Events For Entrepreneurs in San Francisco

Strangers Sharing Secrets: Inside a Brainstorming Mixer

It was one of my goals to attend a professional mixer, and ideakick seemed to suit my purposes. Basically, it's a smorgasbord of brainstormers coming together to feed off of each other's ideas and suggestions. You know the genius idea you had in the shower? Well, ideakick is the perfect place to see if your shower-inspired idea is awesome or just plain crazy; the line between the two can be quite fine sometimes. The premise behind the meetup is brilliant: anyone who wants to present gets 10 minutes to pitch an idea and receive feedback from people.

To hear some of the amazing pitches, including playing air guitar on an iPhone, read on.

Since the crowd was such an eclectic mix — engineers, people in sales, people who work in startups, and more — the mix of ideas was pretty diverse. First up, a woman presented a salty gum venture that she had been thinking about but hasn't fully developed. She said she came upon the idea because she had a "salt tooth," which is pretty much what it sounds like — the salty equivalent of a sweet tooth. She's been having trouble trying to figure out how to manufacture it and market it. She was immediately bombarded with a barrage of suggestions. One person suggested sending the specs to Alibaba.com, a website that will manufacture it for you for cheap from China. Another guy said that it would be great to approach mixologists in the area and offer them the salty gum as a complement to go with their drinks. Apparently the expert cocktail mixers have a huge following on the Internet, so it's a great online marketing opportunity.

There were so many great ideas that it's hard to pick my favorite, but there was one that appealed to me, or rather, my inner rockstar. An enterprising individual from Holland presented an iPhone app that his startup created, which was basically a smartphone version of an air guitar. His iPhone had a little guitar pick that was connected to it, and you just strum in the air with the pick and press the different keys displayed on the Apple cell phone. Again, a plethora of ideas flooded the room. Even a pretty nifty tagline for the product popped up in the discussion.

The event was definitely a great addition to my laundry list of professional development activities. I met lots of inspiring individuals and left with a ton of ideas buzzing around in my mind. I didn't present an idea this time around, but watch out ideakickers, I'm going to give a rockstar-like pitch (without the help of an iPhone app to boot) at the next event!

Like my stories so far? Why not join me on my journey of professional development! To keep it fun and mix things up for you readers, I'm going to attempt to do a different activity every week.

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