Friday, June 22, 2007

MITEF: Bad Business Plan Competition

I'm not sure what it says about me that one of the professional highlights of springtime for me is the annual MIT Enterprise Forum Bad Business Plan Competition. This year's two entrants were especially bad, which is good.The tagline for the competition: "We bring bad things to light!" (A blatant ripoff of the old GE logo and tagline.) A few of the key judging criteria include:
  • How quickly will the team lose all its money?
  • How impractical is the technology?
  • Did they take the power out of PowerPoint?
  • How clearly did the team articulate that there is no competition?

The winning of bragging rights this year went to the plan for the NanoBioOpto Energy Corp., whose mission is "harnessing the natural power of sunlight via genetically engineered non-encapsulated, self-assembled lattices of silicon hybrid..." (You get the idea.)

As the presenter (who prefers to remain anonymous - I can't imagine why) explained: "Why ride one bubble when you can ride four?" The plan had something to do with energy production by phytoplankton with hydrogen dirigibles to transport it everywhere. It required a modest investment of $135 million to develop a proof of concept. A sure loser - hence it won!

A close runner-up was the plan for "Whack a Yankee." (Apologies to Yankees fans.) The mission of this enterprise is "to provide a constructive solution to Yankee Induced Stress Syndrome (YISS)." The outfit's tagline? "Don't say yes to YISS!" The pricing model involved a fee to buyers for thwacking Yankee players with a golf club, which was brandished throughout the presentation by the animated would-be CEO.

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