The story about nothing
I have an idea. I’ll prepare a pitch for my new startup, create some cool slides and make up an entire story around it. Then I’ll go to every startup event and get into “pitch battles”. I’ll even win one of them. Then I’ll answer media questions and the media will push my story forward and build some hype. In the end, I’ll maybe even build the goddamn thing.
When there is a buzzword, there is a buzzworld. The buzzworld is a place where you step on a stage and sell some slides. And you do that for months. In reality, you’re selling nothing, nobody is investing in your slides but you keep pushing. You’re not selling to your customers (remember, you have no product) and you’re trying to find investors. The media find you “cute” and push your story to the front pages. But in reality, there is nothing. Just a cr*pload of fog.
The startup community evolves around pitches. Those 3 minute sprints where you have to sell your idea. The path that is insecure, the goal that is questionable, the motivation that is unsustainable. All because the “community” demands “pitches”. So you go and pitch first and develop later. In that buzzworld, pitches are like tennis balls. There is always a new one if you send the previous away from the field. What is worse, we celebrate successful pitches. Yes, pitches. Not products. Not business plans. Not the hard path. Pitches.
I find it disturbing when we celebrate a step in a startup life that has nothing to do with the product itself. This is like taking a flat chart and drawing a sharp rise on the end. You can put anything on the slides or in the excel sheets and nobody will argue.
The way Core Incubator is approaching the buzzworld problem is by pushing the pitch a little bit further. Our pitches are not about what the product will do in 2 years. We focus only on the incubation period. First there is the classic presentation (what we internally call “review”). If the review went well, then it is time to prepare the pitch. Product owners get about 14 days to prepare with a designated project manager from Core Incubator. That way, the pitch is precise, answers the right questions and our investment decision is faster and more clear.
Pitches are like cover letters when you apply for a job. If you write one version you’re using a shotgun to pinpoint why you’re the best for the job. There is no one size fits all pitch.