what to expect when you test out your BB gun March 7, 2006Posted by Timothy Li in fire.
BB gun – [a plastic toy] gun in which BBs [- little plastic balls] are propelled by compressed air. – thefreedictionary.com
I sincerely apologize for using tools of destruction as analogies in this post. i promise i will keep their usage to an absolute minimum in the future.
At the same time I can’t lie about it. The following accounts for my first pitch.
Before I go on, to pitch is to sell – i pitched to sell my ideas.
I was feeling a little buzzed (probably not alcohol related) when Mr. Shel Israel introduced me to this mid aged man with a warm smile. seemingly intelligent and appears to be the a center of this unusual crowed of Toronto bloggers.
I didn’t think much, after the late evening beer and rounds of free hearted conversations, I was on the edge of forgetting what i intended to do this evening – practice pitching.
Frankly this whole thing is very new to me, from business model to web 2.0 and even blogging. I was probably experiencing the post stage what Kawasaki described as “then the buzz began”.
Shel broke in to a conversation and padded the man on the shoulder “Rick! Meet my youngest friend, Tim. he’s a student and is trying to get something started”.
For a second there, while the hand shaking was still going on, I thought of introducing myself, my school, my parents, my ex girlfriend… I heard he say “Rick Segal“, and next thing that rushed to my mind and overwhelmed all other thoughts was ‘pitch to him’. I am still very troubled as to what exactly came to me during that two seconds time, but I clearly heard myself “Tim, would you like to hear a pitch from me”
all of a sudden the crowed in front of “Rick” widened and formed a semi circle in front of him. I saw it out of the corner of my eyes and for the first time realized there were other audiences and the atmosphere was not as easy as.. I’m comfortable with.
as Shel broke off laughing with the remark “this is way too good, I’ve got to hear this”, the warm smile came into my focus again. Rick spread his hands and said lightly “sure, I do that for a living”.
I did not have the concentration to interpret neither Shel’s apparent source of joy, nor Rick’s last remark, but a voice jumped to my mind… I have heard of this, someone else has said that “I do this for a living”… what? Why does that bother me a bit? Little did I realize, I have just read those words on the way here to this dinner, Guy Kawasaki did the same thing for a living – hearing pitches.
But I was ready, well, I had my BB gun. – we sell travel.
Kawasaki’s voice came back, “perfect, go on”
– we hired travelers to redesign the interface
“answer the little man, so?”
– so that your research experience is simple and inspirational
“now say: for instance …”
– for instance, which interface inspires you more? two text boxes for you to type in city names? or a map filled with city names?
all of a sudden Kawasaki was silent. and as I had a chance to catch my breath, it all came to me – he also hears pitches for a living, he is a Venture Capitalist…
and there I was, a student with nothing but an idea, pitching Rick Segal. I felt like a little kid, testing my first BB gun, but suddenly found myself in a battle field.
Then a short wait before Rick shrugged and spread out his hands again “how about… a map”
“YES! 10 POINTS FOR RICK!” Shel’s laughter came back to my side again. I was glad my time was up, and it was all over. The warm smile appeared, this time with a bit annoyance ” .. it’s an interesting idea, work on it a bit and contact me if you need some help .. ”
i approached Rick again later on in the evening and asked for his comments, he summarized the three most important things in a pitch for me:
- the pain you are solving,
- how you solved it,
- and your value
“value to who?” I asked. “to customers, of course”.
so i missed
most of them all three
“and if VC is interested, he will ask you to tell more. if not, he will ask you to contact him later”
so i belong to
the lucky ones latter.
The funny thing is, I have heard the exact three points before. From Jacqui Murphy, also a VC, equally welcoming, not in a battlefield.
and um.. oh, before I forget:
to Albert, Rick and Shel has a message for you =)