Olson’s Observations

Technology. Innovation. Science. VC. Media. :: by Eric Olson

Elevator Pitch: The Movie

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One of my readers pointed me to a video on YouTube today about elevator pitches that I wanted to share with all of you. It is an entertaining video and it is under two minutes long.

Elevator Pitch

The video points out a couple of questions all good elevator pitches need to answer:

  1. What pain is your company/product going to alleviate?
  2. How will your company/product alleviate this pain?

Elevator pitch or not, this is something all entrepreneurs should think about before starting their business. If you do not force yourself to answer these questions you may be stuck with a company/product no one ever asked for.

A couple other keys to a good pitch as seen in the video are:

  1. Save the Tech Vocab: As cool as the new acronyms are you must remember that your grandma and grandpa need to understand your elevator pitch. Good example of saving the vocab - at FeedBurner we says “Feeds” on our website and other materials as opposed to RSS or XML.
  2. Greed is Good: Make sure the investor can see how the company will make money and lots of it. They may like you and/or the idea but in the end they are accountable to their investors and they need to make a good amount of cash.

A good elevator pitch is also useful for many other things. Each and everyone one of us should have a 2 minute run down of who we are and what we can do. If you write a blog you should have a pitch for that. If you’re a drummer you should have a pitch for that. This could go on for a while but I think you get the idea. Perfecting the elevator pitch is crucial for a lot of things in life, especially this day in age where you are always in competition for someone’s attention.

Here is a quick example to get you guys thinking (and it even took place in an elevator!):

When I came to Chicago almost a year ago to interview with the FeedBurner team I arrived at my hotel and was asked by my elevator mate why I was here. I mentioned that I was in town for an interview with a hot (no pun intended) tech start-up. She then asked me about the start-up and I said the something akin to the following:

FeedBurner is a company that helps to make online content subscribable. You’re probably very busy but I am sure you check multiple websites everyday that you have bookmarked and find a lot of them do not have new content. What if I told you that you could create a page on the web of your very own where all of those sites were listed and only the new content you haven’t read yet was placed there? It would save you a lot of time and energy and time is money. We help to make this happen and we offer our services free to publishers to help them help you. How do we make money you ask? Well, we help content producers advertise in that content in much the same way as they advertise on their web sites and we work off of a revenue split with them.

The conversation then continued with, “I’m sure you’ve seen the orange button on a lot of websites that says XML (this was before the standard feed icon)…”

This pitch was tailored toward an end user of content but if I were talking to a publisher or advertiser (or investor, etc.) I would shift the pitch to speak to their wants and needs. I hope you are now inspired to work up an elevator pitch of your very own. Let me know how your next quick pitch goes!

Side note: The creator of the above video is actually working on a TV series for Canadian TV called The Dragons Den. Seems like a pretty cool show. Basically, entrepreneurs come in a pitch a panel on business folks on their ideas in the hopes of getting funded. It is similar to American Inventor which ran on US TV not too long ago but it seems a bit edgier and more interesting.

Written by Eric Olson

September 25th, 2006 at 8:28 pm

Posted in VC

One Response to 'Elevator Pitch: The Movie'

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  1. a question: i am looking for a marketplace for startups… why is it that:

    1. its so difficult for vcs to find startups?
    2. difficult for startups to find vc?
    3. fun loving people have difficulties to find jobs at good start ups??

    I put together http://www.startupcamp.com - cant claim that its extremely good but its something… please someone excel what i have done :) for the love of mankind :) (or help me improve it)

    have fun,

    e

    erik

    28 Sep 06 at 4:19 am

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