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.

Prosper.com and who needs a bank?

image Person to person micro finance is a trend that is definitely catching on. One site that is getting a lot of attention is prosper.com. It connects borrowers with lenders, and is rapidly becoming a viable source of seed capital for startups and small businesses.

Previously, we have written about Kiva, the P2P micro finance system that is all the rage now.

imageThe prosper.com system works like a reverse auction. A borrower posts a listing for the amount that they’re interested in borrowing, the time that they need the money for, and the maximum interest rate that they are willing to pay.

Lenders bid the amount that they’re willing to lend along with the interest rate. At the end of the auction the lowest bids are accepted and combined into a single loan.

The point to note is that the lender is not really lending the money. The borrower is actually getting the loan from prosper.com. In turn Prosper is selling the loanto the lender.

prosper.com microfinance loan for startups small business

The prosper.com site charges only when funding is closed. Fees for the borrower range from 1% to 3% of the loan (or $25, whichever is greater) depending upon the riskiness of the loan. On the lender’s side, there is a 0% to 1% loan origination fee depending upon the credit worthiness of the borrower.

While the trend of micro-financing is pretty small for now, in time the banks will wake up and start to notice. Banks have long enjoyed having captive clients to whom they have extended personal loans, lines of credit and a host of other financial services. They’re not going to be happy to see novice lenders cut into their main business.

Lenders on the prosper.com site are even allowed to set up their own loan portfolios depending upon the amount of risk they are willing to take, with loans ranging from Conservative (estimated return of 7%) to the highly aggressive loan (which nets 10%). All of a sudden individual investors are beginning to look like institutions where they’re able to decide whether they want to be Wellsfargo or Washington Mutual.

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.

Buzznet acquires music social network Qloud

image Buzznet, a Los Angeles based company has bought the music sharing social media company Qloud.

Qloud’s application embedded in social networks such as Friendster and Facebook, allows users to download unlimited amounts of free music.  Furthermore, members can discover and share music with each other. Qloud has been funded by Steve Case and several well-known music industry veterans.

image Buzznet is a multimedia social network where users generate content around their favorite singers and bands.  In the social network, members, photos and videos get "buzzed" (rated) and rise up the popularity charts. The site gets about 4 million visitors a month and carries content submitted by a million users.

Qloud’s MyMusic application on Facebook has 1.8 million users. The offerings of the two sites are clearly complementary ,and cater to the teen and twenty-something demographic.

Buzznet is rumored to be raising a further $25 million in funding, according to PaidContent, on top of the $6 million in Series B raised last year.

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