It’s minus 23 degrees. I was freezing wearing four different layers of clothing. I’m now in a bikini, about to jump into an ice hole to pitch WA.works. At this point, fond memories of my desk and headphones run through my mind
-why do I do this to myself?
6th and 7th of February 2018, Polar Bear Pitching invited international startups, investors and media to the freezing city Oulu in north of Finland. They all gathered in the town square for an out of the ordinary pitching competition, where 26 startups had to enter a hole in the ice to sell their business idea to a jury. I was super excited when I applied for this unique opportunity for Wide Assessment to get international exposure, but it quickly turned into remorse and fear when I realized that I actually had to go through with it..
#showmesisu was the order from the jury, a hashtag for Finnish courage and strength, but not exactly what I was promoting when I was walking the plank leading to JBear and the gaping ice hole. To make matters worse, the pitching was delayed by an hour because the hole had to be re-carved due to the insanely cold conditions. Eeek!
«Is this your first time?» JBear asks surprised. Apparently, ice bathing is a thing in Finland. As I undress my robe, joyful glimps of coffee, colleagues and computers flash through my mind. «Why Stine, why do you torture yourself?» I think as I dip my toes in the water.
I. Can’t. Breath.
So I do it three times quickly, and start my pitch. To my surprise, my voice is holding up. I’m pausing and articulating like I practiced, and I’m not referring to an imaginary powerpoint like I did on my dry runs (pun intended).
Like a marathon runner I raise my hands on the finishing line. Then I quickly get out of the water and grab the first warm and fuzzy thing I see, JBear, and then rush for the sauna with a reporter on heels.
And I suddenly remember all the reasons why I sign up for shit like this. We’re on a quest to make global changes, and global changes doesn’t happen just because we create awesome technology that can single out IT talents. Candidates, companies, partners, investors and media from all over the world need to know about it.
And the world’s stage is not at my office in Bergen, Norway. So I’m slowly becoming comfortable being alone in a foreign country, speaking a second language, networking with complete strangers, and promoting my passion on stage, online and in water...