"Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist." A line from The Avengers sums up every boy- (or girl-???) hood dream we (I) have ever had of being Tony Stark, Iron Man himself.

So. When TandemNSI hosts an event titled “Be the next Tony Stark.” Well, then. Sign me up!

Maybe it’s not that cut and dry, however. The event was actually a way for its panelists to discuss and showcase how companies that contract with the government are also shaping the way we use technology in our daily lives and ways us mere mortals may get some business with the fed.

“GPS, Google, Siri, and the smartphone in your hand: the biggest, coolest, world-changing innovations in technology all came from tech companies working with the federal government.”

The Iron Man fan in me then must draw some parallels. Where is Stark Industries’ – the fantastical weapons and technology company portrayed in the comics and movies – real-life counterpart? Lockheed Martin? Raytheon?  Both respectable and very high profile weapons systems companies. However, the likelihood they have a mad genius in a lab directing Jarvis all day is pretty slim. Or maybe it isn’t?

But the real question is this this. How do smaller, startup companies get their foot in the door with the fed? How can some company only a handful of people know about help procure business with the government? This is how Tony Stark and Stark Industries does it.

As epic and awesome as this scene may be - and probably my personal favorite of the whole Iron Man movie series - the truth is, we don’t have a million dollars to roll out flashy missile demo. And as far as the “That’s how dad did it. That’s how America does it. And it’s worked out pretty well so far.” line – maybe that isn’t the best approach. Perhaps this isn’t your daddy’s government business opportunity?

“There are two problems in government acquisition. We don’t know what to ask for [and] it’s hard to ask.” – Dan Doney, Chief Innovation Officer, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

Perhaps, in this case, the Tony Stark approach would work. If they don’t know what to ask for, tell them what they need. Be proactive. Understand the problem and the need. Present the solution. And maybe we’ll be selling Jericho missiles by the time it’s all said and done?

And as the auto-lifting, mobile hyper-cooled bar raises with a perfectly prepared scotch (or bourbon), we may tout - “We’re throwing one of these in for every purchase of $500 million or more. To peace!”

Comment