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Scales & Arpeggios: ‘That Startup Show’ Episode One Reviewed

The long anticipated edit of “That Startup Show” Episode One, was dropped on the interwebs last night; and straight away hundreds of viewers made their way over to the YouTube channel to tune in for an hour of fun.

The show was created by media producer and lawyer Anna Reeves, who then developed the series with Sally Gatenby and Ahmed Salama. It was filmed in front of a live audience at The Savoy last month. Though it did take a couple of weeks turn-around time to get the product out to the masses, the production quality is top notch and Fraser Green did an excellent job on the editing.

Dan Ilic was a perfect choice of host – he clearly understands the ‘space’ and combined this with his perfectly timed comedic wit to deliver a flawless performance and get the show off to a flying start. The program was a solid mix of the ABC’s Gruen Transfer’s format, mixed with a tech version of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, that had the candor and cheeky irreverence of E!’s Chelsea Lately.

The first part of the program moved along at an enjoyable pace and touched on some major topics such as how we define the term ‘startup’ within Australia, the fragmentation issue across the ecosystem, social media, some of the most interesting startups at the moment and the ‘digital literacy’ of our politicians.

Panelists Bronwen Clune (Editor of StartupSmart), Alan Noble (Head of Engineering at Google Australia) and Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin (Founder of BlueChilli), bounced off Ilic well and were able to keep a great balance between humour and educational conversation that will resonate well for any viewers watching – even ones that are not necessarily immersed in the Australian startup scene.

The second half of the show centred around ‘The Pitch Down’. Given this was also a live event it made sense to have a pitching proportion of the show. I did feel, however, that as a program this segment went for a little too long and didn’t match the momentum that the first 28 minutes of the program had.

That has nothing to do with the founders presenting – in fact, startups AUUG, Our Home and Blood Moon all had interesting companies. I just feel that a similar timeframe used in ‘The Pitch’ segment on Gruen Transfer, where startups have either 90 seconds to present or construct a short video pitch for their product (similar to what you would have on a crowdfunding platform) would have kept things moving along and been congruent with the opening pace.

Whilst that is nitpicking, it should be reiterated that this show itself is a new concept and everyone learns a lot from the first taping. I am looking forward to what comes out of Episode 2 which is filmed live on the 28th of August.

The Ultimate winner of the ‘Pitch Down’ was AUUG who has created by far one of the coolest products I think I have seen this year. I also think they should get in contact with City of Sydney Council and collaborate to do a ‘light and music’ installation for Vivid next year. The MusicTech demo Dr Josh Young was beyond mesmerising and deserved to take out the title.

That Startup Show could very easily be picked up by a commercial television station in Australia; and I think that over in the US where entrepreneurial culture is deeply embedded into society, they will eat it up and then some. Hopefully this is the first of many other startup and tech-focused ‘broadcast style’ ventures to be launched into the Australian landscape – there is certainly enough exciting stuff happening to warrant it.

I’m no Margaret Pomeranz or David Stratton but I’m giving this episode 4 ½ stars.





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