At Tenrocket, we’ve had the blessing (and at times, the curse) of hearing over 300 pitches in the last year and a half. After hearing this many pitches and delivering quite a few ourselves, we’ve started to notice certain patterns in the way founders communicate.
To make things easy, we’ve categorized these patterns into what we call Pitch Archetypes. While we won’t dive into each in intricate detail, we have a feeling you’ll instantly recognize most of them (and, hopefully, will correct them if you spot your pitch style among these archetypes).
The World Dominator
Pitch: “We’re creating the next generation of social, local, shopping, check-in system in one! It’s GONNA BE YUUUGE!”
World Dominators are some of the most passionate folks you’re ever going to meet. They’re exploding with energy, and can’t wait to tell you all about how they are going to take over the world with their startup. They’re practically friends with Mark Zuckerberg.
Pitch: “I’m working on a new cybernetic network fabrication system for ARP net, though we’re running into some with the flux capacitor but the …”
Spocks are known for their incredible attention to detail. Unfortunately, they also struggle with speaking our universal language: human. “Tell me more about your machine learning algorithm!” – No one.
Pitch: “We’re building a new company called TechJuice that matches your taste in music with your taste in food. Imagine walking into your local coffee shop and having your playlist instantly deliver a perfect song to go with your Caramel Latte. Or maybe you’re grabbing a pint of ice cream at home, and ‘Love Hurts’ plays instantly. Let me ask you something, when was the last time you had a truly meaningful food experience? Last week I was sitting in a booth at the Iberian Pig in Decatur and thought to myself, You know what? I wonder what music would pair well with these bacon-wrapped dates? You see, I’m a music lover AND a foodie. Why can’t I have the best of both…”
(Continues for the next 20 minutes without stopping)
Ramblers tend to drone on and on about their ideas, making it nearly impossible for the rest of us to get a word in. If you have the misfortune of getting introduced to a Spock/Rambler hybrid at a local meetup, run away.
Pitch: “I’m working on a new marketing platform.”
Oh yeah? What does it do?
“Well, it helps marketers better reach their target audiences.”
You might be talking to The Generalist for a while, but even after some in-depth explanation you’re still left feeling “Now what is he working on again?”
No-Show’s don’t show up for events or much of anything in the startup community. Dominated by fear and worry, they are crippled by the fear and insecurity that either a) their idea isn’t ready, or b) someone will steal it. Just to be safe, they stay at home and type away at their 50-page business plan.
If you see yourself in any of these Pitch Archetypes, no worries. To some degree, we all go through this stage. That is until you realize how awesome, welcoming and supportive the startup community truly is. In a later post, we’ll dive into specific ways you can answer the question “What do you do?” in a way that’s both captivating and authentic. For now, just remember to keep it short, avoid over-selling, and always tell a story.
Chris Turner and Justin Richards are the co-founders of Tenrocket, a web and mobile development company that specializes in helping entrepreneurs and startups get their ideas off the ground. Turner and Richards sponsor Pitch Practice at the Atlanta Tech Village, a weekly event on Fridays at 1:00 p.m., and the newly launched Pitch Practice at Switchyards. Its first event is Friday, April 22 at 1:00 p.m.
[header photo credit: jasonseagle.com]