Don’t get too excited

I was in a business pitch which I thought went particularly well. My colleague and I were both quietly seeing this thing come to fruition after many months of development. After the meeting I was clearly excited and pointed out that I thought we’d nailed it and the deal would get done… He then pulled me up and said.

“Over my entrepreneurial and corporate career I’ve been in at least 150 of these meetings when it’s easy to think that it’s a done deal, and until it’s signed or the money is in the bank I don’t get too excited.”

This got me thinking. Of course, he was right. In most cases, the large majority in fact, the deal just doesn’t happen. That’s life in the pitching game. But if we don’t get excited by the possibility, and live in the moment, we are robbing ourselves of the journey. We are taking away 50% of the joy that goes with the unknown. Not just the result of winning, but the joy of anticipating the win before it happens. And if we fail, then it was all for nothing, and we miss out on all the pre-decision positive emotion.

The feeling that goes with a future which looks bright, is just as valuable as the reality of making it so. We ought embrace it.


3 cool videos

Here’s 3 cool videos that have landed on my desk top that are worth sharing for different reasons.

1. A great advertisement which I’m putting in the anti-social media category. Taking a simple human truth that is top of mind for many of us as we blindly forge ahead into the world of big brother. I really do feel like we might see a lot of people moving against a digital public life soon. Is this the start?

2. Another more subtle advertisement from Quiksilver. The thing a like about this is that it moves deeply into the mind of the surfer. It unlock how emotionally attached to surfing we are. And for those who have never been inside a tube – it looks very similar to the visual in the film below.

3. Is of the art of presenting to an audience. It is the late Steve Jobs who knew how to use theatre to sell. Here he demonstrates the first ever laptop with wifi way back in 1999.


How to invest $1500

Invest it in yourself. Go to local Melbourne (Y Combinator) Statup site and book a flight to San Francisco.

Spend the next month working on your best idea startup idea.

Get a working prototype, or do those updates you’ve been talking about for the last 6 months on your current startup. Get it in shape.

Book meetings with VC’s, write up a schedule of where all the events are, startups weekends are and build a calendar of people to meet, things to do and actions to take while in Silicon Valley. Ask some locals who’ve been there and done it.

Get your spiel tight. Know how to pitch in 1 minute. With no slides, just your voice box.

Make sure your spiel covers what it is, who it’s for, what it disrupts, and the final revenue model. 

Go there, pitch and win (or lose). But you’ll win regardless. You’ll win with knowledge gains and contacts made. Get excited, have a story to tell, get 2012 off to a fast start.

Didn’t you know it’s an Aussie gold rush over there?


Revenue Compression

When chasing new business in startup land or any business for that matter, the time to revenue is more important than the amount or revenue.

It’s easy to believe that a big $500,000 project is better than a little $5000 project.  Maybe the big one takes a year. Maybe the small one takes a week or two.

I say the small projects rule! But before I choose, the questions I usually ask myself include:

  • How long will it take to get the revenue?
  • What is the potential for expensive mistakes?
  • What is the probability that the project will go over the time estimate?
  • Are we paid in time put in or final completion of said project?
  • What level of resources need to go into pitching & winning the project?
  • Will we get more smaller projects after successful completion of the first?

When we answer these we usually find that the $5000 project that takes a week is a far better option than the $500K project that takes a year. And the reason that they are better is that the revenue is compressed.


The art of pitching

I had a catch up with a well known pitch doctor yesterday. He reminded me of some of the most important factors, and regular mistakes we make while pitching.

Biggest mistake: Wasting time talking about ourselves. They already know enough about us, or they wouldn’t be in the room. The right amount of time to allocate talking about ourselves is close to zero.

Biggest Opportunity: Leave some questions unanswered. (counter intuitive I know) This creates the opportunity for real conversation. When we converse, we see how each party thinks. It also enables us to determine if we have the right chemistry to work together.


TED talks – What the world needs

This talk by Hans Rosling on population growth in the world is incredibly insightful. It goes for about 10 minutes and is worth the investment. His contention is that raising living standards in the poorest countries is the only way to reduce population growth.

Another thing I love is his presentation method and props. Very engaging and a method all entrepreneurs and marketers should consider. Enjoy!


How to pitch

There is more good than bad in these hilarious Ali G pitches to Venture Capitalists.

What to look for:

  • His tone of voice and pausing when speaking.
  • His reliance on talking. There is no powerpoint.
  • Taking them on a journey. Story telling.
  • Simple visuals. Having samples / props.
  • Supreme confidence

I’d seriously recommend this video on how to pitch versus most other examples we see on the web so long as we understand the context.