3 years ago I had the great fortune to be connected with Jeff Rosenthal, one of the co-founders of Summit Series. It changed my life.
It’s events like Summit that reminds me how polarizing passionate individuals are and how they truly posses the power change the world.
Last year during Summit at Sea, Peter Diamandis gave an inspiring talk that ended up getting used in the video below. His words continue to inspire me to think bigger, work on problems that matter, and surround myself with people who share similar beliefs. Hope you enjoy:
“We are living extraordinary times.”
“Where you’re empowered to do whatever you want.”
“We will, you can, change the world and make it a vision of what you want it to be.”
He closed with
“The question is … what are you going to do?”
“Where are you impassioned?”
“What game are you playing?”
“Play it big!”
All the Summiteers are now part of my extended family. Love you guys.
Where will you be July 13th? I’ll be co-hosting the International Startup Festival in Montreal with some of the brightest and smartest minds in the startup world. The startup festival is a two-day conference on the business of startups. It brings together industry veterans and fresh faces, thought leaders and technology giants from around the world, for a series of lean, fast-paced events. It includes startup launches, inspiring keynotes, and deep-dives into hot sectors like mobility, social networking, and gaming.
Phil Telio (Exec. Dir of Startup Festival) and I had a chance to catch up today and talk about why startups need to attend this and what’s to expect (fyi Fireworks!!!).
This event is one of many that are occurring across Canada, and is a big step towards innovation and supporting startups across the country. If you can find me .. beers are on me. Can’t wait to see you all in July!
Yesterday I spent the afternoon at fbFund REV demo day watching 20+ startups pitch to a room of over 100 investors and seasoned entrepreneurs.
What’s interesting is the pattern I started to see emerging. Some of the best startups not only had the strongest pitch, but also had an amazing person selling!
Here’s 5 characteristics I noticed and why I think they’re the most important when pitching your startup.
Have a presence
Command the room
Tell a story
Solid eye contact
Choose your words carefully
Have a presence: Believe (internalize) that you’re going to succeed and show the audience how freakin’ excited you are about your solution. Be high energy! (ex: Brad Wolfe [backlight.org] opened with a song full out).
Tip: Do 20 pushups before you get up to pitch.
Command the room: Talk loudly, don’t ask if people can hear you. Just get up there and go for it – be focused and stay on topic <- no one-one-one banter with an audience member. (ex: Leah Busque [RunMyErrand] rocked it out standing tall at 5,1′)
Tip: Project your voice as if your talking to people behind the last row in the room.
Solid Eye contact: Scan the room and talk to the audience, not your slides. Be sure to connect, smile / head nob / confirm with attendees (ex: Leila Chirayath Janah [Samasource] did an amazing job scanning, talking and smiling!)
Tip: Take 3 seconds to acknowledge people sitting in the far left and right corners of the room.
Tell a story: Stories are engaging, features aren’t. Explain the problem you’re solving and why you’re solving it (include the “back story”). Also, the user flow is important, however don’t fall into the trap during the demo of explain each field name and button click = super annoying. (ex: Brian Phillips [Thread] did an amazing job connecting his real life story to his startup)
Choose your words carefully: Don’t say things like; potentially, soon, try, we believe, etc (a.ka. debby-downer-words). Sometimes certainty and conviction is the only thing a startup has and your job is to make others feel this. Words are very important.
Do you have any other tips? Please leave a comment – would mean the world.
A few months ago, while speaking with Keith Rabois (PayPal, LinkedIn, Slide), I got his thoughts on why the best startups are created during an economic downturn. I found them extremely insightful and felt they needed to be shared.
Here’s the three reasons he gave [with my supporting thoughts attached]:
1. Pure Brain Power in One Building
The idea that the more “A Players” you can get in a building, the higher the likely hood of success. When things are good, the top talent gets diluted amongst the vast amount of startups and/or work on their own projects.
2. Lack of Derivative Companies
When the markets hot, people are quick to copy models that work. It’s not uncommon to see 3-4 companies compete in the same market once one proves some level of traction. However, in a down market, this effect isn’t as pervassive leaving the originating companies time to build out a larger footprint.
3. True Entrepreneurs
It’s easy to start a company when the skies are blue – it’s almost like a “hobby du-jour” for some. However when times are tough, only the “True Entrepreneurs” continue plugging away, creating value and building their dreams. They don’t stop and get day jobs, they figure it out.
What companies can you name that come to mind that would’ve had these market conditions? PayPal? Google? Facebook? Cisco? Others?
I just got back from the TechCrunch party at www.lewebparis.com. It sucked. Last night was definitely better (MySpace sponsored). The music was great, the people we’re lively, and everything seemed too click.
That being said, here’s what I’ve learned over the past 2 days by attending LeWeb 08.