Charisma – innate or learned?

I’ve long been fascinated by charismatic people. Probably because I’m totally the inverse, suffering from SAD – Social Anxiety Disorder. Rather than be the center of attention, I tend to be a wall flower. I’ve met more than a few charismatic people in business, ranging from the wellknown, like Steve Jobs and Mitch Kapor of … Continue reading “Charisma – innate or learned?”

A successful founder on how to pitch – including a founder’s biggest challenge

Henry Ward’s first start, Secondsight, was an abject failure. But Manu Kumar, an investor in venture capital firm K9 Ventures, gave Ward an idea for a second startup that resulted in Carta,  a platform valued at $1.7 billion for buying and selling shares in private companies. (Kumar is a cofounder.) But that’s not the point … Continue reading “A successful founder on how to pitch – including a founder’s biggest challenge”

Pitch tips from a leading VC

A recent megatrend that has greatly benefited founders has been the willingness of leading venture capitalists to share their knowledge with founders. Brad Feld of Foundry Group, Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, and Guy Kawasaki, Garage Ventures have lead the way. (What do they have in common? They’ve all met me!). Now they are … Continue reading “Pitch tips from a leading VC”

Pitch tips from the founder of Canva

I consider Carmine Gallo as one of the foremost experts on presentations and pitching. He has written several books, including my favorite, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, and often writes articles for the business press about presentations. Four Remarkably Simple Pitch Tips From An Entrepreneur Who Turned Her Idea Into a $2.5B ‘Unicorn’ is a … Continue reading “Pitch tips from the founder of Canva”

Bigger fonts, less words, greater impact!

The most common and most serious problem I’ve seen in the hundreds of presentations I’ve reviewed over the past few decades is presenters cramming far too many words into a single slide. Just to recap, here are the problems with this practice: Try as they might, people actually cannot multi-task. Thus they cannot read your … Continue reading “Bigger fonts, less words, greater impact!”

It’s pitch scrub season!

Every year MIT’s  Venture Mentoring Services selects a number of its ventures to present at Demo Day. A number of us mentors help the presenters by doing a two part pitch scrub for them in preparation for Demo Day. On day one of the pitch scrub they present their decks and we give them feedback, … Continue reading “It’s pitch scrub season!”

What’s your product narrative?

I’ve posted previously how at Amazon developers’ first step in new product development is to write a press release about the product they plan to create. But Scott Belsky in his new book The Messy Middle takes narrative well beyond the press release. Carmine Gallo, one of my favorite business writers, writes about Belsky’s book … Continue reading “What’s your product narrative?”

Why you need to tag team the VCs!

  As a kid I was fascinated by watching professional wrestling on TV. I had no idea it was fake and that the wrestlers were highly trained actors. One of my favorite types of wrestling match was the tag team: two wrestlers made up a team and they would switch off wrestling their two opponents. … Continue reading “Why you need to tag team the VCs!”

Story telling is the key to a successful pitch

  For those of you not familiar with Carmine Gallo, I highly recommend his books, especially The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs. If I had to recommend one book on how to present that would be it. But it’s not enough for Mr. Gallo – he’s got eight or nine others on Amazon! I wish I … Continue reading “Story telling is the key to a successful pitch”

Helping founders with their pitches

Unlike some of my fellow mentors who in their years as VCs saw thousands of pitch decks, I’ve only seen a couple of hundred and done a fraction of that number myself. In the years since I was an active entrepreneur the term “pitch” has replaced “present” and “pitch deck” has replaced “slide presentation.” Yet … Continue reading “Helping founders with their pitches”