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Obviously – Ultimate Startup pitch in 5 slides


The Ultimate Startup pitch in 5 slides

Slide 1 Ultimate name for your startup

We took the hard job of trying to name our startup over an agile sprint, and we came up with astounding algorithms for doing the same.

Here are the top 3 in case you are interested

  1. Spell badly, this one is an easy algorithm where you take a common word and spell badly, and you can do it by replacing vowels with a combination of vowels, add unnecessary consonants, or remove vowels that occur in between so you can actually get a domain name easily and look good on Crunchbase.
  2. Take a noun and make it a verb that is not already in the dictionary  or take a verb and make it into a noun, usually the play is in the prefix and suffix. Prefixes common include En-, Eu-, Al-, Alti-, Uber-, True-, Super-, All-, Uni-, Ex-  and the most common suffixes include  -ly, -ate, -fy, -in. We preferred this considering our sprint was only 4 weeks.
  3. Take 2 orthogonal words and combine, dimensions commonly includes, number, shape, body part, taste, location,  grocery, sensation, color, element, disease, business, currency, numbers etc. These names will lead to higher valuations usually not so reasonable just like the names. OvalSilver, GreenTomato, ChillSquare, BitterEye, 42Nuts, DollarFever,  are all good names.

Slide 2 Ultimate Tagline for the name

Considering the cerebral processing capacity of investors, we recommend to limit tag lines to 3 words and never more. It is luckily not 3 times the size of your naming sprint. This sprint although short, its outcome, has a veto power on upcoming sprints like product design and modularity of the value proposition.

The 3 word magic formula below

<<present continuous tense verb>> <<on a simple target object>> <<with a perceived/promised unmeasurable value >>


<<present tense verb>> <<present tense verb>> <<present tense verb>>

With value explained in Slide 3

  • Creating customer surprises
  • Reaching peaks slowly
  • Growing traffic exponentially
  • Building plants organically

There are theoretical foundations and void reasons for conducting market research, product design, and business model together in parallel. But…

We being a lean startup with a freelancing founder, could only afford to do this in series, even if this  means diminished disproportionate value  of our ultimate startup.

Slide 3 Ultimate Value Proposition

Product Value Proposition is a little tricky, if your second sprint in the tag line did not give 3 reasonable well meaning words to count on and build layers of meaning and stories that resonate with all 3 parties (investor, customer, employee), consider a pivot immediately and redo slide 2.

If the story sold with other startups (got revenues and investments) with a different set of verbs only focus why you are forever superior fundamentally and stick to this story.

If you are so unique and only one attacking the open available market share, unfortunately we all have to rely on your creativity. Again only 3 verbs

Here is how our current product value proposition is realized

ob•vi•ate To anticipate and dispose of effectively; render unnecessary

Major market need, available capital to be freed, immediate value, and does not disrupt any existing processes and structures, so every customer can feel safe, that is till they actually buy the next module

ob•fus•cate To make so confused or opaque as to be difficult to perceive or understand

Data driven, closed IP, and here is where magic happens, and we will not tell you the secret sauce, but you can taste it from our existing customer testimonials and master chef reports available when you can give away your contact and few body fluid samples on our website for free. Also this is patent pending across 3 major geographies where we see our product leading the market, and you can see the empty provisional patent application by clicking on the link hidden on our website again.

ob•li•vi•ate  To forget, to wipe from existence

Actionable insights that forces decision, forgets reason, and renders functions redundant, as we are the only ones riding that massive, disruptive wave happening beneath in the technology ecosystem. Enabling this is our strategic partnerships with stealth technology leaders.

You can insert a complex picture, typically pushing the limits of smart art or keynote charts with some major links to research reports across the usual suspects like forrester, gartner, and other old analysts that are anyway in a time warp and take the golden quadrant position for yourself.

Slide 4 Ultimate Business Model

Always assume data in your favor in the order of similar startups operating in the space, countries where you intend to operate, and customer segment that nobody heard of existed, till now.

