TAG-Business-Launch-Logo-Color-12-12-14-e1421188462225I’m looking forward to being a judge in the finals of the TAG Biz Launch Competition 2016, in Atlanta.

Fifteen finalists will pitch their businesses in front of a live audience and live judges panel. The finalists will be competing for a $50,000 prize pool and over $350,000 in suite of services.

The finale of the Biz Launch Competition 2016 will be open to the public (register here to attend). In partnership with the Technology Association of Georgia, Venture Atlanta, and Metro Atlanta Chamber.

This will be my eighth year judging the competition. I love seeing the variety of startups in Georgia. And enjoy learning from the perspective of the other judges.

Past winners and participating companies include Pindrop Security (investors include a16z), Monsieur, Techturized, Salesloft, and Rigor.

With an impressive lineup of startups pitching in the 2016 competition, it should be an interesting and engaging event.

2016 Finalists:

  • Baasware: A holistic approach to fulfilling enterprise software needs
  • DecisionIQ: Proprietary software for managing inventories of spare equipment parts
  • Fittery: Software to ensure perfect fit in online clothing purchases
  • FIXD: Technology that monitors vehicle problems
  • FraudScope: Software to detect and reduce medical fraud
  • Freeing Returns: App to streamline retail returns
  • Green Badger: Software tools to aid in the construction of LEED certified buildings
  • Intelligent Pathway: Online personalized learning for pre-K-12 students
  • RaceIQ Engineering: Cyber security software for the automotive market
  • Sequr: Visitor management software for residential buildings
  • Spün: Calorie-counting, nutrition tracking hi-tech utensils
  • TrendBrew: Commerce platform connecting shoppers with social influencers and sellers
  • VeriSolutions Restaurant and food safety protocol monitoring solutions
  • Vestigo: Centralized marketplace for unique locally-guided adventures
  • Vitamin C: Automated recruitment service for healthcare providers


I recently sat down with Kevin Sasser, Vice President with Company.com, to talk about product management.

Here’s a link to his new – and witty – article about my suggestions for how to discover authentic customer demand for a product. And for how to bound the otherwise unbounded risk of building products not enough people want to buy:

Looking the Tiger in the Eye, and Other Ramblings of a Mad Man“, by Kevin Sasser.

Thanks to Kevin for writing the article. And for comparing my strategic approach to presentations to Don Draper’s.

“People tell you who they are, but we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be.” Don Draper, season four, The Summer Man


TAG-logoI recently spoke at the Technology Association of Georgia “TAG Entertainment: Entertainment Industry Summit“.

Our Digital Media & Gaming panel discussed topics including R&D and innovation; incubation, acceleration and collaboration; product development and launch; and content delivery.

What they said after our session:

“It was a total HIT. I had people coming up to me afterwards, saying it was “inspirational” and “awesome” and several consulting the notes they took and wanting to hear more. Everyone I talked to after wished that we could have gone on longer, which never happens.” – Jesse Lindsley, panel moderator

“I have done a lot of panels – usually in front of comic book fans dressed as Klingons – and that was one of my favorite ever.” – Paul Jenkins, comic book writer, panelist

Jesse Lindsley, CEO, Thrust Interactive, moderated a great lineup of panelists including:

  • Jeff Hilimire, Co-Founder, Dragon Army. Jeff recently sold digital media agency Engauge to Publicis Group for a reported $60M-$70M, and has just announced his new venture, Dragon Army, a mobile incubator out of Atlanta Tech Village in partnership with David Cummings.
  • Paul Jenkins, Writer/Creator, BOOM! Studios. Previously comic book writer for Marvel Comics. Paul is doing so many things in transmedia story telling to even attempt to list.
  • Blake Lewin, President, Atlanta Game Cooperative. Blake and I worked together as VP’s in Turner Broadcasting’s New Products Group. Blake has just launched his latest venture, Atlanta Game Cooperative, bringing 3rd party game development projects to Atlanta.
  • Gil Weinberg, Founder, Zooz Mobile. Gil is the Founding Director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology and is also keeping busy launching new games/apps as the Founder of Zooz Mobile.
  • David Eckoff, Co-Founder, Pickoff Sports, a technology startup developing a SaaS social games platform. In 2012, the company was selected as one of fourteen startups to participate in the Flashpoint accelerator program at the Georgia Institute of Technology. I’m also working on some exciting product strategy leadership with my advisory company Revolutionary Ventures. Previously VP New Products at Turner Broadcasting, Real, Rivals.com, IBM. Ustream.tv; Zazzle.




ProductCamp trophy 2013Honored to receive the “Best Presenter” award by vote of the 300 attendees at the seventh annual ProductCamp Atlanta conference yesterday. I presented: “Hacking Customer Discovery”.

Attendees of my session learned how to dramatically reduce the risk of building products that nobody wants to buy.

