The 3 Stages of Your Pitch

And why you should build a culture of intellectual honesty

Hey y’all — here’s today at a glance:

Opportunity → Relationship Personal Trainer

Framework → Pitch Framework

Tool → Positional

Trend → Homeschooling

Quote → Build an Honest Culture

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🔗 Houck’s Picks

My favorite finds of the week.

  • Grow your independent consulting business with Pollen, the private skill development membership for tech’s top independents.*

  • 7 PR observations from Google’s CEO’s email about Gemini (Link)

  • Comparing bootstrapping vs raising money (Link)

  • 9 big learnings from acquiring businesses (Link)

Become a member to see all my picks of the week:

  • The 7 ways companies establish power (Link)

  • 11 pieces of business advice (Link)

  • Why this successful founder doesn’t believe in cash bonuses (Link)

  • Why you shouldn’t have investors sign an NDA (Link)

💡 Opportunity: Relationship Personal Trainer

Have dating apps made dating better or worse?

They’ve definitely made it more complex.

  • Great photos

  • Perfect photos

  • Killer chat

  • The best first date

You’re competing with a larger group of people than ever before, so standing out is harder.

Why not train yourself like you do at the gym?

Daters have gone to extreme lengths to get results from dating apps, like creating bots to swipe photos or even reply on their behalf in their voice to their matches.

There are already plenty of “guru” dating coaches who post on every social media site — I could see a platform for them to connect with daters, as well as an AI-powered dating assistant for users doing well.

🧠 Framework: Pitch Framework

Have you ever heard an investor say that they can get a feel for how likely they are to invest in a startup within the first few minutes of a pitch, or sometimes even the first minute?

What do they really mean by that? And what should you, as a founder, be focusing on during those first few minutes?

It’s unavoidably subjective to a degree, as each investor may look for different things from founders, but I like this framework from Jean de La Rochebrochard:

Your pitch is about getting the investor from a state of uncertainty to a state of conviction. In the chart above, the “Pitch” column is how you want to speak and deliver information, while the “Emotion” column is what you want the investor to feel (look for body language for signals of this!).

Some important callouts:

The credibility stage is the easiest because it’s largely factual. You either have a relevant and credible background to go after this market or you don’t.

The impression and conviction stages are more subjective — you need to assess on the fly what each particular investor values most from founders.

It’s easier to recover from mistakes in the conviction stage because you’ve already built up some capital from the last two stages of the pitch.

The impression stage is very hard to recover from — so be to the point about yourself, what you’re building, and where you’re at very concisely.

🛠 Tool: Mixo

Mixo gets rid of the drag-and-drop builders and lets you use AI to convert your ideas into a professional websites in mere seconds. It takes on all technical and design complexities, so you can focus on doing what you do best (growing your business).

The best part? It's free to get started and if you're not happy with your site in the first 30 days, we'll refund your money. Click here to see it in action and start a risk-free trial with Mixo.*

📈 Trend: Homeschooling

Confidence in public schools (in the US at least) is at an all time low, with only 26% of Americans saying they have even a “fair amount” of confidence in them or better.

Some people have chosen high-cost private schools for their kids but others have surprisingly turned to homeschooling.

Startups like Primer picked up steam during the pandemic when there were no other good options for helping kids keep learning, and the trend has continued growing to the point where we’re now seeing communities on Reddit pop up.

The reason for the continued interest (and the decreasing quality of public schools) seems obvious if you’ve worked in startups. An increased emphasis on career-building, bureaucratic initiatives and less focus on your users (in this case, students):

I expect the homeschooling trend to accelerate and therefore expect a need for various infrastructure around them that exists currently only in traditional schools.

Look for opportunities to increase social activity among kids, specialized curriculum providers, school discovery, and more.

💬 Quote: Building an Honest Culture

Startups are a series of hypotheses and tests. You hope that the results of those tests let you increasingly narrow your hypotheses.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

Sometimes you learn something that means your current trajectory simply will not work and you need to go back to the drawing board in order to hit your goals.

Good founders are not deterred by this but instead move as quickly as possible to orient their entire team around the importance of this idea.

Bad founders hope that what they’ve learned isn’t as lethal as their gut tells them it is, and they trudge forward hoping that future tests will prove this one wrong.

It’s up to you to have a good internal compass for what constitutes an insight and what needs more investigation. You need intellectual honesty on both sides.

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