Ten tips on how to demo your startup


Jason Calacanis has heard and reviewed hundreds of startup and has excellent advice for all of us on how to demo your startup.

1. Show your product within the first 60 seconds.
2. The best products take less than five minutes to demo
3. Leave people wanting more.
4. Talk about what you’ve done, not what you’re going to do.
5. Understand your competitive landscape–current and historical.
6. Short answers are best.
7. PowerPoint bullet slides are death.
8. How to use this new device called the phone.
9. How to handle questions you don’t know the answer to
10. Always confirm the time of your meeting/call, and always be 15
minutes early.

This is a great list for “how to demo” your startup. May not be a perfect list for how to present your company for fund raising. “Show me what you got” is not the same as “why should we help you?”

Especially item number 4, “talk about what you’ve done, not what you’re going to do”. If you are a startup, there are more of “things to be done”, compared to what you have done. A showing of a clear path as to where do you plan to take the the things you have done is equally important.

The item one, “Show your product within the first 60 seconds” works only when your audience is well versed in your space. I try to take the first 30-45 seconds to connect with the audience, you don’t have to connect to them by showing the size of the market, or by showing your market share, but you need to take them to a level where they can follow your plans.

You typically have one to fifteen minutes to tell your story. No matter how hard you try you will NOT be able to bring out all the important things; so you need to focus on thing that are going to be important to your targeted audience. In this case, Jason wants to see a demo, sort of like an end user. Show him the demo, talk about what you have done and what your product can do. If you are giving a presentation to a potential investor, they want to know “how would you sell this” and you got to focus on that.

Why I want >576 Mega pixel, multi lens, 50 frame per second, point and shoot camera


Next time a person tells me that I don’t need a digital camera with more than 6-10 mega pixel resolution, I am going to hit him/her on the head with the sharp corner of my camera (my potential targets here, here and all over).

People who say that you don’t need more than 6 Mega pixel resolution in your camera are the same people who proclaimed “64K computer memory should be enough for anybody”.

These myopic folks miss the basic point of why one takes pictures. One does not take pictures to print out 3×4 prints from the local drug store; one takes pictures to preserve the memory, capture the moment for ever.

When people are running away from their burning house, what do they grab first? their old pictures! It is one of the most precious possession in people’s lives. Why would you want the most precious thing in your life to be of a mediocre quality?

When I click the shutter on my camera, I want to capture at least what my eyes can see. Apparently, if you converted the resolution of what an eye can perceive in to mega pixel, it turns out that an eye can see at 576 Mega pixel. So, I want my camera to be at least 576MP camera; is that too much to ask?

When I look out, I see in stereo; with full depth - is it too much to expect that my camera does the same?

I want to take pictures for the unknown technology that will be available to me in 20 years, not for the 3×4 print that can be printed now! Even today, there are methods that can take a regular print and create a 3D scene out of it. God know where this technology will be in 20 years. And when that technology is available, do I want a digital picture taken at resolution of 5MP or 500MP?

Even the displays are getting bolder and sharper. In 20 years, there may be life like displays, and on that display, would you like to use a picture taken with 5MP or 500MP resolution? When you recreate that precious moment in holographic 3D, which image do you think will show the details?

The main mistake these so called “experts” make, is that they believe that the only thing that can and will be done with a digital image, is to print it! A digital image is nothing but a piece of digital data; you can do a lot with it and when you are manipulating data, it is better to have as much original data as possible! It is not about being able to crop the image, it is about preserving most available data for future technology and processing advances.

If I can’t afford to buy 576MP camera or I can’t handle a multi lens camera, that is a different story; just don’t patronize me and tell me that I don’t need anything beyond 6MP camera.

Here is an example of a gigpixel image; see how much you can capture.


You can also visit the gogapxl image gallery.

<Rant complete> We now return you to our regularly scheduled program.

Rubber band Model of Universe : Winner of 2008 Stanford Innovation Tournament.

Last week, I wrote about the Stanford Innovation Tournament . Every year, Stanford sponsors a tournament where the participants are asked to “add value” to a common, everyday item. This year, the item chosen was a rubber band.

I had my simple and complex ways of adding value to a rubber band. But despite my involvement in the “Talk Like a Physicist” campaign, I did not think about using a rubber band to demonstrate a physics concept! :-(
One of the winning entries is by Michael Fisher, demonstrating a rubber band model of the Einstein’s Theory of special relativity. As a true business school major and a marketer, he titled it as ” a model of the Universe”, let’s not quibble about that.

My favorite entry was the Artweb 2.0


However, the most educational and enlightening example was that of “failure”.


Which taught them “Fail early - fail fast!” and just because you build it, people won’t necessarily come.

BIL - the un-conference : Answer to TED

Let me start out by saying that this un-conference thing is not for me. I didn’t like the couple of these things I have attended, I don’t like the idea of it, I don’t like how they are executed and I don’t like the outcome.

Here is BIL un-conference.


BIL is…

an open, self-organizing, emergent, and anarchic science and technology conference.

Nobody is in charge.
If you want to come, just show up.
If you have an idea to spread, start talking.
If someone is saying something interesting, stop and listen.

What do you need to bring to the un-conference?

Things to bring…
A camp chair. Who knows where you’ll end up having a session. Bring your own folding chair, like this one.
A laptop.
A cell phone.
A camcorder (if you have one).
A power strip.

Funny thing is that I might actually attend the Bil2009 conference. Why? because despite its inefficiency and despite its unfocused organization, it has potential and it offers a soapbox that is interesting. Moreover, I keep thinking that a couple of un-conferences that I attended did not have a “critical mass” of people, so Bil2009 might be a part of the continued experience of exploring the un-conference format.

I don’t like un-conferences very much but I dislike regular rigid conferences even more! So see you at BIL2009. TED and BIL are coordinated so BIL happens just after the TED.

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