Inside View of the MIT 100K Competition—How One Team Got to Tonight’s Finals
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at MIT introduced new techniques for applying software updates—techniques that make rebootless updates practical.
Jeff, Tim, Anders, and I finished our degrees at MIT in June 2008, and we knew that we had to run with this technology. So we incorporated Ksplice in July, and have been working on it full-time ever since. Nelson remains involved in an advisory capacity until he finishes his degree this June, at which point he’ll join us full time.
So where does the magic happen? Ksplice World Headquarters, of course. Conveniently located in our apartment in Cambridge, Ksplice HQ offers a hard-to-beat commute, and unparalleled dining facilities. When I’m not helping customers, I’m frying up some pretty serious cheeseburgers. I like to think of myself as the Chef Executive Officer. No, that’s not a typo.
One interesting aspect of the $100K is that it’s really a year-long experience, rather than a single contest. Like a long-distance race, you can’t just run it on your first day. First, there’s the warmup: the Elevator Pitch Contest in October. Then, in December, there’s the Executive Summary Contest, where we won the Web/IT track, and where our one-minute elevator pitch claimed the Audience Choice Award.
The Business Plan Competition is, of course, the marathon. Fortunately, we’ve had some training. Back in February, the $100K organizers assigned mentors to each of the teams, and since then, we’ve had the benefit of working with two top-notch mentors: William Frezza of Adams Capital Management, and Steven Henry of Wolf Greenfield. These guys do the business plan equivalent of making you jog by the river at the crack of dawn (with the “Rocky” theme playing in the background, of course).
Regardless of tonight’s outcome, tomorrow we’ll be back at our desks, writing code, delivering rebootless updates to our customers, and pursuing new opportunities. Tonight, though, we’re in the final lap of the $100K, and I intend to enjoy it.