The first-ever startup was founded roughly half a million years ago when man discovered fire, and in turn developed the technology to control it. The founder went by the name H.E. Neanderthal and his company was called NeAndrLamp.com. While his achievement most certainly changed the course of human history, it is the exhaust of his product that catches our attention to this very day.
You see, Mr. Neanderthal not only gave his people the ability to cook food, ward off predators, and stay warm - he also gave them the power to stretch daylight. Many a startup founder has lamented over millennia: “There are not enough hours in the day”. We now know, you used to work until you could no longer see your hand in front of your face, and then it was quitting time.
By extending day into night he created a space for people to gather, stay up late, and be social. For what do people do when they are gathered together? They tell stories. Stories about their day, their work, and their life. Therefore, fire was the first Facebook.
Stories are at the core of the human experience. They are how we share dangers, inspire others to action, and pass along knowledge. Last week the CableLabs Board of Directors gathered for their biannual meeting in New York City, where our Fiterator Teams shared their stories. Having just passed the halfway point in the Fiterator program perfecting their narratives and tailoring their pitches for our industry, our teams came face-to-face with half of a trillion dollars worth of market cap, all in one room.
That’s a lot of fire.
They were given seven minutes to convey their potential impact on the world’s most powerful network. The pressure was intense, and the heat was palpable.
We are happy to report that each one of them controlled fire in their moment and connected with their audience by sharing their unique story. They were met with engagement, excitement, and executive-level praise.
Because you’re reading this, we asked them how they did it and what it was like to craft one of the most important stories of their careers. Here is what they had to say:
John Cassidy, CEO, King and Union:
“One of the best experiences in my career by far! One of the hardest, but I also learned so very much through the process, the pitch, and from my reflections.”
Pablo Hesse, CEO, Teltoo:
"The NYC board meeting is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It is very rare to have the opportunity to present your company and product to an audience of this kind and that’s why UpRamp is a unique program. However, the board meeting is only the tip of the iceberg because the real work happened during the previous weeks when we had the opportunity to chat with all the members of the industry about their main challenges. Thanks to those conversations, it was easier for us to explain to the C-level executives what we bring to the table and why partnering with us could be very beneficial for them.”
Ray Abel, CEO, Xogo by Bansen Labs:
“We had a great experience interacting with the CableLabs board members in New York City. It's always refreshing to see people who are passionate about innovation, and the questions we received showed us that the audience truly understood what we are trying to accomplish. We're looking forward to working with these operators to allow people of all abilities to connect to technology.”
JC Ramey, CEO, DeviceBits:
"This was a pivotal moment for our company and a highlight in my personal career. Startups usually don't get the opportunity to share their vision and passion with the leadership of major companies like we did in New York - audiences like this are reserved for the major corporations that will pay top dollar for the time that was given to us by UpRamp. This has been an opportunity we won't forget and one that we will maximize in our own growth."
Each Fiterator team - already successful, profitable, and established - has been on a rigorous journey to rework, reword, and reshape their narrative to fit this new audience. A story is only good when it resonates with the audience - and this can only be found through shared understanding. We applaud each of these founders for their fearlessness to show up and do the hard work of uncovering the commonalities between their businesses and the global connectivity industry.
Half a million years after harnessing fire, storytelling remains the base of innovation. This is why we show up - every day. We show up to bring together people together, and to make the world a more connected place.
What do you show up for? I want to hear about it. Shoot it my way.