Want to Jet? Jet Over to the Magical Land of...
... Hoboken. Hey hey folks! I just got back from an NJ Tech meetup in Hoboken, New Jersey. "NEW JERSEY!?" You incredulously ask me.
Yes, New Jersey. Hoboken is across the bay, West from Manhattan, and is a clean, beautiful place. It's calm, it's similar to parts of Toronto in its appearance.
One building was home of the Jet.com offices. The computers were roped off for nobody to see, but the other areas of the office were open, including some deep and comfy, futuristic chairs. They had coolers of Dogfish Pub and Blue Moon beers and boxes pizza for us all to enjoy. Plus Jenga and pool tables! POOL TABLES IN AN OFFICE! I didn't even mention the beautiful kitchen!
What stood out though was the air of the place. The feel. When I walked in, I had a feeling of calm. I felt still. I felt comfortable. I felt at home.
The founder of ToolMuse (Interview by Chris at Ideas That Are Not Good here: Aiko Thurlow) gave a pitch there, and I came to network and help out filming her pitch for my internship with her. Throughout the meeting, which involved three pitches, some cool stuff I'll get to in a minute, and a panel with the Jet.com tech team, there was a lot of content and value to digest, so of course I brought with me my journal to write in.
Aiko began her talk, speaking about ToolMuse, the gist of the site: a place for entrepreneurs to open up about their tool preferences and suggest tools for other entrepreneurs to use for their needs. On ToolMuse, entrepreneurs can login an build a repertiore of business tools they use and love, and get input from other entrepreneurs for tools they want to use.
Next in line, Linh, a graphene researcher working with Bon Bouton, spoke about wearable electronics and his research in developing the spine - the wire that connects all the electronic components - and cpu of clothing that is in development. Clothing that will sense your biometric data for instance. Truly wearable electronics. He spoke about the idea of the wearable electronics and referenced his research in graphene, the conductive material used in the spine he designed for the shirt, and specifically in bringing graphene to consumer goods.
The third talk was interrupted by me going to renew my car's meter, but I definitely remember it being about data. Alas, I do not have the data on data.
Now for the cool part: a coach from Genuine Knowhow, a public speaking coach agency gave pointers to all the presenters after each one presented! Aiko, a precisely-spoken woman with confident and clear body language was told that she involved authenticity in her speech, a quality which the coach reccommends vehemently. Focusing on the present moment and being a person, rather than focusing on a speech and being a robot portrays confidence.
To bring it home, a phrase was stated, which I thoroughly enjoyed: To portray confidence, you do not have to be confident. Aiko mentioned that she felt nervous, even though we, and I'm sure Aiko herself, would agree she portrayed confidence. Rather than a lack of nervousness, confidence is shown in controlled, precise communication, accurate of what the speaker themself feels personally. A congruent and precise communication style is a great way to restate confidence.
After the graphene researcher spoke, the coach came on and gave a great tip for articulation. The researcher spoke with uncertainy, with many fillers, such as "umm" and "uhh," restating what he would say multiple times using different words. While English wasn't his first language, the coach had this great tip: practice your speech with a pen in your mouth. Or, if you're adventurous, practice it with your fingers in your mouth. Or your boyfriend's dick to throw in a curveball, it'll do the same trick. You have to fight and concentrate to get your words out clearly, putting you in a mindful position of your speech, clearly understanding where your tongue, mouth, and lips are (you're probably stuck wih visuals from the dick joke. I'm not sorry, it's hilarious.)
I tried it on the way home with a pen, and for the next few minutes after I took the pen out (yes, I went the pen route, I'm not that flexible - winks for effect), I had a great conversation with myself and spoke very clearly. I'm a great listener.
In all seriousness though, it is a great tip for practicing articulation.
Today was a wide success. I went out of my comfort zone, into a new community, in a new place - I've only visited Hoboken once for Propeller Fest - in a new environment - the beautiful offices of Jet.com. The tips the coach gave were great, the information, enriching, and I have a screening with Jet.com on Friday for their tech internship, and a couple new people to add to my network!
I have much to learn from the startup world, and while I have been calling myself an Entrepreneur, there are so many people who humble me when I go to these meetings that title seems so off! Inspiration comes in many places!
However, Imposter Syndrome gets the best of us, so I'll defer judgement on that. Wish me luck on Friday, folks!