The “Goldilocks” overview presentation for #startups – not too technical, not too fluffy

Many #developer founders struggle with their pitch to anyone but their customers. Too technical and they end up losing 90% of their audience, like investors or potential employees not in the engineering team. Too high-level and everyone thinks they are hand waving.

The problem is fairly acute in B2B companies overall – if your product is aimed at a very technical audience – for example finance managers, statisticians, or climatologists, then you will end up getting “into the details”, in your overview pitch.

The right level of presentation is very hard to get right. It almost seems likes a “Goldilocks presentation” – not too technical, which most people wont get and neither too fluffy – which many dismiss as “does not get the problem right”.

The simple answer is to keep it on the right side of technical. From my experience it is better to be specific and articulate than come off as condescending or “hand wavy”.

The good thing is that this also will ensure that if some folks in the audience dont get it, they are probably not the right target for you.

So, the question is what is the right level of technical? The answer wont be easy, but the best thing to do is to A/B test your positioning with the soft audiences first.

The most important part to remember is that it is not only investors who are the audience you are initially trying to get on board. 

Sometimes senior executives in your potential customer base have a problem relating to very technical presentations, as well.

If your customers dont get your pitch – again either because it is too technical or too fluffy, then I’d recommend you revisit the lucidity of your presentation.

Let me give a specific example of one startup we are helping now. They target a very new and a developer audience. Most of what they end up doing is “Educating” their audience.

When they talk to potential customers at the right level in the organization, the bells toll, but in many cases when they describe their problem statement to folks higher in the org of their target customer base, things get difficult.

Here is what I recommend:

Most people understand the BEFORE and AFTER story the best for representing technical products.

If you have to explain a trend you might want to articulate that quickly, but I’d focus a lot on sharing what the “CURRENT” problem is – which is the BEFORE situation.

For example. The pitch they were using was to show code screen shots of deployment tools and how their product was much better. That went well with some developers, but they were unable to sell that to the managers who needed to understand how it will help developers.

Most managers, when they did not understand it clearly enough, dismissed the tool as “nice to have”.

Here is a better “framing” of the problem in my mind.

1) Your developers need to understand agile methodology since they are being asked to ship products quicker and in incremental fashion instead of once every 6 months.

2) Developers like the agile methodology but your systems are built for the waterfall approach

3) If you use the tools like abc and def which were built for the waterfall methodology, the compromises they will show up in more outages, more defects and slower release cycles.

This helps put a context to the person listening to the pitch even if they are not using the tool daily.

You will still have to tailor your “standard” pitch so it appeals to the audience, but this is at the “right level”. Again, you want to keep testing, until you can get head nods quickly, within the first 1-3 minutes.

That’s when you know you have the pitch “Just right”.

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