As I found out this morning, there are actually entrepreneurs who read this blog, so Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I’ll be off the grid until next week, so don’t let the markets fall further apart while I’m up in rural New Hampshire.
As I continue to have my thinking cap on regarding cloud computing for the enterprise, I’m trying to come up with the different “pins” that will need to get knocked down for real enterprise adoption. I was turned on to a post on ElasticVapor on a cloud computing interoperability effort via a CNET post. The basic tenant of the article is that in order for enterprise to get really excited about moving applications/data into the cloud that they will have to be able to easily port data between different cloud computing providers’ systems.
Since my relatively dense previous post on cloud computing adoption and the enterprise wasn’t all that well loved by this blog’s readership base, I thought I’d post another…
Entrepreneur Tip #1: Get enough sleep the night before the VC pitch
From personal experience, I found that if I sleep well the night before the pitch, I do a much better job with my presentations whether it is to a VC, a partner or a customer. You will be more attentive, less nervous, more responsive, your answers will be well thought and the delivery will be smooth and to the point.
The actual numbers of hours of sleep that you really need depends on you. Research has shown that one needs about 6.5 to 7.5 hours of sleep. The other important element of a good sleep is the time at which you go to bed. Here consistency is important. You should go to sleep at the same time as you did the entire previous week. What I also found is that if I sleep before midnight, I tend to get good sleep and I need about 6.5 hours. The longer I stay up, the longer I need to sleep to get the same rest.
If you are travelling across the country to make a presentation, you need to make sure that the timezones don’t mess up your sleep. You should arrive at the hotel early enough that you get some good sleep. Last week, for instance, I was in Seattle for a big presentation and I went to bed at 9 PM PST (12 AM EST) and woke up at 4 PM PST (7 PM EST). I was well rested and ready to go. If you are overcharged and are unable to get sleep, Tylenol PM or Advil PM will do the job.
Yet another low-value tip for the entrepreneur about to pitch a startup idea or business plan to a venture capitalist. This one is for entrepreneurs/founders who will be presenting at the VC’s office:
VC Pitch Tip #3 – Get to the venture capitalist’s office early
A good venture capitalist is very scheduled during the day, and has only allotted a certain amount of time to meet with your startup and listen to your initial business plan pitch. Usually, for a first meeting, this is an hour to and hour and a half. The VC will likely be running off to meet with another entrepreneur or to get onto a phone call with a portfolio company right after the meeting with you – so you don’t have a lot of time to get your vision across!
The reason that you should get to the VC’s office a bit early is because you may experience annoying technical issues hooking your computer up to the projector, connecting to the internet or preparing your product/solution demonstration. Since you’re only got a short amount of time to make the venture capitalist “get” your vision, any time spent fiddling with your laptop or messing around with projector cables is time lost. By getting to the meeting early you will allow yourself some buffer to set everything up and do a trial run of your demo – hopefully giving you all the time possible to get your idea across.
I know this doesn’t seem fair. You’ve gone through the effort to prepare a presentation, dragged yourself away from your team and development work and are ready to bare your soul to some jerk VC… and they won’t even give you the courtesy to run over the schedule meeting time by a few minutes. However, keep in mind that there is likely another entrepreneur in the meeting room next door ready to pitch their idea to the very same VC.
While we can debate the rudeness of being late to a meeting (something VCs are notoriously prone to doing, sorry), there is no debate that the more time you’ve got to explain your startup the better your chances are. So, while it’s a pain to get set up early and then twiddle your thumbs for a few minutes waiting for the VC, it is much better than giving a half-focused introduction to your idea while you mess around with F8 key on your laptop.
Just a quick blurb on an Atlas portfolio company, Lilliputian. Lilliputian is creating a micro-fuel cell capable of powering mobile devices substantially longer than traditional batteries. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick was on hand yesterday to celebrate Lilliputian’s expansion plans. Massachuesetts state government seems to be really committed to turning the area into a real player in the clean energy industry. The region has the technology talent and investors to make it happen, and it is nice to see the state supporting this effort in a substantial way.