Confessions of a Berlin Bootstrapper: Perfecting the Pitch

Perfect pitch
Perfect pitch

Perfect pitch

The best thing to ever happen my pitch was Startup Viagra

Startup Viagra is an online slide presentation by legendary VC and Entrepreneur Dave McClure. I had delivered pitches before discovering it, but I don’t think I was as assured as after I had tried it.

The night I discovered it, I had been due to give a pitch the next day to a well established VC and was sifting through a pdf document on how to pitch. The result didn’t fill me with confidence. In fact, it left me feeling a little flacid. The document was overall too wordy, too formal, and too detailed. So, in my flacidity, I decided to take some Startup Viagra. And it worked!

Rule #1: Turn your VC on

In his humorous slideshare, McClure describes how to give a VC a ‘hard-on’. Obviously he’s speaking metaphorically (unless there’s something we don’t know). But there’s also something subtle at play here. As well as amusing the reader with wacky imagery of pirates, porn stars, and love hearts, it has the advantage of putting the person pitching into a relaxed frame of mind – essential for a good pitch. It reminds the reader that VCs are a people prone to stimulation, just like anyone else

Most crucially, Startup Viagra has the effect of focusing the reader to a knife-edge. The slideshow is brief, and to the point. Having spent 2 hours on the previous document, my pitch felt primed after just 20 minutes. It put me into a completely different mindset; relaxed, focused, and confident.

Erogenous Zones + the Money Shot

McClure describes the 10 VC ‘Erogenous Zones’. These Erogenous Zones refer to the 10 areas you should be focusing on with your pitch. Each one roughly equates to one slide. It pinpoints exactly where you should place your ‘money shot’, which refers to the main product demo/screenshots/video. It explains how you should deliver your ‘Elevator Pitch’ and advises you to ‘Smile. it’s ok to have fun when you pitch’. It also encourages you to address the problem you’re trying to solve, and of course your solution, stating that great companies do 1+ of 3 things: get you LAID, PAID, or MADE. It addresses your market, your business model, your tech, your competition, your marketing plan, your team, and your milestones.

The embodiment of a good pitch – Now go!

Startup Viagra embodies what a good pitch should be: Effective, brief and to the point, easy to understand, and entertaining. I wouldn’t advise the pitcher to use this as the only reference point, but more as a way of focusing on the important aspects of the pitch. I wouldn’t have been so relaxed and confident without it. It won’t make a bad product good, but if you have a potentially good product, it will help you deliver your message in a clear manner that reflects your belief in your product and shows it to the world in the best way possible.

So, you want the link you say?, You mean you haven’t googled it yet?? Here you go then … Have a great pitch!

http://www.slideshare.net/dmc500hats/how-to-pitch-a-vc-aka-startup-viagra-how-to-give-a-vc-a-hardon

For other contributor articles, read Berlin: The Good, the Ugly, and the Missing by Ciarán O’Leary.

Image credit: Flickr user HowardLake