Brian Wong listens to a pitch at The Startup Conference

Call it the entrepreneurial school of hard knocks. More than a half dozen entrepreneurs were given the opportunity today to pitch their ideas on stage in less than three minutes at The Startup Conference in downtown Seattle.

Sounds easy, huh? Well, you’ve probably never seen Brian Wong in action. The fast-talking, know-it-all 20-year-old founder of mobile startup kiip critiqued each of the elevator pitches from entrepreneurs, some from folks twice his age.

“Just so you know, most of my opinions may be for both entertainment and for constructive purposes,” said Wong in warning the entrepreneurs before taking the stage. “You don’t know which 50 percent is for each, so try your best to figure out which one.”

Brian Wong

Sabira Arefin, the co-founder and CEO of LocalBlox, walked into the chainsaw and didn’t quite know what had hit her as she pitched a new neighborhood community and social networking site. “LocalBlox empowers businesses to connect with their customers using local social media and mobile platform. The site is currently serving in 60,000 neighborhoods in the U.S. and in all major cities worldwide.”

“Slow down. Slow down. We can’t hear,” said Wong as he interrupted Arefin in the first few sentences of her pitch.

Later, he offered a tough critique.

“Whenever you answer something, I feel like a train just ran me over,” said Wong. “There is a lot of data in one snippet, so when you are talking to a human being there’s a lot of breaks you need to put in there. We don’t all think as fast as you do…. As much as the information is important, the delivery of it is also just as important to be able to understand it and for me to be able to digest it.”

Here are a couple of the pitches from entrepreneurs.

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  • Dot Com Deja Vu

    In a couple of years a 14 year old will be the expert….

  • Robert Mao

    This is actually most interesting and inspirational session today! Brain is brilliant! Thanks for posting the pitch, John!

    • johnhcook

      Agreed. The session was really, really entertaining. And Brian had some constructive things to say to folks too. 

  • Robert Hammond

    Why do people pay money for these things?

    • Robert Mao

      Well, we didn’t pay for the pitch. 

  • Chet Kittleson

    It’s hard not to be impressed with a guy like Brain Wong. Not quite as educational as some of the seasoned vets, but man was it entertaining! 

  • Guest

    Congratulations to Brian! He should come to the cinema with me. I’d love to know his critique of Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3D.

  • Guest

    Personally, I found this segment of the conference awkward and unproductive. Having a young entrepreneur critique pitches of other entrepreneurs (likely twice his age) created an uncomfortable dynamic. There is something to be said about experience. I am, however, impressed with Brian’s knowledge. I would suggest the organizers limit this segment to 30 minutes next time. 

    Glenn Kelman’s speech at the end of the conference was great. 

    • johnhcook

      I could see how some would not like the session, but I thought the entertainment value was quite high and Brian actually had some constructive things to share. I missed Glenn Kelman’s talk unfortunately. 

    • BPariah

      There’s one thing to be said about having years of experience.  But there’s another when you can’t clearly pitch your business idea across.  For example, I’m still unclear about what the SoccerBuddies pitch was aiming for.  He kept going on about empowerment, branding, and so on that we never really got a clear idea of the strategy, any sort of revenue figures (which was surprisingly missing from ALL of the pitches), team, and so on.

  • Heidi Yu

    This is really cool! Where’s my video for POCOMARU? I was the last one pitched…:-)

    • johnhcook

      Sorry Heidi. I had to cut out early, so I missed that one. Had did it go?

  • Todd Hooper

    Would love to see a seasoned local CEO like Glenn Kelman do this next year. No offense to Brian, who has done a great job creating buzz for Kiip.

  • Todd Hooper

    Would love to see a seasoned local CEO like Glenn Kelman do this next year. No offense to Brian, who has done a great job creating buzz for Kiip.

  • Sda

    wow, its so fucking cool. wow, its so cool fucking.  Could not understand why everyone wants to listen to a kid? Good for the kid!

  • Jerald

     Really a inspirarion to all young men and womens

  • Mark

    Yup this is an inspiration for all .

  • Guest

    Brain Wong was a complete joke! Some of the languages he used to crtique the “Fur Ball” girl was just abusive and sexually explicit.  The organizer should have putup the profiles of the judge during the application process. I am sure Sabira /LocalBlox wouldn’t have presented at this conference  if the company was aware of the judge’s profile.  LocalBlox already serves in thousands of neighborhoods and has made buzz. JohnCook, You are also made a fool out of yourself by writing about it.

  • Asdf

    What a waste of stale conference room air….

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