Porn Always Wins, Bacon Salt Expands, and Other Thoughts from Entrepreneur University

11/6/09Follow @gthuang

I’m not going to do justice to this event. Let’s just get that out there right now. There were some great speakers and panels at yesterday’s Entrepreneur University in Bellevue, WA, organized by the Northwest Entrepreneur Network. But this isn’t about them. This is about the crowd-pleasers that brought an otherwise productive day to a close. That’s right—this is about pornography and Bacon Salt.

Not necessarily in that order, though. About a year ago, I profiled Bacon Salt, a couple of ex-Jobster guys in Seattle who hit upon a recipe for success: make everything taste like bacon. Their strategy of social media promotions—together with their natural charisma and some great-tasting food products (I can vouch for Baconnaise too)—has led to national exposure on ABC News, Oprah, Jay Leno, and the Today Show, not to mention a couple of segments on Jon Stewart (you can watch them here and here) that started it all.

Bacon Salt co-founder Dave Lefkow gave the closing keynote at the NWEN event, telling his company’s story from the beginning. From starting a food company on $5,000 (won from America’s Funniest Home Videos) instead of the $20 million usually expected in the industry, to fundraising and growth, to marketing and profitability, and now to Operation Bacon Salt—airlifting the company’s bacon-flavored condiments to U.S. troops in places like Afghanistan.

Through it all, Lefkow stressed the importance of finding evangelists for his products—including a couple in Virginia who tattooed the Bacon Salt logo on their legs. “These are people we don’t know,” he said. Bacon Salt also started a website in response to some kids who have snorted Bacon Salt…and put video clips on YouTube.

There are a few more updates to the story. He says Bacon Salt is “currently developing the world’s first meat-flavored personal lubricant.” I still don’t know if Bacon Lube is real or a joke, but Lefkow says he has found a company to manufacture it, and we can expect it in 2010. Other new products will include Bacon Pop (popcorn, not soda) and Bacon Ranch (a dressing, I think).

On a more somber note, Lefkow announced a charity event to benefit children with cancer. His four-year-old daughter was recently diagnosed with leukemia. The “Bacathlon,” billed as the world’s first bacon-themed athletic competition (including an eating contest), will be held the night of November 19 at Heaven Nightclub in Pioneer Square.

The last session at the NWEN event, after a few cocktails, was “Entrepreneur Idol”—seven lucky contestants got to pitch the audience and a panel of media judges (including yours truly) on their startup idea in 60 seconds. This is not an easy thing to do. Of course, we judges had the easy job of sitting back and giving our critiques; I hope some of the feedback was actually useful.

If there was one lesson, it was this: porn wins. Danielle Morrill got everyone’s attention by pitching her idea for a live video streaming adult-content service aimed at couples, called StreamHer.com (like Ustream, but for porn). After that, pitches on business productivity, IT consultancies, and mobile apps felt, well, less stimulating.

In the end, our judges’ picks were Firestarter Labs (T.J. Goan), which does software and services to create better presentations; Buzzeromatic.com (Andres Krogh and Matt Steckler), a Web service for granting front-door access to apartments and condos; and yes, StreamHer.com (Danielle Morrill). I’d also like to thank Jim Byers, Michaela Romanova, Nick Reed, and Gaven Kanemori for pitching us on their cool ideas and companies.

I was told afterwards that I was the “Randy” of the Idol judges. Better than Paula Abdul, I suppose.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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  • http://www.streamher.com Danielle Morrill

    Wow thanks for the mention, that was a lot of fun and I’m glad I was able to entertain. I’m seeing an increase in beta signups for StreamHer already!

    Also, I think Marcelo was the Paula, after his comment about being from Brazil…