Taking Portland pitching to the next level: House of Genius

You know me. I’m always a huge fan of borrowing ideas from other startup communities. But I’m especially fond of Portland borrowing from Boulder. Because they’ve done an amazing job of embracing the startup scene while retaining their own unique culture.

So when Foundry Group‘s Brad Feld mentioned that we had another Boulder importHouse of Genius—I couldn’t wait to hear more.

What’s House of Genius, you ask? Well, to hear them tell it, it sounds like a cross between Portland’s Pitch Club and AA. In a very positive way.

I learned that part of the underlying approach to House of Genius is anonymity and diversity. This was reflected in the conversation – we instructed not to qualify anything we said with phrases like “in my experience” or “I don’t know much about this, but …” Instead, we just made statements. Data flowed – quickly – and the consensus was clear while the conflicts were simultaneously clear.

At the end we had the reveal where we went around the room and introduced ourselves briefly. It was fun to learn the backgrounds of the people after I heard their thoughts over the previous couple of hours – I realize this eliminated a lot of cognitive bias on my part (e.g. “oh – that person is a lawyer – I don’t agree with the on blah blah blah”).

House of Genius is just getting its start in Portland. So if it sounds interesting to you, please apply to be part of the program.

For more information, read Brad’s post on his experience, visit House of Genius, or follow @houseofgenius on Twitter.

  1. Brad’s blog post was enough to do it for my, I applied.

  2. M. Edward (Ed) Borasky (@znmeb) September 27, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Yeah, me too. Of course, it’s going to be hard for either of us to be “anonymous” in PDX, don’t you think? 😉

  3. Rockin’ cool, thanks Rick. I’m all over it like syrup on a pancake.

  4. @Ed Ya, I was thinking the same thing. I think this is where a good organizer comes into play. They can put a lot of effort into inviting the right mix of people. Besides, there is a lot of cool stuff out there where the founders/employees don’t have a public presence. Also, Washington County has tons of smart people doing great things.

  5. M. Edward (Ed) Borasky (@znmeb) September 27, 2012 at 11:31 am

    @jmartens – well – I live in Washington County but I wouldn’t say I’m doing great things. 😉

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