The power of popcorn

Today I went to a demo day. Each startup had a booth in an exhibition hall with T-shirts, stickers, and demos on display ready to woo investors. The startups were trying to strike the right balance between being memorable and showing investors that they're scrappy and going to stretch the value of invested dollars.

The gimmick that worked best was a movie ticket company that brought a popcorn machine. As soon as I entered the exhibition hall, I wanted to find the source of the buttery popcorn smell. This was cheap and allowed them to give away a branded freebie that everyone was asking each other about.

Everyone else had focused on audiovisual attention. They focused on smell. Mission accomplished. Companies are always competing for our attention. Successful ones convince us that we should spend our limited time on them.