Gabriel Medina | Crain's Orlando

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Gabriel Medina

Background:  

Schoolflow is an iPhone app that debuted at the University of Central Florida in September 2015. It allows students to import and organize their assignments, then sends push notifications as due dates approach. The app is expected to launch at other schools this year. 

The Mistake:

We started in a place called Starter Studio, a tech accelerator here in downtown Orlando. We all had a different team, vision and ideas back then on how it would work. Near the end of the boot camp, they were expecting us to give a presentation to a number of investors and advisors who have been keeping an eye on us during the boot camp. 

We went to them with this presentation that we thought was great and presented it to them very confidently. They were all a bit speechless. They had no idea what we were saying. We completely bombed it.

We all put our own two cents into each slide and just kind of dumped all of our ideas in there. We didn't deliver a clear idea as to what it is we were solving and why people would ever use it. We had all sorts of different ideas that were not clear cut. It was embarrassing to me because I always think of myself as being prepared and always knowing exactly what I want to say. 

We went to them with this presentation that we thought was great and ... completely bombed it.

The Lesson:

You have to know how to convey your ideas clearly. You have to be able to explain what you do without looking up at the sky and saying "Um." You have to be able to say it in your sleep.

You can't just simply have an idea that has layers on top. The core idea of your company has to be something that actually is solving a real problem.

Follow Schoolflow on Twitter at @SchoolflowHQ.

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