Found this in 2021, and it's as relevant as ever!
For me a top takeaway is "intellectual honesty". Most founders I meet don't express their POV as hypotheses to be validated, and this can hurt them (especially when they don't admit that these are just hypotheses).
Imagine walking into a meeting with two strangers.
One of them is very confident — leaning forward, gesturing actively, speaking loudly, and giving you an impressive pitch.
The other one is relaxed — leaned back in their chair, a peaceful smile on their face. They’re not selling anything, and are clearly comfortable with whatever.
Which would you assume was the boss?
I’m guessing you’d say the comfortable one, not the confident one.
But why is that?
Let’s think about this in terms of the professional journey. Whatever it is that you do — art, engineering, football, politics, etc. …
上禮拜4月 15 日，亞馬遜創辦人 Jeff Bezos 發表了他 CEO 任內最後一封致股東的信。
歷年來亞馬遜的 shareholder letters 都廣受好評，甚至被許多專家封為美國最會寫股東信的企業之一。但今年的信似乎格外厲害：
當然，這些也跟美國近年來高漲的 “anti-big tech” (反科技巨頭 …
In Part 1 of this mini-series, we looked at two types of storytelling by two very different kinds of founders — “heroes” who charge into battle, and “generals” who stand back and strategize first.
I argued that even for hero-type founders, the general’s craft of strategic storytelling can be very useful.
So today, let’s look at a prime example of strategic storytelling: the Rippling Memo. It’s one of the best pieces of writing I’ve seen from any startup (or public company for that matter), I’d strongly recommend reading the whole thing.
For context, Rippling’s software to helps enterprises manage their…
In the past few months, our team that works with entrepreneurs on their pitching began noticing two very different “types” of stories founders tell about their companies.
The first type goes something like this:
Founder: I’ve always been passionate about this problem. I personally suffered from it (with touching story), and I’ll stop at nothing to solve it. People told me it was impossible, and there were a series of obstacles in my way, but I fought through all of them and finally made a breakthrough.
Let me show you…
We’ve always loved and admired founders with this kind of…
Sometimes you hear investors say that a founder has “incredible product vision”. Evan Spiegel of Snap, for instance, is so famous for this that he’s been jokingly called Facebook’s head of product because the social giant kept copying his creations.
But this provokes the same question I often ask investors about such personality traits: how can you tell that someone has “product vision”? How did the founder convey this?
In a recent episode of the Twenty Minute VC with Jeremy Liew — Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners and early Snap investor — he gave a fascinating answer to this question:
One of the most important stories you need to tell as an entrepreneur is about the problem and how you’re solving it.
This story can be told from at least three points of view (POV):
I gave the first public address of my life when I was five.
As the rep of my class at the kindergarten graduation, it fell to me to deliver words of wisdom to the 300 or so classmates and parents there. It was a monumental occasion, and I stood at the podium with gravitas.
Well actually… I stood on a high stool behind the podium. With gravitas. I was so much shorter than other kids my age that I needed it to be just visible over the podium.
No matter. I knew my speech would be historical. And it was.
I realized a funny thing this past week.
Since we began Presentality in late-2017, we’ve worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs and companies on how to pitch better. We’ve rebuilt story lines, redesigned decks, and reshaped body language.
But never once have we questioned the basic premise of this work: Is there a problem with pitching itself?
By this, I don’t mean to get into the whole venture-backed vs. bootstrapped debate, and I certainly don’t want to play the semantics game like “let’s replace ‘pitch’ with another word!”
Rather, I’m thinking about the whole set of terms that are often associated…
In an earlier post, we saw that storytelling was essential to showing people your character as an entrepreneur — the formidable kind who is worth investing in.
But what would such a story look like? And how do you build yours?
When we first began coaching founders, we thought most of them knew how stories worked and could put a good one together. But our experience proved the opposite: Most people didn’t understand the basic components of a story, and struggled to tell stories that hooked (and kept) people’s attention.
So let’s first look at the basic anatomy of a…
Former presidential speechwriter. Now helping CEOs and founders tell better stories. Co-founder and Design Lead at Presentality