Teenage Kicks

Im at the Heroes of the Mobile Screen conference in London, where the afternoon session is in full swing, with a Dragons Den type session, the difference being that the Dragons being pitched to here are six teenagers.
Five companies are each being given a 5-minute slot to pitch their idea to the panel, who are then invited to give their reactions. The idea being that if you're pitching a service at young users, they should know, probably better than you do, whether it has legs or not. It's the brainchild of Julia Shalet, who works with companies targeting consumers in the youth sector.
Perhaps the most surprising thing so far is how articulate the members of the panel are. No monosyllabic grunts here; instead, some considered responses to what they are hearing.
The first guy up, Matt Millar from Live Talkback, pitched his idea of a live mobile voting service, but left the panel feeling distinctly underwhelmed. The second, Liam Lowe from Pay by Mobile, a mobile payments service, fared slightly better, but still had had to put up with one of the panellists, a guy named Chivz, telling him: You personally you wouldnt catch me using this. Chivz did at least have the decency to add: No disrespect.
Martin Rigby, representing the third company, Psonar, is in the process of being grilled as I write this. Like the two before him and the two yet to come, they deserve respect for putting themselves in this position. These teenagers seem far scarier to me than Theo Paphitis, James Caan et al.
As do the organisers of the event for including a session like this. Its certainly different, and seems to be working well, but it was a brave move, because you can imagine, if the teenagers had not been as confident as this lot seem to be in saying their piece, it could have gone horribly wrong.
And compared to the usual death by PowerPoint nature of industry conferences, its certainly a lot more entertaining. Good effort.

David Murphy