What has a roaring crowd complete with thunder sticks, a set of hosts in costume, a dancing spaceman and people talking about everything from backless labels to prostate cancer? No, it’s not the World Series and your average night of commercials. It’s the MIT 100k, where they set the gold standard for awesome.
When I arrived, the event was already in full swing. As I walked into the auditorium I was hit with an incredible ball of energy; you could feel the excitement and enthusiasm of the crowd and participants. There was also a very entertaining host (dancing spaceman = good, microwave pitch = not so much) and tons of awesome elevator pitches. Where else can you go and hear someone talk about Indiana Jones, prostates and impotence and get multiple laughs, all in under a minute?
To me, the lesson in this is simple: be awesome. MIT could have had a standard, bland event with limited sound production (sans the Star Trek sound effects), hosts in (regular, not space) suits and a reserved (thunderstick-less) audience. That would have produced a solid event, with interesting pitches. Instead, they dialed it up to an “11″ and went all out to entertain and energize everyone in the room. This is how you get people excited about entrepreneurship. This is how you make people say “wow. I wish I had pitched” and realize that entrepreneurship can be as cool as sports.
Cheers, MIT100K team. Awesome event. Looking forward to future events.