Product managers and entrepreneurs who attended:

– Learned a customer discovery process to get you moving incredibly fast
– Learned how to avoid the most common big mistakes people make in Customer Discovery (don’t do these!)
– Discovered a powerful approach to testing your hypotheses that you’d never come up with on your own
– Learned a simple but non-obvious hack to get interviews with customers you don’t know yet

It was a great audience, and a lot of fun to lead the session at ProductCamp Atlanta.

Attendees of my session are keeping the momentum going with a month of weekly group coaching accountability sessions via teleconference, starting this Tuesday night.


BusLaunch2013This month, I’m pleased to be judging the semi-finals round of the TAG Business Launch Competition 2013.

This will be my sixth year judging the competition. I love seeing the variety of startups in Georgia. And enjoy learning from the perspective of the other judges.

Companies will be competing for a cash prize and a suite of related professional services that is valued at more than $450,000.

Over two days, each of the 10 semi-finals companies will make a 15 minute pitch to the panel of judges, followed by a 15 minute Q&A session. At the end of each day, the judges will discuss their views about each company and summarize feedback for the company about their plan and presentation.

Then, at the end of the two days, the semi-finals judges will deliberate and select companies to continue to the finals round.

Ten companies have made it to the semi-finals round:

  • Blue Mountain Software
  • Flash Issue, Inc.: “An online publishing tool that can help anyone effortlessly find fresh content and create newsletters in minutes.”
  • here LLC: “Transforming the way local merchants connect to consumers through an innovative mobile application that generates simplified business analytics.”
  • Merlin Mobility, Inc.: “Augmented reality instruction.”
  • Rigor: “Monitor customer experience on your website.”
  • SafelyStay: “The safest way to rent a vacation home.”
  • Sideqik: “Partner marketing. Simplified.”
  • Techturized: “A social network for hair and beauty.”
  • WACSI: “a SaaS solution for all Brands’ products Environmental Claims verification needs, with a consumer facing interactive app”
  • We&Co: “Using data to hireand reward people inthe service economy”

Judges for 2013 include:

Preliminary Application Judges:

Semi-Finals Judges

Finals Judges:

About the TAG Business Launch Competition

The Business Launch Competition, now in its eighth year, supports economic development in Georgia by encouraging the creation and growth of new companies that will strengthen and expand Georgia’s strategic high tech clusters. A group of Georgia’s most successful high tech entrepreneurs has agreed to serve as mentors. A preeminent panel of business leaders, entrepreneurs and a venture capitalist has been recruited to judge the competition. In addition, a group of local investors will attend the final event and receive copies of the business plans for the finalists.

Register now to attend the Finals competition – early bird pricing ends April 19, 2013.


scoutPRO Launches Fantasy Baseball Tool on CBS Sports App Store

April 4, 2013

Congrats to Competitive Sports Analysis, a startup I advise, for their new fantasy baseball app on CBS Sports! scoutPro Fantasy Baseball uses highly accurate calculations based on key baseball statistics and expert subject matter analysis. The result is “scoutEDGE” scores, which are single numbers used to compare players’ fantasy value. scoutPRO optimizes user rosters based […]

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News: David Eckoff accepts invitation to join the Board of Directors of Health Discovery Corporation (HDVY)

March 4, 2013

On Friday, March 1, 2013 it was announced that I’ve accepted an invitation to join the Board of Directors of Health Discovery Corporation (HDVY). Health Discovery Corporation is a molecular diagnostics company that uses advanced mathematical techniques to analyze large amounts of data to uncover patterns that might otherwise be undetectable. It operates primarily in […]

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Speaking at Computation + Journalism Symposium 2013 at Georgia Tech

January 22, 2013

Teamed with IBM research scientist Jeff Nichols, I recently spoke about “Emerging Technology and Sports Journalism” at the Symposium on Computation + Journalism 2013 at Georgia Tech. It was a packed house and great audience! Five years after the first Computation and Journalism symposium  (which featured Krishna Bharat, Principal Scientist at Google and creator of […]

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Kicking Fear’s Ass: “I Walked Barefoot over Hot Burning Coals”

July 21, 2012

I stepped up to the fire pit, about to do something insane. In front of me was a bed of hot burning coals twelve feet long. With a temperature of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit – twice as hot as my Weber grill. The coals were glowing and ashed over. It looked like Hell. And I was […]

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Flashback Video: My Interview with Marissa Mayer – Marissa Mayer Named CEO at Yahoo

July 17, 2012

I had a chance to conduct a 1:1 interview with Marissa Mayer when she was Vice President at Google. The 90 minute interview was filmed before a live audience at Turner Studios. In honor of Marissa Mayer being named CEO at Yahoo, watch a flashback of our interview and read the five-part series I wrote about […]

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