the Huddly tribe. Our employees rock. Our customers are awesome. Our investors are true believers.
If you're not part of the Huddly tribe, then we welcome you with open arms. Join in the conversation here AND don't forget to pre-order a couple of Huddly GO's for your team.
How to Give a Two Minute Presentation at CES
I've previously written about public speaking on my LinkedIn account. First on perspective and also about when things go wrong. Most people are terrified of talking in front of people. A very few make it look effortless. Mark Twain said, "There are two kinds of speakers: those that are nervous and those that are liars." . I believe that you need to be authentic. Having both given my fair share of talks and receiving a far, far greater number, I can confidently say that most of the presentations I've sat through are terrible. I believe that you can be over prepared for a talk and when it comes out super scripted, then it just sounds wrong. I typically try to bridge between three points I want the audience to remember. Rehearsed, yes. Scripted, no.
Here's how we approached our presentation at the Extreme Tech Challenge.
Who's the audience? What's the venue look like? How many people? Slides or no slides? How much time do we get? Is there a Q&A session? What is the message we want to leave with the audience that both gives them value AND might lead them to take action?
A little research into the past XTC events at CES revealed some answers. The people are high profile. One of the judges this year was the president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, Gary Shapiro. The audience was filled with movers and shakers. The venue was a Las Vegas sized medium ballroom (big by normal standards) that held hundreds of people. No spare seats, packed in the aisles, spilling into the hallway type of event. Yes on slides. Five minute speaking slot. Maybe Q&A. OK ... we were set on the people and the venue.
We also had a pretty good idea on the Huddly message and the tone. So we put together 6 slides, the speaker bio/photo package and started to think about the words.
5 minutes. That's not a ton of time, but plenty. Often you are asked to fill 15 minutes, or 30 minutes. Sometimes even an hour ... but that's when the organizers are lazy or desperate. The 18 minute TED talk format is the most effective in my opinion. Nobody needs to hear an hour of me (or anybody else) droning on. Sorry for those that have had to suffer through it in the past!
A quick side note. It is easier for me to present when I both control the timing AND when the audience is larger. It may seem a little counter intuitive, but the larger audiences are easier. A stage, mics, mixers, big screen and lots of people that you can't even really see ... piece of cake. Two wildcards. High profile audience and the 5 minute target. Here's a hint that the 5 minute part was about to get a lot more challenging. What's name of this section? Yep. How to give a two minute presentation at CES! We'll get to that in a minute.
Back to the preparation. I wanted to start off by introducing Huddly and my role. I wanted to start by saying that we are world renown camera experts and we will be known as experts in vision processing. I wanted to thank several people, including Jørn and Fredrick at the Oslo Business Region. I wanted to thank our customers, our investors, Bill Tai and the entire XTC team, the judges that selected Huddly as the winner of the Nordics XTC event over 80+ other companies. There are so many people that help you get from where you start to where you are. Be thankful. I also wanted to set the tone that we were well funded through 2017 to separate ourselves from the seed funded guys.
We build things that see. We have big audacious plans at Huddly. However, if there was one thing that I wanted the audience to remember, then it was Huddly builds things that see. We are builders of products. And the word "see" is not restricted to "with our eyes". I used 4 words to augment "see": perception, recognition, understanding and cognition. How do you remember these 4 words when they're not on the slides? For one, you shouldn't be reading from slides so no reason to put them there. And two, the slides should be pretty much free of words anyway. So how do you remember the 4 words? Close your eyes and give it a shot. Here's my secret and it comes from the simplest of concepts in the book, Moonwalking with Einstein, The Art and Science of Remembering Everything. Create a memory palace that you can walk through. What the heck does this mean? Well here's what I did while sitting next to a casino bar between meetings at CES. I saw on TV a commercial with a fake doctor on the screen. I thought: Perception is reality. I moved my gaze to the right and saw a guy talking on his cell phone. I thought: I Recognize him. I looked over to the area where I just had the previous meeting. I remembered him nodding his head in Understanding. Finally, I thought about keeping all of these thoughts in my own mind. Cognition. And there you have it. I can walk through this memory palace for the next few weeks. The problem is how to forget it. Give it a try.
All journeys start with a first step and I next wanted to paint the picture of our first product that will soon be shipping, Huddly GO. A powerful, high quality, great industrial design camera, but also a programable platform that was different than any other camera available. A nod to the simplest of use cases to see a wider view of the room when doing your next standup meeting. The camera has an insane field of view with really well balanced distortion correction.
But that's not why I joined Huddly. There's more than meets the eye and I wanted to let that sink in as we utilize this powerful, programmable platform to explore some really interesting use cases in spaces where we collaborate.
I finally wanted to drive home 3 things that we need to do at Huddly in 2017 and beyond. One is product. We have high confidence in great product market fit already. Two is customers. We have been operating a pre-launch beta program for the past several months and we have learned a lot! The type of customers is critical too. We need and have many unaffiliated customers which indicates the ability to scale. Finally we want to build a world class team and we are well underway on that endeavor. We've more than doubled in the past year and we have a truly world team spanning 6 different time zones. I am so proud to work alongside every member of our team.
Reinforce the message that we build things that see, wrap up the 5 minute talk and exit triumphantly stage left with arms raised in the victory salute.
That was the plan at least.
When the Plan Meets Reality ... BOOM.
We had dinner with the XTC guys. We saw the competitor demos. We had gone through a practice session (came in at over 6 minutes ... need to trim it down). We walked the room. All good. I then found Sabine and asked if our slides were in the main deck. They weren't. I then confirmed the 5 minutes. No ... you have 2 minutes! Just say YES!
Keynote slides to Gigi. Eliminate some of the thank you part of the talk and off we went.
The key word there is eliminate. That is useful in most things we do. Eliminate, simplify, focus. It all works out. I was able to make almost all of the points and exited triumphantly stage left. We not only survived, but thrived.
We had a great time in Vegas. I wish we were going to Necker Island because I would've liked to play tennis with Sir Richard Branson!
He needs a Huddly GO. We build things that see.