A Poet Goes to Pitch Club

Pitch Club SF held its inaugural event last night in the South of Market District (SOMA) of San Francisco. To my knowledge, I was the only poetry editor who bought a ticket. Money well spent.

First Pitch Club SF Event

Because The Lit Slam is self-funded, and because we’re in the poetry space, not the mobile app space, it surprises some people that I attend startup pitch nights. But my job requires me to go to a lot of live shows. And make no mistake, pitch nights are live theater.

I’m not there for the content, I’m there for the mechanics. How was the event marketed? Did it start and end on time? What did the host(s) do to help the audience feel at ease? Was the A/V setup right for the space? Overall, what can our show learn from this show? The Lit Slam is monthly; we can’t just iterate once per month until we stumble upon best practices. If I only observed poetry shows, The Lit Slam could only be as good as the best poetry show. I’m more ambitious than that.

Pitch Club was a perfect field study: it wasn’t a work night (for me), it was close to my apartment, and it was only $12 after the discount code. More importantly, it was the debut event for Pitch Club. First-run events often prove instructive, because the assumptions and expectations of the organizers are more clearly on display.

Last night, I saw things that worked and things that didn’t work. I got what I paid for: new perspectives and new ideas. Unlike some other pitch nights, this one allowed the audience to ask questions of the pitching startups; I asked some hardball questions, mostly to see how public speakers in other fields handle challenging audiences. (Slam poets tend to handle them better than tech entrepreneurs, by the way.) I went home with a small stack of business cards and had some fun conversations with the judges and attendees. Also, it just so happens that one of the companies was pitching a solution for booking venues: my ears sure perked up at that one!

Welcome to San Francisco, Pitch Club SF. We’d be delighted to have you come check out one of our shows sometime!

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