Quit Saying You’re The Leading Geezer In Technotown

Robin Wauters from TechCrunch just threw the journalistic toys out of the pram this mid-day: “Damn press releases” he despairs. “Every company is the largest, best, leading, most innovative, ground-breaking, superb, jaw-dropping in their market”.

I spend countless hours reading business plans that claim such laureate achievements that a Nobel Prize nomination would be short compensation for the kind of leading, never-seen-before and look-Ma-no-hands technologies that come the way of VCs these days.

The best way to wow people is to define an invention in simple terms for what it is. It creates an even better effect to talk about its features with such unaffected demeanour that it is the audience the one not quite believing what they are hearing and putting the 2 plus 2 in their heads they exclaim: “Eureka!” The master of doing this is, of course, Steve Jobs.

The Steve Jobs style is simple, articulate and building up to a moment in which the audience is kept by the edge of their seats, anxiously awaiting to be told that indeed such wonderful new technology that slices bread whilst reading out loud your Twitter feeds is actually available at your nearest Apple store as of April this year.

In the human 3D world there is no bigger social pleasure than meeting people whose acts speak for their reputation, as opposed to the unbearable, self-absorbed individuals who stop you rather abruptly at a party, G&T in hand, just to let you know that they did get invited to Davos and got in at the Bono RED) party. Only when you escape and you bump into a real individual, who is both modest and incredibly well connected as well, say for example a Thomas Crampton, you learn that the RED) party was just for the press and the kids and that Bono actually went to the Dignity Day party thrown by Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon and his Finnish co-founder Professor Pekka Himanen. What he does not add is that he knows because he was actually there. But there is no need, because you know that information such as this has to come from first-hand experience.

So go back and review your business plan – let’s call your product “Caspita!”, for example, and make sure it goes along like this:

1. What is Caspita?
2. Who uses Caspita?
3. How do they use it?
4. What do they use it for?

I’ll give it a try myself: “Caspita is a time-stretcher calendar for web or mobile. People who want to squeeze as many meetings and to-do’s a day in their calendars are only offered half- or fifteen-minutes slots in their diaries, so whatever it is they need to get done, they are forced to make it snappy and to the point or the system won’t take it. It’s like having a little friendly robot that reminds us that time is precious and the same can be achieved in less time if we apply ourselves to be specific and rant nonsensically a lot less when we take meetings. After just two weeks of use, you are amazed you have time to read all your research, come home early to see your kids and even cook for your spouse!”

Best of all: you will sound real, not like you have taken the gibberish pill to talk to the press. They’ll appreciate doing their job: finding more about your company.

2 Responses to “Quit Saying You’re The Leading Geezer In Technotown”
  1. alex says:

    You are so right!

    One of the most difficult things in business is the ZIZO capability, a.k.a. “zoom in – zoom out”, which allows us to do the work down to those details where the devil hides while never losing sight of the big picture.

    Working with my customers I find that the more involved and passionate they are about their stuff, the less they can imagine how it is not to know their stuff in such minute detail. So I guess it takes some compassion for the people who will get your presentation and definitely the strong-held belief that it’s not about you, it’s about them. Something I found Dries, the co-founder of Drupal, Acquia and Mollom to be doing very well in his presentation at Plugg 2009.

    Thanks for sharing this. It’s a great reminder of some very basic no nonsense things…

  2. Damla says:

    I think ordinary people are not much different than VC’s these days. They have limited time and they are exposed to too many stimulators. They search for the value and skip “most” and the “best” paragraphs. So I think company’s should be careful while preparing marketing and PR materials.

    I would like to add “First” to the list. How can every single site targeting parents, moms, dads or simply women be the first social network for them. There are two options:
    1 – They are kidding us,
    2 – They don’t know how to use google search.

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