Entrepreneur, Innovation, Interview, Ultimate & Innovation, Web Summit 2014

451 Degrees, a Californian take on Dublin Web Summit, (and zebra donkeys)

@SimonCocking

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Had great fun meeting and subsequently interviewing Patrick Giblin and Jake Jacoby from 451 degrees for this article, oh and their CTO is a keen Ultimate player too, just saying…

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How did the Summit go for you?

The Summit was a great experience.  It was difficult for us to measure expectations going in because it was such a young event but the growth that it has shown and the few people I knew that had gone were what tipped us to go.  Its reputation precedes it.  The quality of former attendees is very strong making it an easier leap.  We had the chance to establish a global footprint with those that attended as well as find some interesting strategic partners from San Francisco.  We learned a lot as well

Did it match your expectations?

It exceeded expectations.  The event has really unique and good nuances.  It is unlike any conference I have attended and haven’t we all attended too many of these things…it does a great job with keeping it fresh and giving the companies a fair and equal playing field.  It allows companies that are chosen an opportunity to experience the conference from the other side of the floor.  That is brilliant!  We spent days walking around seeing and meeting other companies of interest and could do so because our booth presence was just one day.  The presentation of every company in the simple form and the stand given is great.  A quick look of the overview of what they do and we knew, “Move along” or “Hmm, let’s chat a bit”.

Not much room for wasted conversations and being a company trying to generate interest with flair.  It just worked perfectly.  Then you add in the Night Summit events and the value got even stronger. Creating locations for people to meet without the pretentious “invites” to THE only cool party is great.  There were things for everyone to do.  A chance to meet many different people.

It seemed as if every door was open when it should be and for it should be.  I am sure we were not invited to some rooms that we would have wanted to be in but we were so busy and gaining relationships that it did not matter.

If you were to do it differently what would you have done?

If I was to do something differently I would create better communication with the companies coming in and while at the event.  A knowledgeable point person at each hotel would be useful. Much of this was a mystery to us and we did not know what to expect.  I heard this from many of my fellow START companies as well as Alpha and Beta companies too.  We all felt unprepared with expectations.  Perhaps that is with intent but it was a bit disheveling.  I also think that the understanding of what dinners we were to go to could have been better scripted.  We never were really sure on how to RSVP to “invited” events as a START company?

There was not a point person for Q&A on these things for the companies there.  Lots of the volunteers were just unaware and said “I was just hired yesterday, I really don’t know?   I think in today’s day and age having a brief video tutorial of “What to Expect?” and “This is a Day…” would be REALLY useful to the companies coming 1st time and most are coming for the 1st time.  I also think more Q&A speakers and having some of the Alpha, Beta and Start companies take the stage would have been great.  We need to see and hear from each other more than we need to hear another speech from an established ‘Giant’ trying to promote their product offering today?

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What did people think of your product?

The reception to our product seemed very strong and there has already been follow up to confirm this.  Our SaaS technology is the next generation of Big Data and Ad Technology.  Two subjects that are very hot right now.  We had a lot of visitors and interested parties that we approached.  The tide is rising towards our product. So excitement was there.

People were able to quickly grab the value our product creates.  As Comments become more relevant and definitive to Content everywhere we show more value to the owners of Content. Because our SaaS interprets all Comments using Artificial Intelligence and Machined Learning to create relevant SEO and Ad Delivery it is a natural fit for people.  It was easy for us to tell people that we listen to and make sense of all that “noise” around your content and then make you money from it…people like that message and we have proof that it works so they follow up.

Did you get any useful feedback from people here?

We did.  It is always important to listen closely to the objections and the doubts around your value.  We were quickly reminded that we have a gap in the adoption by the leading Ad Delivery Networks.  At this time, they are not all interested in working with us in a ‘dynamic’ environment.  That can create some friction within our adoption.

We have to find ways through those objections and ways to entice these Ad Delivery Networks to see the gains we can reach for them. So when there was feedback that we cannot be of full use because we do not work yet with their ADN we see a need to cure the problem.

Will you be changing or pivoting your project based on what happened at the summit?

We will not be pivoting or changing the product just building on it and focusing on expanding the API’s that will allow it to create good use cases for all parties.

How did you find Dublin?

Dublin was GREAT!  The people are fine people, kind and welcoming.  Helpful as well.  The city is SO supportive of all of these technology companies and the desire to solve our issues.   Questions about “Why do business in Dublin?” were handled effectively and efficiently.

This is not just about tax breaks and the “Double Irish” it is about support and COMMUNITY.  This city is committed to doing the right things to get things moving forward.  They work together.  City Officials, Banks, Building Owners and People.  They all are giving the same message.  In short, “Come here and stay a while, if not forever, because we like you and want you…we are here to help”  and they all did.  The Summit also gives you a chance to see some of the social side of Dublin.  That was great too.  Nice to see some of the food and spirits that Dublin is known for.  Seeing the history of Trinity College was fantastic!  Guinness Brewery and its meaning and history was great as well.  Just a wonderful city opening themselves up for the good of all of us.

Which had more use for you the day summit or the night one? Why?

Day Summit.  Just easier to get to conversations quickly.  Easy to identify the synergy with whom you were approaching.  Get to the business and move along.  The Night Summit is a great addition and gives social a chance to build relationship that can lead to business for sure.  The let down was in the hype around the Venture Capitalists, Investors and Market leaders being a part of the Night Summit but in reality they were hard to find if there at all.  Most of the Night Summit was meeting of other companies.  It was useful but less precise.  They both are great ideas and Night Summit is a very cool part of what makes this conference unique. But there are no Donkeys painted like Zebras?  Only in TJ… (Tijuana).

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Over here we only have zebra mussels, donkeys, or zebras, no donkey zebra fusion yet!

 

 

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