Pitching your startup when you’re not the founder. Don’t be this guy—don’t let people know your baby’s ugly.

January 20, 2011 by Jared Goralnick

Ugly babyI was underwhelmed by the pitch.  The assistant that presented it lacked passion, vision, and several fundamentals.  He didn’t know me, and he shared unnecessary and unhelpful things about him.

Don’t be that guy.  Founder or not, everyone should be able to represent their startup.

I find this all too often—people work to make a living, but no one puts them through the training necessary to represent the company—neither as an employee nor as someone speaking on its behalf.  If founders can’t sell their employees on their idea and get them to understand it clearly, then employees are severely handicapped at succeeding in their jobs.

I’m going to an event tomorrow night that’s about employee equity—what’s great about the event is that it’s targeted to people who work for startups and need to better understand their compensation.  It’s an event for people who aren’t just in biz dev or on the management team.  More events need to be targeted toward the regular folks who do much if not most of the real work.

One of those events needs to be on pitching, on selling, on the elevator pitch, and on why on earth they’re working at a startup.  I’m not slaving away for a dream because I want a quick buck, and I don’t think anyone on my team is.  Right now we’re not to the point where we can look back and say “it’s beautiful, it’s done,” but whether or not the baby’s ugly, I expect my whole team to stand behind it.  And to understand where things are going.  Is that too much to ask?

I hope someone (or, heck I will) puts on an event about this.  And that we all invest a little more time in the people who work with us on the vision.  Regardless of one’s role in a company or the company’s stage in the market, this is crucial for so many parts of a company’s success.

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One Response to “Pitching your startup when you’re not the founder. Don’t be this guy—don’t let people know your baby’s ugly.”


  1. Steve

    Yep, and I want to reiterate the last bit that it holds for everyone and for companies of all sizes and stages. From the last few big companies I’ve worked at it was a real problem. People doing the work were either not sold on the vision or just never knew what it was, and the quality of work suffered as a result. Much easier to get people to build great products when they *want* to build a great product instead of just showing up for work every day…

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