Intern Erin Kim, a rising sophomore in Business Administration, is interning with DataDog Health this summer. DataDog, created by 2 Wash U alum, Elizabeth Russel & Ravi Chacko, utilizes mobile technology to help users identify, track, mitigate and reduce anxiety. Erin had the opportunity to attend StartUp VooDoo in June and shared her thoughts on the event and its impact on her as an intern.
Thursday, June 18th, hundreds of young-minded entrepreneurs gathered at Hotel Lumiere in downtown St. Louis. I, thanks to Elizabeth, had the wonderful opportunity to attend and become part of multiple interesting conversations that took place on this day. Just one of the many perks of interning for DataDog.
Creating a “Frictionless” World
“We are on our way to creating a frictionless world,” said Robert Scoble, the author of a business best-seller Age of Context. The first question that popped into my mind: what does that even mean? Only after he brought up Uber and Spotify as examples of this frictionless movement did things begin to make sense.
1) Uber – Coachella attracted nearly 100,000 attendees per day this year. Huge crowds of people, limited parking space, an amazing business opportunity for Uber. Travis Kalanick, the CEO of Uber, quickly picked up on this potential opportunity and made sure to get the place covered. Being at the right place and the right time led to less “friction” in consumer lives and more money for the company.
2) Spotify – Spotify has stepped up its music streaming game by adding the accelerometer feature. It is now able to create customized workout playlists based on the rate that a person is moving. One less hurdle in everyone’s journey to becoming fit.
In short, companies are trying to create a more “frictionless” world by studying everything about human behavior: what we eat, where we shop, what we search. From this data, companies come up with new features or startups are created from ingenious ideas. In the end, they all have the same goal: to make our lives easier—and make money while doing so.
Three Most Promising Startups
One of the greatest things about this event was that it attracted entrepreneurs and investors all over the country to St. Louis to showcase their knowledge and talents. I had the chance to hear the pitches of the three “most promising” startups that have been chosen to present at this final round: Hip Pocket, Donald, and Ear Compass.
Each startup brought a unique discussion to the table, both among the audience and the judging panel. Beyond the initial “wow” factor of the pitch quality, the investors asked about the functionality behind the app/product, size of the user market, revenue sources, and most importantly, the prevalence of the problem they’re attempting to fix.
So now we ask ourselves: how else can we study our customers to make their lives simpler and to make our product better?