Mckenna Ross

Having a place to innovate and people to innovate with

Pitching can be hard. But it can also be pretty exciting. Listening to other students’ startup pitches last Wednesday was a really refreshing way to learn about how to sell an idea — and about my classmates.

Each of us stood in front of the class with our elevator pitch. We had one minute to present a problem and our innovative solution, and be as engaging as possible. I realized that it’s one thing to have an idea, or to a have a problem, but it’s a completely separate thing to have them both and make it a concise pitch.

I found that nearly everyone in our class had identified a real problem. They were clear about what it was, why it was annoying or frustrating, and how their new product could solve it efficiently. I was truly impressed with the variety we had, too. Some students pitched products outside of journalism; others pitched things that make journalism a little easier or move the field a little more forward. It was excited to hear about what could one day be the future Next Big Thing.

As for coming up with my own idea, I really wasn’t sure I had a good one until I was standing up there. I mentioned my idea — a website extension that identifies misinformation and fake news on social media pages as a tiny note on that site — in class before but hadn’t thought it through until five minutes before class began. As I waited to share my pitch, I was able to think more about the value of such a product and how I could present it in a quick and fun way.

I also really enjoyed the pitch because it was basically a workshop. Someone could have an idea, but having 25 brains think about it from a unique perspective can make it even better. For example, someone suggested the extension show up on the web page like an annotation on Genius. If I were to make this extension work like that, millions of users could weed out falsities even faster.

I loved going to The Hatch because I didn’t realize how much of an asset it is to student entrepreneurs. Any MSU student can share an idea with them and potentially get thousands of dollars. You can create something right away and get the help you need without a college degree. I’m sure that dozens of people think they should wait to pursue their dream company after graduation. But in reality, that could harm them more.

All in all, I’m glad to have experienced The Hatch and watched my classmates share their interesting startup ideas with me. I feel like I have a better grasp on how to identify a problem and pitch it effectively — and how to get the money I need to do it.

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