My Worst Pitch

I was pitching at a demo day after the NewMe popup accelerator in Memphis. I had my deck all set before the start of the weekend (Friday and Saturday classes with a Demo Day on Sunday). Standard 10 slides in 20 minutes style deck cut down to 5 minutes.

We get to class and find out that due to the class size we were all going to have to pitch in 2 minutes. And we still had to cover all the main areas. 10 slides in 120 seconds in a clear concise way in front of an audience of family, local startups, press and local Angels.

Spent the next night editing down the pitch to the bare bones. Making sure I take breaths and pauses we get it down to 110 seconds for all 10 slides. Practice it a bunch of times to make sure I have it right.

Show up to demo day. Turns out they can’t get the slide advancer to work and you have to signal one of the NewMe people to advance your slides. That threw everyone off their game including me. I had worked so hard on pacing and rhythm that pushing the button to advance the slide was second nature. Having to stop and signal totally threw my train of thought off as well as my pacing. I ended up rushing to make up time and finished in 96 seconds and wasted 24 seconds that I could have used to drive some points home or at least be easier to understand. I garbled my sentences and thoughts because of it too.

Still scored an honorable mention and scored well (mostly because I didn’t lose points for going over 2 min), but that was the most panicked and worse pitch I have ever given for any company or presentation.


  • Can we please stop calling a presentation a “deck”. (Which BTW sounds like you have a very small deck to work with) It’s nails on a chalkboard. Much like when someone asks if your team has any “bandwidth” available for a task or project. It’s as though just saying some cool buzzword has now taken the place of actually doing something.
    As for the manual slide push, I feel uour pain. That’s how our president likes to do it. She wants a computer guy there to move to the next slide. Except she doesn’t think that there needs to be a common signal for moving to the next slide or any practice beforehand. That works out real well.

  • that sounds like a shit situation and one that you could have probably handled in a different way. if i was you, i would have selected my one, two or maybe three most impactful slides and focused only on those. think about how fast you must have talked to cover 10 slides in 2 minutes that most people probably didnt even process a word you said. let alone the fact that people only typically remember three things from a presentation anyways, and you could have found a real way to stand out from the rest.

    you dropped the ball kid.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    You may also like