Abby and Dulce have made this a horrible experience for me. Really, I am pretty shocked at what has occurred.
Day four is the day that we present at the quarterfinals. There are 22 teams with people from dozens of states. We bus to The Landing Zone in New Orleans, I’m the first to arrive inside from our crew. So, I find a conference room with several whiteboards, it was perfect.
Then, Abby and Dulce just walk right by and don’t say anything. This is getting petty at this point.
So, I grab my stuff to go find them. I mean, c’mon, it’s pitch day, let’s at least have fun for the quarterfinals.
So, I go upstairs to try to find them, and they are not anywhere to be found on the second floor. Then I go to the third floor and find them.
Once I locate them, I try to make small talk and just ask how their morning was.
Abby said, “Fine.”
Alright, cool; I can tell this is going to be delightful. Joon and I start talking about the website functionality, Abby leaves and goes and sits in the corner, Florent and Dulce are nowhere to be found yet.
I give Dulce and Abby admin rights on the Facebook page as a kind gesture to try to make today go well, and they don’t see the point in doing anything with Facebook and Twitter now.
Now that I have the front page done — it’s just a simple landing page with a PHP form asking for people to sign up for our mailing list.
So, I start marketing it on social media to my friends by simply posting the homepage to the Facebook page, and sharing it to my personal timeline. Within the last 24 hours, I have achieved a post reach of over 1600. Which was just from my friends list. I don’t know if that is impressive or not, but I felt good, and I got 9 newsletter signups since I posted the landing page on Facebook about 50 minutes prior.
It’s around 11am now, and we get informed we get to go in for some coaching one last time before the pitches begin.
We go in to pitch, and I still encourage Abby by saying, “You’re gonna do awesome.” I’m way too nice to someone who has actively been trying to diminish my role and take my idea and present it as hers.
Then, I hear her pitch…and she it is pretty mundane; she’s ripped about the exiting parts of the presentation that I told her would win over an audience. Such as audience engagement, quick jokes, and real life stories, etc. I’m listening to this fact by fact presentation, and it’s just boring.
Then Abby finishes, and the coach explains that she needs to hear numbers (which is what the VC’s said the day before, and what I have been saying since day one). The coach then asks about marketing, and how we have done so far. Abby said we haven’t done any. I interject and say, “That’s not true; we have…”
Abby: “We don’t have any marketing. None.”
I’m done being nice at this point, I’ve been way too nice this entire trip. So, I rip into her and explain how much organic reach we’ve gotten since yesterday. Our post reach was around 1600 at the time, and we are probably pushing a dozen signups in the last our. The coach asked how we planned to market going forward and I told her about my reddit post, my Silicon Prairie News Story, WOWT 6 Channel News, plus I’m a code camp instructor and have people at the University of Nebraska – Omaha that would be a huge source of free marketing.
The coach looks over at Abby and asks why none of that was in the pitch.
Abby: “I…I didn’t know…”
Me: “Bullshit, I told you on Day 1 that Silicon Prairie News did a story about my code camp, and that I work for a company that would love to see me succeed and promote my business. You just wanted to take the spotlight and screw everyone else. That’s what happened, and don’t pretend you didn’t know. Because you knew from day one.”
The coach immediately directed her attention to the group and explained, “You guys have something good going here. David, why aren’t you and your story included in this pitch? That is huge, it’s how you gain traction,” she urged as she handed me her card.
Me: “I’ve been trying to be a part of the pitch since day one, but Abby didn’t feel like she had a role on the bus, and I didn’t want her to feel left out. They (Dulce and Abby) started leaving me out more and more over the course of the bus trip.”
Coach: “(She looks to Abby) You guys finished in just four minutes, and you have six. You need to get him in there with that story.”
Abby: “I agree; we’ll talk about it afterwards.”
