Making The Pitch

November 13, 2006

Went along to a “Dragons’ Den” event tonight run by Software New Zealand.

Apparently these guys do this kind of thing in Auckland the first Tuesday each month, and I have to say, if they run this in Wellington once a month then count me in. It’s one of the few “outside business hours” events that actually had a bit of a buzz to it. It wasn’t just people going along to do it “for their job”, people were actually there because they were passionate about it. It was easy to network. Real easy. Rod gave a good presentation and laid into the big telcos. Controversy is good.

A real credit to NZSA for organising this.

The thing that really struck me was that there appears to plenty of investment moolah out there, but not many good ideas.

Nine companies pitched for dough this evening. Here’s my thoughts:

  • with all due respect, the pitches were mostly awful, unclear and not exciting
  • only one presentation made use of (reasonably OK powerpoint) presentation media
  • too many “erms”!
  • too many people running over their 5 minute timeslot (criminal)
  • just by appearance, I would have shyed away from investing from in one particular individual

So there’s some simple lessons to be learnt:

  • for God’s sake, practice your pitch
  • you have to sell yourself as someone people want to work with…
  • look smart and engage your audience
  • you need to tell a compelling story and grab their attention
  • it’s not about features, it’s all about “what’s in it for me?”

It’s all common sense, and I guess I shouldn’t bitch and moan until I ever get up there myself. But some of the presentations tonight simply did not spin my wheels. Didn’t turn one single degree.
The Segway demo out in the foyer did however.

Links to the “better” presentations on things that span my wheels:

5 Responses to “Making The Pitch”

  1. Tim Norton Says:

    Thanks Dan, Yea I think theres room for all of us to improve on pitching thats for sure,

  2. Hi Dan,

    I am glad I made it to the “better” category, and learned a lot from the experience. Feedback on ways to improveme welcomed.

    It was also good to have the UP workshop the next night with Rod Drury and Hamish Edwards which gave some real “kick yourself in hindsight” points relating to making the most of your opportunities; like not getting seduced by playing with the Segway at the expense of talking to potential investors.


  3. Dan Says:

    It’s a fair cop 😉
    I was one on my way out, and got suckered in.
    All credit to the Segway dude. He was in the right place at the right time. Tech crowd, investors, entrepreneurs…

  4. ptorrsmith Says:

    Thanks for the acknowledgement Dan.

    I had a lot of fun practicing the pitch over the weekend and through Monday. It may have helped by the fact that I aimed to have my pitch last about a minute and a half, leaving the balance of the 5 minute slot for a couple of questions. Alas we were told we had to wait until afterwards for Q&A (which didn’t work), but I’m happy that I didn’t insult the audience by droning on for 5 minutes or more.

    I pitched again the following day, and again on Wednesday to the sponsors of the Creative HQ business incubator… I’m on a roll now and can’t wait for the opportunity again 🙂


    PS: We have a blog for Let Use It now. Find it at

  5. Dan Says:

    Not that I’ve done many “investment” pitches before, but when I go on roadshows giving the same presentation over and over again sometimes I find it hard to stay fresh in my own mind (you know, like Groundhog Day). So I do tailor each and every presentation depending upon who the audience is.

    Can’t wait to see LetUseIt

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: