The answer is simple – all 2,165 of them!
That was the number of individual video elevator pitches of ideas collected by MPowered this year in their second annual 1000 Pitches competition. This annual competition (again, only in its second year) has built tremendous momentum at the University of Michigan and has quickly achieved a “show piece of entrepreneurial activity” status on campus.
Students from all schools and departments within the University (and even a 100 or so high school students) each stood in front of a video camera and recorded their idea. Ideas were submitted to a student-built youtube-like website for tracking and scoring by a distributed team of judges. In all, nine prizes were handed out (one for each category) to students with both the best idea and well rounded pitch.
On a personal note, I have watched in awe over the last four months as MPowered developed this year’s competition. From raising capital, building the software, organizing a multi-channel pledging system, driving the marketing and pitch stations and ultimately pulling off an academy awards style ceremony to celebrate the winners. Inspirational!
So why does this all matter? Why should we celebrate ideas? After all, there is really no inherent value in an idea. In fact, many of them may not even be that unique – 45 people submitted individual pitches for a bicycle sharing service on campus.
Value, as we know, comes from what happens after you come up with an idea. It is that long slog of innovation, perseverance, validation and failure that comes with an idea that ultimately creates success and value. It is the idea that gets you out of bed at 3am but it is the long hours of bleary eyed concentrated effort that yields the forward movement we all seek.
Entrepreneurs know every journey they have begun started with a single idea. And that is exactly why this pitch competition is so important – it helps people who want to be entrepreneurs understand that their ideas matter. Sharing your idea with the world is putting the spotlight directly on YOU and for a brief 3 minutes or 30mb of digital data we are all listening.
So, what does next year’s 1000 pitches competition hold in store? What is the magic number we are all going to be shooting for?
The answer is simple – every single one of them!