As I’m leaving, there is a news crew member that wants to talk to me. I was dejected at this point. Over the last three days I’ve seen Abby and Dulce take my idea from me, prevent me from trying to pitch it, removing me from even being in the room when they were giving the pitch for my company, and now this morning they were trying to prevent me from discussing the social media marketing. I just wasn’t in the mood to talk but…
The news member asked me to sum up my idea and how I came up with it; So, I explained it to him, but it was probably the least emphatic way to say it, I basically gave him my 60 second pitch but with very little enthusiasm. Once I was done, he put his hand on my shoulder because he could tell I was in such emotional pain at that point.
I thanked him, and walked over to a work station. Abby came and sat down next to me, and asked me for the numbers. I gave them to her, and I asked her how we are going to integrate me into the pitch.
Abby: “Oh, we’re not going to. I just need those numbers.”
Me: “So, even after a well respected coach just told you that my story and marketing process should be used for the last two minutes of the pitch, you still are going to refuse professional’s advice just like you’ve ignored the VC’s advice and our own mentors’ advice.”
Abby: “I pitch in less than two hours, we don’t have time to mend our differences and pitch this together.”
Me: “Got it; fine. Let’s just get through today”
I went to get back to work on the landing page, just to clean up a few things.
Then, I went to the Facebook page…and Abby and Dulce removed me as an admin. To be clear, the effectively removed me from the Facebook Page that I created and generated all of that post reach from.
I was livid at this point, and simply went over to Theresa and told her, “This needs to stop, right now. They’ve taken credit for my idea, my work, and now they have removed me as the admin and creator of my Facebook page. You need to stop them right now.”
So, Theresa has to come over and play mom because these two girls wanted to try to take another piece of my business.
Unbelievable; I’ve never see so much…so much…guts? I don’t know what.
So, Theresa had them put me back on as an admin, and Dulce tried to play it off as if she didn’t know what she did.
I informed them at that point that I am not interested in their games. 100% not interested. Just finish today, and we’ll be done.
Once the pitches started, I loosened up. I watched the other teams high fiving, and wished I would have had a much more positive experience here; I always look back at what I could have done differently, and I really wish I would have just used this as a learning experiences with Abby’s Google Chrome Mood Ring business. It sounds like a dumb business, but at least I would have had fun learning to build Google Chrome Extensions. I look back at where I made mistakes in the pitch at the beginning too, in that first 90 seconds on the bus.
I already felt like their was a lack of talent on this bus, and I should have trusted my gut and just chose a different idea that I brought with me.
Oh well, lessons learned; at this point, I was just ready to enjoy the other pitches and hear the feedback the judges provided so I could better prepare myself when I do this with my own company some day soon.
Abby’s pitch was dull, and basic. Which is fine, but not worthy to make it to the next round. In addition, she somehow managed to make the pitch even worse, and didn’t finish in the 6 minutes allowed (her pitch to the coach was in 3m 50s, and now she somehow couldn’t manage to get it done in 6m).
It was a craptastic end to a craptastic last two days.
I knew we had no chance to make it to the semifinals, so I simply started socializing with others and learned about the people at the event.
Damn, other people formed potentially long lasting friendships; whereas I’m expecting to contact a lawyer tomorrow morning to get help with a separation agreement.
It was 11:30pm by the time I was done interacting/networking. Now, I know that my business isn’t going to be up and running any time soon. So, I realize that I now need to be even more frugal with my money. So, I grab my two backpacks, strap them on my back, and grab my plastic bag with my handmade Alpaca Wool Jacket and dirty close, and start walking the 1.5 miles back to the hotel.
While walking to my hotel, it started raining. Then, my bag ripped open in the middle of a street. I was already feeling down because of how the last few days ended up, and could barely hold myself together at this point. I was at a low point, and I was alone. Then a small SUV pulled over, and asked if I needed help. I just responded that I’m alright. The passenger said they had a plastic bag I could use, so I gladly accepted and thanked her.
Once I got back to my hotel, I just wanted to crash. But I was full of emotion, and couldn’t help but message the director of the event: