IUMA Resurrection

To those arriving from the recent IUMA resurrection press in Laughing Squid, GigaOM and others, hello! and thanks for visiting.

Feel free to leave comments on this post if you have questions. You can check out my LinkedIn profile and my current semi-stealth mode non-music-related Internet start-up Sherpa.io. Oh, and check out my Burning Man project Billion Jelly Bloom.


Just Send Me the Deck

The first rule of every entrepreneurial Internet start-up CEO, and indeed most CEOs, is simply, “Don’t run out of money.” Thus for most CEOs, pitching professional investors including venture capitalists and angels is a critical skill. Pitches almost always include a set of slides commonly referred to as “the deck”.

In my most recent experiences pitching, I’ve been routinely prompted by professional investors to “please send me the deck” after a pitch meeting and even one “just send me the deck” in advance of a pitch meeting.

Generally this response signals additional interest in the opportunity. However, sending a copy of the deck to potential investors is something I do not do and do not recommend to other entrepreneurs. Here’s why:

The deck is a poor stand-in for the in-person presentation. The deck is an essentially an outline for the entrepreneur to bring to life through speaking, interaction with investors and demoing of the prototype. The best decks are by design highly ineffective without the entrepreneur to present.

The deck is obsolete. And entrepreneur’s current best thinking, communication and relationship to current externalities is constantly evolving. More often than not, the news of the day underscores a principle or reifies a hypothesis that must to be woven into the pitch in real-time, even if the deck was updated the previous evening.

The deck benefits from investor feedback. Understanding investors perspectives, hearing their concerns and revving the deck in response is critical to gaining traction and closing a financing deal. You need to be there for the questions, the outbursts, the arched brows and all the other body language cues.

So, instead of sending the deck,  I recommend saying,

“I’m sorry, I don’t distribute the deck if only because I want to deliver the most current thinking and be privy to the feedback from each presentation. I am able to present to you/your team at your earliest convenience.”

One unintentional (or otherwise) effect of this that the investor will have to consider whether their interest in the opportunity is sufficient to commit to the meeting. If not, that’s a signal that you need to strengthen your social proof/introduction.

Good luck!


Delightful Appetizer

From the latest GooP newsletter, a heart of tomato and cube of dragonfruit appetizer:


Simple preparation make it no less an extraordinary presentation and flavor combination.

On Burning Man 2012 Ticket Kerfuffle

In response to Ticket Update: Radical Inclusion, Meet the Other Nine

We can’t and won’t reverse the Main Sale drawing results. That part is done, and there is nothing fair about taking awarded tickets away from anyone…it solves nothing at this point, and changes the terms after the sale has already happened, and probably isn’t even legal. Besides, that only makes a bad situation worse.

Do you have a legal opinion on that? Given there have been no transactions to date, chances are BMORG’s liability is minimal. Any ticket sales boilerplate agreement indemnifies the seller.

Moreover, BMORG has yet to address what every well-reasoned commenter repeats: non-transferable tickets, like the airlines, Glastonbury Festival, et al., is the simplest, most field-tested, most effective sol’n to undesired gaming of scarce commodities.

We must now attend to preserving the fabric of our culture.

Yes, mindful that addressing a symptom, not the cause, is a palliative solution.

There are listings on ticket scalping sites, but right now, they don’t all equal tickets that will be sold above face value. None of those sellers are actually holding tickets yet, and won’t be for several months, and we will collaborate to do what we can to starve them out. There are right now only about a hundred such tickets on those sites, although that doesn’t mean there are not more tickets that were awarded to people who plan to scalp them eventually.

The sellers and buyers in 3rd party markets do not need to hold tickets to accept offers to buy, sell and resell tickets. They are playing the scarce commodity game, assessing fair market value. They think your plans “to starve them out” are just a rent on their margin. Unless your rent exceeds their margin, they will price and run the market. Nothing to date from BMORG is convincing that rent will exceed margin.

The STEP program will launch this month and we believe it will help. Those who were not selected to purchase tickets in the Main Sale round will be notified privately of how to register, and given the first option to sign up for the “Want Tickets” waiting list in advance of any other users.

To those playing the scarce commodity game, you just announced that the scarcity perception frenzy will have a long duration and thus maximize their chances of peak margin as tickets trickle back to market at pre-promised rent-free face-value prices. I understand that is/was not the motivation/intent of BMORG, yet market forces exist a priori of human intent.

Right now we are contacting representation from all the types of affected groups analyze the overall shortfall…

That’s good.

Our Regional Network and other teams including many community advisers are engaging…

That’s good too.

We’re clear that next year, big changes are necessary to address scarcity, capacity and community.

The challenge at hand isn’t next year or addressing symptoms; the challenge at hand, extrapolating the current perception trajectory and scarce commodity market realities, is pivoting the 2012 ticketing system to a non-transferable sol’n before the consensus perception of BM’12 as a BMORG operational failure is irreversible.

That said, we’re all on your side to succeed. And when you do, we will throw down harder than ever before. :)

rob ‘beta’ lord

Barak Gometa

A Quick thought

Thesis: Obama should drop the presidential gravatas and go full meta, that is, talk to us, the American public, as one of us about the party politics that is rendering his presidency ineffective, thereby solving his Drew Westen-identified broken narrative arc problem, leveraging the totality of his inestimable intelligence and communication skills and exposing the scourge of party politics-born Bachman/Perry false prophets of gravatas — what Krugman likes to call VSPs (very serious people).

Support: Left for the reader as an exercise.

Opening Line Suggestion: “Now, I know I’m both the most credible and least credible person to talk to the American people about politics, but my time as President is short. Moreover, I started my journey to this office as one of you and when I’m done here, Michelle, Malia, Sasha and I will be one of you again. So here’s what you need to know/read/understand/do to fix what’s systemically broken in American politics today.”

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