5 x 5 Night Needs A Little More Heart

I went to GR's first 5 x 5 night last week Tuesday.  Several people have asked about my initial impressions of it and I thought I would share them. Keep in mind that I have no "sour grapes" because my idea did not get selected this time around. I knew the odds were totally against me and I even debated about submitting my after school program idea called Pillow Talk For Girls after seeing the first go round, so that I could get some pointers. I remain extremely excited for GR for this 5 x 5 night opportunity.

Having said that, here are my first impressions upon arriving at the GRAM at 5:20 pm last Tuesday. (Start time: 5:30). Big Oops!

I am late, I am late... and the lady who is also late and running in front of me is way out of breath!
Oh my, there are too many people for such a small space.
Crap, SRO, no seats.
Wow the room is buzzing....Great energy!
Rick Devos is really cute (and kind of awkward at the same time). Oh, its because he doesn't like to speak in public. Go figure?

As I watched the 5 presenters showcase their ideas, I realized instantly why mine might not have gotten picked.

I am pretty sure my "idea" was not solidified/planned out enough. Silly me, I thought "idea" meant, well, idea. Not something that was already in progress with a business plan and all. The Fire & Knife idea, which garnered the most money from the judges, was so far into development that the presenter even said something to the effect of, This idea is going to happen, whether or not we get this money. I think he meant it in an "I am-really-committed-to-this-idea" way, but that was not exactly what I expected to hear him say up there on stage.

I was hoping at least a couple of the ideas presented would be more impactful on those in the community who were in need. And that the grant money would be used to help get ideas off the ground that  would impact this part of our GR community. Not that I think an underground supper club won't impact GR, but I doubt very much that a dinner ticket for $100 will appeal/interest many of our lower income families. (A population which I believe could use grants like this.)

I thought the Fashionation idea might have been the kind I was hoping for when she was first introduced. Nice name. But her presentation was unorganized and lacked a focus. Potentially I could see that it might impact our youth, but I wanted to know her plans for getting those youths involved. Where do the students come from? How many would be impacted? Will there be a fee for the class? What exactly will they learn? Why are you doing this? The entrepreneurial buzzword she added was an excellent attention getter with this crowd, yet ultimately, her presentation left me with way more questions than answers.

Dave of  Dave's Great GREEN Tomato Cage seems like a nice guy with a good product. But does his idea really do anything for the local community? He's an inventor from Rockford, he needs to market his idea to get it out there and get it sold. There must be some marketers out there who could help?

GR Walking Tours App was probably my favorite of the 5 ideas. It was different and I can totally appreciate wanting to share our wonderful local history 365 days of the year. I volunteered to help at last fall's Heritage Hill Home Tour and loved it. So I can see this idea working in our community. Although it does make me think two things, not everyone has a smart phone and I hope no one attempts to drive and use their smart phone app to find various locations....that sounds dangerous. How likely is it that people will actually take a walking tour of GR?

Upside Down Movie Night has a memorable name, and a very memorable presenter....although Steve might want to watch his use of the "pleasurable" and "blow up mattress" comments together in the same sentence in the future. I think his idea is more of an event, or a series of events, than a lasting idea with lasting impact.

So here are some questions that have been floating around in my head in the week following the first ever 5 x 5 night event.

Each month do the same people select the 5 entries that go before the judges?

Are the judges on the monthly panel allowed to go through the applications to help choose the 5 selected?

Will more women be asked to judge in the future?

The way I see it... every new judge brings with them an area of interest, expertise, and a perspective on life that is unique to them. I hope that every month the judges take part in the selection of the 5 chosen. If not, we will only see more of the same. I also hope for more women. No offense, but many women think with their heart first, then analyze, and maybe that is what I think was needed here. A little more heart.

As someone who intends to submit my idea again in the future, I also wonder if it is possible for us to see the original entries submitted for the 5 ideas that were selected? Being able to read the approach they took would give others insight into how detailed to get, how much of a business plan is needed to get noticed, and maybe a base to judge the refinement of our ideas against.

I look forward to next month's 5 x 5 night and the ideas it brings forward.

And a few final thoughts....5 minutes goes by really fast! Reserve's mezzanine does not look sturdy enough to support all the 5 x 5 nighters who showed up for the after party. And next time let's go somewhere with more room for easier socializing.

See you next time! Who knows, I still hold out hope that one day it will be me up there presenting.