Smart CEOs v Too Smart CEOs

Smart CEOs and the Big Red Care here in the glorious ATX — on Earth as it is in Texas!

So, The Boss is talking to several of his brilliant CEOs and comes up with a common lament.

They’re too damn smart for their own good. How so, Big Red Car, you ask? May I ‘splain it to y’all?

CEOs (founders, entrepreneurs, C suite brethren) will eventually get to the position of raising funding from themselves, friends & family, angels, syndicated angels, seed funders, or venture capitalists (A, B, C, D).

Happens all the time. It is a fundamental right of passage and you will prevail, eventually. Let me assist you in making the journey a little shorter, may I?

The Too Smart Pitch Deck

So, the CEO makes a pitch deck and therein lies the problem.

He/she is so damn smart, they tell the story of creation, the problem they intend to solve, how they intend to do it, and the deck ends up being 76 slides long.

Damn good deck. Damn good story. WRONG STORY.

OK, Big Red Car, what’s the right story?

The right story is a simple 8-14 slide presentation which outlines the basics and whose call to action is simply to have the audience ask questions.

Structurally, the right pitch deck is just the chapter headings and the presenter is telling the story by using the chapter headings to guide the presentation.

That’s all. Don’t over think the assignment, brilliant CEOs.

It is like being a lobster roll v being a steamed lobster — the steamed lobster requires way too much work to get to the meat while the lobster roll requires, well, just a big bite. Be a lobster roll.

Lobster roll

Be the lobster roll, instant gratification, not the lobster. Be the lobster roll.

Do you see yourself herein? Yes, you do.

What else, Big Red Car?

It is really that damn easy. Just focus on the call to action — creating sufficient intellectual curiosity to  bubble up some questions and then answer them.

Questions = interest and, at this stage, that is all you can expect — interest.

Do not oversell the opportunity, just create interest.

It will take some time and 5-7 touches to close a deal. Don’t rush it. Savor it. Be calm and cool.

What else, Big Red Car?

Do anticipate questions and prepare slides to answer the obvious ones but let the questions come to you and then pounce upon them like a big bird on a worm. Be prepared and, then, swoop down on them.

Keep the additional slides under wraps until you need them.

The more pitches you make, the more questions you’re going to encounter and be ready for. That’s all.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Be good to yourself.cropped-LTFD-illust_300.png



3 thoughts on “Smart CEOs v Too Smart CEOs

  1. I wonder about the ways this same principle is valid for product demos, like make then light and fun instead of clumsy. Are demos expected during a pitch?

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