My phone was ringing as I woke up from a short slumber (I’d probably even call it a nap) at 2:30 in the morning.
This wasn’t unexpected, as most phone calls would be at such an hour. No, I knew I had to get out of bed, gather my things and hurry on outside. We were headed to TechDay, in New York City.
If you haven’t heard of TechDay, it’s the largest startup convention in the country. This year, there were over 35,000 attendees to see and experience new companies and their projects. Tons of companies and sponsors have their own booths to present their new ideas to investors, potential employees, and other attendees just interested in what’s coming.
A year ago on this day, I was still waking up early for classes, finishing up projects and assignments, and stressing about my grades. Now, I’m heading to the largest startup convention in the country, getting ready to promote ChowDown. That was one of the many thoughts racing through my head as Anthony, Isaac, Chiara, Devin and I sat and stood at our booth for ChowDown, waiting for the floodgates to open.
And when the flood hit, it hit fast, and we were off running.
I didn’t know what to expect, really. I’ve never participated in a booth at any sort of convention. I’ve never even been to a convention like this; the closest thing would be Pax East, which is just a video game convention. It was a very different experience but it has it’s similarities at the same time; some of the larger booths had games and prizes, people were giving out food, and everybody had bags filled with random souvenirs.
But at TechDay, the vibe was a little different. Instead of enjoying and playing the latest video games, we were experiencing and seeing all different types of technological advancements, ideas and companies that are trying to make a stamp on the world, and we were just one of them. What was so cool and fun about the experience was that at the end of the day, people were just interested in learning about new and cool things that could be coming to the world soon. ChowDown was one of those things, and the reception we had was outstanding.
We had a lot of people coming up to our booth asking us what ChowDown was, and at first, it felt surreal finally talking about ChowDown openly to random people. Before, it was to my friends and family, who knew I was a part of this company and of course, would feel obligated to support me. I knew ChowDown was a good idea, but it’s hard to gauge the true interest of people who wouldn’t want to discourage you.
That wasn’t the case at TechDay. Those were people who wanted to be impressed, who came in with expectations they wanted to have met. Almost everybody at the booth came to hear about ChowDown, and walked away extremely impressed. It was so amazing to see peoples’ faces light up as we talked about ChowDown, laying out the features and the purpose of our app. People were nodding, smiling, and some mouths were even gaping as we discussed what ChowDown can do. That kind of positive reaction fueled us, and kept us going for the 7 hours that TechDay was active. Running on little to no sleep, we fought through exhaustion to share our app with the world.
One of my favorite things about TechDay were all of the people stopping by our booth who were a part of other startups, who were just interested in seeing what other companies were making. Some of them were related to us and could work with us, like quality assurance companies, for example. Others were entirely unrelated to what we were doing, but still were interested in the cool stuff that we and all of the other startups in the building had to offer. It was a really fun and friendly environment, where everybody was just excited about the new, cool tech coming to the world.
This was the first time ChowDown came to TechDay, but it certainly won’t be the last. We’re very excited to return next year, and just being at the convention and seeing all of the other booths gave us more ideas for what we can do next year to improve the reception even more.
Not only was it very effective and productive for us to take part in TechDay, but we had an absolute blast as well. It was amazing to see everything else out there. Some of the ideas people have are inspiring to hear about and see; I look forward to seeing some of these ideas take fruition and get implemented into the world.
If you’ve never been to TechDay, I highly recommend you give it a chance and just walk around and see what’s out there. Creativity holds no bounds in today’s world.
TechDay was amazing, and we can’t wait to return next year, almost as much as we can’t wait for ChowDown to launch, come this July.