Last Friday, I had the lucky opportunity to participate in the CODE Hackathon grand finale because A Healthier Commute was one of the top 15 apps that came out of that competition. This was going to be tough because I’m not good at public speaking and now I had to present to a bunch of important people.

I spent the week before perfecting my pitch. It had to be under 4 minutes and included one of my recent videos so really, I only had 2:45. I wrote up my pitch, practiced it, realized it went over time and cut cut cut. I really do think that from initial conception to delivery, I practiced it 100 times.

So with everything prepared, then came the day to actually do it. The organizers gave everyone an opportunity to do a dry run a few hours before the actual event which I took advantage of. I arrived and quickly realized that my slides and screenshots were messed up because I had designed for 16:9 but the display was 4:3. That sucked, but I had a few seconds to fix up some of the text.

My dry run went alright, but I was a little over time. Next was the hard part – the long wait before actually speaking. There was about a 2 hour wait, and there’s nothing much that I could do during that time (I didn’t think I needed to practice anymore). The teams before me delivered error-free pitches (at least I couldn’t tell) and then it was my turn. To tell you the truth, I went on auto-pilot and relied on my practicing. I don’t remember what I actually did, except I know that I screwed up in (at least) 2 places: 1) I forgot to say one line (but it was repetition/support) and 2) I forgot to advance the animations on my slide until near the end (wasn’t too bad, but wanted to give audience more time to read). I might have screwed up in other places but I really can’t remember so I’ll have to wait to watch a tape.

I had several people come up to me afterwards and say that I had the best pitch that night! (although I’m not sure if it’s true or whether they were buttering me up for something else). Of course the highlight was coming in second place, but getting a photo with Robert Herjavic was also really great:

I’ve seen him a lot on Dragon’s Den and he is a celebrity. One more photo to add to my with-celebrities album!