I received an email last week, from Emily in the Mahalo studios saying they would like me to appear on the coming Friday's episode of This Week in Startups, to pitch the concept of Fidgetstick/ in their Shark Tank segment. I would be presenting to Jason Calacanis, founder of Mahalo, his side kick Tyler Crowley and this weeks guest - Andy Smith of health, fitness and nutrition social technology company DailyGrind.
To say things started off badly would be an understatement. Although I was sat eagerly, and pretty nervously, in front of computer screen for over an hour before hand (I even sat through some of Lorn Harris' This Week in Twitter - which I'd not done before and it was ok, bit weird) I was not prepared for the chaos that would soon ensue.
Fully prepped to be "skyped" in live and on video, this was going to be a cool. The guys in the studio said they'd hook up and test the skype connection plenty in advance, to make sure there were no last minute technical issues. The show started and soon got into full swing. No call from the studio. I could sense that we were getting close, the Ask Jason segment had started and it must be my turn soon.
Just then, the computer was beckoning me to answer - "maholo studios calling"
I pressed to answer, ready to make a good first impression. Nothing. I clicked again. Nothing. Bugger. I was now rapid clicking, as if that might work. Nope. Tried to text to say it wasn't working and only got the dreading circle of "I'm not sending your message right now. Ha!"
I didn't know what to do - I couldn't find the studio's phone number, I couldn't connect. Just then, Jason Calacanis pipes up and says "...oh, the caller isn't picking up, we'll move on..."
I see people posting in the chatroom. "Shark Tank" "Where is Shark Tank" "We want Shark Tank".
Ah, the chat room. I quickly post that my skype failed and pleaded for someone at Mahalo to contact me. Cue chat room "get a skype mechanic", "come on dude"
This was going rubbish!
Just as I was giving up hope, my mobile rang and I could see the number was from across the pond. Phew. It was the lovely, but slightly frantic Emily from Mahalo, wondering why I wasn't picking up. A small explanation falling on sympathetic but harassed ears and I was listening to the hold music before being connected. Phew. Right steady yourself Steve, big deep breath.
"What the hell is going on?"
I can hear it connecting. "Hello?" nothing.
Connect again - I can hear Jason speaking at the other end. "Hello?" Nothing.
Emily comes on - "sorry, please keep holding". More connection issues. Man, this is doing my pitch prep no good. I can see Jason on the screen, muted so as not to get feedback, pulling his hair out. "This pitch is getting a 0 so far!" I could see his lips moving.
"5th Time's a charm" And I'm connected. Somehow, I managed to steady myself a little, have at least a semi-coherent conversation (whilst getting a little ribbed for my overly posh British accent) and deliver my pitch.
I was so happy that it was really well received in general by everyone - pitch - 7,8,9 - idea - 8,9,10 (out of 10!). High scores, great feedback and, well... take a listen. Here's the full show - my debacle starts around 37 minutes.