Of course all listeners will lean back to their familiar territories, and your new ground will mostly be lost in translation.

Include metrics with 3 letter acronyms including ROI, CTR, IFT, MAU, MRP, LTV, there is hesitation to question in most pitch sessions that are so tightly timed, you don’t even have to expand these, and all listeners are supposed to know. And yes, include a graph with a positive slope and X-Axis having time line, and Y-Axis one of those value words (revenue, satisfaction, experience, scale, margin, reach, …), a classic.

Slide 5 Ultimate Team

This is an important slide for securing trust. And the goods of exchange is pedigree , and the maximum number that is empirically accepted is 3 again. Hacker, Hustler, Designer; other useful combinations include know him since my childhood, associated for more than 2 decades since smoking our first joint together in high school, and we met at a VC event/ or any other billion dollar dysfunctional corporates will work as well.

For style you can include metrics like LinkedIn 7000+ connects, Klout  91, Kred 742/7, mechanical turker rating 42, tumblr followers 420 …

Obviously you don’t want to give away any of your detailed pedigree information till a term sheet is in sight, so always add only logos and never text about the degree or the university. Also they look great on the slide with proper contrast.

Unreadable last names with more than 16 characters or bizarre combinations of consonants and vowels are welcome, along with shortened first names.

Good luck with your pitch, ecosystem respects you for your courage, and freely giving away advisory equity and other entitlements for vague expertise.

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Of not buying a Ruosh

I went to buy a pair of Ruosh at a store newly opened in our area. Lush, classy store with just enough labor and lot of time given for the customer to spend in the selections.
Only the store does not offer any discounts, before I tried any shoe I told the sales guy I am looking to buy online possibly at myntra for at least 30% discount. I even showed him the online prices to see if he would match. No luck there.
But what happened next was unexpected. The sales guy declared, that any online purchased shoes will not be serviced in the store.
3 conclusions that I drew were

  • Firstly any shoe of the brand may require a service during its life time say 2 years
  • Second brand is not seeing it’s own shoes the same way across 2 channels
  • Third by denying a customer a better price and threatening of no service was seen as a way to improve store sales of the brand

You may have a great value perception but if on the ground brands’ employee incentives and brand outcomes are in conflict across channels, it will only pave way for an early exit from the market.


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Stepping back again and again


I step back so much that, now I just keep saying hi!!!

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On agreeing to a vocabulary

Here is what we joke about conferences, everybody (audience, speakers, and event managers) starts with ‘a need to agree‘ on something early morning. This could range from “innovation is critical to success of business/India”, “gamification is revolutionizing business process”, “stories are the next strategy” or something like that. By end of day after speakers speaking, audience listening and event managers buzzing, the host notes that ‘all have agreed‘ on what we began with as a need, marking the successful close of the conference.

What happens in between is forcing a choice between competing sets of vocabulary, and each trying to push the other out. Even within one vocabulary, speakers/participants lean towards a specific sub set.

Here is where the conflict lies, and below examples as I noticed in a recent conference.

1. Visibility versus viability, while who ever is on stage successfully runs a viable business or used to, everyone else is simply looking to be more visible, like a 70 word intro before a 15 word question to speakers, or other plugs.

2. Cost versus price, this one is common even while the discussion is about pricing, most participants confuse it with their costs, and unable to rephrase / appreciate a concept for price. I think this is a genuine psychological inertia that is exhibited.

3. Revenue versus capitalization, most speakers agree that while the real deal for any valuation should actually be the revenues, most tech ventures are traded for capitalization. And who decides this price, the banker / investor / startup / someone else. In any case the switch to the higher number (usually capitalization) is towards resolving the first conflict of visibility versus viability.

