Yesterday I participated in my first start-up pitch. I learned that you can prepare as much as you want for something, but you wont know what you’re going to do wrong until you start doing it.
I watched many videos and read no less than 25 eloquent articles from Hacker News on putting together the perfect deck. Things not to do in a pitch. What unfair advantages do you need?
We practiced our transitions and endlessly debated the subtle nuances of our screenshots. We needed to convey passion, trustworthiness and conviction while demonstrating the viability of our concept and being the kind of dudes you’d want to hang out with.
My preparations were not a waste. I learned a ton and was forced to ask lots of hard questions about what we’re working on. Luckily I really love business development and so even though I’ve been really anxious I can still say I’ve been having fun. People in our community like David Crow really stepped up to help, and I really encourage all of you wantrepreneurs to go through this process even if you have a rich uncle and don’t need to raise funds.
All of the preparation in the world couldn’t change the simple fact that we were doing it wrong.
Our idea is great but our first presentation was loaded down with “buzzword-laden socialist hippie kumbaya bullshit” and we failed to explain the core business value proposition on the first slide.
This was exactly what we needed to hear, and we’re already making great progress on changes. We want to nail it next time. We’re refactoring our pitch, the same way we iterate when we refactor our code. Luckily it was a “no harm, no foul” test run and all of the feedback we received was coming from a very positive place. (Thanks, Rick!)
Closing metaphor: let’s say you’re a pro hockey player who loves to skate. You could just skate all day! Thing is, your boss only cares about how many pucks you send into the other team’s net. You could be the best skater in the game, but you have to prove that you’re able to score or else they won’t let you see the ice.