Presenting at Hackaday Unconference 2017

Why don’t all phones work like this?
— Cool guy with question at the end

Having ideas is hard. Having good ideas is harder. But the hardest by far is telling others about them.

Given the time and energy I've put into developing Banana Phone, I've had to explain it a few times, and I'm always tuning my presentation to the following points:

  1. Do they know how bad the robocall problem is?
  2. Do they care how my device/apps stop them?
  3. Would they actually buy the product?

The first one is pretty straight forward. People are well aware of the annoying calls they get offering free vacations or fake IRS agents from India asking for Amazon gift card as payment for late taxes.

The second is a little more tricky. The occasional robocall to a person's phone would seem almost negligible to the average consumer. They just ignore it or don't answer.

Like trying to sell a PlayStation to an Amish teenager, they simply aren't in my market demographic. On the other hand, to the consumer who's phone is bombed like 10+ times a day, my idea sounds like a godsend.

After explaining my device a few times, I learned that my concept either hits with the listener, or it falls on deaf ears. No middle ground; either they really like it or they don't care. And this is okay, most of time. If everybody was down to entertain every product idea they ever heard, marketers would be out of the job and every item sold ever would be a best seller.

This was the exact thing I was worried about when presenting at the Hackaday Unconference last Saturday: that my idea would be glossed over as not important or some kind of derivative work (fancy word for copy). And I'd be presenting amongst a group of peers with in-depth tech skills similar to mine, so if I was doing something stupid, they'd definitely say so.

I'm happy to say that after I presented my concepts, my idea was well received. The audience was greatly supportive, and a few people even asked when it would be on sale. Nice day, all around.

I had my cousin record my talk, and you can watch it here. The questions at the end were awesome. I got to practice my pitch, and even got some new answers to some usability questions that in the past had stumped me. The moral of the story: eventually you have to nut up and talk about your ideas; otherwise no one hears them at all. It's also nice if they like what you're actually talking about.