Immediate Impact: House of Genius NYC

Mika Bulmash presented her company, Wine For The World, at the first House of Genius NYC – Manhattan session – May 2013.  She was seeking advice on marketing strategies for their Indiegogo crowd-funding project which ends on May 31st, 2013. 

What an honor.

Two weeks ago, I was one of three entrepreneurs to be selected for the first House of Genius NYC – Manhattan session. Jorge mentioned that he was interested in having me present because we are using design innovations to solve broader problems for global good.

Wine for the World is a premium wine brand with a social mission. We partner some of the most highly acclaimed winemakers in the U.S. with emerging winemakers from developing nations to create high-quality, meaningful wines. Using wine as an instrument for professional and economic development, we strive to build bridges and open the U.S. market to talented winemakers abroad.

Here’s how my time with House of Genius worked: I presented a five-minute PowerPoint on Wine for the World to a panel of 16-18 anonymous professionals. Anonymity among the entire group was strictly enforced, and key (not to mention intriguing). After the presentation and a quick Q&A, the panelists each provided me with their thoughts, suggestions, and comments based on my “ask” to them. Beyond the simple intrigue of not knowing who was in the room, this meritocracy-designed platform enabled all of us to listen to each person’s feedback at face-value. This is an important opportunity for entrepreneurs to do something necessary but sometimes impossible when presenting – just listen. And listen with an open mind in a well-designed forum composed by a group whose only agenda is to help you. And approaching problem-solving in this fashion – by inviting professionals from an array of fields – is refreshing.

Here’s why it helped me: My “ask” for the group was directly related to a time-sensitive need. Wine for the World is implementing an active crowdfunding campaign through the end of the month (May 31st, 2013 – a few more days!), and has been starting to pique the interest of press. I asked for their thoughts on our approach and any additional suggestions. Many people in the room were interested in what we’re doing.

Less than two weeks later, Dan, an organizer of House of Genius NYC,  helped me on UX for our website. A feature on one of our winemakers was published on The Daily Muse. I met separately with Tim Peek – a senior executive from NBC , Naomi Zinner – a marketing rep from a large PR firm, and attended an event by another inspiring panelist/sponsor of House of Genius Manhattan – Judith Clegg the CEO of Takeout. I have additional follow up this week and next, and truly look forward to remaining in touch with the talented group of individuals that were in the room. I also look forward to my brunch date with fellow presenter, BurnchCritic!

All panelists seemed impressively intuitive and after learning who they were, I was not surprised. The most remarkable part of this experience for me was just how interested they were in helping. They truly do want to provide the best inputs possible.

I feel honored to have participated in the first House of Genius, Manhattan, session, and look forward to remaining engaged with this community going forward.

Wine for the World is crowdsourcing their first release of wine through May 31. You can support them by visiting their Indiegogo page, or the Wine For The World website.

About Mika Bulmash
A former international development program manager who has worked with non-profits and for-profit companies in agriculture, food security, and public health, Mika has a significant passion for wine. What started as a leap of faith by leaving her Washington, DC job and working a wine harvest in South Africa has turned into her teaming up with top winemakers abroad and at home, a stellar advisory board, Stephen Satterfield at ISAW, an awesome team at Wine for the World, and other partners along the way for additional industry support.

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