Monday, April 23, 2012

How to Get Into an Exclusive 500 Startups Event as a VIP

When I first heard about the new MamaBear Tech Conference that 500 Startups was planning, I just had to get there. The ticket price was about $250. With TimeGears being an early stage startup, that's a lot of dough! Although it would be nice, it wasn't going to happen.
Since I've been stalking 500 Startups for a while, I stay up to date on what they are doing. When they announced a contest with MailChimp to get free tickets to the event, I saw a chance to get there.

The MailChimp Contest Page

I thought I'd give it a try. All I had to do was come up with a subtitle for a picture of a chimp, like with LOL cats. I put a few captions in there.

Well, apparently my version of funny didn't click with MailChimp. I didn't win that contest.

On to the next . . .

So, later, there was another contest. Nice! Another chance to score some MamaBear Tech tickets.

The Rackspace Contest Page

This time there was a funky, abstract looking picture of a cat (maybe). So, I put in some time thinking about it, and added some even awesome'r taglines this time. I was sure they would do the trick :)

Well, a pattern was emerging. RackSpace and MailChimp shared the same opinion of my work :(

As luck would have it, I had one more chance! What a relief, I still had a way to go see all the awesomeness 500 Startups had planned.

The .CO Contest Page

Those tricky folks at had something different in mind. It was based on Dave McClure's Pitch Game. They wanted a tagline to go along with the .CO domain I put in my tagline, and left it at that.

Then, I figured I could do a lot better . . .

So, I bought the domain, and built a website around the tagline "We be givin' ridez to 'dem doggiez, 'cuz it's hard out here for a pup!" The "business" was a puppy transportation service powered by old school rappers. I added a form to pick a car, a rapper, a posse, some other optional stuff, and a faux PayPal button to check out. There's also a video and a number to call for requesting a puppy pick-up (powered by Twilio).

When it was all done, I sent a tweet out to all the peeps: "Hey @davemcclure @paulsingh @dotco @500 We just finished the MVP for #500Strong #LeanStartup #MamaBearTech."

Then . . . all I could do was . . . wait . . .

About 25 minutes later, I got a DM from @dotco:

"Hi! We think your site is hilarious- we just have to give you a Mama Bear ticket! Please email"

Sweet! Finally, a company with a GOOD sense of humor :)

I guess that just shows that being extra awesome will get it done extra often.

Wait until you find out who ended up going with me . . .