Thoughts on the Naked Truth, from Picnik’s Jonathan Sposato

Yes, I’m taking the day off and letting other people (the actual participants) tell you what they took away from the inspiring tech events in Seattle last night. I asked panelist Jonathan Sposato, the CEO of Seattle-based Picnik, for his thoughts on the Naked Truth spectacle at Olympic Sculpture Park, which was organized by Glenn Kelman of Redfin, along with Madrona Venture Group, Fenwick & West, and Square 1 Bank. Below are Sposato’s comments and photos. (Also check out Kelman’s roundup of the event.)

Jonathan Sposato writes:

When I came upon the premises I was immediately struck by three observations. The common theme here is that as a place to do business, Seattle has finally arrived.

1. The Olympic Sculpture Park is an absolutely gorgeous venue for this. Even as I was on stage my eyes couldn’t help but drift off towards the jaw-droppingly stunning landscapes. The designed environment really rivals anything in LA (the Getty) or NYC (Metropolitan Museum of Art’s rooftop garden).

2. That the startup community in Seattle is a numerous and dynamic crowd. I heard well over 500 people attended and from the many great questions asked, people seemed genuinely into the details of how companies make money in today’s economy.


Greg Gottesman of Madrona Venture Group entertains the crowd as emcee of the event in the outdoor amphitheatre of Olympic Sculpture Park

Greg Gottesman of Madrona Venture Group entertains the crowd as emcee of the event in the outdoor amphitheatre of Olympic Sculpture Park

3. Excluding myself; the diversity and caliber of the panelists was super high. They included Mike Arrington of TechCrunch, Fred Vogelstein of Wired, Damon Darlin of the New York Times, Fred Wilson of Union Square Partners, Glenn Kelman of Redfin, Ethan Lowry of Urbanspoon, and Brad Jefferson of Animoto. All brought interesting perspectives I found enriching.

Overall the event was a lot of fun, and I personally came away heartened by the fact that there is indeed a clear cultural shift towards revenue as a primary focus for Seattle’s startup community. I don’t recall hearing a single question about creating a startup to merely maximize for a speedy exit.

I’ve done many of these kinds of panels before and there are often several challenges for the participants. The hardest challenge is that there is simply no “one size fits all” answer to people’s questions. For example, someone in the audience asked about how one should position an early stage startup … Next Page »

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Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and Editor of Xconomy Boston. E-mail him at gthuang [at] Follow @gthuang

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