4. Sales versus marketing, even if a session is about writing an advertorial or sponsored tweet, most confuse it with sales, this chunking of ‘sales and marketing’ is a way to avoid any responsibility in it, “…see I am techie…, the other guy in my team does all that”

5. Problem versus opportunity, not much of a conflict in this one, but still this comes to play when you are inside an already running business, best resources are staffed in the largest / most profitable current account fixing issues to keep the customer and not the most promising opportunity of acquiring a new (possibly less painful) customer. (the ‘strategic account’ conversation for another day)

Point I am trying to make is simple, to choose a field means adopting its vocabulary and its conflicts, and with changing fashions/fads if your vocabulary does not evolve as well, you are outdated even before you started.

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So we are stuck…

So we are stuck with a theory, and we do not know whether it is right or wrong, but we do know it is a little wrong or at least incomplete – R P Feynman

As a good starting point acknowledging the incompleteness or the little wrong could do good for innovation however you choose to address it.

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Exploitation as contradiction in ideality

2 really disparate examples of exploitation here, I will do a couple of illustrations for defining these contexts as contradictions in players’ ideality and then applying a trend.

One from the affordable internet efforts and why even with reducing capex and opex telecom companies would not cut prices to customers and continue to exploit.

Player Function Ideality Contradiction and resulting exploitation
ISP/Carrier/Operator connect subscribers                          to internet not lose subscriber base, increasing revenues/cash flows, decreasing spend, monopoly increasing average revenue and profit per user directly contradicts with customers ideality to pay
Customer/Subscriber connect to internet for access to services and information pay nothing for connectivity, highest speed possible, always connected ties with devices, price increasing data plans, speed limitations, and forced congestion from operators
Investor invest for returns in companies that make profits reducing capex and opex with increasing revenues and profit is approaching ideality reduced customer service levels and migration of customers, puts revenue and profits on a decline, hence the stock value as well
Media Industry create and distribute media monopoly for content and affiliated business, no other competitive media / distribution channels becomes viable Access to media from internet directly contradicts with their business model to sell content from traditional forms of discs, cable tv content

Second example is around immigration from the recent Syria crisis, even though legal immigrants add value to the migrated place, why politicians continue to exploit voting population by fueling negative perceptions around immigration. But still continuing to turn a blind eye on labor exploits of immigrants to continue with a not so competitive economy.

Player Function Ideality Contradiction and resulting exploitation
State/Politician development and upholding state  sovereignty zero dollars spent on regulation, and citizens get all priority services from government, and never lose an election allowing cheap immigrant labor into non-subsidized industries maintains a bad economy building a false perception around immigration maintains status quo and votes from conservative population that wants to maintain sovereignty
Immigrant Labor to industry every border is open, every country is ‘migration’ worthy, on par with citizen benefits, rights protected lack of labor law to govern their employment means giving away rights, without votes or rights deprived of having a voice in the country
Industry/Employer Value creation for economy, investor, and customers cheap and exploitable labor use and less than minimum working conditions for higher profits, no litigation on violations lack of labor inspection / governance maintains  status quo, including less than worthy labor conditions and pay to immigrants and this as the only way to maintain competitiveness in a falling economy
Citizen Tax payer and uses benefits from state.Also customer for industry. Subsidized sectors, and unemployment benefits for citizens, Pay/Benefits without job. Subsidy perceived as right and any state capital spent on immigrants is actually something the citizen could be deemed eligible for as lost/wasted.
Border Control Regulate migrant flow into state no immigration (legal / illegal) means no patrol or control necessary migrants posing threats to sovereignty, and citizen welfare, calls for massive spend in border control and leading to a back passage creation

Now in both cases at super system level, you could add regulations that will move some functions from the players to another neutral authority. So Regulatory Authority could standardize price plans, open up migrations across, just like they do in insurance policy terms and conditions. Similarly new technology like unlimited connectivity say from Google Moon or, open id, could turn functions in favor of customers/migrants, while skewing for specific types of businesses and not the legacy ones.

In both cases simple system completeness trend will show deficiencies in the governance bit, and a massive undercut of benefits from customers/migrants as a driving force for the functions delivered.

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